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Anyone here use a solar fridge they like/dislike? ("If I had to do it over, I would______")

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We are very close to 100% solar-able. Outside our present home, which is being prepped for sale, there are 3 of the big 300+ watt panels on the roof of our RV.
We can get the top of our solar controllers output, about 60 amps, from 9AM to sundown.
In the RV, we found three of the big deep cycles to provide more than enough power for us to last through the night.
(Internet, phones, movies, audio, ham radio, lights, fan...)
Our fridge in the RV worked great on propane, so we put cash elsewhere instead of looking into a solar fridge. (Cost $35 a month in propane though...)

The side by side in the house quit on us.
Even though we did not plan on buying a solar fridge yet, spending money on the side-by-side "pig" in our present kitchen, does not sit right with either of us.
(We planned on leaving it for the new owners.)

The 8 cubic foot models seem to have enough space for us.
Anyone have any advice on which brand?
Did you think the chest style would be a pain in the butt, but then you found it wasn't that bad???
Did the power draw they list in the specs agree with what you saw in real life?
12V is how we have it now. Would like to stick with 12 actually, for simplicities sake.

Is there a brand who gave you stellar support?
Or a brand that was a nightmare?

Looking at the fridge freezer combos, (which is what we would like to have) the power draw goes up.
Any of you found this to be true, or not so much?

Opening the door twenty times an hour seems to be the biggest enemy of (any) fridge.
Have you found your own model to be touchy in this way?
(Our "chip" cooler is quite good if you leave it closed and only open it three or four times per day. Wonder if these are the same way.)

Any other data or sites that you found helpful?
Companies that sell scratch/dent for reduced prices?

A thread you found helpful, not found in the basic Google search?

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

Posts: 1793
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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We opted for the chest type because of power efficiency. Since we tend to open the door several times a day, the thought of dumping all that cold air bothered us. I wasn't too sure I'd like a chest frig, but I adapted very quickly to it. I don't ever plan to return to an upright. But I can easily see why some people wouldn't like a chest.

We too started out with an upright propane frig because we inherited it with the property we bought. While it worked well, it was quite expensive to run. So when we had the money saved up, we switched to DC chest types. For years I had wanted to have a chest freezer, so we sprung for both a frig and a separate freezer.

Power efficiency has been great. Absolutely no complaints there.

Things I've learned:
...don't overload them. That's a bad habit for any frig or freezer, but I was guilty of that habit because I got lazy about it with the upright frost-free types. Besides, if I put too much stuff in them, I lose things in the corners and bottom, never to be identifiable again.
...they are not self defrosting in any fashion. The freezer will build up frost around the top 6 inches if you don't watch it. The refrigerator will build up condensation on the walls. If you don't wipe the condensation off on a regular basis or have rags strategically placed along the bottom to catch the moisture, then you will have water pooling up on the bottom. There is a drain plug in the bottom for removing moisture build up, but rather than waiting until it gets that bad, I use rags.
...they operate better if you don't pile up the food right along the interior walls. I've gone to using wire baskets to hold the food items. It's forced me to become much better organized.
...allow good airflow around them. They dissipate heat via the exterior covering, especially along the front and sides. We keep a 6 inch air space although the owners manual says at least three.

We started out several years ago by buying two Steca units. The fact that they were so simple to change from freezer to frig was the deciding factor. One unit has been perfect. Never a problem. The other has had thermostat issues, compressor problems, rusting, and paint issues. One perfect, one a problem child. A major problem for me was that parts took weeks, sometimes months, to show up. Three months without an operating freezer wasn't acceptable. Finally the problem child totally failed, so we replaced it with a Sundanzer, It has been perfect so far. No problems. The only drawback I see it that in order to switch between freezer and frig, you have to manually go in a replace the thermostat, which is a hassle. Otherwise the two are very similar.

I know several people around me who have either a Steca or a Sundanzer. Everybody appears to be very happy with their choice. It just takes a change of mindset to switch over to using a chest type.
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