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Propane refrigerators

Old 05-27-2019, 05:23 PM
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Default Propane refrigerators

Anyone own one of these?

I’m looking at a used 110v/propane one for my camp.

Comments/suggestions?

Thanks.

Old 05-27-2019, 05:25 PM
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My uncle has one in his camp got it 2 years ago from Amish country. Pennsylvania I believe.
Old 05-27-2019, 06:02 PM
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I’m wondering how long a medium size one runs on a 5 gallon tank of propane?
Old 05-27-2019, 06:05 PM
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I've heard about a month.

I have one in my camper and kick it on when we leave for a trip. I leave it on while towing. Barely uses any..
Old 05-27-2019, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Parkrat View Post
I've heard about a month.

I have one in my camper and kick it on when we leave for a trip. I leave it on while towing. Barely uses any..
Yeah, same here, just running until I get to shore power, maybe 2-5 hours. Never notice it, but then again, we don’t use too much propane in the camper in Florida! Mostly electric once we are plugged in. I think you still need 12vdc, so that would probably be a bigger concern for long term.
Old 05-27-2019, 06:30 PM
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Thanks.
Old 05-28-2019, 05:01 AM
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When we were RV'ing on weekends the tank in the RV lasted just about the season. maybe 5 weeks total time and I would burn roughly the equivalent of 2 20# cylinders over 4-5 weeks total use, so about double what online and some others are saying. We didn't use much hot water as we showered at a marina and most cooking was on an outdoor grill. One online says 1-1.5 pounds a day which is more in line with my usage (more in the 1.5# range).

One thing I strongly suggest and makes a huge difference in how cold it will operate. Add a low amperage ventilation fan to the vent stack. Not the exhaust vent but the vent for the coils. Without my fan running ice cream would be like soft serve at best. With it on, kept it similar to when you grab the 1/2 gallon out of the store freezer.

If buying a used one, inspect the coils very well (rust is culprit) and ask that it be pre-chilled and running when you show up. They take quite long to come to temperature and you will be waiting a while to see if it actually works if it is not already running. Also make sure parts are still available. There are a few doo dads (for lack of the technical terms) for the propane system that seem to fail from time to time and there may also be a circuit board.
Old 05-28-2019, 05:07 AM
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Thanks. Great reply. This fridge would sit mostly unused at my camp in the marsh. When not occupied the internal temps soar to 100+ and the humidity is about the same.

The words “circuit board” scare me. I’ve not had much luck with appliances stored down there.

Thanks for the the detailed response. You saved me some money and headaches.
Old 05-28-2019, 05:25 AM
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Most all RV's have propane/electric fridges although I hear that some of the newer more upscale RV's are going with household 110 only fridges and then using an inverter and batteries to run it when boondocking.
You will still need 12v power source for the controls and some fridges have a heat strip in them for self defrosting that will suck a lot of battery juice. If you have 110 be sure to add a surge protector between fridge and power source.
Old 05-28-2019, 07:13 AM
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I've got a 2006 Aliner with a Dometic refrigerator (dorm size, no freezer). It works on propane, 12v, and 110v, but requires no electricity when operating on propane. So you might be able to find something similar. Later models did add a 12v fan for better coil cooling as mentioned in an earlier post. But even without it the only problem with mine is that it will get too cold and freeze stuff.
Old 05-28-2019, 07:20 AM
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We have an older Dometic at our off grid house and it works OK. The nature of this kind of cooling is that it has a very slow recovery rate. If you put warm things in it, it will take a long time to cool it down. Once its going, its good. A bit hard to regulate temperature and sometimes the veggies freeze. Takes overnight to make ice, but it makes it. They are VERY effected by ambient temperatures so if you routinely have 100 degrees inside, you might not get great performance. They use very little propane, though. So that is a bonus.
Old 05-28-2019, 07:50 AM
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Get solar panels, batteries and an inverter
Old 05-28-2019, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by 805gregg View Post
Get solar panels, batteries and an inverter
Give me an idea how to do this. Send me a link or two if you don't mind.
Old 05-28-2019, 08:55 AM
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I had a medium sized one in my travel trailer. It would get about a month on a 20lb propane tank. It literally only uses a tiny little pilot light to heat the ammonia.
Old 05-28-2019, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by lugoismad View Post
I had a medium sized one in my travel trailer. It would get about a month on a 20lb propane tank. It literally only uses a tiny little pilot light to heat the ammonia.
I won't ask you "why heating the ammonia" is necessary. This is another sign I don't need a propane fridge.

Thank you for your response.
Old 05-28-2019, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Bayou Dularge View Post
I won't ask you "why heating the ammonia" is necessary. This is another sign I don't need a propane fridge.

Thank you for your response.
Name:  functions-of-a-propane-refrigerator.jpg
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A propane fridge has a sealed network of tubes and chambers holding water, ammonia and hydrogen gas. A propane flame heats a chamber holding a solution of water and ammonia until the liquid boils. The ammonia gas rises to another chamber, the condenser, where it cools back into a liquid. It then flows to the evaporator, where it mixes with hydrogen gas.

When ammonia encounters hydrogen gas, the chemical reaction between the two absorbs heat. That's how the propane fridge produces its cooling action -- by pulling heat from the interior of the refrigerator into the ammonia-hydrogen mix. As it absorbs heat, the ammonia becomes a gas again. The ammonia and hydrogen gases then combine with water. The ammonia and water form a solution again, which releases the hydrogen gas to rise back to the evaporator. The process then starts all over again.
Old 05-28-2019, 11:02 AM
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These are true propane only 'fridges. Light operated by a battery (small one I assume). I bet they aren't cheap though,

Unique Off Grid

https://bensdiscountsupply.com/propa...rs-6-15-cu-ft/

Last edited by Boataholic; 05-28-2019 at 11:08 AM.
Old 05-28-2019, 05:05 PM
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Had one in my old camper. Ran on propane only. Light it and it would take overnight to get cold. After that, it was good.
works like a charm.
Old 05-28-2019, 05:14 PM
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Adsorption refrigeration.
Old 05-28-2019, 05:28 PM
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Check these out. Made locally. Sunfrost R19 Energy Efficient Refrigerator

Fridge only, will run on a simple solar set-up no problem. Easy as pie.

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