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12 vdc refrigerator relay wireing

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Over on the Yahoo group there is a thread about an rv which the propane tank exploded while they were driving down the road. The discussion evolved into should or should you not use propane to power your refrigerator while driving down the road.

Probably would be a good idea to close the valve while traveling.

I run my refer on 12 vdc when moving but I have never turned off the gas, perhaps I will from now on. I freeze water bottles and keep them in the refer and freezer. I also get the contents cold in the house refer before the trip.

I found that propane was not cooling very well while on the road and that?s why I switched to 12 vdc. !2v uses allot of battery so its necessary to turn it off every time you stop.

So I rigged up a relay that does that for me. Ignition on refer on, ign off refer off.

You can use an auxiliary lighting relay that can be purchased from just about any auto parts store. I have drawn up a schematic and posted the pics below. There are also plug on wiring harnesses available which is great. I carry an extra relay in case the in use one fails.

At some point I plan to run a wire up to my dash board and power a small led. It will be on the refer side of the relay to let me know power is being supplied to the refer in case the relay fails.




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That's awesome Greg, wish I had a 3-way refer to use it with... I've always used my refers on propane on the road, as has pretty much everyone I've ever known with an RV. If I had a 3-way I'd go your route for the extreme safety, but I've never lost any sleep over it and this lastest story won't cause me to. I remember once as a teenager working on a gas line leak on my '54 VW. My grandpa was leaning over me smoking while I laid in a puddle of gas, I yelled at him to put his cig out. He laughed and threw the cig in the puddle of gas after I crawled out, it went out as if it were a puddle of water. He had run a gas station for years and claimed gas fume explosions were one in a million events, especially out in the open. I'm not a bit worried gasing up with the refer on, I do however believe in the idea that a ruptured propane line could be deadly. That'd most likely occur in a car accident and RVs are deathtraps in that situation anyway... :w00t:

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 year later...

That's nice Greg... ya I too drive w/ the gas fridge running. (tho am replacing the 3way with a Norcold marine DC compressor fridge for next years trip... I hope.)

I have to laugh at Mr. D's teenage experiences as I can relate to my earlier days in my 20's.. the "surfer with no money can't afford to buy a new camp stove" explosions! Eyebrows are over rated anyways.

Have you measured the draw of this fridge on DC? Just wondering what a 3way pulls. Pretty cool relay tho!

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With a Prosine 2000 watt inverter/charger, I've been running my reefer on 110 V while underway.

Most of the time I remember to manually change to the gas function at camp.

The golf cart batteries don't care about rest stops with engine off.

I turn on the Hot Rodd water heater element (also 110V) when within an hour or so from camp, and have to remember to turn it off even for short stops, as it pulls about 50 DC amps.

I've always assumed the 12V reefer function was intended only for underway use to save propane in the early days of small tanks, and was a holdover from the days of 12V/propane two-way reefers. I don't think safety has ever been an issue with underway propane use. Surely the manufacturers would've gotten onto that problem and prevented it with some kind of isolator/solenoid shutoff.

By the way, does anyone still have a solenoid gas regulator wired to the propane detector? That was a useful function. I had one incident where my partner inadvertently left a cooktop burner on and left the coach. When she went back in she complained of a terrible sewer smell (rotten eggs). Turns out the old detector switch has an off function and wasn't beeping, so it wouldn't have shut the regulator anyway....

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My Sunrader has a Norcold marine reefer installed by the previous owner. I don't think I could ever go back to a propane unit. When I go on a trip, I never shut the refigerator off for any reason. The house battery keeps the unit going. I once tested it by letting it run entirely off the battery for 24 hours, without ever recharging the battery during that time. The battery held up good and has been holding good 2 years later. It's also a pleasure not to have to worry about the 3 degree leveling requirement. Of course, the pure boondocking experience would require the battery to be recharged every once in awhile, if you don't have a generator. I never ran down the road with the propane reefer on with my previous motorhome, just felt it was unsafe and that is what the 12VDC is for on the 3-way.

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