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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Rickant fridge
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# Posted: 13 May 2017 18:51

3. I have read about using a chest freezer and temp controller. Does it work well? Is it safe, anyone gone this route?

We don't want to do propane as it is not convenient in our context. I imagine a regular fridge would require a large system. Since we will only be up on weekends and fir a few weeks on vacation, we are hoping a smaller system would do if we go that route

# Posted: 13 May 2017 20:00

You can replace the thermostat in a chest freezer so it acts as a refrigerator, but in my opinion probably not worth the time and effort. Alternatively, you could manually (or on a timer or temperature controller) turn on and off, but again, not sure it is worth the trouble.

We run a moderate size fridge (10 cu ft) all summer on our solar system. 4 panels, about 1000 W total with 4 Rolls-Surrette batteries and an inverter. I'm certain you could get by with a much smaller system if only using it for the fridge and only on weekends or occasionally.

Just my opinion.

# Posted: 14 May 2017 08:48

Ice and the new more insulated coolers are a good option for low cost.

Beware the chest cooler. Talk to some boaters first. I have yet to meet someone who is delighted with them who has used them for years. Most folks yearn for an upright fridge where you don't have to dig for everything.

I too have the moderate fridge (10 cu ft) with batteries and panels. I have a good inverter. My system is nowon year 5 without issue. I did replace the batteries last year. They were 5.3 years old. But I run everything, basically. F/t.

For a small 4.4 cu ft fridge, some lights you could probably get by on a 3-500 watt system. I see some really good small inverters now. And lithium batteries, imho, are the game changer.

# Posted: 15 May 2017 20:45

Please keep us posted if you go the chest freezer route. That is the method that I want to go with if our propane fridge ever dies. Currently we use a smallish 60 lb tank that we lug out to town about 45 min or so to refill (was the tank for a tug) for the fridge, range, and lights. I have read some really interesting articles on the chest freezer conversion, and due to the cost of a fully non-electric propane fridge, would consider solar/freezer convert when replacement time comes. We currently have zero electricity, and most modern propane fridges use a small bit for the settings & what not. Here's one of the articles that I have been reading on the converts:

# Posted: 16 May 2017 12:09

I have a 780 watt system with 4 6 volt batteries. I can run a 4.4 cu ft refrigerator 9 hrs per day on what I call waste electrical. My batteries are fully charged and floating. I run the fridge from 9 in the morning until 6 in the evening, then turn off. Everything stays cold as long as your fridge is relatively full. I just bought a KILL O WATT to see how much the fridge will use. If it uses less than 1/3 of my battery bank then I will leave it run all night.

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