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V6 Seabreeze 92

Fridge use on a long trip

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I am curious about how people use refrigerator on a long road trip.

 

I normally start mine a day or so before I am leaving. That is with power hookup at home. It is normally below 40degrees before I start my drive. By the time I arrive at campground few hours later it is about 45 or so. Then I turn it on propane and all seems to work out. Other than the condensation drip on food items. But what do you do if you are on a long road trip??

 

I do not drive with propane on. 

 

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I drive with propane on. Ya know there are people who use propane for their home fridge. They still cook in their kitchens and leave it on when sleeping. If your worried about an accident well there's no need to be afraid your tiny pilot light in the fridge is going to explode leaking propane, your exhaust pipe will take care of that for you. 

Linda S

Go take a look at the fridge pilot. So tiny

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, linda s said:

I drive with propane on.

 

 

Same here, I usually turn it off while getting gas. I have no worries sleeping with it on at night.

I've read driving with the propane on circulates and cools better than a level fridge. 

Edited by Gary_M

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When you turn the propane off to get gas, then then turn it back on, do you have to relight the pilot light for the fridge? 

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33 minutes ago, Damien said:

When you turn the propane off to get gas, then then turn it back on, do you have to relight the pilot light for the fridge? 

Yes which is why I never do it. Fridge is opposite side of the camper so I just don't worry about it. 

Linda S

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Posted (edited)

Gasoline fumes are heavier than air, you would have to be in an enclosed space for them to accumulate enough to reach the pilot light.

Of course as always YMMV

 

Edited by WME

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For those who leave your pilot lit while gassing up, do you also smoke a cigarette at the same time? :)

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Don't be silly. It's against the law to smoke while pumping gas. I also make a distinction between burning ember right next to the pump and enclosed flame 8 ft away. New gas pumps have vapor recovery systems that minimize escaping gas fumes too. Lets face it. We are all daring death every time we take our flimsy made campers out there on the highway too but we do it. 

Linda S

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In many places it's against the law to have your propane appliances lit while refueling. Some places you're not supposed to use your cellulars at the pump.

 

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Ok, so let’s say I run it on 12V while driving and switch to propane when I’m parked for any length of time. They use a lot of battery but probably not enough to drain it and mess up the battery for 5/10 min refueling stops right? 
 

also, I have one battery currently. Should I make a bigger battery box and have 2?

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If you are driving  you are fine. They are big battery hogs so a switch to propane once you are parked is a good plan. I run mine at home on AC overnight then switch to gas once it's cool and don't turn it off till I'm home. 

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Ok, how about the batteries? Should I have 2?

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My fridge Dometic 2410 has never worked on 12v however works great on 120 hookup or propane. 

I do not have any papers to see if it was supposed to work on 12v.

Anyone knows ??

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Right on the dial where you switch from 110 to propane there should be a marker for 12 volt or DC. If it's not there you have a 2 way fridge

Linda S

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Thanks to all who participated on this topic. for me this was quite enlightening. I was reluctant to ask this question but I am glad i did. in addition,  Now i  know I have two way refrigerator. thank you Linda.

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13 hours ago, V6 Seabreeze 92 said:

My fridge Dometic 2410 has never worked on 12v however works great on 120 hookup or propane. 

I do not have any papers to see if it was supposed to work on 12v.

Anyone knows ??

Most did if there is a setting for it. It is a heating element just like the plug in but on a different supply system. Try it on DC and see if the chimney gets warm if it doesn't any thing from fuse to wiring to toes up element.  

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On 8/1/2020 at 7:07 PM, Damien said:

Ok, how about the batteries? Should I have 2?

On my 86 rader, I have a 3way fridge, it will only run on 12VDC when the engine is running, so it is powered by the altenater so you are not using the house battery!

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Of course you need your truck battery to start the engine and you also need a coach battery to power inside 12 volt outlets and water pump and if you buy a 3 way fridge power that when driving. Only when driving though. Takes too much battery if the engine isn't running. Wonder how much wiring you have left for the coach. Very important you need and isolator to separate the house battery from the truck battery

Linda S

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It takes only 15 amps DC to power the fridge when it is running on the alternator, which puts out 45+ amps. This leaves plenty of charging to charge the house and engine battery, the fridge is wired to run on DC only when the alternator is in operation, it won't run on 12VDC if not! Does not use the house or engine batteries no matter what.

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Let me start another issue related to the refrigerator issue on a long drive.

 

Start of this thought comes from once camper was parked on a slope. I thought i will level it later. I had started the fridge on Propane. when

i checked couple hours later. there was no change in the inside temperature. The pilot light had gone out which means the fridge was not on. I leveled the camper, restarted the fridge and all worked fine. My fridge does not have 12V setting, it works either 110 or Propane.

 

I have heard that the camper needs to be fairly level for the fridge to be working. Is this true??   If so is there any issue if you are on a hilly road say with 6% grade.

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, V6 Seabreeze 92 said:

I have heard that the camper needs to be fairly level for the fridge to be working. Is this true??   If so is there any issue if you are on a hilly road say with 6% grade.

 

 

The advice from Dometic:-

Dometic leveling - Comfortable to live in.jpg

 

The advice from Norcold:-

 

 

Norcold N400 - Leveling.jpg

 

More from Dometic:-

 

image.png.d24b8a4001c4d236d8b1f9756b0cf1ea.png

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Most people can sense an unlevel floor if you have doubts just use a little bubble level.

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As far as I'm concerned, if you need to use a bubble level to check, it's already level enough "to be comfortable to live in", as recommended by Dometic. Of course, if alcohol is involve, you might do otherwise. :)

 

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To give an idea of what Norcold's 3 degrees looks like, use a bubble level to get it perfectly level and then jack up the front by ~7" (for a typical 137" wheelbase). That's 3 degrees. Probably far from what I'd be comfortable with but easily detected without a bubble level.

 

 

Norcold leveling.jpg

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Here's what I did on long trips.  Our 84 Dolphin had a 2-way 120V and Propane fridge.  Not 12V.   On 2500 mile trips, we plugged in at night, and just went with no power to the fridge.  Things stayed cold or frozen just fine, like a good quality ice chest.  Outside temps were usually in the high 70's or low 80's.  The freezer section was kept full of frozen prepared meals, frozen cooked chicken, frozen chili/soup, or frozen pizza.  We took care to not leave the door open longer than necessary.  The key is to plug in at night.  We traveled from RV park to RV park.  This was the old original fridge.  Not pretty but clean and workable.

 

I also did the following, but didn't really have to use it...  I got one of those 12v cigarette lighter inverters that has a 120v plug in.  I plugged it to the 12V socket, and ran an extension cord from the back of the fridge area to the inverter.  The fridge is normally plugged into a 120v outlet.  You have to unplug and swap it over to the extension cord.

 

(Nowadays I use the invertor to power up a portable Norcold unit in the back of my 2017 Sienna minivan.)

 

I used the same inverter to charge phones and ipads while driving using the USB ports,

 

Your RV fridge has no "startup current" because it has no compressor like a household unit.   The electric power simply keeps a refrigerant coil "hot" the same way a propane flame does.  It draws very little power.

 

If you have the parts laying around, and many RV folks have this stuff, give it a try.  If it works, then you are cool!  Pun intended.

 

Never had a leveling issue once.  That's in several travel trailers and motorhomes over 35 years.  I know some have, but it is somewhat uncommon unless you are parked on a slope without being somewhat leveled.  Like what Derek said.

 

All that being said, after seeing a travel trailer explode at Pismo Coast Village RV Park, I don't really like having my propane on.  I valve it open to cook, and valve it off (at the tank) when done.  I installed an electric element into my propane HWH.  Easy aftermarket deal.  Also, a couple of years ago I had a brand new Camco propane regulator fail open, while I was dry camplng near Ruth Lake in the midst or a dry summer during fire season. One spark could have made national headlines. 

 

I really don't like propane.  

 

If I was to re-design a Dolphin today, I'd eliminate the propane system, and go with all electric.  

Edited by FredNewell

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