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Old 05-09-2020, 03:02 PM   #1
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Model: Northwood Desert Fox
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Boondocking with electric only refrigerator???

Hello All

I just joined the forum as it is very informative.

I am considering purchasing an Omni 32XG. I currently have a Desert Fox toy hauler as I am an avid dirt biker and I also have a side by side. Most if not all of my camping is without hookups in the desert and high country.

One of my questions is using a residential refrigerator off of solar with batteries. I don't mind running the generator a couple hours a day or to run the AC but I don't want to be obligated to run it the majority of the day to keep the refrigerator working.

What setups have you found to work well as far as solar panels and battery capacity?
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Old 05-09-2020, 03:25 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard!
Generally speaking: more panels and solar power are a good thing... As long as the Sun shines! Your generator will definitely need to fill in the gaps.
How about a smaller external generator that you could set up a bit further away from your RV?
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Old 05-09-2020, 04:19 PM   #3
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The Magnitude and Omni have the ability to hold (4) 6V batteries. I just added two more batteries to my Magnitude SV34. The first thing I would do is add two more batteries if you do a lot of boondocking. Heere is the thread about the two additional batteries I added:

https://www.thorforums.com/forums/f2...ade-21327.html

The Solar Controller Charger that comes with the Omni / Magnitude is a 10AMP model. It can handle about 200 Watts. That might be enough but you could consider replacing it with a 30AMP model and installing two 200 Watt panels.

I use two Renogy 160 Watt flexible panels that do a pretty good job. Once the the fridge is cooled down, it isn't going to draw a lot of power. If you minimize opening the doors and it is not too hot, a couple solar panels with the 4 batteries could be all you need. The solar panels should be able to keep the batteries charged during the day with the Inverter powering the fridge.

You can also set the generator to Auto Start if the batteries drop down below 11.8V and they should charge back up fairly quickly.

I have shut off the Inverter over night when boondocked one night. The fridge was full and cold and it stayed cold over night.
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Old 05-09-2020, 07:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Welcome aboard!
Generally speaking: more panels and solar power are a good thing... As long as the Sun shines! Your generator will definitely need to fill in the gaps.
How about a smaller external generator that you could set up a bit further away from your RV?
I thought about the secondary generator as I have a Yamaha 2400. Thank you for the idea.
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Old 05-09-2020, 07:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge View Post
The Magnitude and Omni have the ability to hold (4) 6V batteries. I just added two more batteries to my Magnitude SV34. The first thing I would do is add two more batteries if you do a lot of boondocking. Heere is the thread about the two additional batteries I added:

https://www.thorforums.com/forums/f2...ade-21327.html

The Solar Controller Charger that comes with the Omni / Magnitude is a 10AMP model. It can handle about 200 Watts. That might be enough but you could consider replacing it with a 30AMP model and installing two 200 Watt panels.

I use two Renogy 160 Watt flexible panels that do a pretty good job. Once the the fridge is cooled down, it isn't going to draw a lot of power. If you minimize opening the doors and it is not too hot, a couple solar panels with the 4 batteries could be all you need. The solar panels should be able to keep the batteries charged during the day with the Inverter powering the fridge.

You can also set the generator to Auto Start if the batteries drop down below 11.8V and they should charge back up fairly quickly.

I have shut off the Inverter over night when boondocked one night. The fridge was full and cold and it stayed cold over night.
Thank you for the comments. I did read your write up on adding two additional batteries, which I would do.

Is your setup enough to power the fridge on a sunny day? Will it drain the four batteries if you leave the inverter on overnight?

Thanks again, this is very helpful.
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Old 05-09-2020, 09:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by WhichWay View Post
Thank you for the comments. I did read your write up on adding two additional batteries, which I would do.

Is your setup enough to power the fridge on a sunny day? Will it drain the four batteries if you leave the inverter on overnight?

Thanks again, this is very helpful.

I did have the Inverter on all night with the fridge on and the two original batteries and it didn't drain the batteries overnight. The fridge was cold and fairly full and it wasn't too hot out.

I also have a second small dorm room fridge in the outdoor kitchen on the Magnitude SV34 that is also on the Inverter. I recently had both fridges on overnight with the four batteries and had no issues draining the batteries.

If you start the fridge off cold and don't open it a lot, it shouldn't drain the batteries too much. That being said...... the Inverter also powers a couple TV's so you want to limit other battery usage accordingly.
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:52 AM   #7
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Following this thread as the DW and myself are picking up an XG32 on the 16th, and we do a lot of boondocking. I also have a Yamaha 2000I generator that we use with our current motor home, will also take it along to use with the new motor home in conjunction with the solar panel.
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Old 05-10-2020, 11:42 AM   #8
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You might want to try and get the four 6-Volt battery setup thrown into the deal...
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:17 PM   #9
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We boondock with 4 Trojan T105 AGM's with no issues with heat and residential fridge

Normally we boondock in chilly weather and need heat all night which draws more power than the fridge

The fridge can easily go overnight without even running in normal temps

Plan on running the generator about two hours per day if you are long term
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:42 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input everyone!

I'm feeling much more comfortable about having an electric only fridge. It would seem that some minor upgrades, two additional batteries and some solar, will create a workable solution. I was afraid it would take more solar and battery capacity than I would want to deal with, or pay for!
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:34 PM   #11
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The xg32 only has enough battery capacity to last 3-4 hours with the stock setup. To fully charge the batteries takes over 20+ hours due to the chargers set parameters. I boondocked 6 nights and had 55 hours of generator time! I did run it one night 8 hours since the temperature got down to 26. I'm ditching the entire stock system.
I'm installing (6) 180 watt solar panels, 400a of Lithium batteries, magnum inverter charger, tristar mppt 60 solar charge controller, lithium battery isolator and Trimetric meter. This is all going in the front passenger side Bay. This should give me 2-3 days without sun or generator. The plus to the lithium batteries is they will charge at 100a/hr. So even if i run them to zero (or near zero) I can fully charge them in 4 hours.
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Old 05-16-2020, 10:06 PM   #12
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Desert solar setup

To OP, we had the same concern with our 2016 35SB with residential refrigerator. We camp in the So Cal desert with dirt bike / RZR group. We now have 400W solar with 40A MPPT charge controller charging 4 Trojan T-105 flooded batteries. No problems coming to full charge each day in sunny or even partly cloudy weather. No problems overnight either; the voltage does not go below 12V so AGS does not kick on.
Really happy with this relatively simple setup.
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhichWay View Post
Hello All

I just joined the forum as it is very informative.

I am considering purchasing an Omni 32XG. I currently have a Desert Fox toy hauler as I am an avid dirt biker and I also have a side by side. Most if not all of my camping is without hookups in the desert and high country.

One of my questions is using a residential refrigerator off of solar with batteries. I don't mind running the generator a couple hours a day or to run the AC but I don't want to be obligated to run it the majority of the day to keep the refrigerator working.

What setups have you found to work well as far as solar panels and battery capacity?
We have three 160 watt panels and a 30 amp controller and four batteries that works for what you are trying to do.
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Old 05-17-2020, 08:57 PM   #14
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I’m too cheap to go solar. Use a combination of Honda 2000 portable generators and the onboard diesel generator in my Super C. The residential refrigerator will stay cool enough with no power to it overnight… But not longer than eight hours. I normally just run one Honda when we are out in the desert and then every once in a while use the onboard to exercise the system if we want to use both ACs. With my battery set up and the inverter I will need to use auto start on the onboard generator to keep from frying the batteries.
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:45 PM   #15
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We camp without electrical hookup about 25% of the time. We have a residential fridge and 4 deep cycle flooded batteries, no solar. While not optimal, this works for us. In average weather we meet our power needs by recharging while traveling between sites or running our on board diesel generator 2-3 hours a day. We minimize power use when the gennie is off and clump power use during generator time. We monitor voltage to keep >12.0. A few times we ran low and turned the fridge off at the breaker till next recharge time. Fridge does fine - temp stays below 42 and frozen foods stay solid. I suspect OP may have more issues due to very hot ambient temps.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:28 PM   #16
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I have a Hurricane 34r with a residential fridge. I replaced the batteries with four Trojan T145 and added 360watts of solar and a 30 amp controller. Id like to add one more panel and I bet I'd never have to run the generator. Or I could turn off the ice maker, it draws as much as the fridge but I like my fresh drink ice. I also camp in the cold and don't conserve power. No regrets if you get some solar on it. I did 9 days dry in a very tree'd site. I wasn't really running the generator except to microwave. By the last two days I was pretty low and ran it about three hours a day.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:29 PM   #17
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This may also help, I have 21 dry days on my unit so far and have 36 hours on the generator, about half are to run the AC when dry.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:12 PM   #18
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It's good to hear that that a larger AGM bank and solar can keep up with the fridge.

While I certainly don't dislike a large solar array and Lithium batteries I would prefer to keep the setup simple.

Thank you.
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:01 PM   #19
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Iíd check refrigerator specs since they can use different amounts of energy/power, and manufacturers reserve the right to make changes any time they want.

Also, if thinking of upgrading to AGM batteries, one issue to consider is that they donít like to be charged only part way before next discharge cycle. This means that if solar doesnít get battery bank back to 100% during day, starting the next discharge cycle may shorten their life somewhat. How much exactly is not documented well. At a minimum, they should be fully charged on a regular basis.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:34 PM   #20
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Boondocking

I canít wait to go boondocking, away from the crowds and the noise so I can listen to someoneís generator running 8 hours/day. Gimme a campground every day day of the week and twice on Friday.
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