Originally Posted by bcmoore
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.