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Old 10-27-2014, 07:33 AM   #1
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Fridge

OK, let me get this correct. If i run my small 1.9 fridge on 12V while traveling about 3 hours at a time and reach a CG with power and plug in i should be fine.
What i should not expect is to run my fridge on 12v and reach a CG without power and have enough 12V power to sustain our stay. It just seems kind of dumb to have 12V fridge and not be able to ever use it. Just wondering. Carl
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:54 AM   #2
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First let me say I have no firsthand experience with a 3-way refrigerator, or most any other kind of 3-way for that matter. Mine was inoperative when I got my Scamp and it got pulled. That said, I suspect from what little I know of these things that 12V is probably the most inefficient way to run one. They need heat, and burning a gas (propane) seems to be the way to go. Unless you have shore power and then since unlimited 120v is “on tap” that would be the way to go. I would be interested just for informational and educational purposes to know what the amp/watt draw is on a 3-way running on 12v. Maybe somebody knowledgable about them will be along.
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Old 10-27-2014, 08:18 AM   #3
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A lot depends on how efficient the tow vehicle is in getting current to the battery in the trailer while on the road. Several factors involved, probably among the most important, wire gauge from the tug to the trailer. You can always get a portable solar panel to plug into system upon arrival at the CG without electricity. Or retrofit solar. Not a problem for me as I ran 10 gauge wire from the truck and within some of the trailers I owned w/3-ways. Also, my general rule of thumb is "if it don't have electricity, I ain't staying there." But that's me. Others have different preferences.


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Old 10-27-2014, 08:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Pa View Post
It just seems kind of dumb to have 12V fridge and not be able to ever use it.
Carl,
You did not mention if you have a 3 way fridge or compressor type fridge. Think of 3-ways as a tortoise and compressors as hare when it comes to cooling. I'm going to talk about 3-ways.

They take a while to get going properly. Before you leave you plug them in or light them up to get the fridge cooling. You have to disconnect from the grid to travel. It is not recommended to travel while running the propane for safety reasons. So that is where the 12V is intended to come in to play.

Withouth continuous cooling; a 1 hour trip on a cool day, will make very little difference to fridge temperature. A 3 hour trip on a warm day will show an elevation in temperature. 8-10 hours on a blistering hot day will make a huge difference.

Having the option of maintaining cooling for the latter is an option that some may appreciate.
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:01 AM   #5
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Fridge 12V

Relying on dim 10-year-old memories, the 12v current draw might be at least 6 amps?? Someone will know. In any case, from what I recall the 12V heating element (that's what it is) is smaller draw/heating/cooling than the 110v one, and is not connected to the thermostat, and runs 100% of the time, eating large amounts of power. It is meant for running while in transit, as your alternator has plenty of capacity.
When I ran my 3-way, I'd cool it down the day before on 110v, travel with it on 12v only when the engine was running, and switch to propane for any long stops and when camping with no access to shore power.

The cooling capacity wasn't super-strong and switching all the time could be a hassle, so I got an Engel compressor fridge and set the 3-way aside for now.
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:03 AM   #6
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"don't sweat the small stuff"

2 and 3 way fridges take a long time to get cooled down...they also take a long time to warm up

as long as you don't open that big vertical door too often (and let the cold air "fall out" of the fridge) it'll stay cold in there for a LONG time

How big is your fridge? Mine is oversize IMO given the size of the trailer it is in. With its seperate freezer I could probably live with it as my home fridge !!! After the controller stopped working I found a used 2 way controller that fit right in (same manufacturer, panel cut-out...looks just the same now...except has no 12V capability)

I have way more freezer space than I need so I keep three 2L water containers in there (uses up half the space) that turn into ice....when I'm "on the road" I shift one or two of those into the main compartment and back up into the freezer when I park for the night...even with openeing the fridge a couple of times during a lunch stop the fridge is always plenty cold enough when I get to my destination

Does it really matter if the temperature inside your fridge goes from 34F to 38F during the day ??? so what?
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:15 AM   #7
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ooops...

just saw that your fridge is 1.9L.....yeah that's small....makes one wonder why Dometic doesn't design and offer a chest type in that size...to keep the cold in better
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:51 AM   #8
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I tried this summer when I brought my ParkLiner to work, turned the fridge on 12 volt for about 2 hours before leaving work....hoping the 100 watt solar panel would keep the batteries charging...then a 3 hour ride charging from my truck and the solar panel. On a real sunny day it worked ok. Starting amps about 13.4 destination about 12.9. On a not as sunny day was down around 12.7 or so. I started running it on propane at work all day till I left so it was sufficiently cooled down already and then switch to 12 volt while driving and was closer to 12.9 at my destination.... Not perfect but helps.

We need a manuf to make a real god 3 way useing the newer 12 volt fridge styles but being able to back it up with 120v or propane. That would be a nice fridge to own!
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Old 10-27-2014, 12:00 PM   #9
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yep...lots of options to solve the cooling thing....

a little imagination helps too....

when I cuised in small saiboats (like 18' long...for 4 day/3night trips) I only had a plain old smallish cooler....the night before a trip I used to go shopping and buy food....anything that would freeze I would bag and ask the store to put it in their freezer overnight...the next morning I'd pick it up and put it in the cooler with a block of ice.....I'd always still have ice at the end of the trip....what needed cooling was actually providing it.....cooling for four days...no elec., no propane, no nuttin'

with elec., propane AND a freezer I feel positively RICH now in the cooling department
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Old 10-27-2014, 12:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John A View Post
When I ran my 3-way, I'd cool it down the day before on 110v, travel with it on 12v only when the engine was running, and switch to propane for any long stops and when camping with no access to shore power.
Thats pretty well what I do as well. I use the 12v on mine only when traveling and I know for sure I will have power for fully recharging the battery at destination.

I do not want to arrive at destinations with no power and arrive with a battery that is not fully charged - even though I do have solar to recharge - sunny weather is never a sure thing! My fairly new truck with factory tow package does not keep up with the power demand of the 12v consumption of the old fridge in my scamp.

If I know I will not have power at distinction then there are two chooses when traveling - one travel with the fridge running on propane or just put some ice packs or a frozen water jug in the fridge (that has been pre cooled down) and do not open the fridge and it will keep cool enough for a several hours of travel.

When camping off the grid the fridge always runs on propane.
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Old 10-27-2014, 03:50 PM   #11
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Thanks every one, all advice is well appreciated. I think I`ll cool the day before and cool every thing i put in it, turn 12V on while on route 3-4 hours then when i arrive at CG switch to 110. Thanks again. Carl
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Old 11-01-2014, 09:27 AM   #12
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We belong to the 'keep it simple' school of camping. Our fridge gets plugged in at home with an extension cord about 24 hours before we leave. When it is nearly time to leave I pack the fridge with the usual stuff plus some frozen stews or soups. Fruit, vegetables and eggs travel well on the bed wrapped in towels with a reusable freezer pack. Any spaces between items get stuffed temporarily with clean tea towels. We travel with the fridge unplugged and it has always stayed close to frozen until we get to the campground.

If we have an electric site we just plug in and re-arrange the items in the fridge, making sure that it isn't cold enough to freeze the eggs and vegetables. If we are boon docking we just light the propane. The frozen soup and stew usually remain frozen for several days (and provide the basis for tasty, easy, home cooked meals).

Our fridge is tiny but holds enough for the two of us providing I think ahead of time. I can get the protein for several meals in the minute freezer compartment if I package it carefully. Two small pork chops, a couple of fish fillets, a flattened handful of ground beef -all in ziplock bags. Bacon is packed in meal size servings in small ziplocks and fits almost anywhere. We don't drink pop so don't need fridge space for it. If we are going to want beer we put a couple in the fridge earlier in the day to cool.

The meals we eat when camping are much like the ones we eat at home.
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Old 11-01-2014, 10:12 AM   #13
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Backing up a few posts, most 120VAC and 12VDC refrigerator heating elements in 3 way refrigerators are the same wattage, usually 100-120 watts. It's just that the voltage and available current flow when connected to your TV aren't usually fully up to snuff. It's an age old problem and one reason why the 12VDC feature is being discontinued n many units.
I didn't even bother to connect the 12VDC to mine as I use LP when underway and when camping without 120VAC available (Like almost all the time).
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