Refrigerator solution while on the road - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-13-2016, 11:14 AM   #1
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Name: Mark
Trailer: Bigfoot
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Refrigerator solution while on the road

We have a Dometic RM2652 refrigerator that runs on LP or AC. Previously I had a trailer with a refrigerator that could run on 12V, so I was surprised that the Dometic did not run on 12V. My question is, for folks that are on the road, how do you keep your food cold? A cooler would be a solution, but it seems like a pain to transfer food back and forth between the cooler and refrigerator twice a day, and deal with ice. I also thought about an AC invertor that I could run off the 12V to power the refrigerator but that seems very inefficient. Any other ideas?

Thanks, Mark

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Old 08-13-2016, 11:34 AM   #2
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Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
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On the road, I run on propane. Have to shut the fridge down for refueling and for tunnels and ferries.
I've also just kept the fridge door closed and traveled five hours without my ice cream getting too soft.
I was going to get a three-way fridge until it was pointed out to me that if you boondock, leave camp with a depleted battery and drive to the next camp while running the fridge on 12V, you will arrive with a depleted battery. Tow vehicle can't supply enough power to charge battery and run fridge ( even with 10 gauge wire ).

What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:38 AM   #3
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Name: Wayne
Trailer: Casita
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Hey Mark,
I know you'll get some differing opinions on this and I asked the same question on one the Casita forums awhile back. I travel with the refrigerator on propane. Some people will not do that for safety reasons, but the responses I got to my question convinced me to try it and I've been running on propane ever since. Peace!
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:39 AM   #4
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Name: Norm and Ginny
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We typically don't run our fridge when driving, usually no more than four hours a day. We have no freezer. We've traveled this way for 3000 days on the road and never had an issue.

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Norm and Ginny

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Old 08-13-2016, 11:41 AM   #5
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 155
Non 12 volt fridge.

Your fridge if run on 12 volts would require up to 18 amps of power. It's a big fridge. That's why you don't have the option of 12 volts. I suggest you run down the road using propane and stop to turn it off when you stop to fuel up your tow vehicle. If you will only be on the road for two or three hours, run the fridge on 120v for at least a day before you start traveling and then turn it off to travel and back on propane when you arrive at your destination.
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:42 AM   #6
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Name: Bill
Trailer: Escape
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Your refrigerator is also an insulated cooler. In moderate weather I never power it while travelling and the food stays cold. I also keep it quite full - especially the freezer. In hot weather I run it on LP while driving, remembering to turn it off prior to fueling. I never run it on 12v as it takes too much power and the battery won't charge well.
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Old 08-13-2016, 12:09 PM   #7
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Name: David
Trailer: Boler
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I'm new to the trailer life but I came from 34 years of sail boating. Most marine refrigerators are 12 V and use a compressor. I believe a refer made for 12V only would draw much less than a RV refer on 12V because it is basically powering a heater which takes much more juice. I just bought a small Dometic unit that runs on propane or 120 V. I think that is the way to go. Plus they are quiet.
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Old 08-13-2016, 02:21 PM   #8
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Trailer: 2014 16 scamp side dinette/Rav4 V6 Tow pkg.
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If you travel with fridge on and are only moving for a few hours, you do not need to do anything. So long as you have powered up the day before you leave and chill everything 1st, it will stay cold. However, i have the 3 way fridge, the small one 1.9 and i run it on 12 V all the time i am on long drives. no problems. Perhaps the smaller fridge does not require much power.
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Old 08-13-2016, 03:06 PM   #9
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Bigfoot B-17 CB
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My newer Dometic refrigerator (2012) only runs on propane or 120 Volts but it does have an electronic ignition, so no pilot light. I've traveled about 15000 miles without any issues or problems. The trailer is here at the house and the refer is always turned on (110V) at home. Gotta keep the beer cold !
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Old 08-13-2016, 03:37 PM   #10
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Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
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On my old Scamp with its small fridge and poorly designed install (pilot would blow out) I did not run in on propane when traveling. Used freezer packs in it and did not open.

New trailer has a larger, brand new Dometic fridge that runs on Propane and electric only and its been installed much better to allow it to run on propane while traveling. Have only traveled about 2500 miles with it running on propane so far but no problems to report.

Just need to remember to turn it off before pulling into the gas pump and before boarding a ferry but the folks at the ticket booth will remind you to do that.
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:08 PM   #11
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Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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you could...

my Dometic 3663 (3 way) fried it's circuit board....I found a 2 way board from a scrapped fridge (2???) (?)....front control panel fit my fridge perfectly.....never used mine on 12V anyway for reasons stated earlier....

If you won't (I do) or can't keep the propane could freeze water containers in your freezer (Lord knows it's big enough)....I keep three 2L containers in the lower part of the freezer...they "nest" quite nicely in there

when/if the fridge will be off for a period of time I transfer one or two containers to the fridge area (turn into an ice box)

and I will NEVER...ever... run out of water.......(just gonna have to wait till it thaws)
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:19 PM   #12
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Name: Darwin
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We purchase drinking water bottles, freeze them and a day B 4 departure we turn on the Fridge and get it as cold as it can get and day of departure insert the frozen bottles used to assist in cooling the fridge and for drinking. We purchase items to eat as we travel and eat out most of the time. No Boondocking. It is a vacation for moth me and my wife so she can enjoy without cooking.
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:48 PM   #13
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British Columbia
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Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
and my wife so she can enjoy without cooking.
You don't cook??
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:57 PM   #14
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Name: Lynn
Trailer: 2013 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17, purchased from original owners May, 2016
Posts: 326
I thought it was pretty cool (as it were) to have a three-way 'fridge, but now I'm beginning to wonder what the point of having 12V capability is. On shore power, you naturally run the 'fridge on AC. When boondocking, off shore power, propane is quite efficient, while running the 'fridge on 12v will quickly deplete your trailer battery. When traveling, many say the alternators on your tow vehicles can't keep the trailer battery(ies) charged and also run the 'fridge. I haven't tried it yet with our Expedition, as our trips have been short.

So when do you use the 12V?

As for running the 'fridge on propane when traveling, the PO of our Casita told me he did it. But many say it is not safe, and I am inclined to think they're right (without any hard evidence).

/Mr Lynn

"The Molded Fiberglass Obsession"—From a Pickup Cap to a Casita

"Hillbilly at Harvard"—Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
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