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Old 11-26-2016, 04:11 PM   #1
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Dometic fridge requiring strong battery?

Hello.

I bought and installed a Dometic two way refrigerator (2351 Americana) last season. It required wiring to the 12 volt battery in the coach.

My issue is that if the battery is weak or dead, this refrigerator won't light! No override to light it and if its already lit and the battery power dips a bit, it will lose its flame and turn off.

Had no idea when I bought it that it wasn't self sufficient without a strong battery. I replaced the original refrigerator which just required me to to light it and walk away. Anyway, anybody have any ideas on how to override this feature? I've considered a secondary independent battery just for the fridge. Bad idea?

May not be an issue next season as I discovered late in the year that an inline fuse had blown from my solar panel to the battery which left me with a weak battery all season.

Regardless, this feature is no bueno as I boondock 100% of the time.

Ideas?
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Old 11-26-2016, 04:22 PM   #2
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More power! Sounds like you could handle more amps battery and solar if 100% boondocking. Also a small light generator for extra battery charging might help.
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Old 11-26-2016, 05:14 PM   #3
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The only "refrigerator" which works without electricity these days is a cooler with ice in it, as far as I know. Your Dometic's specifications are probably pretty clear about needing 12-volt power IMO.

Your Dometic will also work with store-bought ice inside to keep things cool, but not the freezer obviously.

Piggy Bank has a great approach for making custom blocks of ice at home in aluminum roasting pans, and using these for cooling, as blocks of ice last way longer than cubes. See Post #61 here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f295...-a-136645.html

We made some custom blocks for a trip last summer, and they lasted double or triple the time of bagged ice +/-, plus they fit perfectly in the cooler, and you could stack things on top of them, as the tops were flat and stayed flat as they melted. Nice!

Have you considered getting a small generator, as Michael just suggested? We got a tri-fuel Yamaha 1000 watt inverter from US Carburetor, which runs off our propane tanks (or a separate BBQ-type tank), and it provides plenty of juice to charge the batteries AND run the fridge at the same time. Plus it is pretty quiet and can be located anywhere near the trailer with our 2 10' extension propane hoses.

Post #39 here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...ay-150492.html

Good luck!

Peter
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Old 11-26-2016, 05:24 PM   #4
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The control board in the Dometic should only be drawing milliamperes of power but it does require them to control the temperature and to activate the gas solenoid.

If you are routinely driving your batteries down to where the reefer shuts off, you aren't doing your batteries any favors so you might consider installing some solar or running a genset.
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Old 11-26-2016, 06:13 PM   #5
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As others have said, if you are running your batteries so low there is no power to the fridge control board, you are really punishing your batteries. I think them going to an electronic control board was kinda stupid. I mean what is the point of a gas fridge if it needs power to run. I don't boondock at the moment so it would be a moot point for me till the power went out for a week like it has after tornado season. You could have a second small computer battery that was isolated with a diode or something so nothing but the fridge can draw power from it.

Perry
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Old 11-26-2016, 08:33 PM   #6
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You'll be fine boondocking as far as the fridge draw goes, about an amp normally less. With solar working topping off batteries even better. I can easily go a week on the batteries (2x group27)(>50%) with the fridge on propane no solar.

If I know I'm going for a while I'll run the genny for a few hours a day. If I know I'll be hooking up to shore power after 5-6 days I'll usually just wait.
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Old 11-26-2016, 08:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by star kitty View Post
Hello.

I bought and installed a Dometic two way refrigerator (2351 Americana) last season. It required wiring to the 12 volt battery in the coach.
. . .
Regardless, this feature is no bueno as I boondock 100% of the time.

Ideas?
It might be helpful if you let us know the size and age of your one battery, and length of time you want to be able to boondock. One Group 24 battery and more than a week may be a recipe for new larger batteries, solar/gen, etc. IMO.

Good luck!
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Old 11-26-2016, 08:54 PM   #8
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[QUOTE

Regardless, this feature is no bueno as I boondock 100% of the time.

Ideas?[/QUOTE]

More solar and battery capacity, Or a small generator to run once in a while.
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:00 PM   #9
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One way to look at this is when your refrigerator is not cooling your battery voltage is low and you have an electrical problem that needs fixing.
I might suggest getting a voltmeter and wiring it in so you can look at it periodically to check on your battery voltage. I have one called a "voltminder" that was less than $30.
We typically boondock and can easily go 4 or 5 days. The battery voltage rarely goes below 12.4 volts. We carry a 1000 watt generator just in case we need it.
Since you have fixed your electrical problem and have solar it sounds like the fridge should not be a problem now.

Dan
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Old 11-27-2016, 05:59 AM   #10
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Ok, well it sounds like the consensus is that I didn't pay enough attention to my battery!

I do charge it with solar but the inline fuse was blown this year that I only discovered near the end of the season. I had no idea it wasn't charging...oversight on my part!

In the past, I've had plenty of battery power as I use very little draw so no need in more power....just a little more vigilance.

Thank you!
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Old 11-27-2016, 03:56 PM   #11
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If the voltage is below 10.5 volts the refer gas valve will not open. Conversely, if it is running and the voltage goes below 10.5 the gas will shut off. That is also how your gas heater works. I would get a fully charges battery and see if your problem don't go away.
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