Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living - Page 2





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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Just out of interest, how do you keep yourselves occupied each day being so isolated?

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Those old caravan fridges normally worked with ammonia in the pipes sometimes you just have to turn the fridge around on its head for a day and then it will work great again.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Quote Originally Posted by Frog View Post
    Just out of interest, how do you keep yourselves occupied each day being so isolated?
    We still work online, we have good Vodacom reception here. We also visit the in-laws at the main farm house on most days and join them for some meals as we don't yet have the fridge and things sorted. Also keeping busy with off-gird / farm-life type things like making a vegetable garden, arid garden, metal bending, enjoying sunsets, hiking and cycling. Oh and in the case of my wife, baking. Attached some photos. Sorry Petri, but the photos are technically not of the caravan.

    Quote Originally Posted by fatbike View Post
    Those old caravan fridges normally worked with ammonia in the pipes sometimes you just have to turn the fridge around on its head for a day and then it will work great again.
    Thanks, yes it's an absorption fridge rather than a compression fridge. Like I mentioned one could probably get it working. Someone even mentioned putting it on the back of a bakkie and driving over corrugation to get the ammonia crystals loose. My concern is that even when I get it to work again, the gas option is the only viable option as the 12v uses a lot of power since its heating an element. And I'm not that comfortable with a gas flame being on in the caravan at all times on a 40 year old fridge.
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  6. #24
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Quote Originally Posted by hugmin42 View Post
    When the threat of Covid-19 started to emerge in February we decided to buy a caravan and to live in isolation for the foreseeable future.

    We got this cute Jurgens Magnificent 1978 the day before lockdown came into effect and towed it to Prince Albert to my in-laws' farm.

    We spent some time cleaning it, but wanted to do more restoration/painting, but naturally during Level 5 we couldn't buy anything that was needed.

    Now that online shops are starting to open again for delivery I would like some advice/suggestions.

    Where can I buy solar panels and solar charger with delivery options to Prince Albert? I saw takealot have a few options, but its probably not recommended to buy solar equipment from takealot. Also what brands/models is recommended. We would only need a very basic setup for charging laptops and maybe powering a 12v fridge which also still needs to be bought (have used a Waeco previously which was quite trust worthy, don't know if there are better options for a caravan setup vs 4x4. Is there 12v fridges with front doors instead of the usual 'cooler box' design?). I already have a 100Ah deep cycle battery and 500w inverter. Would thus as far as I understand only need 1 or 2 120W solar panels and a Solar MPPT Charger.

    Then I also need a 12v water pump. The caravan has a tap with a power switch that can be connected to the battery and a pipe leading into a cupboard where presumable a water container can be put. I thus need a simple 12v pump that is placed inside a water container. Something that would fit through a container cap. Where can this be bought and what is it called? An in-line 12v pump?
    Engel make a nice upright 220v/12v upright fridge which is fitted into the Bac Trax by Kennis Caravans Roodepoort

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  8. #25
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Nog STEEDS nie vir my reg dat Mense sulke Pics post vir al ons Mere Middelklas Mortals om oor te drool nie.

    Dit grens aan Sadisme, veral nou dat daar sulke home made Plaas Eetgoed ook betrokke is.

    Keep them coming PLEASE
    "Yes, I have a Bad Habit. I take Tea at Three".........Mick Jagger

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  10. #26
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Look, even if you get the old fridge working, you would be looking at around 1kg gas per 24 hours.
    If you can live with that, no problem.
    At least you will have some heating for those cold winter nights.

    If you do decide to go for a compressor fridge, go for the chest type one.
    They let out less cold air when you open them.
    A normal bar type fridge could also work, but then you would need much bigger batteries and perhaps also a much bigger inverter.

    You are indeed very lucky to be able to do this!!!

    My current camp set-up is with a 240W solar panel, but with 2 x 200Ah batteries.
    I run lights, 80L Waco, 45L National Luna and my Nespresso machine, no problems


    2007 Nissan Navara 4L Auto - Worshond


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  12. #27
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Quote Originally Posted by Wetkit View Post
    Look, even if you get the old fridge working, you would be looking at around 1kg gas per 24 hours.
    If you can live with that, no problem.
    At least you will have some heating for those cold winter nights.


    If you do decide to go for a compressor fridge, go for the chest type one.
    They let out less cold air when you open them.
    A normal bar type fridge could also work, but then you would need much bigger batteries and perhaps also a much bigger inverter.

    You are indeed very lucky to be able to do this!!!

    My current camp set-up is with a 240W solar panel, but with 2 x 200Ah batteries.
    I run lights, 80L Waco, 45L National Luna and my Nespresso machine, no problems
    Where did you get this from a caravan 3 way uses about 180 - 280g of gas per 24hour at 25 deg ambient and that takes the temp down to -15. On a fridge only you have a 75 - 130 w element so work out how much or little gas you need to get this output. As for the heating in winter........wishful thinking you can't feel it in summer what about winter.

    The reason you don't run the 12V side without having back up is because the 130w translates to 11A on the 12v side and that can buckle the battery. If you convert the 12V to 220 the draw on the 12v side stays the same in theory, in practice it is more as you have some loss.

    I have had a few years working on and using these contraptions, serviced my first one when I was 16. Still have one in my workshop keeping cool drinks cold.
    Henk
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  14. #28
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Leigh View Post
    Whats wrong with the caravan fridge?
    The 220V fridges are power hungry. They draw more than 10A when you run it off an invertor where the 12V units should draw about 4A in the hot conditions of the Karroo. A chest design is also more efficient than the front opening caravan fridges. This means you will have to double up on the solar system. (Much more expensive than buying the real thing.) Buy directly from snowmaster, it should be a lot cheaper.

    On the solar system you must overdesign to get out of the hassle zone. Keep in mind that you will get about 4 to 5 hours of charging time on a good day. (No clouds) It will then have to run on batteries for the rest of the 24 hours. Say 20 hours on the batteries. In hot conditions that will translate to about 20 hours at 4A just for the fridge. This means you will need a minimum of 80 Ah. That translate to 2 x 105 Ah at least. The panels must be big enough to run the fridge while charging the batteries when the sun is there. If you work on 4 hours you must generate 4x4 Ah + the 80 Ah = 96 Ah. 96/4 = 24 A minimum from the panels. At 12V that is 300 W panel minimum. Remember panels that low in SA must be installed at 45 degrees or steeper to get any sort of efficiency. If you have a day of clouds you will still run out of power. Install a battery guard to switch off your 12V system if it drops below 12.1 V on lead acid batteries. If you do not you will destroy those batteries in no time. The standard 105Ah is still your best bang for bucks, but then you must protect them.

    All this does not include the pump or laptops and cellphones. Consider having the water on a stand and gravity supply.
    On the 12V side you must not skimp on copper. Thick wires are a must as is very good connections. Either hydraulic crimping or decent solder.

    Sounds like a nice option staying out there.

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  16. #29
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Quote Originally Posted by hugmin42 View Post
    It's 42 years old (probably). It's an ice craft caravanner 85. Even if I get it working according to some posts on this forum it is not very efficient. If someone knows more about it I'd be willing to try and give the gas option a shot again, but the last owner didn't use the gas option as it is closed off.
    Never run a gas fridge off 12V, it is a killer and also not efficient at all. A decent gas fridge can work well but is rather heavy on gas. (Expensive)

  17. #30
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Isn't it going to get p##s cold in a caravan in Prince Albert in winter?

  18. #31
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Thanks for all the replies guys and sorry for my absence. Looks like these 3-way fridges are quite the conversation starters with lot's of contradiction.

    I ordered a solar panel and a charge controller to kick things off. It arrived by courier and I temporarily set it up to power a wifi booster from the main house to one of the guest cottages that we're also sleeping in, since there are no guests currently.

    So far so good. The Victron BlueSolar 75/15 controller looks really well built and seems to do what it is meant to do. This one however does not have the built in Bluetooth, apparently it needs a separate Bluetooth dongle that plugs in, but that's probably why it was 'only' R1600 and not R3000+.

    The panel is a 120W panel from 4x4 Direct, it cost R1200. Will probably get a second one soon so that they have similar specs.

    With regards to the cold, yes it can and did get quite cold here during the cold front that hit last week, but now it's warmer again. We however kind of moved into one of the cottages with a fireplace. It's a catch-22. We wanted to isolate on the farm with the caravan, thinking all the cottages would be full, but since there are no tourists the cottages are all empty. And by the time people start travelling again we will probably also be able to travel again.

    In the far future like 2021 or 2022 when the cottages are hopefully fully booked again and we are returning from an overseas trip, at least then we will have something we can call 'home'. And for now it is a nice, weekend getaway or place to go and drink an afternoon coffee and read, etc.

    We thus still want to 'kit' it out properly, but have more time to look for specials, etc. And even longer term we might build a cottage of our own which will still be off-grid, so at least any 'off-grid' investment now will be put to good use in due course.
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  20. #32
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    What did the temps dip to during the cold front?

  21. #33
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylark View Post
    What did the temps dip to during the cold front?
    We unfortunately didn't measure it, but below 5 would be my guess. So not near Sutherland's -8, but still pretty cold.

  22. #34
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Quote Originally Posted by hugmin42 View Post
    We unfortunately didn't measure it, but below 5 would be my guess. So not near Sutherland's -8, but still pretty cold.
    Ouch, in that caravan it would have been bitterly cold, imagine needing the loo at 3am

  23. #35
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Sorry for the long radio silence.

    When the lockdown restrictions started to ease we took the opportunity to go visit friends and family in Cape Town.

    We recently returned to Prince Albert and finally got everything sorted with the Caravan. We are now completely off-grid and staying in the caravan 'full-time' for the last two weeks.

    Current setup:

    2x 120W Solar Panels
    2x 100Ah deep cycle batteries
    Victron Solar Controller (75V 15A)
    500W Inverter

    Appliances:
    Camp Master Thermo Electric fridge
    12V Water pump for sink
    12V 'shower kit' for outdoor use
    4G Router for internet

    Charging of laptops, phones, cameras, etc.

    Lights are run of a separate solar battery box with USB LED lights all around.

    So far everything has worked out. The first few nights we turned the fridge off at night as it is quite noisy, but then we kept it on for two nights together with overcast weather. That drained the batteries quite a bit so will monitor more closely. E.g. only use power through the night when the batteries have sufficiently charged through the day.
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  24. #36
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Quote Originally Posted by hugmin42 View Post
    Sorry for the long radio silence.

    When the lockdown restrictions started to ease we took the opportunity to go visit friends and family in Cape Town.

    We recently returned to Prince Albert and finally got everything sorted with the Caravan. We are now completely off-grid and staying in the caravan 'full-time' for the last two weeks.

    Current setup:

    2x 120W Solar Panels
    2x 100Ah deep cycle batteries
    Victron Solar Controller (75V 15A)
    500W Inverter

    Appliances:
    Camp Master Thermo Electric fridge
    12V Water pump for sink
    12V 'shower kit' for outdoor use
    4G Router for internet

    Charging of laptops, phones, cameras, etc.

    Lights are run of a separate solar battery box with USB LED lights all around.

    So far everything has worked out. The first few nights we turned the fridge off at night as it is quite noisy, but then we kept it on for two nights together with overcast weather. That drained the batteries quite a bit so will monitor more closely. E.g. only use power through the night when the batteries have sufficiently charged through the day.
    I love it will give both my b#lls to do this.
    Later on ditch the thermoelectric fridge and get a engel 40l.
    Much less power usage.

  25. #37
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Quote Originally Posted by fatbike View Post
    I love it will give both my b#lls to do this.
    Later on ditch the thermoelectric fridge and get a engel 40l.
    Much less power usage.
    Yes, the thermoelectric was just a temporary thing. Will definitely get a 'proper' fridge in the future. Just need to 1) Save up for one and 2) figure out where and how to fit it in. A dual fridge/freezer unit would have been great, but it will not fit in the current space. Looks like the Engel 40 will fit, but wow, it's like twice as expensive as the Dometic 50. For that price we can almost buy 5 more solar panels and 2 more batteries.

  26. #38
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Quote Originally Posted by hugmin42 View Post
    Yes, the thermoelectric was just a temporary thing. Will definitely get a 'proper' fridge in the future. Just need to 1) Save up for one and 2) figure out where and how to fit it in. A dual fridge/freezer unit would have been great, but it will not fit in the current space. Looks like the Engel 40 will fit, but wow, it's like twice as expensive as the Dometic 50. For that price we can almost buy 5 more solar panels and 2 more batteries.

    Why not just get a Original fridge that fits in the space

    12V / Gas

  27. #39
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    Default Re: Jurgens Magnificent 1978 - remote off-grid living

    Quote Originally Posted by spicydave View Post
    Why not just get a Original fridge that fits in the space

    12V / Gas
    This issue has been discussed quite extensively, it almost derailed this thread. We have the original Ice Craft Caravanner 85, but the 12V is not an option as it consumes too much electricity (with the heating element and all) and we're not that comfortable with the gas (that's to say if we get it working at all) and some say it uses a lot of gas and even if it used only a little gas, solar power is 'free', while gas will always cost money.

    But some modern equivalent upright fridge like https://www.dometic.com/en-za/za/pro...crx-50-_-79705 could perhaps be an option. Or as other's have mentioned to get someone to convert a regulator bar fridge to a 12v fridge by replacing the compressor with a 12v compressor, could theoretically cost much less than the R10k price tag on off the shelf products.

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