Converting 110-120 freezer or refrigerators to propane or 12 volts ? any suggestion or plane ? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread


I would like to know if there is a way to Convert 110-120 freezer or refrigerators to propane or 12 volts freezer or refrigerators ? any suggestion or plane ?

with thanks


-- Nasseri (, September 12, 1999



Propane refrigerators work on an entirely different principle than do compressor equipped refrigerators, such as your 120VAC unit is. You can convert it to 12VDC in a round-about way. It will require a 12 VDC source (12VDC batteries) and an inverter that 'inverts' 12VDC to 120VAC. Depending on the size of the compressor on your 'fridg, it will take at least a 1000 watt inverter (maybe larger) to start it. Starting current is about 3.5 times that of running current. So if your fridge takes 575 watts running current (as mine does), you would require a 1500 watt inverter. Most inverters will put out a little more for a short time know as "surge". Usually sufficiently long enough to start the compressor.

Many people who have tried to power a freezer or refrigerator with an inverter use one too small to do the job. I have a small refrigerator/freezer in my truck (18-wheeler) that I tried to power with a 600 watt inverter. The running wattage is only 175 watts, but the inverter would not start the refrigerator reliable; it maybe would kick out on overload once in 5 tries. I went to an 800 watt with a surge capacity of 1500 watts, and 5 minute overload capacity of 1200 watts and that does just fine. Even allowed me to put a small microwave oven in the truck, too!

Remember amps X volts equals watts. Or watts divided by volts equals amps. You can figure out how much battery power will be required by using this formula. This will indicate how often and how long you will have to charge the batteries.


-- Gerald R. Cox (, September 12, 1999.


I forgot to mention (and meant to) that you could buy a refrigerator that uses propane. Or one that uses propane, 12VDC, or 115VAC. They are rather expensive for their size, though. The multi-energy unit is used mostly in travel trailers and motor homes. But by the time you invest in batteries, inverter, charging system, etc., you will have equalled the price of one of the larger propane or multi-energy units.

You pays your money and you takes your choice.


-- Gerald R. Cox (, September 12, 1999.

Regarding the propane/12volt/120volt multi-power refrigerators- they are really propane refrigerators with electric heating elements to operate on 12 or 120 volts, so are very inefficient on electric operation. Much better to use an invertor on a regular 120 volt refrig than to run a propane/electric on electricity.

As far as converting the motor that runs the compressor in an electric refrigerator, the compressor and motor are sealed units and it isn't something that can be done easily or practically.

You can, however, buy a 12 volt compressor and related components and build your own 12 volt refrigerator with your own insulated box. I think that the compressor, etc., probably costs around $500. I haven't priced one lately.

-- Jim (, September 13, 1999.

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