Fridge - Compressor or 3 Way

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Stewen, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. Stewen

    Stewen Funster

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    Hi all

    We are researching our first ever PVC and wanted to try & find out the pro's & cons from a users perspective of what seems to be the industry norm of a 3 way fridge or the compressor fridge favored by some independent manufacturers. I get that the 3 way means you can wild camp and always have a working fridge but the van does need to be perfectly level and it also, from what I have read , takes quite a while to get down to temperature. But, I also can see the benefits of a compressor in that the van doesn't need to be perfectly level and it cools down a lot quicker. I imagine with a solar panel and twin leisure batteries, the fridge could also be used for a good few days without mains electricity. Also, there is no need for the two (imo) unsightly vents on the side of the van that a gas fridge needs.

    Thoughts anyone? Thanks in advance
    Steve
     
  2. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    My only thought on that is the compressor could be noisy? Only going by the fridge we have at home. Good luck with hunt for van and welcome to the forum if you subscribe it's the best value for money you will have spent on your van(y)(y)
     
  3. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    If wild camping in winter, electricity is very precious. A fridge uses little gas. You will be carrying gas.

    Mainly summer use, compressor must win.

    If you don't use your van in winter, why buy it ?

    Mainly campsite use, compressor must win.

    Did you expect an easy answer ?
     
  4. BwB

    BwB Funster Life Member

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    Have had gas fridges and have had compressor fridges. A lot of it is about personal preference for your own circumstances. The type of motorhoming you do. I think the compressor is better for my little van. I have solar and reasonable battery capacity and power has never been a problem. The compressor does make a very low noise when running (about 20 minutes in the hour in summer) which is preferable to the very loud "clunk" the gas fridge used to make when it kicked in. I've never been woken by the compressor fridge. Although mine has the 12/24v Danfoss compressor if I was starting from scratch again I might just use an A+++ domestic fridge run through an inverter (they're mostly built to standard sizes and easy to replace if they go wrong (the fridge))
     
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  5. Cal54

    Cal54 Funster Life Member

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    Have a PVC with compressor fridge, 2 x 100 amp batteries and 2 x 100 wt solar panels. Works fine for me and I actually prefer this fridge to the 3 way ones I have had previously. To date I have never run out of power and have been away for a week off grid in summer, no problem. The other minor issue is there is no gas servicing cost. A little bit of noise, yes, but definitely seems to get colder sooner.
     
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  6. Mr Colpot

    Mr Colpot Funster

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    We have had 3 way fridges up until this Van and had a few issues if not level/gas running out in middle of night/pilot light blowing out but only about 5 times in 8 years with different Vans. The current Van has a compressor fridge. It has a solar panel and two 110ah leisure batteries which seem to do the job (we have only had the van a couple of months) There is a low hum when the Fridge is first turned on and it chills down quickly. Thereafter it hums every now and then, I guess to maintain the temperature. I have had the fridge on for a week parked on the drive with no EHU and it worked fine.
    It is a lot quieter than my home fridge freezer.
     
  7. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    I too have had both types of fridge.

    I think the compressor fridge is best if you are mostly touring and/or on EHU.

    For long term, off-site motorhoming, the 'normal' motorhome fridge is best for me.

    These days I have both on board... the Hymer fitted one and an Engel 'portable' (if you are a weight lifter) one. I must have ice cold, fresh milk for my Weetabix...

    JJ :cool:
     
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  8. Wagoneer

    Wagoneer Funster

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    A friend of mine has a compressor fridge in his PVC but he mainly stays on campsites with EHU.

    There are no vents on the outside of the van. Even a compressor fridge needs some kind of ventilation to aid the cooling process. I would like to see the installation instructions for a compressor fridge because I don't think many are installed correctly.

    I certainly didn't see any form of internal ventilation around my friends compressor fridge.
     
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  9. SpeedyDux

    SpeedyDux Funster

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    I am used to a compressor fridge and its slight hum. My next PVC could have either a compressor or 3-way fridge. I am wondering if Funsters with them actually get their 3-way fridges serviced annually. If so, how much this costs, and how the economics of gas versus hook-up / solar panel stacks up over the life of the fridge. Has anyone been geeky enough to make a spreadsheet comparison?
     
  10. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    And I microwave a mug of milk to warm it for my 3 Weetabixes. You probably only have one.
     
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  11. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    i use a house 240v fridge . do also sometimes taske it out and use an undercounter fridge freezer . works a treat through inverter solar and batteries . in winter it works best as i follow the sun .
    have had 3 way but they seem to stop working in hot climates like morocco. so no good for me .
    cant beat sitting in the sahara eating ice cream .
    but in a pvc you are limited .
    be hard in a pvc carrying never mind powering your twintub washing machine hee hee .
     
  12. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    I've also got both.. a 65 l compressor fridge in my camper van and a large 175 l aes fridge freezer in the coach built. .
    If you have the electrical capacity the compressor is great but it's always in your mind that it's heavy on batteries but I have to say the aes fridge freezer has been great so far and never a worry about what's happening with batteries....regardless of how long your away or where your parked up..
    If you need a larger size fridge I'd say it would have to be gas unless your electrical set up was exceptionally large..

    It does and that's covered in the installation instructions...
    But the air flow is internal and external vents arnt required . .
    Mine has free air flow up the back and into a cupboard and across the top and into the van space.. the cupboard can be quite warm.. I keep some of my clothes in there lol..
    Andy.
     
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  13. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Maybe a serious problem, a domestic fridge will not be engineered for being shaken around hour after hour, I'd hope a MH one would have the heavy bits well tied down.
     
  14. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    i used an old domestic fridge for years touring spain morocco and portugal . it died due to age about 30 years . my new one required a fancy modern pure sine wave inverter but still takes all the vibrations of going off road . the under cou nter fridge freezer the same .
    today the costy of solar v, inverters definitely beats the 12 v compressor fridges . and for a short while you can switch off the fridge and use other 240volt items . drills , grinders .
    the three way way fridges are ancient tec. these days .
     
  15. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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  16. BwB

    BwB Funster Life Member

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    Could say that about many items carried in a motorhome. TV's, computers, washing machines, etc. It is a risk but the last undercounter fridge I purchased was under £70 and for £30 I was offered a 5 year guarantee. I'd risk it :)
     
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  17. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    The Sundowners know exactly how many Weetabix I consume in one go...

    JJ :cool:
     
  18. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    That must give them a warm glow inside.
     
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  19. Expat49

    Expat49 Funster

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    I think that I will stay with a 3way the gas used in them is ammonia the 240 fridges now use butane you can check this look on the spec label for gas type if it's code number is 600 check on the internet gas codes this is being used because it is planet friendly the old gas 134a is not planet or European friendly thank you mr Junkers another fine mess you campaigned for
     
  20. Stewen

    Stewen Funster

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    Thanks guys

    We will be using the van all year round so it will need to be fully winterised. I cant see any resounding no's to a compressor and as I cant see us staying for more than a week in one place off grid without at least moving the van for trips out and if touring, the batteries for a compressor fridge would presumably be charged between sites 2 - 4 hr ish driving at a time?

    I like the idea of the compressor fridge and if I have a choice depending on which manufacturer we go for it would likely be a compressor. but as most manufactuers use gas then that would have to be the choice. It does seem a bit of a faff though having which mode to switch the fridge to
     
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