RV Electricity – What residential refrigerator do you have?

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Dear Readers,
As I write in my guest essay in the RV Travel Newsletter, one of my projects for 2019 is a study of the number of solar panels and batteries needed to run a residential-style refrigerator in your RV while dry camping, without using a generator. While propane/electric refrigerators have been the norm in RVs for decades, in the last few years it’s become popular for RV manufacturers to install full-size residential refrigerators.

This is great for food storage, but means that you either need outside 120-volt power via a campsite pedestal or generator, or you have to add solar panels and batteries to your RV if you want to live “off the grid” while keeping your residential refrigerator running. My plan is to set up a full solar/battery/refrigerator system and meter it for a month or so while monitoring sunlight and weather conditions. That should give me some real-world data that I can use to predict what’s needed to work for you.   

I’ve already spoken to several RV gear manufacturers about this proposed experiment, and they’re very enthusiastic about being part of it and will send me all the products I need. I love a good experiment!

Solar panels with appropriate inverter/chargers are already on their way to my shop. Plus the battery manufacturers are stepping up and sending me a number of Lithium, AGM and standard Lead-Acid cell technologies.  

Already promised is an 8-cubic-foot, marine-grade refrigerator from Vitrifrigo with a 12-volt Danfoss swing compressor. This technology is electrically way more efficient than a standard residential 120-volt rotary compressor. Plus this refrigerator is built for the marine industry and designed for vibration, something that might be a problem for a residential refrigerator compressor and copper coolant pipes designed to sit in your non-moving home.

The only thing missing from a full experiment is a standard residential refrigerator similar to what you might already be using in your RV. That’s where you come in. No, I don’t need to borrow your refrigerator – I need to know what brand and model refrigerator is most commonly used in the latest RVs. Then I’ll ask the refrigerator manufacturer to send me a donor unit for the test.   

Here’s how you can help. In the comments section below, simply tell me which RV you have and what brand, model and cubic-foot residential refrigerator was installed by the factory. I don’t need info on propane/electric units right now since that’s not part of this particular test. I’ll take if from there and get an appropriate residential refrigerator to complete the experiment. 

Thanks for your help. Let the trials begin…. 

 

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

##RVT866

 

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Bill Downey
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Bill Downey

My refrigerator is a Whirlpool model WRT111SFDMC1 I’m unsure as to the cubic feet I’m guessing about 20cuft . It is installed in a 35ft Thor Miramar 34.3

Mike Sokol
Editor

UPDATE: My Vitrifrigo 12-volt DC Marine/RV refrigerator just arrived, which is one important piece of the puzzle. I’m now in the process of selecting a demo 120-volt residential refrigerator for the test, and I already have a Xantrex inverter. I’m still waiting on solar panels and batteries, but those should be here in another week or so, then the testing will begin. Thanks for all your feedback so far.

Richard
Guest
Richard

I work for a RV dealer and I see mostly Whirlpool ans Samsung, I put a Whirlpool in my 5th wheel.

Jim Tibbles
Guest
Jim Tibbles

We have a 2012 Winnebago Journey diesel 36m with a 20 ft whirlpool refrigerator model
mfi 2067AES9. Absolutely no problems.

John Koenig
Guest
John Koenig

Hi Mike, I have a 2015 Dynamax DX3-37RB that has, as OEM equipment, a 22 cubic foot Frigidaire three door refrigerator (Model # LGHB2867PFLA S/N 4A64915456. I bought the DX3 new in May, 2014. After the third winterizing, this unit developed a tiny leak in one of the water supply/ice maker hoses when I dewinterized it. At the 2017 FROG Rally, I was told by a Dynamax manager that my use of RV antifreeze had weakened the hose. I had tried just using compressed air but, I was concerned that ALL the water had not been blown out (hence the… Read more »

Steve Shields
Guest
Steve Shields

We have a 2015 Fleetwood Expedition, 38K, that came with a Whirlpool, 19 Cu. Ft. side by side refrigerator. I do not have the model number. It failed last January, but we couldn’t get anyone to work on it. RV dealerships and repair services wouldn’t because it was a residential refrigerator. Appliance repair services wouldn’t touch it because it was in an RV. We were on a trip, so we had it replaced by Classic Coach Works in Florida. They suggested Samsung, but we chose another Whirlpool, model WRF560SEYM05, which could be delivered faster and more cheaply through the local… Read more »

Steve Shields
Guest
Steve Shields

Sorry, it was not a side by side refrigerator, but was a freezer on top model. I believe the model number was WRT359SFYM.

Mike Sokol
Editor

This finger pointing as to who will work on a residential refrigerator in an RV puts an important spin on this study. I can’t imagine an equivalent situation in the automobile or trucking industry. In both of those groups there’s a vetting process as to the selection and integration of nearly every part and sub-assembly that goes into a car or truck. One of my colleagues ran a company that manufactured cables for motor vehicles. They made things like emergency brake cables, speedometer cables, every kind of cable that went into a vehicle. There were complex design procedures that assured… Read more »

Manie Ellis
Guest
Manie Ellis

Thanks for taking on this research project! We have a 2018 Tiffin Allegro Open Road 32 SA. The residential refrigerator is Maytag MRT118FFFM01. It also has ice maker. It’s designed to work off my inverter but the inverter needs to be replaced. I am considering getting 3 solar panels but not sure yet. I look forward to your research and survey results.

Terrence Griffin
Guest
Terrence Griffin

We have a 2017 Forrest River Riverstone with a 20 cubic LG fridge.

Roy Brody
Guest
Roy Brody

I have a Samsung Model RT18M6213SG in a New Horizons 36ft Summit

Lynwood Brawn
Guest
Lynwood Brawn

I have a 2010 Winnebago Adventurer 35Z that was retrofitted by the previous owner with a Samsung RF197ACRS.

TravelingParkers
Guest
TravelingParkers

2018 Newmar Ventana LE – we have the manufacturer option:
Whirlpool 19.7 Refrigerator, 2000 Watt Pure Sine Inverter & Six 6-Volt Batteries and 22 gal. Propane Tank (std with propane refrig would have been 4 batteries and 32 gal propane)
Whirlpool Model no. WRF560SEYM05

Eric
Guest
Eric

2019 Winnebago Outlook. Came with a Danby 7.3 cu.ft. refrigerator, model # DPF073C1BSLDD.

John King
Guest
John King

Hi Mike,

We have a 2017 Coachmen Chapparl 5th wheel; model # 391QSMB. It came factory equipped with a Hisense 15.8 cubic foot, residential refrigerator.
Model # BCD-376WYB/HC1 (EXH1).

Deb Matthews
Guest
Deb Matthews

2017 Thor Palazzo 33.3 with a Whirlpool model Wrt518szfm00. Really appreciate what you’re doing!

TourCrazy
Guest
TourCrazy

Whirlpool GI0FSAXVY011 in a 2014 Winnebago Tour coach.

James Beirlein
Guest
James Beirlein

2018 Montana 3731FL, Samsung 18 cu ft; RF18HFENBSR. I find it curious that Samsung voids warrenty and advises against RV installation at the same time they are supplying them to Keystone. Not sure if my dealer knows of this since he sold me a warrenty for life that includes all the appliances. Time will tell.

RFarquhar
Guest
RFarquhar

Samsung RF18.

Shannon Stepp
Guest
Shannon Stepp

2018 Forest River Columbus 320RS with LG inverter Linear Model LFC21776ST/06, 115V 60HZ 4.2 amp 350 watt, 2017
MADE IN CHINA, UGH.

Kevin Curtis
Guest
Kevin Curtis

“Here’s how you can help. In the comments section below, simply tell me which RV you have and what brand, model and cubic-foot residential refrigerator was installed by the factory.” We have a 2013 Tiffin Allegro Bus QGP 43 with a Whirlpool model GI0FSAXVY010 residential refrigerator.

Steven J. Scheinin
Guest
Steven J. Scheinin

My 2016 Cedar Creek, 36CKTS, came with a Whirlpool, French door, bottom freezer with inside water dispenser and ice maker. Model #: WRF 540 CWB. 20.0 Cu Ft. We live full time in our RV, and therefore use the Whirlpool 24/7 either on shore power or my 4 6 volt batteries as we travel around the continent (just came back from a 3 month trip to Alaska).

Emery Leraand
Guest
Emery Leraand

I run a 9.1 cu ft 12V Novacold marine fridge with a true 12V compressor. It is now about four years old. Everything else in the coach that can be is run on 12V, but a 2,000 Magnasine takes care of 110V needs when required. Our bus conversion has two 600 watt banks of flexible solar panels (currently snow covered in Calgary), but usually adequate to run the fridge and everything else we really need without a gen set of any sort. They do not get great efficiency due to being wrapped around two sides of a round roof, but… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

Mike in our gas Tiffin Allegro Open Road 2016 32SA, we have an LG LTCS20220S/01…defrosting at 240W, and ice maker at 191W…20.2cu…

JFKMLK
Guest
JFKMLK

Mike, We have a Whirlpool, 30-inch Wide French Door Refrigerator – 19.7 cu. ft. Model #: WRF540CWBM01 From the Topeka Indiana factory, where our 2017 Forrest River Cedar Creek Champagne came from, we have installed, (1) 200 watt solar panel, a Go Power GP-PWM-30 solar controller, a 1000 watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter WF-5110HP, and (4) Interstate Deep Cycle Marine/RV SRM-24 550-CCA 690-MCA batteries. The (4) batteries were rewired by the dealership to be parallel. Two weeks ago while RV was in a storage lot in Las Vegas, in full sun for three days, freezer held at zero for two… Read more »

Terri L Metzger
Guest
Terri L Metzger

Whirlpool side by side, bottom freezer. 20cu ft Model GI0FSAXVY012. Phaeton 40AH

Bob Schilling
Guest
Bob Schilling

Mike we have a Whirlpool Side by Side refrigerator, model number GI0FSAXVY011, in our 2014 Thor Tuscany 40RX Class A. It’s a 36″, 19.7 CF unit.

Troy
Guest
Troy

I have this same refrigerator in my 2017 Thor Challenger 37 LX.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

We have an 08 Tiffin Allegro Bus that came from the factory with a Maytag MCD2257KES 21.6 cu ft.

Hank
Guest
Hank

2017 Allegro Bus. Maytag refrig

David Lee
Guest
David Lee

We have a 25 cu ft Whirlpool, model #WRS965CIAM00, in a 2014 DRV Suites.

Darrel
Guest
Darrel

NOT factory installed, but now we have a Samsung 18 cubic foot residential fridge.

We also have 1440 watts solar installed by AM Solar, 3 8D aAGM batteries, Victron solar controller and invertor charger.

Darrel
Guest
Darrel

To add, this a 2003 Foretravel motorhome, with 10KW diesel generator.

John Guenther
Guest
John Guenther

Hi Mike,

2016 Augusta Luxe 39FB
Magnum MS-2812 pure sine wave inverter
Four 6-volt 190 AH AGM batteries (380 AH @ 12V)
Three 160 Watt solar panels (480 W total)
LG 21 cu.ft. factory-installed residential refrigerator
model LFC21776ST

We are full-timers, more often than not at a full hook-up RV park, with very little dry camping experience. However, on a typical travel day with about 8 hours between pedestals, the battery monitor rarely drops off 100% state-of-charge, implying that the solar panels easily keep up with the draw from the fridge.

Richard Davis
Guest
Richard Davis

Mike

Before I purchased my Samsung RF18, I spoke to Samsung customer service about my plans. The Samsung rep said they did not recommend usage in an RV and doing so would negate any warranty. I am hoping that in your discussions with Mfg’s, you can influence company’s like Samsung to change their tune. Obviously, I bought the Samsung anyway and have been very happy with it (no need for warranty service).

Mike Sokol
Editor

Richard, The problem is that Samsung (and most other residential refrigerator manufacturers) suspect that their products could have a shortened life by bouncing them around in an RV going down the road. Not only could the internal workings of the compressor be damaged by road vibration, these residential refrigerators use copper tubing to connect the floating compressor to the other working parts of the refrigerator. This constant flexing of the copper pipes from road vibration may eventually work harden them, causing the copper turning to break and leak freon all over the place. This is one of the reasons I’m… Read more »

Dave Telenko
Guest
Dave Telenko

It seems that the refrigerator manufacturers didn’t have a problem with selling the RV industry thousands & hundreds of thousands to them. To add to that my reefer warranty expired & they sent me an application for an extended 1 yr warranty for $38.00, when I got it, the fine print said VOID if used in a recreational vehicle. So who’s calling the pot black here? However I can see issues relating to what Mike said!
Dave

Mike Sokol
Editor

I’m not sure there IS a problem with residential refrigerators in RVs. But when manufacturers start voiding warranties then it needs to be looked at seriously. So I’m going to make it part of my study. At least I should be able to get white papers from the various refrigerator manufacturers to read and ponder on….

Richard Davis
Guest
Richard Davis

2006 Beaver Monterey 2000W Magnum inverter W/400AH AGM batteries Samsung RF18 (installed with it’s own Xantrex 750W pure sine wave inverter and Xantrex automatic transfer switch) When I bought the Beaver 2 years ago, the original Dometic was dead. With a little research, I determined that most owners of Monaco built coaches of the era were using the Samsung 18 cubic foot counter depth residential fridge for the conversion (mostly because it fit the hole). The other option would have been the Fisher Paykel, but it was almost double the price. I have been very happy with the Samsung. It… Read more »

Natasha Stevens
Guest
Natasha Stevens

We have a 2017 Jayco North Point 377RLBH. We have a 22.2 CU side-by-side Fridgidaire with ice maker & water dispenser (FGHC2331PFAA).

We’re wanting to install solar panels in the future, so I’m excited to see what you discover with this research. #NursingOurTravelBug

Harry
Guest
Harry

I installed a 10.7 cf Whirpool because it fit in the same space as the 8.5cf Norcold.
1500 watt MSW inverter, 500 watts of solar, 4 GC batteries.
RR and other minor (tv, sat dish, led lights) stuff will use about 100ah over night, 100% soc by 10 am in good sun, cloudy days longer.
Installed about 8 months ago, no problems so far.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Whirlpool-10-7-cu-ft-Top-Freezer-Refrigerator-Black/50301515

Dave Telenko
Guest
Dave Telenko

Hi Mike
2017 Forest River 34QS
2K pure sine wave inverter
4 @ 16L 390 Ah AGM batteries
480 Watts solar
Frigidaire 16cf reefer Model-FFHT1621QS

I have a lot to say about your interest on these subjects. But way too long for here. I would like to share my experiences with you & what I’ve learned on this subject of inverters, batterie, solar & refrigerators Let me know on how to contact you if you’re interested.
Dave

Ron Hoblit
Guest
Ron Hoblit

Mike.
We have a 2006 Bounder and just replace the original rv refrig with a residential Haier HA10TG21SB 9.8 cubic foot. It fit into the cabinet perfectly too! We are very interested in your experiment!

Rick Van
Guest
Rick Van

Rickster-1

I am very interested in your experiment and would like to know the outcome. I have a 2015 Forest River Cardinal and a Frigidaire Gallery 22.6 cu. ft. with ice maker. I also plan to put in the correct number of batteries and solar panels to get off the grid. I am very interest in your undertaking. Please let me know the results and recommendations. Thanks again…

Carl Welti
Guest
Carl Welti

I have a 20 cubic foot Whirlpool 3 door G10FSAXVY in my 2018 Entegra Aspire with 4 large AGM batteries.

ruby
Guest
ruby

Maytag french door in my 2013 Thor Tuscany.

Mike Carlson
Guest
Mike Carlson

Hi Mike. I have a 2016 Grand Design Solitude ST300GK-R that came with a Samsung RF18HFENBSP. I love the fridge and would never go back to LP/12 volt. Looking forward to hearing about your test results.

Greg Illes
Guest
Greg Illes

Mike, this is Greg Illes (rvtravel writer)….

I’m SUPER interested in your project, and have for some time been considering this conversion. I’m presently running 360AH of lithium batteries, with 400W of solar. I suspect the batteries are adequate but the solar is not, but it’s hard to tell with the minimal information available on fridge power consumption.

I’d love to swap ideas and info, any time.

Brian Fickling
Guest
Brian Fickling

2015 Thor Tuscany 4RX with Whirlpool GI0FSAXVY011

dkreuzen
Guest
dkreuzen

2012 Monaco Knight 36PFT. Frigidaire 23 cuft FGHC2335LE0.

George C
Guest
George C

Please be careful in interpreting this data. Lots of people, me included, are replacing absorption refrigerators with residential. In my circles, like Dr4Film-Richard, there are a lot of Samsung units, first RF197 then RF18. But, if you want to know what manufacturers are currently using, it seems (from my limited RV Show browsing) to be mostly Whirlpool/equivalent with some GE mixed in. You may need to poll manufacturers directly if that’s the data you’re aiming for. The other consideration, of course, is that a solar-residential configuration could be standalone for just the refrigerator but more likely part of the whole… Read more »

Larry Allen
Guest
Larry Allen

Remodeled Airstream with Avanti 7.4 cu.ft. refrig 400 watts solar 400 ahrs lithium and 2000 watts pure sine after 1 year seems to be working pretty well, no generator.

Darlene Mullins
Guest
Darlene Mullins

2005 Holiday Rambler Navigator with residential fridge installed. Samsung RF18

Bill Lampkin
Guest
Bill Lampkin

Check out the new retrofit cooling units from JC Refrigeration; They have 12vDC and 120VAC models that use HVAC compressors. They say that the 120V model runs a 0.8A and the 12V model draws 5.5A DC. The retrofits fit the popular 4 door refrig (Norcold 1200) and Dometic side by side fridges. Please include this option in your test as it is by far the most cost effective as it keeps the existing fridge box but replaces the cooling unit with a compressor.

John Viestenz
Guest
John Viestenz

2015 Tiffin Allegro Open Road with Whirlpool WRT359SFYM02. Runs off 110 V from 4-batteries and factory-installed inverter.

This is not a refrigerator I would recommend to anyone. I’ve had circuit board failures and I fear the door latch (plastic!) is about to break off. None of that, however, is likely related to it being a 110v AC home-style refrigerator.

Trent
Guest
Trent

Picking a residential fridge that is not an energy star one is not a valid comparison. There are many residential energy efficient fridges out there, please pick one for your study.
I would also be interested in seeing a loaded with room temperature items and then steady state after everything is cold.

Mike Sokol
Editor

That’s part of the plan. I’ll load it full of warm beer and see how long it takes to reach proper drinking temperature. Yes, I’ll do real food as well…

Ken :("Bumps")
Guest
Ken :("Bumps")

We have the Whirlpool ED2FHEXVS and it is powered by a PSW inverter with 8 GC2s behind it. Thanks, Mike.

Duffey R Ainsworth
Guest
Duffey R Ainsworth

I have a 2014 Entegra with a GE MODEL GSCS3PGXGFSS
110-127 VAC 60HZ 11.6 AMPS

It eats power!