12th March 2020 at 16:05 #2515
While the 3 way fridge in Helga works well, we have found in our experience, when in hotter climates, they start to stuggle, even with a 12v fan to move the air.
In our old motorhome I swapped the 3-way for a 12v Dometic which was fantastic, keeping the milk, and more importantly the wine nice and cool whatever the temperature.
Looking to swap Helga’s fridge, I found I didn’t have enough depth to fit a Dometic with the same height and depth as the old fridge. This led me to hunt around till I came across the isotherm range of 12v fridges. The cruise 130 was the right width, and nearly as tall as the old fridge and I thought I should be OK with the depth.
As well as working over a wider temperature range, they are not as fussy as a gas fridge having to be dead level and you have the added benefit of increasing your fridge capacity from 90 to 130 litres, room for G&T as well as wine now!
First job was to remove the old one. I got my local motorhome machinic, Ben to do this as it involved capping the gas pipe. Very glad I did as it put up a bit of a fight, but got there in the end.
Next was power. Rather than put in new wires I hit on the idea to use the 12v supply from the Electrobloc which runs the 3 way fridge when traveling. This wire was plenty big enough to handle the current. Taking out plug 1, I cut the blue and brown wires on soldered on 8mm terminals to connect direct to the battery.
The cable then disappears into the van to come out behind the fridge, but is now red and white. Following it back, it changes over on the terminal block next to the water tank.
I am also fitting the optional Intelligent Temperature Control (ITC) unit which gives a more user friendly display, as well as claimed upto 40% battery savings.
First job with this was to take your shiny fridge and drill holes in the back to fit a new temperature probe.
Fridge is then slid into its nw home, as you can see from the back its much tighter than the old one (you can also see the capped gas pipe)
A bit of wooden shelf cut to size, and the ITC control panel fitted flush.
As you can see, lots of extra room
Job done, now where’s that gin………….
- This topic was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by cvclaydon.
12th March 2020 at 16:18 #2517
Struggling to add more than one pic, also won’t let me edit my post, so….
New probe fitted:
12th March 2020 at 16:18 #2518
12th March 2020 at 16:19 #2519
Finished from the front:
12th March 2020 at 16:19 #2520
Inside, lots more room
12th March 2020 at 17:02 #2522Barry & MaggieModerator
Thanks for that “How To”, Chris. It looks fantastic.
I’ve always been chary of electric ‘fridges, probably because we’re never on hook-up and I’ve been afraid of conking out of electrical power! It’s good that you have experience of them before, so no doubts in your mind about performance.
It’s a super size – from 90 to 130 litres is an amazing increase in capacity, and good to know that it fits into the same aperture. Do you have details/recommendations of supplier, price, etc.?
14th March 2020 at 10:01 #2523
I got the fridge from a local company to me in Norwich: https://www.jpcdirect.com.
Cost was around £650.
I know what you mean about the power issues, our last van had 160w of solar panels on the roof and we never had a problem, wild camping with no hook up. Helga has 200w, and along with the lipo batteries I don’t think we will have a problem. Last week while testing it, the panels where running the fridge by themselves, not bad for early March.
The ITC also allows me to set up cut off points for the battery voltage, so at a certain higher voltage (ie driving, or solar panels) it will ‘super cool’ the fridge and its contents effectively storing energy in the food and wine, and if the battery then drops, go back to normal running, and if it drops super low cut off all together, saving the last of the battery.
14th March 2020 at 10:18 #2524Barry & MaggieModerator
That sounds really good, Chris. I might yet consider an electric fridge.
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