It is commonly known that the 3-way refrigerators found in most pop-ups are less than perfect. When we first got our pop-up I excitedly plugged it in in the driveway to check out everything. Not having any prior experience with these refrigerators I didn’t know what to expect. What surprised me was that the temp never dropped below 53 degrees, admittedly it was 95 degrees at the time.
I spent some time reading about solutions or improvements that could be made to unit. I even contemplated replacing it with a dorm fridge in the end I decide to try the external fan addition that seems so common. I had a 120mm computer fan in the attic that I had purchased several years ago but never used. Using a piece of thin aluminum flat stock I mounted it to the body of the trailer behind the refrigerator vent.
In order to better direct the airflow from the lower vent across the fins of the heatsink on the rear of the refrigerator I used a piece of aluminum roof flashing to make a baffle. The baffle reduces the size of the opening between the two vents thus forcing greater airflow along the rear of the fridge where it does the most good. The fan increases the airflow by ejecting the hot air out of the upper vent and enhancing the chimney effect. I wired the fan into the 12v power side of the fridge controls using bayonet connectors for easy removal. I also installed a simple on/off switch in the lower vent section, which is also an access panel, so the fan can be easily controlled.
During the preparation for a trip we will plug in the camper to charge the battery and cool down the fridge. We also turn on the new exhaust fan. Within 4-6 hours the temp is down to a point we are comfortable enough with to load it up with our supplies. Once loaded the temp continues to drop. It gets so low that I worry about freezing stuff. The pic below shows the temp inside the camper and the temp in the fridge on our trip to New Bern. I’d say we are good as long as we follow the process.