Refrigerator not very cold. Tips to increase efficiency.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Repairs & Maintenance' started by MyName, Aug 14, 2018.

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  1. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Jan 12, 2018
    Ca
    I went camping with highs of 97 F degree and low of 70 F weather and my fridge was not very cold. I used a Fridge Thermometer to record my temperature. It ranged from 54-61 F in the day and down to 47 F in the night. I tried both gas and AC. I did not use DC because of the drain it would have caused. Any tips to help. The outside control panel of the Refrigerator was in direct sunlight most of the day. Should I have made some type of shade for it? Is there something I need to clean or maintain? Do I need to add Freon? Would a computer DC fan help?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Pozi

    Pozi Member

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    I would start with simple maintenance. Cleaning the burner, flue, etc. See what that gets you. Your fridge doesn't look like a Dometic (though it could be) but the procedure for cleaning are basically the same. Check out the sticky in the Refrigerators and Coolers section.
     
  3. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Ca
    Thanks. @Pozi. I must not have scrolled down far enough to find the proper thread.
     
  4. NMroamer

    NMroamer Active Member

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    Wow don't know where to start on this. First of all it is not a true refrigerator like you have in your home.
    It uses ammonia as a heat exchange medium to absorb the heat from your food.
    You are lucky that it worked that well for you.
    They must not be in direct sunlight to work. Google rv refrigerator to see how they work.
     
  5. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    A lot of people (myself included) install 12 v fans to move the heat built up to the outside.
    After cleaning you might want to think on this mod. good luck and Happy Camping
     
  6. jsalexan7

    jsalexan7 Flatlander

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    I've also seen a small battery operated fan used to circulate air around the interior. You want to get the air moving inside past the cold loop. You don't need a wind machine, pretty much anything small that runs on AA batteries will do the job.
     
  7. David Blackwell

    David Blackwell New Member

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    I have a Dometic 3-way. Regrettably, this is the biggest problem with ammonia absorption refrigerators. In very warm conditions, they seem (are?) incapable of cooling less than 50 degrees below ambient.* While I see a real benefit to using a fan to push the warm air out the top vent, replacing it with "cooler" air from the bottom vent, the net effect was maybe 5-10 degrees lower. I did find it very interesting that the freezer section (which has a door/cover and is directly above the cooling fins) was able to freeze solid my Yeti reusable ice packs. Next time I will measure that temperature as well.

    As long as ambient temperatures are at or below 85 degrees keeping the icebox sufficiently cool worked very well. 85-50=35. Using an interior fan to circulate air seemed to help as well.

    *See Wikipedia for articles on ammonia absorption refrigerators for RVs. See also: http://rvrefrigeration.com/wp-content/uploads/Evaluation-Report-rev4.pdf. Section 4.1.
     
  8. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    The small battery operated fan inside does work but I agree with others; 30-40 degrees cooler than ambient is Not bad.
     
  9. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Ca
    I'll buy a fridge Airator for the inside of the fridge.

    I access the control to my fridge by the bottom vent show below. I don't think the bottom and top vents are connected inside. I've never opened the top vent. I'm afraid the rubber seal will fall apart.


    [​IMG]
     
  10. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    The bottom opens because that’s the access point for switch it on/off etc. most of us haven’t taken off the top one for that reason alone, lol
     
  11. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Search the portal for "fidge fan " mod.. lots of examples of members installing fans to move more air across the fridge coolong fins as well as improving the crappy baffle system ...
     
  12. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Update. I did a massive cleaning on the upper square fins. Used a rust remover and bent some of them back into shape. I also clean the pipes in the bottom. I'm now getting a temp difference of about 36 or more degrees on AC. Propane ... Horrible.
     
  13. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Try a nice cooler with plenty of ice. Those propane fridges are useless.
     
  14. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    These fridges dont do well if you are opening the door all the time or you keep them empty. Keep them full, even if its empty bottles.

    We has great success in the past with a DC fan mod and the other thing that worked well was putting baffling between the lower section and upper section of the coils.

    As mentioned keep the coils clean.

    Right now we are running with no mods on this camper. Open the door very few times a day in hot weather, and keep the fridge full, and at night set the stat to max. We will see near 50 degrees at diner time when outside is above 95 degrees. We do need to put a fan mod on the camper.

    With the fan mod we saw about 50 degrees different. The baffling helps if you are trying to conserve your battery and dont want to run the fan mod.
     
  15. Spridle

    Spridle Member

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    The first step is to think of it as a cooler that you don't have to keep adding ice too, rather than a fridge. Having said that, after some basic cleanup and mods I was able to easily get 40f below ambient after a long hot day, 50f was possible before ambient started getting up near triple digits.

    I can see that setup is pretty old and dirty. On top of cleaning everything out, I'd bet the burner itself is rusty and crappy flame. I use a utility knife blade to clean out the slots on mine for a good strong flame. The other thing I found on mine is that the baffling, which is everything on these, was all warped and doing exactly squat. Ten minutes of work to fix that baffling was worth 5f. Adding the fan was easy and worth about another 5f. My post of my fridge work was from just a few months back and should be easy to find.
     
  16. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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  17. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    @Spridle what is a baffling? Is it that twisty metal on a wire in the pipe? I did yakr that out when I was cleaning. Maybe I installed it wrong.
     
  18. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Jan 12, 2018
    Ca
    Ok after rereading this thread and a few others a guess the baffling is a divider between the top and bottom. I don't have one. I'll have to make one. What do you think sheet metal or a plastic political sign?
     
  19. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    The Baffle is usually inside the Flue
    https://goo.gl/images/7TXZpH

    I would remove that sheet metal cover to the left on the bottom that’s held on by a screw and clean out the gas line where the flame exits.
     
  20. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    The fridge baffling we are talking about is the divider between the lower and upper compartment..
     

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