Thinking of adding a refrigerator for camping

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by larryakoch, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. larryakoch

    larryakoch Junior Member

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    I understand I can use an inverter to convert battery power to run a small 110v fridge. I know some Westfalias and RV's do this. I would probably pull out the front seat to mount it. I have some questions tho.
    I would probably use an auxiliary battery. Is there a way to charge the battery while running the Prius? A potentially big problem would be to overuse the battery and permanently damage it. Is there a way to shut the battery down before reaching that state by using some sort of regulator?
    I can also plug the inverter into the cigarette socket on the Prius. If not checked would this eventually deplete the battery so I couldn't start? And yes, I do know what ice is used for. Thanks, ahead.
     
  2. GregP507

    GregP507 Senior Member

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    These things are notoriously hard on batteries. They use a lot of power, particularly the ones that use Peltier technology.

    You seem quite serious if you are considering pulling out the front seat to do it. Something that large is likely to be a large electrical drain on your system. May I ask if this is something you will use short-term or long-term? The difference is that long-term will require long periods of power-consumption to cool down the interior and keep it cool. For short-term use, you might consider using ice, or cold-packs or even dry ice.

    The older propane refrigerators used in RVs were quite efficient, but they require venting to the outside and a propane tank -not very practical for your application. The newer types use a different refrigerant and aren't as efficient, the last time I checked.

    For myself I use a small cooler that plugs into the 12V socket, but I wouldn't leave it turned on for very long when I was parked. I'd probably bring ice-packs along, or I'd run my small Honda generator if I had a larger refrigerator unit like you seem to be describing.
     
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    this shouldn't be a problem if the starting surge of the compressor is within the max wattage available. i think you can run a 1000w inverter off the 12 volt with heavy cabling. leave the car in ready, and the ice will keep the hv charged and thusly the 12 volt. see the many, many threads here on using prius as back up generator.

    don't underestimate the importance of cold brewskies.(y) unless the o/p is from the u/k.
     
  4. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    I have used an "Igloo" (Peltier cooler) on trips for several years. It pulls about 4 amps from the 12v bus which does have a small impact on MPG, but as I plug it into the 12v socket (AKA cigarette lighter) only in "Ready" mode and not in neutral, it will not drain the little 12v battery.

    JeffD
     
    #4 jdenenberg, Feb 18, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  5. mrbigh

    mrbigh Prius Absolutum Dominium

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    I have and use the same type of cooler and works great, for short periods of times (a day) during the warm season. Not a big impact on the Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

    EDIT: I also carry and use a 700Watts Microwave oven trough an Inverter.
     
    #5 mrbigh, Feb 18, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  6. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I kind of think the suggested 12 volt igloo cooler a better answer to the problem for most people.

    But if the OP is dedicated to turning his Prius into a 110 volt fridge transporting Ice Cream truck? More power to him..literally.

    I would think it is possible. As pointed out people use the Prius in various camping or emergency like situations for the powering of similar wattage devices.

    I guess my curiosity does have to make me ask the OP Why?

    Pulling the front seat out of a relatively new 2012 Plug In Prius to keep the brewskies cold on a drive seems like an extreme reaction to problem with much less aggressive solutions.
     
  7. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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  8. larryakoch

    larryakoch Junior Member

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    My plan is travel about a week at a time. These answers give me food for thought. I'll check into coolers and maybe a generator. I will be hauling an mc on a bumper hitch for day rides. Works ok with air shocks. All said and done tho, is there a way to charge an auxiliary battery while driving? Could I maybe hook it in parallel to the regular battery?
     
  9. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    Just leave the Prius and take bike. Or leave the bike and take Prius. I have done both ways, and it works well. ;)

    with respect to bumper hitch carrier, unless you carrying cross bike IMHO it is better to go with something like trailer in the bag.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    One key question: for how long do you want your fridge to continue running when your Prius is unattended?

    If something will only run when you're around the car, there's no need for extra batteries and complexity; you just leave the car READY and it will supply regulated DC for as long as you want, starting and stopping the engine as needed.

    It's for those times you want to go away from the car, and not leave it in READY where someone could drive it off, that you have to think about extra capacity. For that, you need to have an idea how much average power your fridge-of-choice draws, and the length of the longest time you would want to be away from the car with the fridge still powered.

    -Chap
     
  11. LurkAzusa

    LurkAzusa Member

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    I use a Coleman Powerchill hot/cold cooler when camping all the time. I put the car in Ready and remove the key from the fob. I leave the fob in the car and lock it with the key. ICE turns on for less than a minute when it needs to recharge the battery.
     
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  12. larryakoch

    larryakoch Junior Member

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    I want long term cooling over a period of days. Anyone speculate on the effects of leaving my fridge plugged in over 24 hours on Ready? I'd actally forgotten the Prius had a key. Mine is long gone. The dealer quoted $80 for a new key. Does this sound right?
     
  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if you have no keys, 80 bucks is probably good. if you have one, you can get a copy for a few bucks.
     
  14. GregP507

    GregP507 Senior Member

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    Made a few long trips this summer; the Prius is the ideal vehicle for economical travel. I spent about a week on the road each trip.

    A 12V heated lunch box, modified with a toggle switch, and small hole for a food thermometer produced hot meals in about an hour. My mistake was to plug it into the 12V lighter socket. I smelled warm plastic, but thankfully no permanent damage seems to have been done. The answer was to connect a socket directly to the aux battery in the rear.

    A 12V cooler worked well, plugged into the lighter socket. It turned off when the car wasn't running, but a few ice-packs kept things cool in between.

    There was enough room to nap in the back with the seats folded, accommodating my 6-foot frame, but the floor was too hard for me until I got a small air-mattress. The beautiful thing is how the engine cycles on and off in Ready-mode, maintaining the temperature where you set it, while you nap. On a warm night, it only started up a handful of times, and ran for less than a minute each time.

    All-in-all a very enjoyable way to travel on-the-cheap.
     
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  15. mrbigh

    mrbigh Prius Absolutum Dominium

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    and beyond all of that, the windows glass is Zombie proof......
     
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