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Old 04-11-2005, 11:00 AM   #29
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It sounds like you have the older fridge like I had Jonathan. I agree, I would not run the hot water heater when in transit either, but the burner on the hot water heater or furnace are far, far larger than that of the fridge, even the largest fridge installed into an Airstream. Add to the fact that the burner appears to be computer controlled and smart enough to know when a flame out situation happens and attempt a relight or cut off fuel to the burner if a relight is not happening, I'm even more comfortable with the Safari on the road than I was with the Bambi. I was still fairly comfortable with this activity with the Bambi too since I think it had a thermocouple type device that would cut fuel if the flame went out.

To each their own I suppose. I may call Dometic today and as the support guy what the standard company line is if I have time.
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Old 04-11-2005, 11:52 AM   #30
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I run the water heater on electric and only use the gas when we shower. I always make sure that both switches are off before I depart. All I can say is that I'm sure there are folks out there who aren't "safe" in their use of these appliances. But do we throw the baby out with the bath water because of those who can't think? I think that's part of the job we are doing here is telling folks its ok, but use some common sense.

Obviously some day those in government who know better than us will make a law that will force the RV industry to devise some type of lockout system that will turn off everything that has some risk and then I will arrive at my destination on a 100 degree day and get food poisoning from what got warm in the fridge....

Jack
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Old 04-11-2005, 12:47 PM   #31
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Emailed Dometic support. Here is a clip of the response they sent me when asked if using a Dometic fridge in LP mode is safe when in transit.

"Yes, they are safe, but you have to check with local and state laws, some states prohibit the use of propane on moving vehicles, Thank You"

Customer Support Center
Dometic Corporation

Here is the support email address, you can ask them yourself if you have further questions:

CustomerSupportCenter@dometicusa.com

They answered me in about 30 minutes.
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Old 04-11-2005, 01:01 PM   #32
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Using Refrigerator while in Transit/3-Way Refrigeration

Greetings DreamStream!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamStream
Our 2005 Bambi has the "auto" setting on the fridge also that automatically switches between electric and propane. I'm sure we'll also use the fridge in the auto setting with the propane tanks turned on. Our previous trailers all had a 3-way. Seemed like a great idea ... I wonder why the three way seems to be on it's way out.
I don't think that the 3-Way RV refrigerator is on the way out, rather it is simply a fact that Airstream doesn't want to offer it as either a regular option or standard equipment. The last RV show that I visited, most of the Brand X coaches either had a 3-Way RV refrigerator offered as standard or optional equipment. I know that my regular Airstream dealer had no problem sourcing a new Dometic with the 3-Way configuration (he even had one in-stock, but it wasn't the size that I needed for the Overlander). In checking the Dometic website, I learned that:
The Classic Series of refrigerators is available only as 2-Way LP Gas/120-Volt Electric. See:
http://www.dometicusa.com/products/r...rs/classic.htm
The Americana Series features double-door models in 2-Way only configuration, but each of the single-door Americana Models are available as either 2-Way or 3-Way. See:
http://www.dometicusa.com/Market/Lo%...Refer%20LR.pdf
The Royale series is available in either 2-Way or 3-Way models across the board. See:
http://www.dometicusa.com/Market/OS2...frigerator.pdf
The New Dimensions series is available only in 2-Way models. See:
http://www.dometicusa.com/Market/OS2...ns%20Refer.pdf
I have no idea why Airstream doesn't at least offer the 3-Way refrigerators as an option -- it was even a very reasonably priced extra on the last new Nomad that I purchased -- the 3-way was standard on the two other Brand X trailers that I owned. I know that if I were ever to replace either my Overlander or Minuet with a new Airstream coach -- the dealer would find the coach being equipped with a 3-Way refrigerator a make-or-break item in the deal -- it is something that could be accomplished more easily at the factory, but it is something that a dealer with a good service department could easily handle at minimal additional cost if factored into the original deal.

Kevin
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Old 04-11-2005, 01:51 PM   #33
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The only problem with 3 way fridges is that they consume a high amount of 12 volt current. It became particularly evident on first trip with my new Hi-Lo travel trailer from St. Louis to Nashville. I ran the fridge on 12 volt but unknowingly my 12 volt pin was not making good contact in the receptical on the tow vehicle. I got to Nashville and pushed the switch to raise the trailer top and got a muffeled groan since the trailer battery was exhausted. Thankfully I unhitched, turned the car around and "jumped" the auto battery over to the trailer battery and got the top up.

I didn't realize at the time but if the breakaway cable had been activated, there probably would not have been enough power to activate the brakes. So maybe there is a reason why we don't see 3 way refrigerators much any more.

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Old 04-11-2005, 02:23 PM   #34
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Using Refrigerator while in transit/3-Way Refrigerators

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera
The only problem with 3 way fridges is that they consume a high amount of 12 volt current. It became particularly evident on first trip with my new Hi-Lo travel trailer from St. Louis to Nashville. I ran the fridge on 12 volt but unknowingly my 12 volt pin was not making good contact in the receptical on the tow vehicle. I got to Nashville and pushed the switch to raise the trailer top and got a muffeled groan since the trailer battery was exhausted. Thankfully I unhitched, turned the car around and "jumped" the auto battery over to the trailer battery and got the top up.

I didn't realize at the time but if the breakaway cable had been activated, there probably would not have been enough power to activate the brakes. So maybe there is a reason why we don't see 3 way refrigerators much any more.

Jack
I have traveled with 3-Way RV refrigerators since 1980 and have never experienced a problem with my trailer battery being seriously depleted through the operation of my refrigerator on 12-volt -- and the Overlander is the only coach that had more than one coach battery (it has three that were part of its solar conversion package). This has included four different coaches from four different manufacturers, but I believe that all four refrigerators were Dometic (never had to have any service on the refrigerators other than regular spring cleaning of the mechanisms). My primary precaution is to always pre-cool the unit (usually for two days on 120-volt) being sure that the power converter is charging a good RV-Marine Deep Cycle battery. In addition, my dealer is always aware of the fact that I travel with the refrigerator in 12-volt mode so the tow vehicle is wired with this fact in mind -- the last time, I believe that he said that he went up either one or two sizes in the 12-volt charge line as insurance for my normal travel mode.

Kevin
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Old 04-11-2005, 03:44 PM   #35
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Glad you were able to pull this off ok Kevin. In a dual battery situation you probably would be ok also.

I guess a person needs to consider worst case situation where the tow vehicle charge is not getting to the battery. Then its simple math. Amp draw from the refrigerator and amp hours that the battery is rated for (assuming you are starting with a fully charged battery and a cold refrigerator). That will pretty much tell you whether you can handle this safely.

My experience was with a fully charged battery and a cold fridge and no power from the tow vehicle. The 90+ degree temperatures pretty much depleted my new battery. Once I fixed the pin on the trailer plug, I didn't have to deal with that again.

So condition of the battery is an issue, amount of amps the tow vehicle can send back to the trailer battery is another, then we deal with amp draw of the fridge, and amp hour capacity of the battery. All pieces to consider.

Jack
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Old 04-11-2005, 09:00 PM   #36
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Remote Switch for Refrigerator

I now travel with the frig on in the LP position. With only one refueling stop per day (diesel) it really isn't too much of an inconvenience to turn the frig off in advance - which I do religiously, regardless of the diesel factor. On the other hand, just how difficult would it be to rig an on/off switch that you could toggle from the driver's seat? If wired direct, using a separate 2-wire plug at the hitch, the physical position of the TV switch (or an indicator light) would provide positive feedback that the frig was on or off. This switch would also provide for an emergency shutdown when approaching an accident scene or other situation. With this setup, the worst that could happen is that you forget to turn the frig back on and the beer gets warm. A side benefit of the switch would be that the frig would get shut down if the trailer broke loose. Once parked, a simple shunt, plugged in to the trailer plug, would activate the frig for boondocking.

Incidentally, like many others have reported, my pilot light use to get blown out. I resolved that problem 100% using the thin, plastic-framed and braced, replaceable household A/C filter, cut to fit behind the louvered exterior door to the frig. The "free-air" that can flow thru this filter is far in excess of the free air that can flow through the louvers on the door. I do take the filter out once we're parked - but I'll confess to having left it in for several days without any apparent overheating of the frig.
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Old 04-12-2005, 01:54 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cracker
Incidentally, like many others have reported, my pilot light use to get blown out. I resolved that problem 100% using the thin, plastic-framed and braced, replaceable household A/C filter, cut to fit behind the louvered exterior door to the frig.
The pilot light being blown out while traveling was a known issue on the early 2000 trailers. My 2001 Safari had that problem. There were two fixes. One was to build a baffle (see post #7 in this thread Refrigerator baffle ), or to use the furnace filter method. Airstream did advise to remove the filter upon arrival at your desination.

In my case the baffle worked 99% of the time.

Jack
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Old 04-12-2005, 02:21 PM   #38
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I suppose this might be why Dometic went with an electronic controlled unit. If my pilot blows out in transit, the flame sensor knows it and the CPU will try to re-light it with the DC starter. To date, I push the switch, it goes to LP, and when I get to my destination or rest spot, the fridge is cold and the flame is on only if it's needed, otherwise it shuts itself off until there is a call for more cool requested.

As far as I can tell, there are no mods to the flame chamber (baffle) on our 2004...actually looks a lot like the manual type 2003 we had.


....and with this post, I officially have passed the 4000 post mark....boy do I need a life!
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Old 04-12-2005, 04:14 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
I suppose this might be why Dometic went with an electronic controlled unit. If my pilot blows out in transit, the flame sensor knows it and the CPU will try to re-light it with the DC starter. To date, I push the switch, it goes to LP, and when I get to my destination or rest spot, the fridge is cold and the flame is on only if it's needed, otherwise it shuts itself off until there is a call for more cool requested.
Eric, the problem was that re-light would not always work. Dependent upon the draft condition, the pilot would not always relight. My Safari had a re-light cycle, but that cycle only allows a certain number of retires to re-light the burner. When that cycle is exhausted, the unit would turn on a check light and no further re-lights would be attempted. To start the re-light cycle you would have to turn the refrigerator switch to off, then on and the re-light cycle would start over.

I guess the question I have for you is whether the burner shuts down, once operating temperatures are attained. My gut feeling is that the burner probably goes into an extremely low mode. I've checked the refrigerator many times when I'm in a gas only mode and the cylinder around the burner is always hot. I would think that I would be able to hear the DC-starter functioning if the unit were going through a on and off cycle.

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Old 04-12-2005, 05:04 PM   #40
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Jack,

Eric is right, the burner is only lit when the refer is calling for cool. If the thermostat has been satisfied, the burner cuts off via the gas valve.

The older refers and the ones that are full manual (no Electronics) will have a standing pilot light that is used as an ignition source. If you have a 60's model then the the flame gets bigger and smaller as the thermostat calls for cool.

The noise the igniter and gas valve make is so soft that unless you are in a really quite park or standing right at the exterior refer hatch you will have a hard time hearing it.

As to the temp of the flue. The LP or AC power heats the coolant to the boiling point, I do not remember what actual temperature is for the mixture but I know it is pretty hot. I doubt that the flue every really cools down once the refer has reached normal operating temps.
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Old 04-12-2005, 09:17 PM   #41
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Being new, I had noticed clicking sounds, though faint coming from the fridge one night. That's when I found that it was shutting down and restarting. Brett is right, it's a very, very soft sound and you have to be really listening for it. I thought at first it was some bug of something....
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:02 AM   #42
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Refridge pilot light

When I was a kid my dad always left the gas and pilot light on while travelling. I only know of a couple times that it blew out. I am thinking the laws may have changed a bit since 1972. But I know a few people that still do it and never shut it off unless they are home. I would probably leave mine on most of the time. But I am wary of fueling the TV while it is burning away. Can you say BOOM !
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