I replaced the dead refrigerator in our Airstream in May. The new unit cooled like a charm but turned out to be an energy hog. So this post is about the problem and the fix: if you are more into birding than Airstream repair, go ahead and move on. The post after this will outline our Florida birding plans.
We camped this summer at Stillwater State Park, which has no electricity, and later at our daughter’s which is in the woods in Massachusetts. I noticed that the battery was being drained rather fast in both places but with no solar recharge at Jen’s due to the trees, it was very noticeable. I would use the generator and get everything charge but only using LED lights, noticed that the voltage went from 12.5 or so to 11.8 each night.
It took me a while to sort it out — I read the manuals, visited a number of forums, and finally determined that the Dometic folks, for some reason, omitted a critical climate control switch on many of their new models, like ours. In high temps and humidity, the climate control evaporates water droplets that form and draws 12 VDC power continuously. Since we no longer can turn it off, what now?
Several folks reported that there are two wires, one to the refrigerator light and one to the climate control. “Just cut the climate control wire” said one guy, “but make sure you get the right one.” In another post, someone noted that it was the fatter wire.
Well, as you can see below, I cut the heavier wire (and the light still worked.
I then put a couple of disconnect terminals on the line and now can connect it when we have power and leave it open when we are boondocking.
Here’s the final result — a relatively easy job after a lot of searching for answers.