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2015 Forester 2.0XT H-CVT
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Discussion Starter #21
Wow! Thanks for all the info SkyBlue, sounds like it’s a no go on the solar panels being permanently mounted to the sunroof shade. I also did some research about how glass affects the output of the solar panel, and from what I gathered, it would reduce by atleast half. I would like find a way to run a compressor fridge like yours. It sounds like my end goal is similar to yours. Again, thanks for the info!! I’ll look into that VW domed tarp as well.


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2014 2.5i Premium 6MT
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117 Posts
I didn't actually catch that you were thinking of mounting the panel under the glass. Not sure that would work so well (but it's good to consider things outside the box).

I've had the fridge in the car for a couple of years now. First just only running it when driving via the Forester system, and not too long after with my separate house/solar system. For the way I use the car, it's hard to now imagine not having it. Camping of course, but also grocery shopping in the city (hours away) and being able to pick up ice cream, coming back to the car from kayaking or hiking to cold beverages and food, road trips, and just being able to keep a "stock" of food in the car so I don't always have to eat out or only eat Clif bars (not that I don't still eat Clif bars).

I put in the battery setup before I removed the rear sseat, so that's not required. It lives in the passenger side rear footwell (obvs not a fit if you carry four adult passengers).

The battery is only a Group 24 (100 watt solar panel), so it can't go days without sunshine, but of course I can always turn it off, and/or maximize solar charting by running it off the car system when driving. And even without any of that you can run it while driving of course. Once caveat is that these modern compressor refrigerators don't like voltage drop. So the rear outlet is pretty much a no-no unless you re-wire it (Subaru wire too long and skinny). When I do use the car's system, I use one of the front outlets, and also I changed the refrigerator cord itself to larger wire, to help make up for the Subaru wire.

But for probably 90% of the time it just chuckles away on the "house" system (I don't garage the car tho, and I'm usually in a fairly sunny place).

As I'm sure you can tell, I really like having the 'fridge in the car.

BTW, thanks for all your posts on the Yokohama GO15 tires. I've been lucky with various highway tires up till now on rocky desert "gravel" roads, but I think it's time for something a little more durable. I really like the idea of 16" wheels and slightly more sidewall, but wheels add considerably to the cost so I may go with the 225/65-R17 on my stock rims since it sounds like they have worked well for you.
 

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Maybe I can offer a few ideas.

I run a "battery-in-a-bag" in the Foz. It's a 100 amp hr gel battery that is charged from the alternator via a Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR). The battery is mounted in a heavy canvas tool bag with a piece of marine ply as a base and then sits in the rear passenger foot well strapped to the front seat mounts. When needed I use a 120 watt folding solar panel (of course not needed if the camper with its panels goes back on the Foz). The dual battery system runs a Evakool 49 litre fridge/freezer. I use a 60 litre Evakool ice box for short trips of 2-4 days but the fridge is very necessary for the long trips where I use it as a freezer and cycle ice bottles through the ice box which is used for daily storage.




In my Triton ute I have 2 x 100 amp hr batteries in the tub which are managed via a CTEK 250S to allow simultaneous connections from alternator and solar panels. I mounted 2 x 100 watt solar panels on the roof top camper; these panels are very thin and light at about 2.5kg / 5.5 lbs each. This system supports a 110 litre Evakool fridge /freezer and I can camp for 4-5 days without moving - if I need to stay longer I could bring my 120 watt folding panel along as well. I also run a 3000 watt inverter and can run an inductive cooktop, electric kettle, even a toaster when needed.

 

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2017 Forester XT Touring CVT
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Great idea on a thread!

I gotta burn a few vacation days later this month so this should give me some ideas if I want to do some car camping..
 

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2014 2.5i Premium 6MT
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Kevin,
Linking the start and house banks with a VSR is a good way to do it. I have a similar setup in my RV. I haven't done that on the Forester for three reasons:

1) I may buy a new Forester, so one less thing to undo.

2) My solar is only inadequate very occasionally (so I only use the Subaru to run the refrigerator a half dozen time per yea - and never to charge the house battery - my solar panel is on the roof).

3) It was already bad enough at the Subaru dealer. When I went in for an Airbag light they swore it was my Scangauge causing it (yeah, sure). Eventually I went back with no Scangauge in sight, and they figured out that, lo and behold, Subaru parts needed to be changed to fix the airbag. If they think a Scangauge (plugs into OBD port) is messing with things you can only imagine what they'd blame on the VSR and linking the battery systems :surprise:

So I have a "simple" system whereby I just plug the cooler into one of the forward cigarette lighter sockets when I want to run it on alternator charging. Because I hard wired the cooler to the house battery, I just bought a second cord and use that for the car socket (but you could do it with one cord if not hard wired).

But if I needed to *not* run it on the house battery often (portable panels vs. roof mounted, constant covered parking, or whatever), then I'd probably add a VSR (hidden, because see above....)
 

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Just a note that any setup becomes a little different with the introduction of "smart" alternators.

In future I would always use something like the CTEK 250S where it can use the full power delivered by a solar panel i.e. it bypasses the solar panel 12V controller and I often see 18-19 volts being generated.
 

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06 2.5XT Manual
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This thread is awesome!

Not sure whether I'll be able to join in... we have a standard FWD van, which I use for work, but because of its size it is really handy for camping, lots of room for gear, food etc..

Maybe one day our fozzie (Roo) will get a taste of the camping life...
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i 6mt
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I like the fridge/ freezer idea & solar, for a jack I have owned & used a highlift Jack make sure you get the real one, used to have a international scout II & it definitely will jack it up 48 “ you might have to figure out how to use it at the side my rear bumper was up to the task
 
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