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Old 08-30-2016, 12:22 PM   #1
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1971 31' Sovereign
Orange , California
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Best Dometic for wilderness camping

Hello. Since this is my first post, I'll start with a simple (?) question regarding a Dometic refer issue I've run into. I leave my 1971 Sovereign 30' parked in the middle (literally) of the woods. The issue is, I can't run a 12v required new Dometic, since my solar panels can't keep up with the nighttime amp requirement of the 12v controller that regulates the propane. Can someone point me in the direction of someone who knows about these things? Thanks. 1folksinger.
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:17 PM   #2
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Welcome. Member Lewster is resident solar pro.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:14 AM   #3
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1971 31' Sovereign
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wilderness dometic without power

Any ideas,for using a propane Dometic refer. In a 30' 1971 Sovereign? Can't use 12volt either.
Thanks 1folksinger.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:13 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum!

The 12-volt requirements for the fridge's control board, with the fridge running on propane, are actually quite low. Even an older trailer like yours should be able to make it for a day or two without any other charging of the batteries IMO, if the other 12-volt uses are kept to a minimum.

What is your battery set up? One or two -- age -- water level -- brand -- regular lead cell flooded -- etc..

You should also describe your solar set up, and the fridge you have. Is it original, and can you turn off what some older fridges have: the ability to run directly on 12-volt power to heat the element in the fridge, like the propane and 120 volt power can do?

Based on your situation, more expert advice than mine should be able to advise in detail.

Cheers,

Peter

PS -- Also, when just said, "Can't use 12volt either" are you referring to the other 12-volt uses like lights, outlets and so forth? Put another way, what 12-volt uses can you use if any? More detail will help in the diagnosis. Thanks. [edit -- for instance, does your 12-volt water pump still work OK?]

PS2 -- The moderators may want to move this thread to the Batteries sub-forum: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449/


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Originally Posted by 1folksinger View Post
Any ideas,for using a propane Dometic refer. In a 30' 1971 Sovereign? Can't use 12volt either.
Thanks 1folksinger.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:18 AM   #5
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PS3 -- I may have misread your original post, as it appears you want to get a new Dometic fridge? As far as I know, none of the new fridges use 12-volt directly as their primary source of heating the element which is part of the cooling system. The only options are 120-volt AC, or propane to do this.

My earlier comments would also apply to such a new fridge's control board needing only minimal overnight 12-volt power, so please give us more details.

Sorry for the oversight.

Peter
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:11 PM   #6
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Hey there and thanks for the answers regarding the use of a new, 12v required for operation, Dometic. A few answers first. Yes, I do have 12v lights in the bath, living room, kitchen and outside. The lights in the center bedroom don't work in any of the locations ( I blame mice, and corrosion.) My problem is with the newer model electronic control panel thar controls the propane flow on the latest Dometics. The year I attempted to use it, during the day, with the 60 W solar panels running, no issues. At night ( 3am-ish) the clicking, low power indicated light came on....and basically shut down the refer. I was using only one deep cell RV batt from Costco. It looks like the amps required for the controller couldn't be supplied by the batt at night. I have since found an older Dometic that only needs propane. (That's a whole other story for another post)
Thanks for any help on this issue. Would adding another batt solve the problem? I have a new Dometic that I can't use right now!
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:23 PM   #7
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Thanks for the note peter. As I wrote in another post, the one I bought about 5 years ago, seemed to require many many amps overnight..to the point where I had to use the generator to compensate for the lack of 12volt control. I'll try and find the model number for clarity. It was about $1400 delivered. The replacement one now leaks gas at the "electric/gas" switch.....which freaked me out when the thing "flashed" in my face! Just missed my eyebrows! Did you know propane doesn't need a flame to ignite!?
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:30 PM   #8
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If I'm following correctly, it seems like the easiest solution would be adding another battery to increase overnight capacity.

I have 2 X 100 watt solar panels and 2 X 12V marine batteries. I can run lights and fridge all night no problem and they are usually fully charged back up by noon the next day.
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:48 PM   #9
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The battery should last much longer than that if it's just powering the fridge. I've got no solar, but two batteries and can go at least 6 days of normal light, pump, fridge use before the batteries read between 1/3-2/3 full. There seems to be something else drawing a bit of 12v. The fridge uses about 1.5amps for the control board. On a full battery it should last much more than one night.
Was the one you bought a few years ago a 3 way?
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:54 PM   #10
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Please post more details about the model and year of your fridge, plus the age and size of your battery. Do you have a battery voltage monitor in the trailer? Ditto to Joe about one fully charged battery being enough to get through at least one night. If you have let the battery get low (below 12 volts often), you have probably damaged it and it is not going to be able to do the job for which it is intended. Another factor to consider here.

You should be able to force the fridge into a "propane only" mode. If you have it in "Auto" mode it may be trying to find AC or 12-volt DC power all during the night, which would use up more electrical current than need be.

The new fridge should have included a detailed manual which may help navigate its control panel. Does the manual say how to use only propane?

And yes adding another battery would make sense for a trailer of your size, if there is a convenient place to locate it.

Also if your 12-volt lighting uses the old incandescent bulbs it is using up a lot of juice also, probably more than you may realize.

Peter
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Please post more details about the model and year of your fridge, plus the age and size of your battery. Do you have a battery voltage monitor in the trailer? Ditto to Joe about one fully charged battery being enough to get through at least one night. If you have let the battery get low (below 12 volts often), you have probably damaged it and it is not going to be able to do the job for which it is intended. Another factor to consider here.

You should be able to force the fridge into a "propane only" mode. If you have it in "Auto" mode it may be trying to find AC or 12-volt DC power all during the night, which would use up more electrical current than need be.

The new fridge should have included a detailed manual which may help navigate its control panel. Does the manual say how to use only propane?

And yes adding another battery would make sense for a trailer of your size, if there is a convenient place to locate it.

Also if your 12-volt lighting uses the old incandescent bulbs it is using up a lot of juice also, probably more than you may realize.

Peter
Good call on lights. I swapped all the incandescently for LEDs. About a buck a bulb on Amazon. Decreased power draw significantly.
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Old 09-12-2016, 01:28 PM   #12
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Hi guys. I'll try and answer as many questions as possible. Yes, I was only using one Costco deep cell RV battery. The model 2820 is a three way I believe. (Propane, 12V and 120.) I use a Sunforce 60W solar panel, which gets about 5 0r 6 hours of full sunlight. The only other 12v in the trailer are the lights. I have gravity feed water pressure, so no pumps are required. It's parked year round, so no running lights either. I DO need a new propane regulator, but the 12v control panel is what's stumped me. From all I've read, it looks like a twin battery set up would do the trick, but I'll have to find out more when I find the owner's manual. I'll keep in touch when I find more out about the model.
Thanks again, Steve.
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Old 09-12-2016, 02:13 PM   #13
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The 2820 does not cool using 12V. It only cools from 120VAC and propane, but the control board and the gas valve operate from 12 VDC. The control board draws very little current, but the gas valve draws a lot - around 1.5 amps or 36 watts but only when the propane is being used to heat the refrigerant.

There is a strip heater in the door frame to control condensation. It runs from 12V and draws a lot of power. Make sure that switch is OFF. It is in the frame of the door opening, top center. Also make sure your low ambient switch is OFF. It runs the light all the time, even when the door is closed.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...qx5aCQ&cad=rja

Bottom line - you should able to use your new fridge as you planned.

Al
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