Burro refrigerator - help! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-28-2012, 09:03 PM   #1
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Last trip out a week and a half ago, my burro refrigerator was working fine, both on battery and electric. New trip and I assumed all was okay and packed it up, plugged the burro into the car, set it for 12 volt and off we went. Setting up camp tonight and getting ready for dinner, I find it did not cool on battery - I tried resetting with the electric plugged in and it is cooling.

This is only my second trip in the burro. I had it in the off position when it was sitting awaiting trip two. Is there something obvious I've screwed up that you think a newby might be able to fix?
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:58 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue and Henry View Post
Last trip out a week and a half ago, my burro refrigerator was working fine, both on battery and electric. New trip and I assumed all was okay and packed it up, plugged the burro into the car, set it for 12 volt and off we went. Setting up camp tonight and getting ready for dinner, I find it did not cool on battery - I tried resetting with the electric plugged in and it is cooling.

This is only my second trip in the burro. I had it in the off position when it was sitting awaiting trip two. Is there something obvious I've screwed up that you think a newby might be able to fix?
The only thing I can come up with is that my 12vDC fridge quit as well
but I had rewired a circuit in the DC that was also connected to the fridge and I had reversed the polarity. It would not run on DC until I reversed the polarity back! If you have not done that then a possible open DC circuit,
internal fuse or, and hopefully not, defective DC control module in the
fridge is at fault. Try swapping the DC leads first...Good Luck...
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djtriceflt

The only thing I can come up with is that my 12vDC fridge quit as well
but I had rewired a circuit in the DC that was also connected to the fridge and I had reversed the polarity. It would not run on DC until I reversed the polarity back! If you have not done that then a possible open DC circuit,
internal fuse or, and hopefully not, defective DC control module in the
fridge is at fault. Try swapping the DC leads first...Good Luck...
I'm not brave enough to attempt wiring so the simple solution is not going to work. Are the fuse and/or DC control replaceable or is my 82 refrigerator old enough that finding replacement parts unlikely? Would I take it to an RV place or a refrigerator repairman?
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:40 AM   #4
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Before you write the problem off to the fridge you should if you havent already check your battery.

Older style fridges can run a battery down very fast. Did you check the status of your battery when the fridge was not working? Is the battery more than 4 years old or has it ever been allowed to drop down below 50% of its charge more than a few times? If so it may not be holding enough of a charge to run the fridge more than a couple of hours. Is your vehicle set up to charge the trailer battery when driving - some are not and even if it is it takes a number of hours of driving for many of them to charge up the battery and if the fridge is draining faster than the car is charging thats not helping.

When traveling I dont use the fridge DC - I make sure I cool the fridge down well before leaving - plug in the day before and then I put a couple of plastic milk jugs with frozen water in the fridge to keep it cool while driving - once at destination plug in to 110 or put the fridge on propane.

Edit: forgot to mention that if you had not cooled the fridge down prior to leaving it may not have been a long enough trip to cool it down. Mine takes a number of hours in on position to actually be able to tell that it has cooled down.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:58 AM   #5
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I've never seen grat results on 12V, 110 and LP are fine.

I've been curious is perhaps 12 and 110 use separate heating elements and maybe my 12V element is in need of replacement.

Just my uneducated theory.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:37 PM   #6
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On my now-defunct Dometic 2333 the 12v element was 123 watts and the 120v element was something like 170 watts. The 12v was useless, and I ran the 120 watt element off an inverter for a while when traveling and eventually the whole thing became useless, so I was forced to change to a 12v DC high-efficiency compressor-type. A-OK now.
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Old 06-29-2012, 06:12 PM   #7
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I would confirm the problem at home by testing when I know battery is fully charged and hooked to a charger/converter that will maintain the charge even with fridge running on 12 volt.

It does take several hours to cool down a three way fridge, 12 volt is the least effective energy source.

It takes a lot of 12 volt current to generate the heat, you may well have been running in the negative, vehicle providing charge to battery at a lesser rate than fridge is drawing it down.

First trip fully charged battery carried you through, second trip battery down from first trip because you ran a deficit.

One other note: As a batter gets drained it's voltage drops, if your fridge heating element requires say 123 watts to provide the proper heat. The lower your battery voltage the greater your amp draw required to deliver that wattage. (watts = volts x amps) The lower your battery gets the faster it gets low. Battery storage is measured in amp/hours and you have to keep pushing more and more amps as the voltage drops.

If you started the second trip with the battery at 75% charge....
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H
Before you write the problem off to the fridge you should if you havent already check your battery.

Older style fridges can run a battery down very fast. Did you check the status of your battery when the fridge was not working? Is the battery more than 4 years old or has it ever been allowed to drop down below 50% of its charge more than a few times? If so it may not be holding enough of a charge to run the fridge more than a couple of hours. Is your vehicle set up to charge the trailer battery when driving - some are not and even if it is it takes a number of hours of driving for many of them to charge up the battery and if the fridge is draining faster than the car is charging thats not helping.

When traveling I dont use the fridge DC - I make sure I cool the fridge down well before leaving - plug in the day before and then I put a couple of plastic milk jugs with frozen water in the fridge to keep it cool while driving - once at destination plug in to 110 or put the fridge on propane.

Edit: forgot to mention that if you had not cooled the fridge down prior to leaving it may not have been a long enough trip to cool it down. Mine takes a number of hours in on position to actually be able to tell that it has cooled down.
I like to your advice about loading up the refrigerator with frozen bottles. I was assuming the battery did charging both when the car is in motion and when the burro is plugged into 110. The frozen containers certainly should keep our stuff cold enough until we get to the next nights hookup.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:55 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone! I think there might be some money in "fiberglass travel trailers for dummies". We can just gather all the newby questions and add your responses!
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:29 PM   #10
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If you dont have one you need to pickup a small battery monitor that you plug into the 12V plug in in your trailer. It will tell you what the state of your battery is and you can get them for under $20 some even cheaper. They look like this. It will tell you a lot about what is going on with your battery as well as The 12V side of life is a good read.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H
If you dont have one you need to pickup a small battery monitor that you plug into the 12V plug in in your trailer. It will tell you what the state of your battery is and you can get them for under $20 some even cheaper. They look like this. It will tell you a lot about what is going on with your battery as well as The 12V side of life is a good read.
Thank you Carol. Those are both very helpful! I've also figured out that the battery is - at least - not dead. I know that because I've discovered the two lights on either end of the "kitchen" are running off the battery (not the little aaa batteries I thought were running them.)
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