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Old 12-18-2018, 08:47 AM   #1
Tamaroak
 
2019 25' Flying Cloud
Stillwater , Minnesota
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Inverter power for fridge while underway

I own a trawler and will buy an Airstream this year, probably a 25 Flying Cloud. I wonder why I couldn’t install an A/B switch for fridge power that would allow me to choose between shore power at the pedestal and 110v from the inverter, to be used while towing. I think that if this option would be selected while the engine is off it could switch to propane. But would this work?
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:05 AM   #2
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Inverter Power for Fridge while Towing

Greetings Tamaroak!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Airstreaming!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamaroak View Post
I own a trawler and will buy an Airstream this year, probably a 25 Flying Cloud. I wonder why I couldn’t install an A/B switch for fridge power that would allow me to choose between shore power at the pedestal and 110v from the inverter, to be used while towing. I think that if this option would be selected while the engine is off it could switch to propane. But would this work?
What you propose is possible, but you might try what I do with my Overlander -- turn off the valves on your propane tanks while traveling thus eliminating the possibility that the refrigerator might automatically switch to the propane setting. When I had the restoration work done on my Overlander, I chose a Dometic 3-way refrigerator so rather than utilizing my Inverter to convert 12-vot DC to 120-volt AC, I just turn off the Inverter and gas supply when traveling and the refrigerator auto-selects 12-volt DC. The limiting factor is the battery capacity available in your coach in relation to the draw of the refrigerator. My Overlander has three large AGM RV/Marine batteries and three roof-mounted solar panels and I have never experienced a shortage of 12-volt DC power when traveling with my refrigerator operating on 12-volt DC.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 12-18-2018, 02:09 PM   #3
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But our fridge in the 25RB doesn’t have a 12v option, only 110v and propane.
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Old 12-18-2018, 02:26 PM   #4
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I think the heating element the larger 2-door Dometics in our modern trailers use is the 325W one.

So, the input you need is 325W, which would equate to about 26A at 12.7V. However, the inverter isn't 100% efficient... WFCO claims 86% efficiency, so now you need about 30A at 12V. It's unlikely that your vehicle will be able to consistently deliver close to that on an extended basis without some modification. If you're not supplying that, your batteries are good for perhaps a couple of hours at that discharge rate.

The propane system, however, draws very little current to keep the valve open and ignite the burner.
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Old 12-18-2018, 02:59 PM   #5
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Plenty of folks tow their Airstreams with the fridge running on propane and 12 volt control system. Just turn it off when fueling near a gas pump.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Frid...com&gws_rd=ssl

Keep It Simple, Stu.

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Old 12-18-2018, 03:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Plenty of folks tow their Airstreams with the fridge running on propane and 12 volt control system. Just turn it off when fueling near a gas pump.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Frid...com&gws_rd=ssl

Keep It Simple, Stu.

Yup. That discussion has been beat to death (multiple times). I just make sure the fridge doors are well clear of the gas pump, and otherwise leave the propane on while I'm on the road. It's a non-issue unless I'm heading for a tunnel that's posted as requiring propane to be turned off while in the tunnel...and that's an East Coast thing, IIRC.

Gasoline fumes tend to be heavier than air anyway...and modern pumps recycle the vapors, or simply burn them off after collecting them in a controlled manner...
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Old 12-19-2018, 10:23 AM   #7
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To OP: Based on this thread so far, it appears your options are (in no particular order):
1. Sell the boat; Buy the Airstream.
2. Replace the fridge with one that supports 12v.
3. Always run the fridge on propane.
4. Try your idea, but heed DKB_SATX's warnings.

Personally, I'd choose #1, but I'm admittedly biased.
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Old 12-19-2018, 10:29 AM   #8
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I run my fridge on inverter from time to time. It draws over 400watts when cooling. Propane is far more efficient - that draws about 50 watts of 12v power when cooling.

I’m fine with a huge lithium battery bank but on regular lead acid I would and have always run using propane going on down the road.
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