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Old 06-08-2005, 04:28 PM   #1
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Fridge While Driving

Just when I thought I had everything figured out, I opened my owner's manual and started reading. Right there on page 26 it says to to use the 12V setting on the Fridge while driving. Does anyone do this? Would it really keep the Miller Lite cold? What are the draw backs?
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Old 06-08-2005, 04:39 PM   #2
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Wanna Three Way?

Now That's a question I never thought I'd ask a chaplain!

Congratulations, you have a three way refrigerator. My new trailer only has a two way, 120 v and propane. I'm opposed to running with my propane tanks open because of the risks of fire and explosion. On a moho where the 12 volt can run directly off the engine's alternator and battery, why not do it? ENJOY.

Isn't it fun when you discover an added benefit on something you've already paid for? Keep reading those manuals, who knows what else you'll find.

Some of the older trailers also have three way refrigerators, but they cost a bit more than the 2 ways and with more and more full hookups so they are only offered as an upgrade now.

Tin Lizzie
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Old 06-08-2005, 04:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain Kent
Just when I thought I had everything figured out, I opened my owner's manual and started reading. Right there on page 26 it says to to use the 12V setting on the Fridge while driving. Does anyone do this? Would it really keep the Miller Lite cold? What are the draw backs?
I had a 3-way refrigerator in my Scamp. It would hold the temperature of the contentss while driving, but I had to remember to turn it off when stopping for more than a few minutes to prevent draining the battery.

I don't miss the DC mode and wouldn't spend anything more to get a 3-way.
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Old 06-08-2005, 04:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain Kent
..... What are the draw backs?
CK;

Remember, there are TWO 12 volt system hookups to a "modern" (memory board type) 3 way ammonia refrigerator.

The first, a very low, but constant, draw actually controls the unit - 12 volt/gas/110/thermostat control.

The second 12 volt system is the heating unit for the boiler - a very heavy amperage draw designed to be used only when the engine is running.

I would recommend an actual run analysis of your entire system under the worst case conditions (night, AC on, normal charge to the batteries) and then determine if your alternator is stout enough to handle the entire load. AirStream went to a 105 amp alternator for the MoHos in the mid 80's.

You may well have an alternator of insufficient size to handle the load of fridge heating element.

As an alternative, a 20 pound bag of ice (usually a couple of bucks) split between the freezer section and the cooler section of the refrigerator lasts a long time and will keep things cold for longer than I care to drive.

As stated earlier, the 12 volt boiler element does not work as well as either the gas or the 110 heat sources - at least that is the way it works on my almost 20 year old unit.

I also consider running any gas fired burner while underway an unnecessary risk....I have found that I really do not need to run any propane device while underway.
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Old 06-08-2005, 04:44 PM   #5
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I contacted Dometic a few months ago when this subject came up. I asked them if it was safe to run the fridge on LP when in transit.

Their answer was that it was perfectly safe, but that some states have laws against doing it.

That said, when in transit, we've always had the fridge on and on LP. One nice feature of the new models is that they are all electronic. They shut down the flame automatically when the fridge gets to temp, so you don't actually have the flame on 24x7 like in the older days.

Feel free to go to the Dometic website and shoot their tech folks the same question. I got a response back in about 30 minutes.
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Old 06-08-2005, 10:49 PM   #6
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We run ours on LP while traveling.

We had to put a filter in the frig outside vent to keep it from blowing out when moving. Will be putting in the metal deflector panel shortly.

73/gus
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Old 06-10-2005, 02:11 PM   #7
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we chill ours down really well ovrnight or longer before leaving on a trip. For most of the ride I leave the fridge off and it stays cold. I will crank the gen and turn it on only if needed, but I don't run it on LP while driving. Seems a little scary to me.
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Old 06-12-2005, 09:43 PM   #8
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I have run My fridge on LP going down the road for over 3 years and I have not had bad luck with it as of today. Not going to saying it's not going act up some time and bad thing happening to it.
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Old 06-12-2005, 10:10 PM   #9
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Fridge While Driving

Greetings Chaplain Kent!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain Kent
Just when I thought I had everything figured out, I opened my owner's manual and started reading. Right there on page 26 it says to to use the 12V setting on the Fridge while driving. Does anyone do this? Would it really keep the Miller Lite cold? What are the draw backs?
The 3-Way Dometic RV Refrigerators are indeed FANTASTIC!! I wish that my Argosy had one as original equipment (my 1980 Nomad had one as original equipment and it was my first new coach). When I needed a new RV refrigerator for my Overlander, I insisted upon a Dometic 3-Way RV Refrigerator and have been absolutely thrilled with it as I was with my first 3-Way Dometic in 1980! So long as the refrigerator is first cooled using either LP or 120-Volt AC, the 12-volt setting maintains the temperature with absolutely no problems in my experience with two different boxes over the past 25 years -- in fact, the refrigerator in my Overlander has been operated less then five hours on LP gas in the more than six years since it was installed (the Overlander has Solar Panels so there is little danger of running out of 12-volt power on most trips). Even with the Nomad and just one house battery, I never experienced any problems with battery depletion so long as I switched to LP after setting up camp if I didn't have full utilities available. It is so nice to never have to worry about whether my pilots are extinguished prior to entering a gas station as I always travel with my LP valves closed.

Once you become accustomed to your 3-Way Dometic RV Refrigerator, I am sure that you will be a fan as well.

Kevin
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Old 06-12-2005, 10:34 PM   #10
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The 3 ways also have a cutoff that turns off the 12V and switches to go to LP if the battery voltage drops too much. Basically, it tries 110, then 12V then LP as a last resort. 12V to the board is required at all times to operate the fridge at all.

They are also wired into the ignition so if its running on LP and you turn off the coach it will swith back to 12V. It "assumes" that you could be stopping to fill up...so kinda nice of it to turn off the propane. I think it waits 20 minutes until it tries LP again.

We drive with it on. Since we're underway I'm betting it stays on 12V until we park for a while. Never had any problems.
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Old 06-14-2005, 08:14 PM   #11
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I cooled down the fridge with the propane and then switched over to 12V for today. I had Chummy out all day running errands and getting set for our trip this week and the ice never thawed. I noticed no difference in the charging or battery drain. Thanks for the help. I am going to use this feature often.
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Old 06-14-2005, 10:08 PM   #12
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My fredge still working great for 23 Years. I'm going to try and keep it running as long as I can.
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Old 06-14-2005, 10:15 PM   #13
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My fredge still working great for 23 Years. I'm going to try and keep it running as long as I can.
I'll see your 23 and raise you 23. My 1959 Frigidaire still runs great. It's only a one way, tho.
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Old 06-15-2005, 08:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfalsetto
My fredge still working great for 23 Years. I'm going to try and keep it running as long as I can.
My family has a 1982 SOB. Just the year before last, the Dometic in it sprung an Ammonia leak. It worked flawlessly for 21 years. They had it fixed and it's as good as new....hope to get another 21 years out of it.

I hope the Dometic gear in our Airstream can last that long!
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