The Sundanzer refrigerator Review is the type of fridge people have been waiting for, with its many features to help you eat healthier. This solar-powered refrigerator is ideal for a family of four who wants to have a fridge with space for food and plenty of options for storage. This model has been given 4.5 out of 5 stars, and over 10,000 customers have left their feedback on Amazon.com.
Although some users have issues with the water dispenser on this solar refrigerator model, no significant problems have been noted. This model can keep food fresh for up to two weeks, depending on what is stored in it. This has a total capacity of 25.8 cubic feet and weighs 85 pounds.
Sundanzer’s Pros And Cons
- Stylish design
- Two shelves can be adjusted
- Can keep food fresh for up to two weeks
- Some reported problems with the water dispenser
However, the drawback of the Ecosolar Cool solar refrigerator is that you need to have a good amount of sunlight to power outage your refrigerator. The amount of sunlight ultimately affects the run time of your refrigerator.
But overall, I like the Ecosolar Cool solar refrigerator. It is energy efficient without sacrificing the product’s efficiency. It works well, stores and cools your foods and drinks. It has plenty of interior space but takes less space in your apartment, cabin, or RV’s. It is definitely a good and smart purchase.
Sundanzer Solar-powered refrigerator
In Issue #99, about the importance of choosing the most efficient appliances for remote cabin and off-grid sundanzer solar-powered refrigerator. A 12-volt DC power supply can power many solar refrigerators and freezers.
In this issue, I will review several different brands and models of solar refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerator-freezers that will make any rural retreat more like a solar home.
You can transport an ice chest on weekends, but this is the most cost-effective way to keep ice and refrigerated food. A portable cooler is not able to keep ice for more extended periods than a weekend.
If you have a propane tank that can be used to heat water and cookstoves, you should consider purchasing a propane-powered refrigerator or freezer. Many remote areas are not possible to reach by propane refueling trucks. Electric utility lines may not be able to reach these locations either.
These applications will be served by various low-voltage freezers and refrigerators that can run directly off a 12-volt DC Battery.
Some manufacturers offer units up to 19 cubic feet, which would be equal in capacity to the majority of conventional 120-volt AC refrigerators/freezers you find in most homes. This review will only cover models between 4 and 12 cubic feet in capacity, as I believe that the refrigerator’s refrigeration requirements and wall space in the kitchen are restricted in remote cabins.
For comparison, four cubic feet are slightly bigger than a sizeable portable refrigerator icebox, while 12 cubic feet fall within the range of an apartment-sized solar refrigerator. Many 12-volt DC models are smaller and were designed for boating and trucking.
Both applications use deep-cycle 12-volt DC battery packs that are continuously being recharged by diesel engines. Solar Energy-efficient is not the primary goal of their design. The portable refrigerator will feature thin walls to reduce space requirements. This solar refrigerator is more efficient and requires very little power.
The minimum energy-efficient requirements found on several websites are also valid and need to be followed; each of my units is connected to two 100 Watt solar panels that charge four 81 Amp/Hour batteries (via a charge controller). The energy-saving star refrigerators are almost as efficient as a Sundanzer or Sunfrost, and the money you save buying a Whirlpool or similar can be put to a bit more solar panels and larger inverters instead.
A generator in your cabin that is expected to be used every few days may make sense. However, a cheaper and more efficient model might be the best option. Regular operation of the generator should help keep the battery charged. If you don’t have a generator or plan only to use it during bad weather weeks, keeping the battery charged with the sun might be the best option.
A solar refrigerator that can only be used for solar products charging will need a highly efficient cooling Solar system and thick wall insulation. Many of the models I reviewed have walls that have up to four inches of insulation. This can keep food excellent for several days without any power.
Best solar refrigerators can be thought of as modern versions or older gas absorption Solar refrigerators. They use a small gas flame for heating refrigerant gas which then generates the refrigeration process. A unit with both an electric heating element and a small propane burner can generate the refrigeration process separately.
An absorption-cycle efficient cooling system does not require an electric motor-driven compressor or a pump. However, it is simple to use electrical power to heat anything. An electric heater will use a larger battery and solar array to generate the refrigeration cycle than a solar refrigerator with a motor-driven compressor.
A solid-state electronic device is mounted on a finned metal heat sink to create a low-cost 12-volt DC refrigerator. The heat sink’s exposed side is visible to the outside air, while the heat sink protects the inside. These heat sinks are highly affordable and can be found at most truck stops.
Connected to a 12-volt DC power source (usually an outlet for a cigarette lighter), the heat sink’s interior side becomes colder than the exterior side. The effect can be reversed by turning the plug around and heating the interior side.
This device requires a lot of battery power to work. It rarely produces temperatures greater than 30 degrees F below the surrounding temperature thermostat control. An 80deg truck cab might result in a 50deg Solar refrigerator temperature that is not very useful until it gets colder.
One of these units was installed in my truck with a 100-watt solar panel on the roof. It ran down the battery every day that the engine was off. I don’t recommend any refrigerator that has this type of cooling system in any off-grid situation.
Danfoss’ brushless 12/24V DC sealed motor-driven refrigerant compressor is one of the most energy efficiency low-voltage freezers or solar refrigerators. This low-energy efficient compressor can be used to maintain temperatures below zero when paired with an insulated cabinet.
The Danfoss compressor is used in many high-efficiency DC solar refrigerators, both 12 and 24 volts. Their main differences are their cubic feet capacities, thermal insulation thicknesses, and construction quality. Top-load models are usually the most efficient, although they are not available in two doors.
A top-load reliable refrigerator or freezer can be purchased, but they cannot be kept in the same cabinet. While upright door models are less efficient than top-load models, many upright brands make two-door units that can be used to keep ice and drink cold.
The best thing is that it is powered by sunlight. It doesn’t require any electricity to work. It is a suitable option if you are living in a country where the weather is mostly hot. The refrigerator is durable as it is constructed using a polypropylene watering system.
The battery’s amp-hour-per-day power consumption is the main reason for the cost difference between the models. I would recommend an RV or marine model if there is power available.
If a solar panel is your primary source of power, I recommend choosing a model with a low amp-hour requirement. These models will usually be the most costly.
The following table provides a basic comparison between several of the most popular 12-volt DC solar refrigerators, freezers, and traditional refrigerator/freezers currently available. Reading the footnotes will help because some models were made for mobile applications that require built-in cabinetry. Some models can also be top-loaded only, and others will need to be mounted on a base cabinet to raise them to eye level.
Unless you are in very cold northern latitudes with short days and low angles of sunlight, most areas of the United States will have 4 to 4.5 hours of direct sunshine per day during the winter months. Summer months average 5 to 6 hours. These hourly averages may be lower in milder locations due to more rainfall or cloud cover.
For example, if a Solar fridge or freezer requires 40 amp-hours of operation per day, you will need a sunroof that can produce at least ten amps (40 amps/hour/4 hours during winter) and at least 6.6 amps (40 amps/hour/6 hours during summer).
You may choose to use the lower sun-hour value if your retreat or cabin is used all year. Because the winter air temperature is more excellent than in the summer, refrigerators and freezers will need less Solar energy during the colder months. Therefore, a winter calculation that takes into account lower ambient temperatures would use the amp-hour load.
SunDanzer 5.8-cubic-foot freezer (refer to Table 1)
- 22.6 amp-hour/day load 70°F (winter).
- 36.7 amp-hour/day load @ 90deg F (summer).
Solar Module Size:
- Winter: (22.6 amp-hour),/(4 hour/day sun) = 5.65 Amps
- Summer: (36.7 amp-hour),/6 hours/day sun = 6.12 Amps
The example shows how the freezer’s cooler cooling efficiency at lower temperatures can offset having less sun during the winter months.
Finally, the nominal “watts” value of solar modules is usually used for marketing them. As the sun’s intensity changes, the actual amp output can vary.
If the amp output data for a module is not available, 16 volts is used as the average output voltage to convert a solar module’s “watts” rating to “amps.” This is because the “peak” output is difficult to reach if your site is in the desert.
A 100-watt solar module will produce 6.25 amps (100 W/16-volts) for each hour of peak sunlight. So, using the SunDanzer example above, we will need one 100 watt module. There will always be days when there is less sun than the average or no sun. Adding a second solar module to your battery will allow you to put more amp-hours into it than you will use that day. You can get through the sunniest days by adding extra solar amp-hours to your battery.
This wiring diagram shows how to wire a 12-volt DC fridge or freezer to a battery. It also shows how to wire this battery to a module using a solar charger controller. I also showed the additional wiring needed to connect a 120-volt AC charger. This charger can be powered by a backup generator, grid-connected wall outlet, or an AC power battery charger.
To be completely transparent, I bought both Sun Frost RF-16 (and RF-19) refrigerators in 1994 when we built our solar house. Each freezer section in both 2-door models has its compressor. This allows each section to work independently and with its temperature setting. For longer-term storage, we also bought a top-load SunDanzer DCF225 freezer.
The Sun Frost models are still among the most efficient models available. However, we have replaced shelf brackets, door latches, and door seals over the years. In humid environments, these units can also create ice on their back walls.
Their smooth interior walls can be manually defrosted by turning them off, removing food, and closing the doors for several hours. The ice will then fall in large, easily removable sheets.
Although I was apprehensive about top-loading a freezer or refrigerator, the SunDanzer top load freezer has hanging baskets that slide side-to-side and lift out. This makes it easy to reach items at the bottom. Our SunDanzer freezer has minimal ice buildup. It may be because of its unique “air-bladder,” which reduces humidity in the room when the door is closed and opened.
The Tundra and Norcold models have been more popular for commercial trucks and marine applications. However, they look similar to our RV’s refrigerator. This type of combination refrigerator/freezer has a thinner wall to save space and more insulation. This increases their Solar energy consumption.
These units are durable because they were designed for mobile applications. A lot of single-door RVs and marine-style refrigerators also have a small freezer compartment at the top. This compartment does not freeze food as well as separate-door freezers.
Selection of equipment
A 12-volt DC refrigerator/freezer that is powered by a solar-charged lithium battery will work best. However, you might find that the system costs will be higher if the freezer or refrigerator is more expensive and have higher efficiency.
A typical 100-watt solar module will run you over $950 per unit. However, a few hundred more dollars for a more efficient refrigerator could allow you to save far more on solar system costs and be able to use a smaller amount of battery.
Nearly all the mini refrigerator and freezer models in this article were more than $1,000. The Tundra TJ85 was $1,600, while the Norcold DE-61T was $1,200. SunDanzer DCF225 was $1,100. Sun Frost RF-12 was $2,100, and the Sun Frost RF-16 was a staggering $2,800.
Although you may find lower prices by shopping around, all of these appliances are high-quality and low-energy. They also have a far superior energy performance to the lower-cost models available locally.
These models are quite large and can weigh more than 300 pounds. Therefore, you will need to ship them by truck freight. You should expect an additional $200 in crating and shipping fees.
The battery size and type you choose will affect how long your refrigerator or freezer can run without needing to be recharged. Avoid using automotive-type batteries. They have thin plates and won’t last more than a few months under daily charge-discharge cycles.
Take the Sun Frost RF12 example, which has a summer energy consumption of 39.0 amps/day, assuming that you don’t want to discharge it more than 50%. You will need a battery rating of 312 amperes to store four days worth of operation time. (39 amps/day), (4 days), (1/50%) = 312 Amp-hours.
This is equivalent to the storage capacity for a 12-volt 8G4D diesel truck battery or two 6-volt T105 golf cart batteries wired together to produce 12 volts.
Although deep-cycle RV/marine battery will withstand this type of service, its smaller 182 amp-hours ratings will provide only about two days of backup operation without needing to recharge.
A high-quality deep-discharge battery will cost you more than $100. Ensure the charger has an automatic state of charge feature to reduce or completely turn off the charging current when it is complete.
If the charging current is not decreasing as the battery’s charge increases, a full-time battery charger will “boil” it. This charger is the perfect choice for this application. The Model #4KC95 Dayton dual 12-/24-volt battery charger by Grainger costs $86. The charger’s 10-amp charging output adjusts automatically to 0 amps when the battery is fully charged. It can also be used for continuous maintenance of deep-discharge batteries.
I prefer to use the maximum power point tracking (MPPT), a solar charge controller that “squeezes” more out of each solar module. The size of the charge controller will depend on how large your solar array is.
Low-voltage load terminals and disconnect features are also great features in charge controllers. This makes wiring more accessible and allows the controllers to disconnect the battery from the load if it drops below a safe level.
A low-voltage cutoff on your solar charger will prolong the life of your battery. Also, the freezer or refrigerator will have enough cold mass to withstand a short period of solar charging, if at all, or even no solar charging, when the battery gets too low. Your refrigeration compressor will be protected from the harmful effects of rapid cycling, which can occur when the battery voltage drops too low.
Morningstar’s line of solar charger controllers is an excellent choice for small solar arrays. This application is a good fit for the 12-volt Sunsaver Model #SS-10L at ten amp and Model #SS-20L @ 20 amp.
For larger solar arrays, use the 20-amp controller (150 to 200 watts) and the 10-amp controller (smaller array sizes). Both include the additional terminals in the wiring diagram that connect the refrigerator. This provides low-voltage load disconnection.
All of the low-voltage freezers and refrigerators that I reviewed will meet your requirements for this application. They are also available from many other sources. For most brands, I will only provide contact information for the manufacturer. They can then direct you to a dealer near you.
This article was written for remote cabins that are not connected to power lines. However, I have installed 12-volt DC freezers in homes in the same area as hurricanes.
A grid-connected battery charger can be used for many of these applications. It is used to continuously replenish the battery drain of a 12-volt DC freeze when utility power is available. This means that the battery is never fully charged unless there is an outage.
One client keeps his solar module in their garage. This is done only after a hurricane has decimated the power lines.
These grid-connected applications will require the 12-volt DC refrigerator, battery, and charger in the basement or garage. This is the only place where the primary refrigerator can be used during extended power outages.
You constantly forget where you left your food in the Solar fridge, but today with the Sundanzer Appliance, you are guaranteed not to make the same mistake. If you are tired of searching for food in your usual fridge, go for this alternative! I have tested several models of fridges, and this is the best so far.
The Sundanzer Smart Fridge has a fingerprint sensor that allows you to open it with your fingerprint. You can also use voice commands to open or close the door. The temperature inside the fridge can be set through your phone!
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