Fridge Mod Electrical Intimidation...

Discussion in 'Refrigerators and Coolers' started by JETent, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. JETent

    JETent JT

    335
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    Jul 7, 2011
    Round Rock, Texas
    Portal-

    My wife and I are first time pup'ers and will be taking our new (to us) 08 Fleetwood E3 out for it's maiden voyage this weekend. So long, Camp Backyard! We've had the pup now for almost two months and are really excited about the upcoming trip. We live in Austin, Tx. and will be camping in the blazing heat this weekend.

    While in camp backyard, I have been focusing on pup mods that are geared to keeping cool. I have completed the Reflectix panels (made a huge diff) and am now working on the famous, discussed ad nauseum, "Fridge Mod".

    I finished the baffle upgrade using galvanized flashing, 3 sheet metal screws and about 5lbs of foil tape. Looks about right according to the many pictures posted on the MOD topic (Thanks, Portal!). What I can't really understand is how to properly "tap into" the 12v fridge power. I don't have much experience with wiring/electricity and am currently intimidated by that aspect of the fridge mod.

    Question 1: Do you HAVE to disconnect the 12v power source for the fridge in order to power up the fans? I have seen that several folks have disconnected the 12v power to the fridge and re-routed that to an on/off switch and then the fans. I was wanting to use the fans with all three power sources, not just gas. In addition, I wanted to control the fans with a rocker type on/off switch. Along with the fans, I would like to add an LED light that will light up the lower compartment control panel. The LED would be on as long as the fans were on (seems easiest to keep the led on the same circuit as the fans). Anyone have pics or the patience to explain or illustrate how this should be done? I don't want to risk shorting out the pup electrical system or catching it on fire...

    Question 2: Isn't there another option to cutting/splicing the wire? Can't one connect wires directly to the ?? where the 12v fridge wires are screwed to currently. The ?? is a small clear box or grid looking device that has 6 screws on it. The 12v fridge wires come from this. I will post of pic of it tomorrow. Man, I know that is a lame description, but....no excuse. [V]

    In parallel, I will continue to scour the Portal and beyond for the answer. Any help you are willing to provide is VERY MUCH much appreciated.


    Thanks,
    JT
    Eager Student
     
  2. rjniles

    rjniles Member

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    Aug 7, 2009
    Georgetown SC
  3. bheff

    bheff New Member

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    Feb 24, 2011
  4. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

    9,034
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    Jul 19, 2007
    Ontario

    Yes you can... That is where I pulled the 12v's from for my fan mod.. I'd have to look again but I think that is also where I got the 12v feed for the review camera from too...
     
  5. JETent

    JETent JT

    335
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    Jul 7, 2011
    Round Rock, Texas
    Thanks, Snow. Will stay tuned for a double confirm/picture (a pic would be helpful if you have one...).


    JT
     
  6. JETent

    JETent JT

    335
    0
    Jul 7, 2011
    Round Rock, Texas
    Here are some pics of my fridge mod.

    Where to connect fan power: Ref the pic below. My question has to do with the clear plastic connector in the back left corner of the compartment. Based on portal response, I should be able to screw the fan circuit directly into this connector(?) board. I should not have to either tap into or cut and splice into the actual pup fridge 12v wires (although tapping with T-connector may be easier than sandwiching two wires under the little screw).
    [​IMG]

    Pic 2 is FYI. This is my baffle MOD. Galvanized flashing, 3 sheet metal screws (L,R,Bttm) and lots of foil tape. I have chosen to not add any baffling to the bottom of the compartment at this time.
    [​IMG]


    Thanks in advance for your generous support and candor. Anxious to hear your feedback!


    Always Learning,
    JT
     
  7. JETent

    JETent JT

    335
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    Jul 7, 2011
    Round Rock, Texas
    Ha-ha. Of course, thats it.....
     
  8. NJGuy

    NJGuy Active Member

    2,372
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    Apr 20, 2010
  9. JETent

    JETent JT

    335
    0
    Jul 7, 2011
    Round Rock, Texas
    Thanks, NJGuy. That is a great thread. I have seen parts of it,but not all of it. Tomorrow night I shall venture to the next level and attempt wiring my fans via the connector box in the Fleetwood fridge compartment. Based on info from PUX and this portal, I can draw power from the main connection box without having to butcher the existing wires (or disconnecting the 12v service).

    There are tons of threads discussing the fridge wiring/mod topic, but for whatever reason, there is always one more....or some portion of one, that hasn't been seen. Tired of scrounging! Time to move forward and hopefully w/out F$%^G something up!


    Later,
    JT
     
  10. JETent

    JETent JT

    335
    0
    Jul 7, 2011
    Round Rock, Texas
    Well, here we go. Will connect fan/led light circuit directly to the terminal connector. Will see how this goes. Thanks all for the help.


    JT
     
  11. Big_kid

    Big_kid Virginia Beach, VA

    2,227
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    Jan 13, 2008
    Glad to see you didn't go with the blue connectors, aka "scotch-loks". They'll work at first, but they're junk- they're known for causing intermittent connections. You should have no problem adding a small wire to the terminal block. Just adding an LED & fan shouldn't draw a significant amount of current.
     
  12. Kutseena

    Kutseena Running with the wolves

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    Nov 14, 2010
    [:)C] Hello. I recently did the mod. On my camper there is a Black (+) and White (-) wire in the very rear of the frig that feeds the factory switch. Both of these wires already had a quick conect fitting. I disconnected the power. Next I connected the fan wire to a lighted toogle switch. From the toogle switch I ran wires to the frig quick connections. I pulled the connects apart and placed the wire end in ech quick connect and pushed it all back together pinching the fan switch wires into the quick connections. I then reconnected the power source. As a result I can run the frig. on any power source and run the fan independently. The fan toogle switch only lights when I switch on the fans. The fan toogle switch does not need to be switch to run the frig. on 12v.
     
  13. papachaz

    papachaz New Member

    2,839
    8
    Jun 26, 2011
    use a lighted rocker switch and you'll know when it's on or not, no need to add an extra light just for that purpose. sounds like you've got it figured out! good for you. i did this mod too and it really did make a difference, about 20 degrees, and i didn't do a baffle!
     
  14. JETent

    JETent JT

    335
    0
    Jul 7, 2011
    Round Rock, Texas
    Update: Fizzle...Fridge Mod Electrical Intimidation...

    Well...

    I had everything working for the fridge mod. The Lighted toggle switch, control panel LED light, and two outward blowing fans mounted in front of the baffle in the top section of the fridge compartment. I ran pos/hot wire from terminal to the switch, then all hot wires in parallel to a female paddle connector which was connected to the load paddle on the switch. Ran all negative wires from devices to back of negative paddle on switch and going into that same paddle, a wire from the negative screw on the terminal. It all worked.

    I turned off the switch, disconnected the battery and went inside to eat w/my wife. Came back out 45m later to clean up the work (wrap connections w/tape, mount toggle switch, place cosmetic conduit). After completing all of the beautification work, I sat back and admired how nice it looked. How cold my beer would be....Connected the battery, got the usual spark when screwing the cable down to the terminal, then went around the side to "flip the switch".

    Flipped the switch and..............nothing. Nada. No power. No lights. No fans. No anything. I think I must have blown a fuse, that is the only thing that makes any sense. Nothing had changed from before. There was only one power wire into the Fridge Mod circuit...simple. I don't know for certain, but it is a possibility that when mounting the toggle switch, I accidentally turned the switch to on. Then, when I connected the battery after eating supper, the instant load from my new fridge mod circuit was too much for the pup 12v circuit to handle. I am hoping that is all it is. If not, back to the wiring drawing board for me.

    To make matters worse, I took my little flimsy 12v circuit tester over to the pup back porch light (which was working) and touched it to the back of the porch light toggle switch. I inadvertently touched two of the porch light switch paddles at the same time with the probe, thus either burning out the porch light bulb, blowing a fuse, or shorting the circuit all together.

    This is what I feared. Started out to make an improvement, it went along ALL TOO WELL and wallah....a pile of poop (not the word I want to use...).

    I'm pissed.

    So, tomorrow at lunch I will raise the pup and see if I have blown fuses. If not, I am ripping out the wiring and will rewire the circuit. At least the fan mounts are in place, those were a real beach.

    Any feedback is appreciated/welcome. Thanks portal for your help, guidance and condolences.


    And to all, a GOOD night.
    JT
     
  15. LjohnSaw

    LjohnSaw So many fish, so little time...

    796
    13
    Jun 24, 2011
    Northern California
    Well one thing to check (which killed an hour for me doing mine...) is the power at the Fridge. I fully bench-tested my fan mod and then installed it in my Pup. On my Starcraft 2003, the 12v fridge power is OFF when the sink is in working position. The design thought is you are using 12v when driving (TV providing power/charging battery) but when you set up, the fridge will kill your battery in an hour or two. So, they designed it so you cannot use 12v when camping.

    Smart idea but a real pain in the arse when you *think* there is power back there. I ended up running power from the hot side of the kill switch back into the fridge compartment.
     
  16. JETent

    JETent JT

    335
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    Jul 7, 2011
    Round Rock, Texas
    Quick update. Hooked to shore power this AM and nothing will power up, not even the AC. The red indicator light is on next to the batter circuit 15a fuse. I hope the light indicates a blown fuse and not just "a problem" with the circuit.

    I had tested the circuit twice before with no problems, everthing was fully functional. If the issue is a blown fuse, would two fans and an led lamp really be too much for the circuit? Those three don't draw many amps. But a master electrician, I am not.

    Well, back to the pup. Trying to get this fixed before we hit triple digits for the day.

    Thanks all for the input, advice and sharing your experiences. It is all very helpful.


    Later,
    JT
     
  17. JETent

    JETent JT

    335
    0
    Jul 7, 2011
    Round Rock, Texas
    ...and 3 hours later. The problem was when doing the beautification work last night, I connected negative circuit connector to the switch load connector and vice-versa. Blew a fuse. Replaced the blown fuse to discover full power at the switch, but only a trickle in the circuit as the control panel led was only very dimly lit, the fans were no go. Checked individual components as all was good. Rewired the entire circuit and then discovered the second 15a fuse was also blown, not sure why it wasn't indicated earlier along with the other fuse. Anyway. After rewiring circuit (much cleaner looking now...) and replacing both fuses, the fridge mod w/control panel led is now working! Works on 12v only and w/shore power.

    MIA from work...but no meetings this AM anyway. There was no way work was going to have my best with this $@#$%%^ fridge mod circuitry issue unresolved.

    Done. Looking forward to our pup's maiden voyage this weekend!

    I am also looking forward to placing a room temp 6'er in the fridge tonight, turning fridge on and waiting for the super fridge mod to bring it down to optimum consumption temp. At opt temp, I will consume with vigor. Those beers always taste best.

    Cheers portal. Off to the trabajo.


    Later,
    JT
     
  18. JETent

    JETent JT

    335
    0
    Jul 7, 2011
    Round Rock, Texas
    MOD is still working after running continuously for 12hrs (hooked to shore). Disappointed in the fridge results, though. Entire 12hrs have had fridge set to 7 w/mod turned on but only getting internal fridge temp of 47^-50^. And here I was hoping to freeze beers. Temp inside pup w/AC running somewhere in the mid-70^s. Temp outside varying from upper 80^s overnight to +105^ during the day. Suppose it is the outside temp that is preventing the fridge from doing any better than 50^. Maybe I have the baffle to high...?

    Oh well, even if the mod didn't cure the poor cooling characteristics of the pup fridge, I can walk away with the satisfaction that successfully installed something involving electricity. A minor victory!

    A couple of pics of completed fridge mod.

    Both compartments:
    [​IMG]

    Upper compartment only (2 x 140mm fans, 60cfm ea, 16db ea):
    [​IMG]



    Thanks again for all of your help and encouragement!


    Later,
    JT
     
  19. JETent

    JETent JT

    335
    0
    Jul 7, 2011
    Round Rock, Texas
    OK. One last post. There are some Portal members who have said the best to expect from the fridge mod is a 20^ diff from the outside air temp. If that is the case, my mod is functioning about at normal. Others have talked about freezing eggs w/their MOD in place, but I just don't see that happening with my setup. I mean, if the 20^ diff is normal, in order to freeze anything in your fridge, the outside temp wouldn't be too far off freezing anyway.

    Here is a pic taken moments ago, around 2:00PM CST, Aug 19, 2011. This is not the hottest point of the day, but getting there fast! I have not had the AC on in the pup since last night. As you can see, it's pretty toasty inside the PUP about now. Outside air temp is the hood of 102^-103^. I guess the poor little fridge isn't doing so bad given the surrounding air temp is like one of satan's farts.

    [​IMG]


    Later,
    JT
     
  20. ghacker

    ghacker Active Member

    3,441
    3
    Nov 8, 2009
    From what I've read, a 50* differential below ambient is about the best you can expect so it looks like you were successful.

    FWIW, I'm in the midst of doing a similar mod. Right now I'm gather info on stock vs. 1 fan vs. 2 fans. Some say 2 fans can actually hurt performance. I'm trying to zero in on the right combo.
     

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