We've had an old Dometic three way top opening fridge on our boat
for 25 years and it has been brilliant. It is enclosed in cabinetry so you can't see it, lift
the tea tray cover and open the top.
Our "voyaging" boat
is a small classic
Dutch traditional sailboat. We don't tend to use the fridge when we are on a sailing passage
but we spend most of our time motoring in canals and rivers and moored of course. We have run the fridge on propane
solid for months at a time switching to shore power
You know the principal but for those who don't, it has a small flame or heating
element that drives the heat pump
. There are no moving parts
so it is dead reliable. Ours has a piezo ignitor but still the most difficult thing is lighting
the small flame to runs propane
. On 12 volts it is only practical if the engine
is running, uses about 4 amps continuous but no problem on shore power
. Ours is set up for 230 AC as it is in Europe
right now. Propane consumption
is continuous so even the small flame uses a lot, one pound lasts three to four days.
, I check the propane system monthly and have individual shut off valves. The fridge does have a thermo couple but I think it is best to have an external shut off. I also have a propane sniffer in the bilge
and replace all hoses every five years.
For our purposes, the system is amazing but I would look closely at changing to 12 volt if our fridge dies. My main concern is that I don't know who or where these are made.
Years ago I used to bring in a small Domestic 3way fridge for my buddies that were into Overlanding. I'd sell it for $300 and it was funky roto-molded plastic and not very high quality but worked well for keeping your beer
cold for 3 days on a Coleman 1lb cyl. Certainly made more sense than an expensive 12 v fridge, solar panels
and extra battery
with all the weight and expense. So, your brother is right, he has the trick system for an RV on the beach.