Compressor Fridge and Solar Power

Discussion in 'Fridges & Ovens' started by scotjimland, May 24, 2014.

  1. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Considering this option with the new van..

    As an example.. What size solar panel with a Waeco CR 80 compressor fridge. I'm think minimum 100 watt, probably more..
    Waeco Fridge Unit approx 48 watts consumption. 1.8Ah/h @ 25'C ambient.

    I'm aware of the pros and cons.. different time of year and locality will affect the calculation, can do the maths but nothing beats practical experience ..

    who has this set.. what is your experience .. how long can you go without ehu ..and would you recommend it ?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
  2. phase3begins

    phase3begins Read Only Funster

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    I have a compressor fridge and 90watt solar panel. Can't remember the last time on EHU. UK and France.
    Tend to drive on every few days which helps the battery. Just done 4 days without moving and battery still OK.
    The fridge is a Vitrifrigo.
    Hope that helps
     
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  3. UK Pete

    UK Pete Read Only Funster

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    I have the waeco cr 80, 135w solar panel and 250ah battery bank, i can leave my fridge on all the time this time of year and the solar keeps it running in the day and the battery bank at night, they draw even less than stated in my experience, definetely worth doing, my current set up is going to be upgraded to 295w of solar and 375ah as soon as i can afford it, the only reason for this is i would like to get more solar power in the winter/ autumn months
    I have had 3 way fridges in the past , but have come to the conclusion that with a decent solar arrangement commpressor fridges are amazing,once fitted you can forget about them no fuel bills, no pilot lights going out or hard starting both of which i found my 3way fridges did and the way forward especially if your trying for a stealth van for wild camping as there are no flue grills
    pete
     
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  4. quickweh

    quickweh Funster

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    Pretty much the same as previous posts, I have 180 Watts of panel which can be a bit marginal in early Spring with TV, heating and Vitrifigo fridge running off 2 100AH batteries. No problem this time of year.
     
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  5. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    great info so far..

    I know it's a piece of string question.. but the replies are encouraging.. thanks :thumb:
     
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  6. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Jim I thought about this a few weeks back and also using a normal house fridge via inverter
    Costs from a 3 way = £550 =100ltr vents
    compressor fridge = £550 =80ltr plus extra batteries or at least 1 = £70 plus 100 watts solar =£150 ish total £770 no vents
    house hold fridge = £120 =100ltr plus ---extra batt =£70 solar 100 watts = £150 ish inverter £30 total = £370 no vents
    Assuming nothing goes wrong with either set up :BigGrin:
    solar and extra batt handy for other things and 3 way plus solar = price of smaller compressor but House fridge is less than half price of both set ups :BigGrin:
    decisions, decisions, :BigGrin:
    terry
     
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  7. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    I've looked at that Terry.. but domestic fridges may not be up to the shake rattle and roll of a van.. nor do they do not like slopes.. (not many houses have kitchens on slopes :Laughing:)

    .. possible for a home build ..

    it's also possible to convert a small domestic chest freezer into a very good fridge.. investigated this when I had the RV..
     
  8. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Just my two penny worth, but what do you do when there is little or no sun, or in winter when the sun is low in the sky. A roof full of solar panels is of little use on a cloudy day. I have 330 amps of batteries and 250 watts of solar and can live happily off hookup watching TV and with LED lights, but would be asking a lot if I was using a fridge as well if the weather was inclement for a week. Modern AES fridges have a facility to run from solar when the leisure batteries are full and I would have thought this a better option than a compressor fridge that only has the one option.
     
  9. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    In a word... HONDA :Laughing:

    I take your point Dave.. a lot depends on the useage.. how long you stay off grid etc. .

    for touring in most of the year I wouldn't see an issue.. with a couple of 90ah batteries and 100 watt panel, two or three night off grid should be easy..

    but as a backup.. HONDA
     
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  10. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    hi. i have been using house hold fridges for years in my trailer . first i used an old one that cost nothing as a friend was chucking it out . i then bought a new one .
    they dont mind being on slopes and i can assure you i take my truck and trailer over some rough ground .
    its an easy calculation . as terry says fridge new 120. solar these days for 160 quid you can get 2x80 -100 wt panels . inverter i say get a bigger one . you can always use it for awhile to power other items like washing machines .
    works for me .
    yes i get away in winter . here i,m now powering the house fridge via a lead from inverter into house.
    end of sept and oct is dodgy . may not have enough sun . but it can be cheap. you can buy second hand house fridges for a few quid .
     
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  11. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    I'm surprised you ask. That 48Ah per day is a whole leisure battery. And nowhere near what a 100w panel will provide even in summer unless the go to Morocco where the fridge will have to work harder.

    More light = more heat. Light conversion is low. It's lose lose lose.

    Go to Scotland, enjoy warm beer.
     
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  12. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    why.. ?

    like I said, I can do the maths.. I wanted reports from people who have experience.. not just maths lessons..

    What I was interested in was how it performed with a solar panel in practice..

    I know a 100 watt panel will not supply ALL the power.. but even a little help will extend the endurance of the battery..

    As you say, 48ah is a full battery.. now if we add some power from a panel.. even just 4ah .. for 6 hours.. = 24 ah ..
    that reduces the power from the battery to 24ah.. so while the panel does not produce 100% of the load to make it self sufficient.. it extends the time you can stay off grid..

    There are many factors.. and it's impossible to cover every situation and every possible set up.. hence my asking ..

    what I have read is encouraging.. thanks .. :Smile:
     
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  13. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    I think that you know the answer but want to be swayed otherwise. Not one of the replies mentioned location or accurate fridge consumption. The fridge is relentless. The sun very fickle depending on location.

    Worse case, if you are away in winter it's hook up or no fridge.

    Best case, Spain, summer and 200W would just about run the fridge of your choice unless you go for sun tracker.

    The reason I commented, we had a fridge problem and first thought was "new compressor fridge" which was rejected immediately.
     
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  14. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    I am just about to get a new fridge after having been without a fridge for 2 years (as a fulltimer)

    I have hummed and ahhed over it for so long now but have finally committed to a compressor fridge again.

    I can't be arsed to cut holes in the side of the van.
    I can't be arsed dealing with wiring in 240V/12v AND gas.

    I am down to a single 250AH battery now but still have 240Watts of solar power.

    Some tricks I picked up from my last fridge and as I build the new cupboard/drawer unit to house it..

    I will be making a box for it which has a 4" gap at the bottom and a 4" gap at the top. This will allow air to circulate using convection behind the fridge. In addition I will be routing some Truma vent piping from underneath the van to the base of the fridge. This will be filtered and have a temperature controlled fan attached.
    This will power up as the back of the fridge warms and blast cool air from under the van onto the back of the fridge. I know this will be helpful after experiencing a similar system in my old Eura Mobil. It kept the van very tolerable even in 40C temps in France.

    Secondly I am moving the fridge from being directly over the boiler cupboard and putting insulation under it.

    The cooler you can keep the back of the fridge the better it operates and the less juice it sucks.

    It may seem like stating the obvious but just in case you hadn't thought about these things which I hadn't when I built my van originally.
     
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  15. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    dont forget Jim, the compressor will be on and off when the fridge is running so the 1.8a/h isnt a realistic figure for daily consumption.

    I would think the compressor will run for 35 to 40 minutes per hour so 1 amp per hour would be more realistic
     
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  16. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Know what you are saying John.. :thumb:

    not 100% certain, but I think Waeco take that into account in their figures.. ?

    maybe not, but better to err on the safe side when calculating ..
     
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  17. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    I maybe wrong, but if am not mistaken JJ was hardly ecstatic with the results of his Waeco in the field and he tells me the sun is constantly shining where he lives.
     
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  18. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    also fit the fridge opposite side to entrance door but not directly opposite as sun will shine on it if door is open .usually folk want the entrance door in the sun .so other side is in the shade .
    when i built mine . i wanted to be back of trailer towards the sea . ideally for maroc so i could just drive off if needed to. side door on right hand side so it was in the sun . fridge otherside in the shade .
    as for winter in uk you dont need a fridge anyway . there is no sun but its freezing anyway.
    but a bit of thought when building a camper can save money and inconvenience later .
    be carefull with table top fridges they do seem to be fussy with some inverters .
    maybe a pure sine wave one would be ok.
     
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  19. Pat4Neil

    Pat4Neil Read Only Funster

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    I think Waeco definately take that into account of their figures, because they say an average figure of over 24 hours.

    We have a Waeco compressor 140litre fridge, which uses the bigger danfoss motor. I would say that its is on approx 30minutes of each hour, usually in 15 minute stints. We have not used it in earnest yet, so cant really confirm about the figures in running it.

    The smaller the fridge say the 80litre the easier it is to fill it making it more economical to keep cool. Compressor fridges are in my opinion noisy. Make sure you have adequate ventilation around it, because yes you can not have outside vents, but you need to give it ventilation We have also fitted a couple of computer type fans, to switch on to help it, and have insulated the area surrounding it, but allowing for venting as well.

    We have 720 watt solar, and the equivalent to 440 amp batteries.

    When we were looking at the vitro frigo fridges I think that the were more economical, but werent the tropical rating that we wanted, and the guy who sold them said that the freezer isnt guaranted to freeze.

    Waeco fridges have had their problems too.

    I think the fact that youre not necessarily going to be off grid all the time, and as long as youre not using extended tv etc, and the supplement of a generator you could get away with it for 3 days.

    Pat
     
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  20. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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