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Old 08-14-2010, 02:09 PM   #1
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2-way vs. 3-way Dometic

Anyone have any experience with both 2- and 3-way refers and opinions on which is preferable?

We're looking to replace our 38 year old Dometic and aren't sure which way to go.
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:31 PM   #2
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If you have solar to keep the batteries charged, you might consider the Tundra line of fridges. They are made with the danfoss compressor and run on 12V and 110V. They run 30 degrees off level. We have the 9.5 cf model in our liner, after four days in Salida with no hookups except for the solar panels the two optima yellow top batteries were at 12.4V the last morning.

Bill

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Anyone have any experience with both 2- and 3-way refers and opinions on which is preferable?

We're looking to replace our 38 year old Dometic and aren't sure which way to go.
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:33 PM   #3
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I wish I'd known about Bill's fridge before we replaced ours!

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Old 08-14-2010, 04:21 PM   #4
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2-way vs. 3-way Dometic Refrigerators

Greetings loriday!

Quote:
Originally Posted by loriday View Post
Anyone have any experience with both 2- and 3-way refers and opinions on which is preferable?

We're looking to replace our 38 year old Dometic and aren't sure which way to go.
I had never had anything other than Dometic 3-way Refrigerators (from 1980) until I purchased my first Airstream product in 1995. I was shocked to learn that Airstream hadn't made the 3-way product a standard feature. Since the refrigerator in my Overlander was non-functional, I had it replaced with a new Dometic 3-Way Refrigerator and have had absolutely no regrets - - unit is approaching 15 years old and the only problem has been the electronic control board and it was replaced with a Dinosaur Board and had continued its excellent performance.

I consider traveling with the propane valves open an unnecessary risk, and am happy to run my refrigerator on 12-volt anytime that I am towing. The refrigerator is always pre-cooled on either LP or 120-Volt AC before taking off on a road trip. When my dealer installed the new refrigerator, a heavy duty power feed was run from the new 12-volt distribution panel that was part of the coach's solar installation.

My Minuet's original refrigerator continues to operate as designed, so I still haven't replaced it. When it fails, there is no question in my mind that I will be replacing it with a Dometic 3-Way.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:27 PM   #5
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Overlander64, when you're traveling with the refer on 12v, does your tow vehicle generate enough current to also charge the battery in your Airstream?
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:37 PM   #6
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It would be great to get more info on the solar set up and fridge specs. I'm working on our Globie at the moment and trying to figure out what to do with the gaping hole where the fridge goes. We want to be able to boondock, but I'm wondering about the 3way fridge's operation on gas if there is a problem with the trailer being level, if is enough to make the gas refer system malfunction. Thanks

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Old 08-15-2010, 07:15 AM   #7
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The conventional wisdom is that small fridges installed in motorhomes and van conversions should be 3 way. Large fridges, because of the current draw, are not thought to be practicable in 3 way configurations and are generally not available set up that way. Fridges in travel trailers, even small ones, are generally 2 way because in many such cases a 3 way fridge won't perform well.

Sometimes a 3 way fridge in a motorhome or van conversion is set up so that it will not run on 12 volts except when the engine is running.

The difficulty stems from the fact that a typical 3-way fridge will draw 15-20 amps at 12 volts. That is enough to drain the coach batteries in less than a day in many cases, and it is rare that the charging line from the tow vehicle is set up well enough to help much.

If I were replacing a smaller fridge available in a 3 way configuration, I'd get the 3 way version and install the 12 volt line, but then again I have a modified (heavier) charge line in my tow vehicle and figure I could make it work.

I have a 7 cf fridge in my trailer that is 2 way and I use the propane.
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:04 AM   #8
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2-way vs. 3-way Dometic

Greetings loriday!

Quote:
Originally Posted by loriday View Post
Overlander64, when you're traveling with the refer on 12v, does your tow vehicle generate enough current to also charge the battery in your Airstream?
When my dealer wires my tow vehicles, the technician is aware that I have 3-way refrigerators in my trailers so a much heavier wire is run from the engine bay back to the rear bumper to facilitate running as much energy as practical for the connection. Even without the solar setup that I have on the Overlander, I have never experienced a problem with unusual depletion of the charge on my coach battery. I am planning on adding a second battery on the Minuet when it comes time to replace its original Dometic with a new 3-Way Dometic as it uses a group 24 rather than the more typical group 27 coach battery.

Kevin.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:08 AM   #9
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2-way vs 3 way

I have a late model 3-way Dometic.

I tried using it on DC while driving but the alernater on my F-150 wouldn't keep up with the drawn. It would drain the battery in the trailer while driving.

I now use it on propane while on the road.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loriday View Post
Anyone have any experience with both 2- and 3-way refers and opinions on which is preferable?

We're looking to replace our 38 year old Dometic and aren't sure which way to go.
It is obviously a personal choice. If you choose a 3 way, you have more options of how to run it. The real question is: "if you have a 3 way, how do you power it when towing?".

My experience is, if you run it on 12 volts, unless you run a larger battery charge wire than what is usually standard in the tow vehicle, you will discharge the trailer battery while driving. Even with a larger wire it is likely that the battery will charge very slowly.

Since I decided that I prefer to run the refer on propane whenever not plugged into AC, it made no difference to me whether my trailer came with 2 or 3 way. The only added benefit of a 3 way for me, would be if I unexpectedly had no propane flow. That is not likely with my setup, considering that I always travel with a spare regulator.

Also there are safety considerations with having the propane on when driving. That is discussed in many other threads.

Regards,
Ken
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:22 PM   #11
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Having had several 3-ways in various RV's in the past and not all that happy with them I was reluctant to get a 2-way in our new purchased '08 SS. Talking to the service manager he claimed the new Dometic auto 2-ways were a cut above the old 3-ways. After several years using ours, I am a believer. Ours produces ice when on the road and always stays cold in the auto position with the propane turned on. We just don't worry about it.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loriday View Post
Anyone have any experience with both 2- and 3-way refers and opinions on which is preferable?

We're looking to replace our 38 year old Dometic and aren't sure which way to go.
With 4 80watt solar panels I run the fridge on DC on a sunny day. To run on DC you need a much heavier gauge dc connection than with a 2 way. Pretty cool, no?
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:21 PM   #13
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Over 59, the DC connection you mention, is it within the trailer, or from the tow vehicle for charging? Do you have more information on the solar panels you could share? I'm curious also about the panels keeping the battery charged when the trailer isn't being used for periods. We're trying to figure out what the most efficient and economical refer set up is for occasional use, but we find we want to go to parks that don't have full hookups, so the gas option seems a must. If we could run it on DC utilizing solar to keep the battery up, maybe that is a viable option? Thank....
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