Fridge vs cooler?

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Fridge vs cooler?

Postby sjptak » Sat Jun 24, 2006 5:25 pm

OK, I'm the new guy. Been camping since before I became one of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children in 1969. I currently have a 17' (14' box) ball to bumper Ace Traveller Travel Trailer. I plan to build a Teardrop that I can tow with a 1931 Pontiac Roadster that I am retro rodding out. I still have to figue out how to put a hitch on that thing. As of right now, I'm planning and investigating and looking at galleys and equipment and I'm trying to digest all the info. I'm an old fart, so for me that takes lots of work.

I've noticed that people have coolers or dorm sized AC powered fridges. I didn't notice any teardrops with a propane fridge. Now, I gave that some thought. In the TT's the fridge is always on an outside wall so that a low vent and usually a roof vent will allow for proper dispersion of the heat buildup from the flame. Without that heat dispersion, the propane fridge would not cool well at all.

I got to thinking (sometimes a very dangerous thing). What say I put an air shaft, say the width of the fridge and maybe 3 or 4 inches deep behind where I would mount the fridge. I'd put a decent sized vent on the bottom of the shaft that would be open to the rear of the fridge. The shaft would be offset a bit and exhaust over the top rear of the fridge with a conventional rooftop fridge vent.

I've seen many an old building that had an air shaft in the center of it that aided in ventilating the whole building. I'm thinking that the shaft will act as a chimney and have a bit of a draft to aid in the heat dispersion much in the way that the mushroom fans sold to help getting rid of the heat would do.

Has anyone tried anything this, or is it not feasible to use a propane fridge in a TD? You guys are all builders, so what gives? Is this a decent plan? I suppose I could spend big bucks, buy a 3 cu ft fridge, spend all the time to build it and try it out, or I could gain some insight from your experience.

Stan
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Postby Chris C » Sat Jun 24, 2006 6:04 pm

Stan,


Welcome to the group. Keep asking questions. You'll get a lot of answers, mostly personal opinions, but enough of those and it'll help you make your own! :lol:

As far as the fridge vs. cooler debate, I think you'll find that most people have chosen the coolers. Even those who chose the former have mostly come around to the latter. If the only camping you do is in campgrounds with access to electricity, then a dorm fridge would be really nice to have. But I'm just the opposite. I'll seldom spend time in organized campgrounds and electricity won't be an option.............AC at least. So I'll be going with an Extreme Coleman Cooler, I think.

Good luck on your project.
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Postby madjack » Sat Jun 24, 2006 6:34 pm

Stan, welcome to the board...this has been an ongoing debate here and I know of no one who has done as you are suggesting...the main concern is real estate...it is so valuable inna tear that you don't want to use any that is not for storage...there is just no room to be wasted in these things...as Chris stated, a lot has to do with the type of camping you do...if electricity is always available the dorm fridges are vialble alternatives...the 12v thermo electrics are not really efficient enough, leaving most with the cooler option, which is my choice...2 coolers minimum...1 for foodstuffs and 1 for drinks...I like the Igloo 5 day coolers over the Colemans(I have both).....there are also 12vdc/120vac/propane fired portable cooler sized units from the same folks that make the RV units but like them, they are pricey...

Stan, we luv pictures here and it is the currency we use for the advice we give, so be ready for requests for pics...we just luv 'em ya know...
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Postby Sonetpro » Sat Jun 24, 2006 6:51 pm

Welcome Stan,
I think it's doable my popup has one in it and it's great. It has the intake and the hot vent on the side of the popup,no roof vent. I considered it in my tear but couldn't overcome the probem that it needed to face the wall. I wanted it to face the rear.
I guess it would depend on what you are planning.
So what's the plan Stan. :lol:
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Postby sjptak » Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:53 pm

OK. Let me try to splain. I'm not too good at drawing pictures with words, so be patient with me.

The fridge would indeed be facing the rear. That is why there would be an "airshaft" for lack of a better term. Basically, it would be a chimney kind of thing located directly in back of the fridge that would vent the heat through a vent located in the roof of the tear. This "chimney kind of thing" would be an airshaft open to the ground and open on top with an appropriate cover so as to disipate the heat buildup. It would be as wide as the fridge, maybe two inches deep and run the whole height of the tear cabin at that particular point.

In other words, picture a chimney that would have a 2 or 3 inch by 22 inch footprint, an airshaft so to speak, that would be open in the floor all the way to the roof. As I look at some of the tears, I would think that this is not taking up much more space than say a cooler and an air conditioner put together.

I will probably use the tear in primitive sites where electric and ice will not be readily available. So a dorm fridge and maybe even the cooler thing may be out of the question. I am polish, not german, and enjoy my beer ice cold. Perhaps you can see my dilemna. :)

Stan
Last edited by sjptak on Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby sjptak » Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:56 pm

BTW, I am honored that I garnered replies from you guys. I have been lurking here for a while, and have read your posts and advice with a lot of interest. Thank you....

Stan
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Postby doug hodder » Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:04 pm

Sjptak...Welcome aboard!!! you'll have fun...on the fridge idea....this is just what I've experienced...but I always had a problem keeping it lit and they just never seemed to get as cold as I would like...on my tear, I don't carry propane, so don't have the weight of the tank, and can carry an extra cooler in that space and weight...I also make my own blocks of solid ice...cubes don't hold up, I can get blocks to last a long time...and finally...you said you wanted your beer "Ice Cold" put-em on ice 8) ....Doug
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Postby Steve_Cox » Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:50 pm

Sjptak,

Glad to welcome another old fart :lol:

I think that if you want a propane refrigerator in your teardrop you should have one. I don't think I want one, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have one. For one thing it would be something new here on the forum, and I would enjoy seeing you design it into a workable plan. I think you should go for it. Glad to see some innovative thinking. :thumbsup:

If you build it, don't forget to take lots of pics. :D
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Postby Hamcan » Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:18 pm

Stan, I think your chimmney idea will work fine, all that is required is to allow the heat to dissipate and your chimmney will do that, on my TT project I lined the vent area and over the propane fridge with sheet aluminum and remember that propane fridges have minimum clearance specifications. On my fridge those clearances are clearly marked on the back and noted in the owners manual.

I think MJ covered the down side nicely, weight and space, nuff said.

Regards, JG
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Postby JIML1943 » Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:05 pm

I put a dorm fridge in mine but it's going to be coming out this winter after camping seaon is over. It takes up more room than it's worth for what you can put in it. don't know about an LP unit but if no one is willing to try it we will never know if it will work , go for it and good luck.


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P.S. forgot to say welcome aboard.
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Postby GeorgeTelford » Sun Jun 25, 2006 3:53 am

Hi All

I am really surprised that Americans dont use 3way fridges for camping. I suppose I have noticed that you use Dorm AC fridges and coolers in tears, but I am surprised at myself for not spotting the lack of 3 way fridges in tears, they are pretty standard in UK and euro campers.

3 Way means, they run on 12v will traveling, Gas when boondocking and mains if on a shore power campsite.

2 way is Gas and 12v

From the link below you can see many examples, the section that shows fitting only shows fitting with the fridges rear against an outside wall, but many people have turned them (to be in same position as standard tear) this would entail leaving a few inches at the rear and venting to side, btw a roof chimney is not needed, you need an air inlet set low (floor...) and a vent to allow the warm air to escape higher up and in a tear this would be to the side. their is one more exhaust required, see 7 in the drawing below, this can be turned and extended to come out of the side wall.

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http://www.obrienscamping.co.uk/FridgeRange.htm#camping
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Postby mikeschn » Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:12 am

George,

You see the 3 ways in the commercially built RVs. But here on T&TTT I think we can't justify spending half the cost of the entire build on just a 3 way!

Stan,

By all means, use a 3 way. Allow adequate venting, and you'll be the envy of all of us here on the forum!

If I were building another... hmmm, make that, "When I build another teardrop", I will probably use the thermoelectric fridge again. Besides the good utilization of space, it runs on 12v, so I can run it while traveling. And if I am camping rustic, I can always unplug it, throw some ice in it, and be good for a day or so.

Of course I've always wanted to build a custom ice box, with a thermo-electric unit in the lid. Maybe that's the answer! :? Something like Ross did? http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/dovetail2 ... pg&.src=ph

Mike...
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Postby GeorgeTelford » Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:47 am

Hi Mike

Can you really build a teardrop for under $600 ? My last second hand one cost me £120 a new sunncamp can be had for £150

I have a bunch of tips on building your own fridges and coolboxes somewhere, I'll try to dig em out later.
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Postby asianflava » Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:35 am

I saw a short review (in a car magazine of all places) of a 3-way cooler. Not a frige exactly, but a compact cooler that could use 1# propane bottles. They were pretty happy with it, but they were using it differently than a camper would. I've looked for the article but I can't find it. I'll bet that the wife "Filed it away".
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Postby PaulC » Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:45 am

I can understand the cost versus thing but how come I don't here anybody talking Waeco or Engel fridges. They are both two way in that you can use either Mains or 12v and they are capable of being used as a freezer.

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