newbie fridge use question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-26-2014, 08:50 PM   #1
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newbie fridge use question

We're soon to pick-up a new scamp 13 and have questions about how the fridge works and how to manage its use. I gather it is not safe to run it on propane while towing. Does it run on the 12v while being towed, or is this not a good idea in terms over-taxing the charging system on the TV? Should we just load it up with ice while in drive mode and not let it run? We'll often be in sites without power so not sure how best to manage keeping things cold. We'll learn over time, but your advice will help on this first trip.Thanks.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:04 PM   #2
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Does it run on the 12v while being towed, or is this not a good idea in terms over-taxing the charging system on the TV? Should we just load it up with ice while in drive mode and not let it run? We'll often be in sites without power so not sure how best to manage keeping things cold.
Because of the historical risks of running the fridge on propane while being towed, 12 volt DC power was added just for this propose. Running the fridge on 12 volts from the Tow Vehicle will just maintain whatever level of charge your trailer's battery had before you hit the road that day. If you are camped in a no-hook-up site, then your battery most likely will not recharge at the same time while on the road because the fridge power draw will preclude that.

Those of us without the 12 volt option load up on ice, and it is a viable option for you too.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:25 PM   #3
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I do not have a 12 volt option on my fridge only 120volt/propane, so i can not comment on running on 12 volt. On trips though we use frozen water bottle to keep things cool, has worked even on trips to eastern Wyoming ( two days). We usually dont travel with real temperature sensitive items (ie milk), meat is frozen and if we stop overnight i will start the fridge on propane, but i dont think that does much good since it does take a while for it to really cool down...
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:27 PM   #4
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Hmmmm... I didn't know anything about "Historical Risk" to keeping my LP refrigerator running while under way and have done so since my first lp refrigerator in about 1979.

However, you do want to turn it off before even entering a gas station and not relight it until after you have left said venue. For this reason some opt to not use LP.

And, not only might running the refrigerator off of the charging line use up the charging current, there is a good chance it will further drain your RV's battery, leaving you with a dead battery, but cold beer, when you arrive.

And there are a few bridges and tunnels where you have to turn your LP tank off, but I don't know of any states or provinces that prohibit driving with LP turned on.

Mostly it's a matter of personal choice.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:35 PM   #5
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OK Bob, you have managed to surprise me. I was not expecting you to be on the relaxed side of a safety question. You are a complex person.
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Old 05-26-2014, 10:12 PM   #6
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I didn't see it as a safety question. It's something that's safe to do, not illegal (unless posted otherwise), not recommended against by the manufacturer etc., etc. and certainly doesn't hold a candle to say, towing Airstream Excella with a Pinto. Come to think of it, it's not even as risky as driving a Pinto, but I digress.....
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:44 PM   #7
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I have a 3 way fridge in my Scamp. I don't run it on propane when driving as I don't trust myself to remember to shut it off every time I stop for gas ;-)

Running it on DC when driving is a tough one as it is a really big battery drainer and most vehicle charging systems don't keep up with it.

What I do is plug the fridge in the day before leaving (it takes a good 12 hours or more to cool down) and also keep a couple of small freezer packs in the freezer. When I hit the road and unplug the fridge I stick the freezer packs beside the dairy products or on top of what ever meat I have and I don't open the fridge again... it will keep the food safe for many hours that way - basically it is acting as a pre cooled down cooler at that point.
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:01 AM   #8
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I've gone for a couple days without the refrigerator running, it not high temperature summer time. In the 80s and 90s of summer a three hour drive isn't a problem. However if you're concerned there's several things you can do other than running fridge. First make sure you've run the fridge long enough to get it cold inside. Make sure everything you put in is already cold. Then can add some ice or frozen food.
My last trip I had frozen stake and pork chops that didn't thaw out until cooked, it was about a 2 hour drive. Ya,, Leave early in the morning so that you're not driving in the hottest part of the day. Relax and enjoy.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:33 AM   #9
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I use my frig on propane while on the road. I have always done this. My bad.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:35 AM   #10
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I use my frig on propane while on the road. I have always done this. My bad.
Hey, If Bob Miller does it, it can't be unsafe.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:50 AM   #11
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Good to hear you appreciate that !
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:08 AM   #12
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I do not have a 12 volt option on my fridge only 120volt/propane, so i can not comment on running on 12 volt. On trips though we use frozen water bottle to keep things cool, has worked even on trips to eastern Wyoming ( two days).
We also use water bottles that we freeze before any trip, and turn the fridge to gas or 120V when parked. It works reasonably well as an ice box. I like water bottles better than freezer packs - you can't drink them!
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:51 AM   #13
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I use my frig on propane while on the road. I have always done this. My bad.
Nothing "Bad" about that as long as you follow basic precautions and turn it off when fueling and don't leave it way out of level for a long time when parked.
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:56 AM   #14
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Because of the historical risks of running the fridge on propane while being towed, 12 volt DC power was added just for this propose. .
If such a use was as dangerous as implied, surely it would be illegal by now. If we're speaking strictly from a "historical" perspective, it's worth noting that the 12v option on absorption fridges has practically disappeared from use in new trailers due to its extreme inefficiency. There's also the fact that improvements in safety of propane bottles themselves have greatly lowered the risk of fires thus fueled. Of special importance thereto is the presence of autoshutoffs that cut off gas supply if a sudden surge in gas flow is detected.

Most folks including me with propane/electric fridges run them on propane while traveling; of course extinguishing flame while fueling and under certain other circumstances. (Ferries prohibit open flames, for example, as do some tunnels.)
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