Refrigerator (new to camping) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-23-2018, 09:28 AM   #1
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Name: Pat
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Refrigerator (new to camping)

I have a 3 way refrigerator, can I run it while traveling
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:37 AM   #2
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You are getting into a "hot" area. Yes, you can run it while traveling, either on propane or 12V. If your tow vehicle's charging system & wiring can't keep up (or if you don't have a charge line run to the trailer on pin 4 of a 7 pin connector) you will quickly deplete the trailer's battery.

On the other hand, some refrigerators have a problem staying lit on propane while driving, and there are many that insist that it is dangerous to run the refrigerator on propane while driving. Others (including myself) do it all the time.

Let the debate roll on!
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:50 AM   #3
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I was told when I ordered my new Scamp this past Feb. that the new, larger fridge that Scamp is using was designed to be run on propane while in transit. Not sure what modifications have been done, but that bit of info was volunteered by the salesman. Could possibly have just been sales pitch, but it wasn't something I was asking about.

I'll question them further at some point about what might make this so. In any case, it wouldn't necessarily apply to older models.
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Old 06-23-2018, 10:10 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by LyleB View Post
I was told when I ordered my new Scamp this past Feb. that the new, larger fridge that Scamp is using was designed to be run on propane while in transit. Not sure what modifications have been done, but that bit of info was volunteered by the salesman. Could possibly have just been sales pitch, but it wasn't something I was asking about.

I'll question them further at some point about what might make this so. In any case, it wouldn't necessarily apply to older models.
Yes the larger fridge (Dometic RM2410) in my 2015 Scamp runs well on Propane while traveling. That functionality was mentioned by my salesman, but it you watch their video, you will see they tell you to have the propane off. Ask for their opinion other than verbally and I suspect you will get the "propane off" reply because of liability.

My salesman also told me the fridge would stay cold for a long time while on the road. I guess that depends on your definition of "cold" and "long time." My experience (using a remote thermometer) is that unless its very cool or even cold outdoors, the fridge temps come up to 55-60 pretty fast. And once they head up, it takes a long time to reverse that trend and get the temp back down to 40 or less.

OP must have a different fridge because the RM2410 is not a 3 way, only a 2 way (120 VAC or Propane). If the OP's runs on 12 volts then that it the way to do it, as long as the tow vehicle supplies enough power. OP can provide the model number for confirmation.

BTW the 2410 is nice because it does not require power for a control board. It runs just fine on propane with no electric at all. But running on propane while on the road is controversial, which is why I bought a small Secop / Danfoss compressor fridge that I CAN use on 12 volts while traveling.
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Old 06-23-2018, 10:35 AM   #5
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Most tow vehicle/trailer wiring can't supply enough 12 volt power to run the fridge and keep the trailer battery up. My solution:
Cool the fridge starting at least the day before with cold things in it.
Driving 2-3 hours, it will stay cold cold turned off.
Traveling all day, turn it on/off at each successive rest stop.
It works for us.
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Old 06-23-2018, 12:01 PM   #6
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When I had an older 3 way fridge on my 92 Scamp I could not run it on DC when towing as the vehicle could not keep up with the amount of DC it pulled so I would have a dead battery on the trailer once I arrived at destination if it was more than a few hour trip. I also did not run it on propane while towing either as due to its age and built in design it did not appear to be a good option - tried it once for a few blocks and the flame did indeed blow out.

Now have a newer trailer with a 2 way fridge (two years old) and run it all the time on propane while traveling. Thousands of miles and it works well. Never had it blow out. Although I also have a new tow vehicle with a larger charge wire I still can not run the fridge on DC without pulling down the trailers battery as the new fridge pulls even more DC power than the old fridge did.

Suspect strongly that the newer fridges and newer trailers have improved in design to reduce the risk of the flame blowing out while towing.
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Old 06-23-2018, 12:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Yes the larger fridge (Dometic RM2410) in my 2015 Scamp runs well on Propane while traveling. That functionality was mentioned by my salesman, but it you watch their video, you will see they tell you to have the propane off. Ask for their opinion other than verbally and I suspect you will get the "propane off" reply because of liability.

My salesman also told me the fridge would stay cold for a long time while on the road. I guess that depends on your definition of "cold" and "long time." My experience (using a remote thermometer) is that unless its very cool or even cold outdoors, the fridge temps come up to 55-60 pretty fast. And once they head up, it takes a long time to reverse that trend and get the temp back down to 40 or less.

OP must have a different fridge because the RM2410 is not a 3 way, only a 2 way (120 VAC or Propane). If the OP's runs on 12 volts then that it the way to do it, as long as the tow vehicle supplies enough power. OP can provide the model number for confirmation.

BTW the 2410 is nice because it does not require power for a control board. It runs just fine on propane with no electric at all. But running on propane while on the road is controversial, which is why I bought a small Secop / Danfoss compressor fridge that I CAN use on 12 volts while traveling.
While I liked the fact that it didn't use 12V except to fire the igniter, I hope you have better luck with the thermostat. I had to have mine replaced 3 times, each requiring the pulling of the refrigerator since it is on the bottom. Also, be careful of your door gasket. It is not replaceable; i.e. you need to replace the door at $400.00. Other than that, I liked the refrigerator, although I really like the Americana 2 door in my current Escape 21...
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Old 06-23-2018, 12:46 PM   #8
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While I liked the fact that it didn't use 12V except to fire the igniter, I hope you have better luck with the thermostat. I had to have mine replaced 3 times, each requiring the pulling of the refrigerator since it is on the bottom. Also, be careful of your door gasket. It is not replaceable; i.e. you need to replace the door at $400.00. Other than that, I liked the refrigerator, although I really like the Americana 2 door in my current Escape 21...
This fridge will not cost me $400 to repair. If it does, it gets pulled and I use a
Indel B with solar, or eat out of cans.
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:00 PM   #9
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I have a 3 way refrigerator, can I run it while traveling
We are old "tenters" too and this new Casita 17' "Indy" is our first TT..we love having a 4cuft reefer and a full bathroom!!! !! We run our 3-way frig on DC while hooked up and driving....but, we do not sit w the 7-prong plug hoked up for more than ~30 min while truck engine is off, to avoid depleteing TRUCK battery! WE Never run propane while moving. Boom You might check w yer Insurance Co to see what THEY say re running propane while driving. Boom.

WE switch to AC power as soon as we 'hook up' at a campsite...to save propane.

There are lots of great LOLOHO instructional videos on youtube. worth the time as the couple are pros and do decent vids.
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:24 PM   #10
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WE Never run propane while moving. Boom You might check w yer Insurance Co to see what THEY say re running propane while driving. Boom.

Perhaps you'd like to explain the process wherein Boom occurs. Many thousands of vehicles ( including refigeration trucks ) and trailers and motor homes are driving the highways of North America day and night, with propane on.
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:33 PM   #11
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you're supposed to shut the propane off before pulling into a gasoline filling station. I rarely remember to do this, and I nearly always drive with the propane fridge running.
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:37 PM   #12
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you're supposed to shut the propane off before pulling into a gasoline filling station. I rarely remember to do this, and I nearly always drive with the propane fridge running.
That's called discipline. I do it every gasoline stop just before pulling up to the pump island. Not all that hard to remember , actually.


When I get one gas, I turn off another one first...


20-30 years ago the fridge makers tied an ignition wire into your fridge to do this automatically. Imagine how much fun it was to figure out why your tow motor stopped running when that wire shorted out.
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Old 06-25-2018, 12:47 AM   #13
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We are old "tenters" too and this new Casita 17' "Indy" is our first TT..we love having a 4cuft reefer and a full bathroom!!! !! We run our 3-way frig on DC while hooked up and driving....but, we do not sit w the 7-prong plug hoked up for more than ~30 min while truck engine is off, to avoid depleteing TRUCK battery! WE Never run propane while moving. Boom You might check w yer Insurance Co to see what THEY say re running propane while driving. Boom.
WE switch to AC power as soon as we 'hook up' at a campsite...to save propane.
There are lots of great LOLOHO instructional videos on youtube. worth the time as the couple are pros and do decent vids.
Being you're new to RVs, you may want to do a little fact checking before making blanket statements, youtube isn't it. I will say that the only towing fires I've ever heard of were caused from leaving the water heater on. The flame it throws is huge, unlike the refer and was sucked out the vent and caught the sidewall on fire. Just FYI, the water heater only needs to run about 10 minutes to heat the tank up. Glenn is correct and other than a few bridges, tunnels and gas stations ect, traveling down the road with the refer on LP is legal. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, so be it. You're far more likely to have a fire from an electrical issue than the LP.
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Old 06-25-2018, 04:21 AM   #14
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Perhaps you'd like to explain the process wherein Boom occurs. Many thousands of vehicles ( including refigeration trucks ) and trailers and motor homes are driving the highways of North America day and night, with propane on.
A failure in a propane line could leak propane or a failure in the refrigerator lines could leak hydrogen gas. Either one mixed with an open flame could go boom. Think the odds are in your favor? Then why do you carry insurance?

With the exception of the guy pumping gas with his fridge on, what others do is their business. I don't run my fridge on propane going down the road because I don't see the risk worth keeping the beer cold when a $2 bag of ice works at least as well if not better.
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Old 06-25-2018, 04:30 AM   #15
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A failure in a propane line could leak propane or a failure in the refrigerator lines could leak hydrogen gas. Either one mixed with an open flame could go boom. Think the odds are in your favor? Then why do you carry insurance?
I would be much more concerned with this happening while I am in the trailer then when towing. With that said I tow my 1989 Bigfoot with the fridge on DC and propane off. Just towed it 8 hours like that and didn't see to have any problem with my 2014 Silverado keeping up to the fridge demand. I did run the fridge on AC in the driveway a couple days ahead of the trip.
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Old 06-25-2018, 02:39 PM   #16
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Wink Propane on the move...

I personally don't care what others do re propane. Our rig mfr strongly suggesats not using propane while diving..wh is why we have a "3 way frig"...easily runs on DC w the '7-prong plug' hooked up. Simple to remember to NOT run DC too long and deplete the TT and truck battery...fwiw
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Old 06-25-2018, 02:45 PM   #17
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next road trip, with the f250, I'm going to try the Escape's fridge on DC... when I tried it with the factory tow wiring on my Tacoma and the Casita's fridge, it seriously drained the camper battery as the Tacoma's wiring couldn't deliver enough voltage at the current level... actually, when I measured things, 50% of the voltage drop was on the truck side, the other 50% was on the Casita side, as measured from the truck side of the 7-blade connection. Interestingly enough, while the trailer battery got run down to like 12.5V before I noticed and switched to propane, the TRUCK battery was still at full alternator voltage... so the alternator had more than adequate power, the issue was purely wiring.

I've heard the F250's trailer wiring is considerably beefier than Toyotas, hence I'll try it...
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Old 06-26-2018, 05:13 PM   #18
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Our rig mfr strongly suggests not using propane while diving....

Yep. That would be bad.
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Old 06-26-2018, 05:55 PM   #19
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I personally don't care what others do re propane. Our rig mfr strongly suggesats not using propane while diving.
My reg manufacturer set up my scuba gear for Nitrox. Can't imagine diving using propane.
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Old 06-26-2018, 08:28 PM   #20
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Many thousands of vehicles ( including refigeration trucks ) and trailers and motor homes are driving the highways of North America day and night, with propane on.
Every refrigeration truck and trailer that I worked on ran the reefer unit on diesel. The only exception being a cold plate system where the unit was plugged into 220 V when not on the road.
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