Cold Drinks on the Road: Secop DC Compressor Sets New Standard in RV Refrigeration

Boondocking in Baja California (courtesy Gary Matos)

There’s no doubt about it. There is a major technological shift taking place with the refrigerators used in today’s recreational vehicles. Namely, the shift from the archaic absorption technology used in traditional three-way RV refrigerators to refrigerators using DC compressor technology. This is due not only to the prevalence of lithium batteries in truck campers and vans, which offer a higher usable capacity and output than lead-acid batteries, but also to Secop’s revolutionary BD-Nano DC compressor, which is smaller, quieter, and more efficient than older compressors.

The Advantages of Compressor Technology

A refrigerator equipped with the BD-Nano compressor guarantees excellent performance with low consumption even at high ambient temperatures like those found in the American southwest. Compressor technology also offers a much faster cooling process of less than two hours compared to absorption technology. With a DC compressor, the cooling capacity is higher and thus keeps the temperature in the refrigerator at stable low level. Thanks to additional batteries and/or photovoltaic panels, the cooling system with a compressor can also work off-grid. Moreover, the absorption technology that has been used up to now has several disadvantages when it comes to cooling. For example, the efficiency drops drastically at high external ambient temperatures. If you consider that 110 degrees F (43 degrees C) can easily be reached in summer here in the American southwest, cooling capacity in absorption models is significantly impaired. In addition, the absorption reacts very sensitively to the inclination of the vehicle, which must be precisely leveled at a maximum of 2.5 degrees.

Isotherm 8 cubic foot refrigerator found in the Rugged Mountain Denali 1S truck camper.

The Compact, Powerful, and Quiet Compressor

The BD Nano offers in a compact size premium cooling performance, high efficiency and low noise and vibration. At a height of only 3.6 inches and weight of only 3.3 pounds, its small size offers an efficiency of up to 1.56 watts (under ASHRAE LBP conditions). This results in low energy consumption, a longer battery life, reduced TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). The unit’s dimensions also give manufacturers an advantage when developing modern design solutions because space is a key factor in recreational vehicles. Given the defined cold space of an RV, this solution maximizes the capacity of the refrigerator and provides more space for food and beverages, since the condensing unit is small and takes up much less space than an entire absorption cooling system.

With a cooling capacity of 68 watts (under Ashrae LBP conditions), the BD Nano is the most powerful compressor relative to its size. It can handle up to 150 liters (5.2 cubic feet) of refrigerator capacity, while larger 7- and 8-cubic foot refrigerators can be covered using two BD-Nano units.

Closeup of the new Secop BD Nano compressor.

In addition, the Secop BD Nano 12 volt/24 volt compressor is quieter (-6 dB/A) compared to the BD Micro previously introduced on the market by Secop and current market benchmark in the automotive industry.

Another strength of the BD Nano is reliability, since it features ISO16750 compliance for reduced knocking noise, vibration, and improved transport stability. For this reason, it is also suitable for use in cars, e-cars, trucks, buses, and boats in addition to recreational vehicles.

The BD Nano is controlled by a new-generation Electronic Controller Unit (ECU) and thus offers users a wide range of electronic interface functions. The ECU can be configured with industry-standard LIN hardware via an easy-to-implement Modbus interface. The control unit is designed as a universal, easy-to-use, and feature-rich compressor controller, with increased functionality provided via Secop’s free Tool4Cool software, an application that allows for even more customized programming.

With electromagnetic sensitive applications in mind, the Nano’s controller also features low interference (EMI CISPR25 Level 5) designed for controlled emissions and immunity against external sources.

The BD Nano is manufactured at the Secop’s plant in Tianjin, China, using a highly automated assembly process and sophisticated end-of-line testing to ensure consistent performance. The plant in Tianjin has been IATF16949-certified since December 2023 and meets the strict standards in the recreational vehicle industry.

About Secop

Secop GmbH is a German company that has been producing hermetic compressors for cooling solutions in the commercial sector for more than 65 years and has been present in the automotive sector for 40 years, providing cooling solutions for trucks, cars, motorhomes, and boats. Today, Secop’s DC hermetic compressors can be found in the most luxurious recreational vehicles worldwide.

Utah’s Hole-in-the-Rock Road.
About Mello Mike 889 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a certified RVIA Level 1 RV Technician, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. A communications expert and licensed ham radio operator (KK7TCA), he retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, holds a BS degree, and now runs Truck Camper Adventure full-time. He also does some RV consulting, repairs, and inspections on the side. He currently rolls in a 4WD Ram 3500 outfitted with a SherpTek truck bed with a Bundutec Roadrunner mounted on top.

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