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Old 08-07-2014, 09:52 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
Chris

Since you have been hooked up to shore power, was there any particular reason why you were using the 12v mode to operate the fridge? It would be much better to operate it on 120v AC power.

I did not know you could still get a fridge that was 3 way power.

BTW, my Dometic fridge is about 2 years old. It has a 12v connection, for the controls, I presume, but it does not seem to draw any 12v power when I boondock. I can boondock for 4 days and the battery voltage typically only drops from about 12.9v to 12.7v. No solar, and don't see any reason for solar since my battery power usage is so small. I have actually operated my fridge for days without any batteries installed and I was not connected to shore power.

Sounds like your battery might be toast, but I would take it out and charge it with a trickle charger and then have it tested at your local auto parts store.

As for bad luck, Chris, when I went boondock camping two weeks ago, my electric jack would not work and my water pump sounded like it wanted to quit and leave me without water. After that trip I installed a manual jack and a new water pump! With a manual jack one less thing to fail.

Good luck, Dan
Hey Dan,

I switched it over to 12V for 2 reasons

1st just to check that it was switching over correctly, which it was.

2nd and more importantly i do not feel that the refer is working properly on Shore power, it works beautifully on propane which is how I use when we are camping.

As for bad luck, my worst, and now funniest story.
We were driving back from WDW to my brothers in North carolina last november and as we got into Georgia our camper door blew open. it stayed on the hinges but flattened out very badly. The only thing to do was to take it off the hinges and drive to N.C. and eventually New York City without a door. we can laugh about it now
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:28 PM   #16
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If you were on shore power the converter should be capable of keeping the battery charged. Even with the refer on 12 volts. Most 3 stage converters are rated at 45 amps or more. If the refer has a 12 volt 240 watt element, it would draw 20 amps. Leaving you with at least 25 amps of excess capacity to keep the battery charged.
I would check to make sure the converter is actually charging the battery.
I would also put the refer on 120 volts to see how well it works.
Keeping in mind that the propane operation will normally give you better cooling than either electrical mode.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:31 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
If you were on shore power the converter should be capable of keeping the battery charged. Even with the refer on 12 volts. Most 3 stage converters are rated at 45 amps or more. If the refer has a 12 volt 240 watt element, it would draw 20 amps. Leaving you with at least 25 amps of excess capacity to keep the battery charged.
I would check to make sure the converter is actually charging the battery.
I would also put the refer on 120 volts to see how well it works.
Keeping in mind that the propane operation will normally give you better cooling than either electrical mode.
I will definitely check the converter
The refer is not acting correctly on 120, but does run great on propane.

Thanks Twinkie
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:55 PM   #18
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I will definitely check the converter
The refer is not acting correctly on 120, but does run great on propane.

Thanks Twinkie
AFAIK, the only principle difference between operation on 120V and LP gas is that there is a 120V heater element that replaces the energy that the LP gas provides when it is producing the power to chill things.

The heating element is one of the very few 'disposable' parts of your refer, but three years is pretty 'young' for it to go...
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:01 PM   #19
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Another item of interest on RV refers is the discussions around fans. This retailer/manufacturer makes and sells small fans and mounting devices that he claims are very effective in improving and maintaining the life and performance of RV refers.

Worth reading his site. The little fans he sells are not expensive, and are really just computer fans, which you may already have on hand.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:25 PM   #20
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If you were on shore power when you switched to 12V and stayed on shore power, there is no way the battery should have been dead. If stuff started to work when you hooked up the truck, that is an indication that, for whatever reason, the converter was not putting out any power. You either had a converter failure or blew a fuse, if there is one on the converter output.

Your battery may be OK. However, even the smallest Dometic 3-way fridge takes over 10 amps when operating from 12V. That will kill a Group 27 in less than 12 hours.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:40 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
Chris


BTW, my Dometic fridge is about 2 years old. It has a 12v connection, for the controls, I presume, but it does not seem to draw any 12v power when I boondock. I can boondock for 4 days and the battery voltage typically only drops from about 12.9v to 12.7v. No solar, and don't see any reason for solar since my battery power usage is so small. I have actually operated my fridge for days without any batteries installed and I was not connected to shore power.
Dan: you most likely have a refrigerator with the older non electric propane control system. They have a two level flame, which goes from low to high when cooling is needed, then back to low flame. The flame never goes out, and there is not a pilot light, just hi and lo flame. Once ignited no power at all is needed to run those type of refrigerator. I have one, about 3 years old, in my Argosy so they are still available. On mine there is a 12 volt connection to operate the spark lighter only, but once it is lighted, no other power is consumed.

Most propane refrigerators built today use a system which lights the flame each time cooling is called for. This requires 12 volt power for the electronic thermostat, the circuit board to ignite and prove the flame, and the gas valve. My 2014 FC has that kind of refrigerator, and when the burner is on, it takes about 0.3 amps at 12 volts to keep it going. Less when the burner is off. I have measured others at 0.7 amps when running.


I think the OP of this thread had switched his refrigerator to operate on 12 volts only, which requires about 20 to 25 amps to operate the 12 volt heating element. That is what killed his battery so fast. And his converter/charger may not be working properly as it should have provided enough power to run the 20 + amp load, as others have noted.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:42 PM   #22
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If you were on shore power when you switched to 12V and stayed on shore power, there is no way the battery should have been dead. If stuff started to work when you hooked up the truck, that is an indication that, for whatever reason, the converter was not putting out any power. You either had a converter failure or blew a fuse, if there is one on the converter output.

Your battery may be OK. However, even the smallest Dometic 3-way fridge takes over 10 amps when operating from 12V. That will kill a Group 27 in less than 12 hours.
I did check the fuses that were handy and they were all okay. i'll investigate the converter tomorrow, as I stated earlier the battery, univolt, converter were all replaced last year so something is obviously wrong.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:06 AM   #23
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So, my next question is how do I check to see if the converter is working?
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:41 AM   #24
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So, my next question is how do I check to see if the converter is working?
Disconnect the negative battery terminal, and see if the lights in the trailer still work. IF they do, step 2 would involve a volt meter at the (now reconnected) battery terminals. If the battery is fully charged, you should see voltage of about 13.5
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:04 AM   #25
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fridge killed battery

Did you check the fuses on the converter itself? There are usually 2 40 amp fuses to protect the converter from a reverse polarity connection. If they blow there will be no output from the converter.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:43 AM   #26
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Quick update,
Took the battery to Napa this morning since it is a Napa marine deep cycle blah blah batty. It had 6.7 volts in it. Unfortunately the do not have a capability to charge so I went over to Auto Zone for a charge. Here is where I learned that it would not accept a charge so back to napa I went where they gave me a credit for the 10 month old battery so the new one cost me 45 bucks. I Hooked the battery up and lo and behold everything works as it should.

Quick update on the converter.I went over all the fuses this morning and they were all picture perfect, so in my amateur opinion this was a weak battery that died.

I toyed with buying a glass matt battery last year, looks like I should have.

I hope this chapter is now closed.
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:11 AM   #27
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dcorona
what was the water level in the battery? If the battery was low you won't be able to get a full charge. Also if running refrig on 12v alone it won't last more than 1-2 days. More efficient to run it on propane.
Steve
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:09 AM   #28
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This is getting way more complicated than it needs to be. The answer is simple and has been pointed out at least a few times so far by Idroba and others. If you have a refrigerator that runs off of 12v DC (not including that small amount used for control), it can not be run it in that position for very long at all. A matter of hours in fact. It is a huge current draw. I had one in an older trailer several years ago and in warm weather the charging line from the tow vehicle could not keep up with it. If I tried to tow with the refer in the 12v position, the trailer battery would be dead when I reached the destination. I suggest that the batteries are now ruined and need to be replaced. After that do not run the Refer in 12v postion. Use in in the gas or 115v (on shore power) positions only. It it does have both those options then replace it with a more modern one.

My 2 cents worth,

Ken
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