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Old 05-27-2010, 12:46 AM   #1
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Unhappy Battery Drain Frig

The original dometic refrigerator (RM75) in my '73 finally stopped working and I replaced it with a new dometic (RM2820).
However, the new refrigerator requires a continuous 12-volt connection to operate the control panel. The problem is that I dry camp most of the time and the new refrigerator drains my battery in three days. Before the new refrigerator my battery would last 7 days.
I use separate LED lights in my trailer so the only drain on the battery is the refrigerator and the occasional use of the water pump.
Is there anyway to reduce the power consumption of the refrigerator to make my batteries last longer?
If I'm camping in an area where it gets cold at night I turn the refrigerator off to make my battery last longer.
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:13 AM   #2
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Wow - Sorry to hear that.

You could give Dometic a call? They may have an idea? Or at least tell you how many watts the fridge is drawing? I think all new fridges require some sort of power to make them run.

Another idea - Perhaps you could put in a small solar panel? At least then you could replace a portion of what the fridge is drawing?

jd
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Old 05-27-2010, 04:34 AM   #3
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Light in fridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcmoore View Post
refrigerator drains my battery in three days. Before the new refrigerator my battery would last 7 days.
I use separate LED lights ........................ cold at night I turn the refrigerator off to make my battery last longer.
There are an assortment of things that can be done. You are already doing some of them; turning it off at night(when you can), LEDs. Other things you can do are, solar panels, charge your battery via your tow vehicle, add a battery, keep extra battery in tow vehicle, and put an LED inside the refrigerator. I think that one yours uses a festoon style light. The heat from old style bulb will use much more gas as well. There is more power used to keep the gas valve open. That is alot of power.

Click here to see the LED replacement if you have a Festoon

Also look at the pictures on that site. There is one that shows the heat the old bulb produces.
Dan
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:04 AM   #4
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Charging with the truck will take a long time and a lot of fuel. There may be something wrong with the fridge electronics, but you may have to use a generator and/or a solar panel to keep the batteries charged. Every couple of days we have to use the generator for an hour or so to keep the batteries charged even though we have a solar panel. The furnace fan takes the most power of anything.

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Old 05-27-2010, 06:14 AM   #5
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I seem to recall that the circuit board itself pulls about 1/2an amp. I do have some better info at home where someone actually measured it. Some models have a feature to turn off some features but you are still stuck with the circuit board. That 1/2 amp drain is 12 amp hours per day which is significant. I would much prefer the old thermocouple refrigerators for boondocking. Sometimes progress is not good..
It is the little constant loads that get you when boondocking. That 12 amp hours would amount to about 1/3 of the power we use in a day and will eat up the power gained by a 30 watt or so solar panel
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:38 AM   #6
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Your fridge also should have a switch that when on to reduce condensation, will draw quite a bit of power. Try checking to make sure it's off. The switch is inside the door frame, on top, and is a black rocker switch.
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcmoore View Post
The original dometic refrigerator (RM75) in my '73 finally stopped working and I replaced it with a new dometic (RM2820).
However, the new refrigerator requires a continuous 12-volt connection to operate the control panel. The problem is that I dry camp most of the time and the new refrigerator drains my battery in three days. Before the new refrigerator my battery would last 7 days.
I use separate LED lights in my trailer so the only drain on the battery is the refrigerator and the occasional use of the water pump.
Is there anyway to reduce the power consumption of the refrigerator to make my batteries last longer?
If I'm camping in an area where it gets cold at night I turn the refrigerator off to make my battery last longer.
As Terry said, some Dometic models come with 2 little switches on the upper door frame. One is for low ambient temperature use (this is for operation in very cold weather, and it essentially keeps the light on inside the fridge to 'trick' it into operating by slightly warming the interior). If you have this switch, DO NOT CHANGE THE LIGHT TO LED, AS IT WILL NO LONGER FUNCTION.

The second switch is for operation in high humidity areas. This activates a heating coil in the door frame to reduce condensation from the surrounding humidity. THIS WILL BE A BIG AMP DRAW.

What type of battery do you have, and what condition is it in? You may want to upgrade the battery, or increase your battery capacity.

A refrigerator control board will not typically draw down your battery in 3 days, but if you have a single group 24 battery and the board does draws 0.5 amps (I would check that) it will draw 12 amp/hours per day. Most group-24 batteries are about 80 amp/hours, giving you 40 effective amp/hours of capacity. 3 days at this rate will bring you down to 50%, so you probably need more battery capacity or an auxiliary charging source. YOUR TOW VEHICLE WILL NOT DO IT!

Maybe a 1000 watt generator like the Honda or Yamaha, or a solar panel would work for you.
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