fridge power

  • Hi Guest, you may choose a LIGHT or DARK theme that works best for you with the "Style Chooser" button at the bottom left on this page!
  • HTML tutorial

scott17818

Rank I

Contributor III

210
Midcoast Maine
First Name
Scott
Last Name
Charlton
Soo... I got myself a fridge I ordered myself an Iceco VL60DZ (45w draw)with insulated cover. It is roughly the same size as my previous ice cooler Lifetime 77Qt. I have so far only tested the fridge on 120v wall outlet power (love that there is no Ac/DC brick to lug around..). and it quietly luggs itself down to 42* fridge side, and 0* freezer side, and stays within 2-3 +/- degrees as per the manual/spec sheet.

now to power it via 12v.....

I am currently in my 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD OR. it has the standard factory battery a group 24 lead acid battery (575CCA, 130min reserve capacity, unsure of Ah capacity, but i believe it to be under 80Ah )

options:

1) $860+ offgrid 4x4 AUX battery system Redarc BCDC with aluminum battery trays with wiring for the aux battery, but no feeds to the rear of the truck (would have to piece together a setup for that, plus the cost of a second battery) so figure $860 + $300 for a decent group 31 100Ah AGM (odessey)

2) $65 newport vessels battery box (has 12v lugs, battery monitor (dumb 4 light guage), USB, and 12v cigarette lighter outlets. with hold a group 24, or 27 battery (doubling my capacity), and then I could run a Victron DC DC 12|12 30A charger $263 ( ), and eventually a 100W solar pv blanket with an MPPT controller. (or just get the redarc BCDC 1225 for $381) .


#1 is a neater, cleaner install, everything stays under hood, but is not portable at all.. could not leave it at camp, charging on solar (downside), however would more than supply my 12v needs for the fridge, and diesel heater. and could upgrade/add a solar blanket, or cascadia VSS panel later on....

#2 is portable, would take up space in my truck bed, but should cover me on all power requirements for 2-3 days out camping, and could be swapped if needed from my Tacoma, to the Wife's 2017 4runner.. running a simple 10G Primary wire from the Starting battery to the DC-DC charger...

reasons for not going simple dual battery w/ isolator solenoid....
1) I dont want the weight on my drivers side (already have the "taco lean")
2) I plan to get an AGM which requires higher voltage than what my "smart" alternator puts out for the standard starting battery
3) I dont care to have the selector switch from either the bluesea PCL system in my cab.
4) I dont forsee myself needing the ability to tie the batteries together. althoguh could be useful, the charging system just makes it not worth it (I carry a jump starter pack anyways)...

I have looked at the jackery/solar generator packs.. and they just dont have the capacity for 2-4 days parked at a site (jackery 500 only has a 24ah capacity, the Jackery 100 is only rated at 46ah... so at a cost standpoint, I would rather go one of these 2 options.
 

scott17818

Rank I

Contributor III

210
Midcoast Maine
First Name
Scott
Last Name
Charlton
How long do you feel you will need it powered, engine off? We keep ours stocked, so it is well cold soaked. If we are stopped overnight, the temps stay reasonable to keep perishables.
Typically it would be sitting overnight say 6pm-10am soo 16hours typically, but I have some camping trips planned where it would be extended to 3-4 days no driving/motor charging. I would like to be able to sustain it for 4 days with minimal input. which is why i would idealy like to get a solar panel such as the cascadia4x4.com VSS panel (85w for tacoma panel), or even a fold out 100watt panel to help extend the battery.... a decent 27F/34 should be at 80ah capacity the group 34 that offgrid4x4.com recommends holds up to a 34... this is why the jackery 500 type boxes got nix'd off my list.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SS308

Mad Garden Gnome

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,771
Templeton, Ca
First Name
Ryan
Last Name
Marlett
Member #

661

Ham Callsign
W6ORV
Depending on your ambient temps, we started with our DC fridge, one 100w panel, and two AGM batteries, when going to the post apocalypse festival we attend. And that's Mojave Desert in September for 7 days. We now run 2 100w panels due to dust, sun angles, and cloudy days. With the single panel I had to stay very attentive to it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MOAK

MOAK

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

2,622
Wernersville, PA, USA
First Name
Donald
Last Name
Diehl
Member #

0745

Agreed. A simple set up and a whole lot less money — AGM battery, 65ah & up, charged with 200 watts of solar, will go indefinitely. ( gotta have sun ) We too had one panel and it required a lot of management. 2 panels is the way to go.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SS308 and Road

Road

Not into ranks, titles or points.
Member

Advocate III

3,379
On the road in North America
First Name
Road
Last Name
.
Member #

6589

.
Simple setup with AGM and solar run through an inexpensive charge controller gets my vote, too. Especially if not going out for several weeks or months at a time.

I do go out on multi-month trips and still use a simple setup. For a few years now I've run:

- 100ah of AGM battery (2 50ah Odysseys),
- 120w folding solar with very efficient SunPower cells (pull in power even if partly shaded or on overcast days in winter), run through
- a simple Zamp charge controller - you don't always need an MPPT controller for 100-200 watts of panel.

and have had no problem keeping my ARB 50 and a bunch of other stuff going like camera battery chargers etc, even camping under forest canopy. I even charge up my eBike with this arrangement through an inverter. Though I made several 25' 10AWG extensions to reach my panels pretty much wherever I want when drawing more from my batteries.

When underway or parked for longer periods but not camping, I keep the solar hooked up 24/7 but stationary on top of my hardshell. I used to pack it away, but have been really impressed at how much power it's pulling in even flat and not being moved around.

In fact, while parked so much for the pandemic and barely using my van (took me a year to use one tank of fuel) I let my panels keep my trailer and van batteries topped off (twin starting batts for diesel), through the 7way power connector at the hitch, which it does very effectively.

I plan on replicating the whole set up in the van (with one 100ah Odyssey this time), so I have redundant systems that can swap parts, but that I can separate and still have full power producing ability and storage in each.

I'd start off less expensive and simple. All these parts hold resale value well. When you decide how it's working and if you want/need to do something bigger, the parts you're not using can be easily passed on with little to no loss.

When you get to the point of getting panels, you may find this article helpful, which outlines which solar cells are most efficient. Not all solar panel mfgs stick with the same cell mfgs year after year, and not all panels are created equal. Solar Panel Efficiency: What Are the Most Efficient Solar Panels

Also important is how you use your fridge. Keep it full; replace items you take out with freezer bags or bottles of water, etc. Here's more on what I've found effective over the years, which includes a link to ARB's article on Fridges and Battery Life.

Hope you work out the right simple system that works best for you.

.
 
Last edited:

Brewbud

Rank V
Member

Enthusiast III

1,798
SoCal
Member #

17493

For what it's worth, I have a Lithium 1000 Goal Zero and a 100W folding panel. It keeps my ARB 63qt where I have it set at 33-34 degrees F in 80 degree weather. The solar panel usually has the battery back to full by about Noon -1:00 pm.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Road

REDARC_Ryan

Rank 0

Traveler I

60
Puyallup, WA, USA
First Name
Ryan
Last Name
Thurston
Soo... I got myself a fridge I ordered myself an Iceco VL60DZ (45w draw)with insulated cover. It is roughly the same size as my previous ice cooler Lifetime 77Qt. I have so far only tested the fridge on 120v wall outlet power (love that there is no Ac/DC brick to lug around..). and it quietly luggs itself down to 42* fridge side, and 0* freezer side, and stays within 2-3 +/- degrees as per the manual/spec sheet.

now to power it via 12v.....

I am currently in my 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD OR. it has the standard factory battery a group 24 lead acid battery (575CCA, 130min reserve capacity, unsure of Ah capacity, but i believe it to be under 80Ah )

options:

1) $860+ offgrid 4x4 AUX battery system Redarc BCDC with aluminum battery trays with wiring for the aux battery, but no feeds to the rear of the truck (would have to piece together a setup for that, plus the cost of a second battery) so figure $860 + $300 for a decent group 31 100Ah AGM (odessey)

2) $65 newport vessels battery box (has 12v lugs, battery monitor (dumb 4 light guage), USB, and 12v cigarette lighter outlets. with hold a group 24, or 27 battery (doubling my capacity), and then I could run a Victron DC DC 12|12 30A charger $263 ( ), and eventually a 100W solar pv blanket with an MPPT controller. (or just get the redarc BCDC 1225 for $381) .


#1 is a neater, cleaner install, everything stays under hood, but is not portable at all.. could not leave it at camp, charging on solar (downside), however would more than supply my 12v needs for the fridge, and diesel heater. and could upgrade/add a solar blanket, or cascadia VSS panel later on....

#2 is portable, would take up space in my truck bed, but should cover me on all power requirements for 2-3 days out camping, and could be swapped if needed from my Tacoma, to the Wife's 2017 4runner.. running a simple 10G Primary wire from the Starting battery to the DC-DC charger...

reasons for not going simple dual battery w/ isolator solenoid....
1) I dont want the weight on my drivers side (already have the "taco lean")
2) I plan to get an AGM which requires higher voltage than what my "smart" alternator puts out for the standard starting battery
3) I dont care to have the selector switch from either the bluesea PCL system in my cab.
4) I dont forsee myself needing the ability to tie the batteries together. althoguh could be useful, the charging system just makes it not worth it (I carry a jump starter pack anyways)...

I have looked at the jackery/solar generator packs.. and they just dont have the capacity for 2-4 days parked at a site (jackery 500 only has a 24ah capacity, the Jackery 100 is only rated at 46ah... so at a cost standpoint, I would rather go one of these 2 options.

If you have any more questions on REDARC products, shoot me a message or email rthurston@redarcelectronics.com
 

1Louder

Rank VI
Member

Steward I

3,974
AZ
First Name
Chris
Last Name
K
Member #

1437

Ham Callsign
K1LDR
What @Road said.

I have a group 27 X2 Battery, Renogy controller hidden in the back of my 4Runner, and a 100 watt panel on the roof. If you want to go portable that is fine too. Pros and cons to each setup.

It's an opinion and I am sure to offend some but dual battery setups to just power a fridge are dumb. Get a jumpbox for $50 if you are worried about killing your only battery. That's never happened to me in 8 years of doing this stuff. If you have a trailer and want to power its AGM battery(s) thats a different story. I think the Redarc or similar are great for that. Especially if you travel in less sunny regions.

All of my non-Toyota crap is on a Bluesea Fuse Block mounted under the hood. I keep it as simple as possible.

Now if you want to power a fridge off of a Jackery, blahblahery, Goal Zero, I am sure that works fine too. Plenty of people are going that route. You would still want an AGM battery in the truck though if you are ever going to run the fridge with the vehicle off. Starter batteries are NOT meant to power things like refrigerators. Powerboxes won't help run radios and other gadgets. The good ones, Jackery 1000 etc get up there in price.

My setup: (Guestimate prices I am too lazy to look them up)
Battery: $350
Mount for fuse block: $50
Misc Wiring and parts: $50 (Wire, SAE plugs, splice connectors, tape, bandaids, beer.....)
Solar Controller: $50 - $100 if you want something fancier. I have the BT-1 Bluetooth module that makes it easy to monitor from my phone
Renogy 100 watt panel: $150
Fuse Block: $30
Misc Parts Hardware: $20
Friend to help pull wiring: $10.99 for a six pack of decent IPA beer. We are pretty fast with these installs otherwise budget a 12-pack and some pizza. Food truck burritos are good labor incentives as well. If it isn't a local IPA I prefer Stone.

Said setup powers my Truma 69DZ fridge, Midland GMRS 275 Radio, Kenwood D710 Ham, a couple of extra USB ports and room for expansion if I can figure out how to shove more wiring through the firewall.
 
Last edited:

MOAK

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

2,622
Wernersville, PA, USA
First Name
Donald
Last Name
Diehl
Member #

0745

Hmm, not offended at all. You said dual battery set ups just to power a fridge are dumb. ( I’ve a fridge, a dedicated freezer, a water pump and charge up my camera batteries.) It could be considered overkill for just one little fridge. Then you state that starter batteries are not meant to power things. ??? That’s true, I guess that must be why I and a lot of others run two AGM batteries, one a dedicated starter/vehicle battery, the other for everything else, combined I’m thinking I’m at 120ah. Plus solar panels, good for indefinite. No offense intended but I think dual batteries is the way to go. Once & done with plenty of reserve power for cloudy days, and plenty of power to expand. Like you, the major cost is the batteries. Basically a dollar a watt for panels, 50 bucks tops for wire & fuse box, and 50 for a manual battery separator.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Road

1Louder

Rank VI
Member

Steward I

3,974
AZ
First Name
Chris
Last Name
K
Member #

1437

Ham Callsign
K1LDR
Hmm, not offended at all. You said dual battery set ups just to power a fridge are dumb. ( I’ve a fridge, a dedicated freezer, a water pump and charge up my camera batteries.) It could be considered overkill for just one little fridge. Then you state that starter batteries are not meant to power things. ??? That’s true, I guess that must be why I and a lot of others run two AGM batteries, one a dedicated starter/vehicle battery, the other for everything else, combined I’m thinking I’m at 120ah. Plus solar panels, good for indefinite. No offense intended but I think dual batteries is the way to go. Once & done with plenty of reserve power for cloudy days, and plenty of power to expand. Like you, the major cost is the batteries. Basically a dollar a watt for panels, 50 bucks tops for wire & fuse box, and 50 for a manual battery separator.
Merely opposing opinions. Maybe I should have said a traditional factory supplied battery is not meant for...... My battery is a combo starter/deep cycle. Thus no need to 2 batteries, extra stuff, cost, weight,...... for only those things. But plenty of people have setups like you.


 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Road

Brewbud

Rank V
Member

Enthusiast III

1,798
SoCal
Member #

17493

Merely opposing opinions. Maybe I should have said a traditional factory supplied battery is not meant for...... My battery is a combo starter/deep cycle. Thus no need to 2 batteries, extra stuff, cost, weight,...... for only those things. But plenty of people have setups like you.



I have that same X2power AGM in my LJ right now. I have had Odyssey and Optimas that are similar starter/combo styles. They are a great compromise but they are still not as trickle drain friendly has a full deep cycle battery. I use my Lithium GZ battery for powering my Fridge. The biggest con is the price of the battery. Pros: It doesn't mind the slow discharge, it can drain down farther without damaging the battery and I can move it from one vehicle to another or even the house.

All different ways to get the same job done. I wouldn't say any of them are dumb. Pros and cons to each of them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Road

reaver

Rank IV
Member

Member I

1,080
Caldwell, ID, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
McGahuey
Member #

23711

I just got my fridge on Wednesday, and have been doing power testing, trying to figure out how I wanted to power it. My situation is a bit different though.

Both my wife and I use cpaps, and need a way to power those, even off grid. For that, we use a rockpals 540Wh battery pack. This works fantastic and we can honestly get 3 nights out of it between charges. Up till now, I charged it via a switch accessory port I installed in my center console. This has actually worked fairly well. Now that we have a fridge though, I needed something to power that at camp.

Today, I've had the fridge plugged into the power station since 7am. It's 11pm now, and the fridge has used 12% of the power station. Mind you, it's been empty, so it's just cooling the air in the fridge. It's about 65° in my house, so I can assume it'll cycle considerably more when it's hot.

I've opted to purchase a second power station, and a 120w solar panel. For my current setup, I think this will work quite well. I'll leave one battery in the truck, and the other can go in the tent for the cpaps.

When I eventually build a trailer, I'll probably install a 100Ah LiFePO4 system in the trailer, but this will work for the foreseeable future for me.
 

scott17818

Rank I

Contributor III

210
Midcoast Maine
First Name
Scott
Last Name
Charlton
My gripe with the "solar generators" is that they have a limited capacity.. until you get into the 1000 series of jackery/goal zero, and at that point (over $1000) I could have an AUX battery setup that rivals in power available, and has a $200-300 component (battery) that needs to be replaced every 5-10 years... 10-20 if I go with a LiFepo battery.....
 

reaver

Rank IV
Member

Member I

1,080
Caldwell, ID, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
McGahuey
Member #

23711

My gripe with the "solar generators" is that they have a limited capacity.. until you get into the 1000 series of jackery/goal zero, and at that point (over $1000) I could have an AUX battery setup that rivals in power available, and has a $200-300 component (battery) that needs to be replaced every 5-10 years... 10-20 if I go with a LiFepo battery.....
That was the route I was originally going to go. I was going to build my own "solar generator" using a 50Ah LiFePO4 battery, solar charge controller, and wire it up myself. It would have had a bit more capacity, but building the battery box alone would have cost me close to $500. With all the other projects I need to get done, this was just a better option RIGHT NOW, so that's the route I took.

Honestly, if I had the space under the hood for a dual battery setup, that's probably what I would have done.
 

scott17818

Rank I

Contributor III

210
Midcoast Maine
First Name
Scott
Last Name
Charlton
I do have one question @REDARC_Ryan on the redarc website it says that the BCDC wont charge a LiPo/LiFePO4 battery in freezing conditions to avoid damaging the battery, but is this based off the battery's BMS? or is this a temperature probe on the BCDC 1225? I ask because i was looking at the newer battleborn batteries that have a built in heater circuit, so the battery can recieve a charge at freezing temps once the battery recieves signal vis internal BMS that it is above 32*F.... if I'm going to do this.. I'm doing it right... and the battle borns have a proven track record, and charge cycles are in the 3000+'s... not to mention they're SUPER light compared to conventional chemistry's and AGM's...

 
  • Like
Reactions: Road

M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
Benefactor
Member

Pathfinder II

4,861
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

Ham Callsign
KJ7MFV
I do have one question @REDARC_Ryan on the redarc website it says that the BCDC wont charge a LiPo/LiFePO4 battery in freezing conditions to avoid damaging the battery, but is this based off the battery's BMS? or is this a temperature probe on the BCDC 1225? I ask because i was looking at the newer battleborn batteries that have a built in heater circuit, so the battery can recieve a charge at freezing temps once the battery recieves signal vis internal BMS that it is above 32*F.... if I'm going to do this.. I'm doing it right... and the battle borns have a proven track record, and charge cycles are in the 3000+'s... not to mention they're SUPER light compared to conventional chemistry's and AGM's...

It’s the siding of the Lopo/LifePO4 batteries...has nothing to do with the BMS (except most have a low temperature cutoff to protect the battery) and more to do with the batteries chemistry. There are batteries out there that have built in heaters that the charge controller activates and when the internal battery temperature reaches about 35 degrees the batteries will start to charge.
 

REDARC_Ryan

Rank 0

Traveler I

60
Puyallup, WA, USA
First Name
Ryan
Last Name
Thurston
I will be following this to see how you like the fridge. Looking for a similar set up. In the same boat with needing power also.
Key is to figure out a solid guesstimate about power usage. If it’s just the fridge, calculate worst case scenario for an extended period of time you’ll be out without driving. Then you’re can take that into consideration with batteries and charging systems.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Road