Sunday, January 8, 2017

It lives!

Today was cold but not overly so. Last night was bitterly cold. The kind of weather when brass monkeys turn up at garages asking about brass welding while clutching two spherical brass objects! The temperature inside the bus dropped to 18 Fahrenheit or minus 8 centigrade. It didn't seem to bother the 7 gallons of water in my 7 gallon water container though.
A few days ago, a close friend was burgled. She caught the burglars in the act so I was a little surprised since she carries a gun that she didn't shoot them as she was entitled to do by law. They were amateurs who, rather than just taking what they wanted and going, had vandalized the place too. The fridge door had been ripped off, for example. That in turn reminded me that I had a mini fridge from the original bus conversion. Needless to say, I offered it to her but she declined, having fixed her fridge door.
So, mini fridge in mind, I pulled it out of the ramshackle shelter it had been sitting in for the past two years. It has acquired some rust patches but it wasn't in bad condition. Plugging it in, in the yard proved it did actually work, turning a tub of warm water into a tub of ice fairly swiftly.
Looking at the label on the back, it was surprisingly energy inefficient at 1.3A. That means over a day it would use 31 AH or about 3 kilowatt hours. I can't say any of this electrical stuff impresses me greatly. It's expensive, doesn't last very long and isn't very efficient. Primitive cultures just don't know how good they have it. Indeed, looking at modern technology makes me wonder whether the Amish, the Hutterites and other such technology rejecting groups have it right.

It's a very small fridge and I took account of its measurements and the measurements of other similar fridges during the construction phase of the interior of my motorhome. Indeed, I even put an electrical socket there, ready for use. I'm of two minds though. I really like my lack of electrical dependency. Solar panels while providing a laughably small amount of power for a mind boggling cost and ridiculous complexity aren't an option I'll be pursuing. I could put the fridge in and use it or I could just use a cooler. A bag of ice in a cooler should last a week. In terms of cost, the fridge would cost probably 100kwh a month. At current prices, electricity is 13 cents per kilowatt hour. That's $13 a month just to run a miserable little fridge! I can buy 20lbs of ice for $1.50! You can probably see why I'm so skeptical about modern technology.
As can be seen, there's the space for my fridge and a power socket riveted to the side of the breaker box. As yet, there's no main breaker. I put power in, thinking I'd be able to use my microwave but found out too late that the microwave was toast. Winding the clock back, rather than spending the money on the electrical system I suspect I'd have been far better advised to put in a small gas hob and a gas bottle. I already have a small cooler.

Running the fridge via a converter would require a battery capable of holding at least 3000 watt hours or in 12v terms about 250AH. Now that's going to be four large, heavy batteries just to run a sodding fridge. It really is not worth the expense, the fuss or the bother. Let's look at costs.... a converter will be about $150. A single battery will be about $100. That's an expenditure of $500 just to run a fridge for a single day. Add in solar, wind or a generator and the costs rack up into thousands just to run a sodding fridge.

Now let's look at coolers. A bag of ice twice a week for a total weekly expense of maybe $10. Over a year that would be $500. Don't forget the fridge could go wrong, the batteries have a 5 year replacement cycle and the converter probably has too. Ice will never go wrong. Coolers are cheap. Then there's heat generation. Coolers produce no heat. Fridges produce a lot of heat. I ask the question... how much heat is it desirable to introduce into an already hot tin can in the summer?

Thus, the fridge lives and works, just like the water heater I removed but are they of practical value? My thought is no. At least though, I know that the fridge works, should I feel the urge to install it though I shall resist all such burgers.

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