Fridge in hot weather

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Feltwell, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    In anticipation of August holiday in (hopefully) warmer climes in France, I spent part of today fitting some computer fans to the fridge vent - easy enough job.

    We don't usually bother with electric hookup but on some of the sites we'll be staying on it's included in the price, so we might as well use it.

    However, do you find your fridge copes better in hot weather if it's on gas rather than mains electric? I seem to remember reading somewhere that this is the case.
     
  2. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    I believe that our fridge/freezer is better on gas but I have also fitted some fans this year as it could struggle in Mediterranean high summer temperatures.
     
  3. busby

    busby Funster

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    In Spain,,38 degs last week. Fitted fan to fridge and it coped.Only 25 dogs now and fridge is working well with the fan. BUSBY
     
  4. Nirvanauk

    Nirvanauk Funster

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    My Dometic works no better on gas than electric. Once we get above 20c it is quite useless. we have a toilet extractor fan hooked up to it outside and get the campsite to freeze bottles of water to put in the bottom of the fridge or buy blocks of ice every 3 days. it is useless! however if it is below 20 ambient then it works fine.
     
  5. Armytwowheels

    Armytwowheels Funster Life Member

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    We fitted fans this year and needed them in Spain and Portugal just recently. The fridge just about coped with temperatures in the mid 30's with the fans going nearly all day. We have them linked to a temperature sensor so they just do their own thing.

    It also helps if you can keep your fridge vents in the shade - either by parking that side of the van in the shade, or wind out the awning awning little to shade the vents.

    In an emergency, for anyone that hasn't fitted fans, you can just shove a USB operated fan in the bottom vent, or even a battery operated one.
     
  6. Nirvanauk

    Nirvanauk Funster

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    Where the fans that you fitted part of a proper authorised kit or just computer fans? can you put a fan near the bottom vent if you are on gas? We extract from the top vent but do people find it better to blow up from the bottom vent?
     
  7. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Ours wasn't working very well on gas last week, ambient about 28C, so we switched to mains and it was better. However, I'm not sure you can count this as definitive as the fridge has been playing up on gas for a few weeks now.

    And suck or rather extract from the top I think, that's what the official kit does. Blowing in from the bottom could be potentially dangerous as it might blow fumes into the vehicle.

    I could make a joke about blowing bottoms but this is a serious subject - so I won't! :)
     
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  8. Nirvanauk

    Nirvanauk Funster

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    Thanks, thats what I do. It helps but is no way perfect.
     
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  9. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    Thanks, sounds like it's inconclusive - I'll experiment with both and see, providing it gets warm enough of course - here's hoping.

    I echo what was said above, fans must be fitted to extract air out of the top vent and never blow into the bottom one.

    The fan kits are quite expensive but as an alternative, as others have done before me, it was very easy to wire in some computer fans. I wired mine in to a permanent 12v supply from the leisure battery, the one that already feeds the control unit on the fridge, but through a temperature switch mounted high at the top vent to switch the fan on and off automatically. Very cheap - I went for a 40 degree one, if I've got that wrong it'll be easy enough to change.

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/KSD-9700-...hash=item4188e6e93f:m:mE8IReir27pwPc-oWQ2lW-A

    As for fans I splashed out on 2 slightly more expensive "silent" fans - and they live up to their name, you really can hardly hear them, even up close. No way you'd be able to hear them inside the van.

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/181914055372?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    This (slightly geeky!) article is however very useful to tell you which are the negative and positive wires on a computer fan, as wire colours vary between manufacturers:-

    http://www.pcbheaven.com/wikipages/How_PC_Fans_Work/
     
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  10. rrusty

    rrusty Funster

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    Been in Spain for 5 weeks and I got fans fitted last September as the fridge was crap in Spain the year before, so they were fitted so they could suck out the top vent but it made no difference so I turned them around so they were blowing out the bottom vent and what a difference it made. I could feel the excess heat getting blown out and it worked on gas with the fans on.
     
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  11. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    As I understand it it's not that the fridge won't work on gas if you blow into the bottom vent - it's the, admittedly small, risk of pushing carbon monoxide into the van if the back of the fridge is not perfectly sealed.

    A small a risk as it may be it makes sense that sucking hot air and therefore fumes out of the top vent is intrinsically safer.
     
  12. Baggers53

    Baggers53 Funster

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    I have had a read of my Hayes "motorcaravan" manual.
    It states that additional fans should only be fixed to the top vent.
     
  13. rrusty

    rrusty Funster

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    Oh well, it's very rairly we have it on gas so I would not switch the fans on but what more can I say it would not cool the other way round.
     
  14. colyboy

    colyboy Funster

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    Are the silent fans run on 12volt and how do fit them?

    colyboy
     
  15. Armytwowheels

    Armytwowheels Funster Life Member

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    No we used two computer fans fitted up near the top to draw the air upwards, we coupled this with a thermastate controller (a one channel thermistor relay sensor) so it could managed it's self. The whole kit cost about £12.00 all together. The fans were pc gaming case fans.

    The fan shoved in the lower vent was only an emergency fix, it did work but we were careful how we angled the fan so it was blowing up the back of the fridge and not at it.
     
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  16. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    Yes, computer fans are 12 volt. I picked up the neutral and positive feeds to the fridge - not the ones that make it work on 12 volt, they only work when the engine is running, use the feeds that go to the fridge's control unit from your leisure battery. I put a 0.5amp inline fuse in the positive feed and ran the cables up through some corrugated cable conduit to behind the top vent.

    There I ran the positive feed to the thermostatic switch on my link above, the switch being paced up fairly high behind the top vent, then connected the output from that to the 2 fans, plus the neutral feed going straight to them. The fans themselves I mounted on a small piece of timber so they were directly above the heat exchanger of the fridge, and spaced slightly away from the back of the cupboard they were mounted on, to ensure good airflow through them.

    There are other ways of doing it, this is just how I did mine. Some people just fit a manual switch, I preferred my method as their was no need to penetrate through the sealed area behind the fridge into the van, and it's automatic - I don't need to remember to switch the fans off and on. There is a small chance that on a hot day, if the sun is on the side of the van, the fans will start up even if the fridge is off. Doesn't really bother me - van is in the UK when it's not is use so it never gets that hot, and even if they did start up it doesn't do any harm, their power consumed is tiny and I've a solar panel to keep the batteries charged.
     
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