You’d think motorhome manufacturers would finish off an otherwise well built product with well designed and good quality electrical wiring. But alas, even with a brand new battery installed, the 110L Waeco 12V fridge would still cut-out and quit after just a nights work! Most rental customers just go and stay in caravan parks (plugged into 240V) I’m told, which must be true otherwise they’d all be complaining about the fridge not working!
During our Easter Camp, Dad and I spent quite some time going over the motorhome and working out all the electrics. One of the first things we did was pull the fridge out of it’s cavity and measure the voltage at the back of the fridge and compare it to the battery. The result explained all our fridge problems: with the fridge running, there was a 1.4V voltage drop simply due to the wiring!
This was causing the low voltage cut-out in the fridge to activate, even when the battery was relatively full, not to mention wasting precious battery energy as heat. An estimated 12 metres of thin gauge wiring, and a lot of joiners/connections (which would have been done to ease assembly/manufacture) was the cause.
So I worked out a shorter 6m route, directly under the motorhome (following the 240AC loom), and bought some heavy 8 gauge wiring, fuse, relay, connectors etc. The relay was to be run from the existing fridge wires, meaning the on-off switch in the switch board would still be used to turn the fridge on and off as previously.
I also measured the current draw of the fridge at 5.9A, which is higher than I had expected (but subsequently confirmed as correct by the online manual). We are looking to do a fair bit of free camping, so given the highish current draw I also purchased a second battery of identical brand and model and installed that.
Some heavy gauge lugs and use of the hydraulic crimper at work helped make this both functional and good looking!
Testing afterwards revealed a voltage drop of just 0.2V with the new wiring – much better!! The 12V cooling/circulation fan on the back of the fridge coil was also dead, so that was replaced with a new one from MSY. It has sealed bearings which should make it last well in the dust, but it’s a little noisy – we’ll have to see how that goes….
Also thinking about putting a smallish inverter near the microwave, which would link down into and run off the new 12V wiring. We have a little inverter in the cab, but with 2 phones, 3 tablets and a laptop to keep charged (as well as anything else we want run on 240V when not plugged in) another one in the back might be handy!