Refrigerators issues 3 way 1.9 on 2007 Scamp 16 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-25-2015, 08:28 AM   #1
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Refrigerators issues 3 way 1.9 on 2007 Scamp 16

This is our first long trip, AZ to N. Michigan. I tried setting the fridge on 12v while driving but the temp went up tp 60. I set it on 120v once I got to a campground and noticed a bad smell when you opened the door of the fridge and even on the bottles we removed so threw away all the food. I assume it's the "ammonia smell" others have described and didn't open it again until I got to Michigan. Once here though I tried the propane setting and it cooled right down and has had no smell. I have kept food in there for 10 days. My question is, does the electric have a different cooling substance than propane? Do I need a new refrigerator? Can I just use propane going down the road then turn it off if I am at a gas station? With the propane it cools down to 30 on high and with electric I could never get it below 50 even on high but the outside temps at my house in Phoenix have been over 100.
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:00 AM   #2
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That "Bad Smell" was probably just the food going bad as the temp may have gone well above 60 during the trip. The cooling process is the same for all 3 modes, the only difference is where the heat comes from, LP or electric.


That said:
1. To use the 12VDC function while under way you will need a heavier wire run from your TV's battery to the trailer, at least a #8 wire has been suggested by others. What's happening right now is that the smaller wire currently being used is too small for the power that charging the battery and running the refrigerator needs.

2. Mine does about the same job cooling on 120VAC or LP. If you look there may be a temp control for the electric operation. If you don't have an operating manual for the units they are readily available on-line.

3. I never run mine on 12VDC, I have used LP for my refrigerator while underway for more years than I can count, without problems or issues. There are varied opinions on this, but, contrary to some claims, there are no laws against doing so, except in some limited locations such as tunnels and also when refueling. We just completed a 30 day 500+ mile trip and it was on 24/7 except for when refueling of course.


BTW: We always pre-cool for at least 24 hours and put a dozen or so frozen 1 liter bottles of water in the bottom for starters.
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Old 07-25-2015, 10:55 AM   #3
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Bob thank you for the advice, I'm going to try leaving the LP on. When you say turning off the LP for refueling do you mean to fill the tug gas tank or the LP tank?
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:42 PM   #4
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Michelle, I don't know which fridge you have but on mine there are two different temp controls for Electrical or 12V vs propane. I have been known from time to time to turn the wrong one! :-)

Also as Bob mentioned many of our tugs do not have a large enough gaged wire from the tug to keep up with the power demands of the fridge when on 12V. You may want to check the state of your battery as well. Running on 12v is a sure fire way to draw it well down below 50% fast. Also if your trailers battery is in poor condition to start with the draw down will happen in just a few hours maybe less depending on its condition.

You may also find that turning the temp up to high does not always work well - often it results in the freezer compartment icing up. If the freezer ices up that will have a negative impact on the cooling of the fridge itself.

All the fridges are funny as to how they best work. Mine has always worked better on 110 vs propane even though I have taken it apart and cleaned up the propane operating section of it.

I have found that adding insulation around the outside walls of the fridge helped as did making sure all the gaps between the fridge and the rear and side cabinets are well sealed and adding a small fan to the backside/outside of the fridge also helped as did adding a small one inside the fridge.

I always make sure the fridge is cooled down well prior to travel and I add a frozen water bottle to it before heading off. I keep a couple of small freezer packs in the freezer and move them into the fridge compartment by the dairy and meat products when traveling down the road. Stick them back in the freezer on arrival so they are ready for the next departure.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:45 PM   #5
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Refueling

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Originally Posted by shechelle View Post
Bob thank you for the advice, I'm going to try leaving the LP on. When you say turning off the LP for refueling do you mean to fill the tug gas tank or the LP tank?
Hmmmm... I thought that I answered this earlier but I must not have posted it correctly.
Anyway, actually it's both times, turn off the refrigerator LP first, both when refueling your tow vehicle and when refilling the LP tank.
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Old 07-25-2015, 01:08 PM   #6
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I have the Dometic 1.9 fridge in my 2010 Scamp. NEVER had a problem with the 12v Fridge not staying cold while on the road. I've had it to get around 40ish deg during high 80's low 90's but that's it.

It bothers me that you had the ammonia smell. I'm not 100% sure if it has separate reservoirs for the ammonia on 12v vs 120v or not. But I dont think it does. I would call the manufacturer and take their advice.

Personally, I NEVER travel with my propane gas tank on and never will!!! (unless i forget of course)
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:40 PM   #7
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At least, after talking with a Dometic engineer, I learned that, LP should always work best, followed by 120VAC and then 12VDC last.


My RM-2193 gave me some trouble on LP only last month and, when I got home I did the total clean out of the flue, burner, jet & even had the LP pressure checked. I got a slight improvement, but not back to where it was. Because I am close to the Dometic Dist. Center, I had an order for a new jet called in, installed that, and now LP cooling is better than it ever was.


My refrigerator guy suspects that somehow, before I got the refrigerator, that the jet was damaged and a burr was left behind that finally blocked part of the jets orifice (?). Anyway, new jet and it works great. Soo... If all else fails, try a new jet, but they are almost $30... YUK
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
(clipped) It bothers me that you had the ammonia smell. I'm not 100% sure if it has separate reservoirs for the ammonia on 12v vs 120v or not. But I dont think it does. I would call the manufacturer and take their advice.

Personally, I NEVER travel with my propane gas tank on and never will!!! (unless i forget of course)
There is only one cooling circuit, but, as it worked on 120VAC the next day the cooling circuit isn't the problem.

BTW: If you want the advice of the manufacturer about using Lp while underway, they will say that it's just fine, it was designed to work that way.
And, FWIW: There are a number of RV refrigerators installed that are 2-way, LP and 120VAC only.
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post


My refrigerator guy suspects that somehow, before I got the refrigerator, that the jet was damaged and a burr was left behind that finally blocked part of the jets orifice (?). Anyway, new jet and it works great. Soo... If all else fails, try a new jet, but they are almost $30... YUK
I actually took mine all apart again just last month for a good cleaning. Left the jet in alcohol over night after swishing it around in it for awhile then used compressed air on it only to dry it. I have used it since but the weather was not to hot and it worked fine.... test will be on my next trip when it will be used for a week or more in an area known for its hot weather.

A new jet is still cheaper than a new fridge if it turns out thats all it comes down to.
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Old 07-25-2015, 03:51 PM   #10
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These fridges, Dometic Absorbtion type, have only one refrigerant system, with ammonia as the fluid in there. The three heat sources all work in the same "chimney" to energize the system.
They all work to cool the interior of the box, but can only provide so many degrees of cooling against the ambient temperature. So, in hot weather, they will not keep your stuff as cold as in cool weather.
The 12 volt circuit in the Scamps is poorly wired. If you check the voltage at the fridge it may be down to 9 or 10 volts. By adding a 10 or 12 gauge wire directly from the battery to the fridge - thus bypassing the power converter - you can see 10.5 to 11 volts - when running just off the Scamp's battery.
I snaked a 12 ga wire, with fuse by the battery, down under and thru the frame, back to the right wheel well, and poked a hole into the fridge compartment. Disconnect the original black wire from the power center. Perhaps a 12 ga white or green wire for the ground back to the battery would reduce line losses even more.
As others have said too, You need a heavy wire direct from your TV's battery to the Hitch, and equally heavy wire to the Scamp battery.
If possible, insist on soldered connections, not just crimp ons
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Old 07-27-2015, 12:30 PM   #11
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This weekend I discovered how well the Dometic 2410 worked on LP. We were without AC power. My 2 prior times that I used LP for the frig ended up emptying my LP tanks overnight. I blamed the gas mode of operating to be wasteful. I now think that my bad experience was due to a low LP condition. This weekend we operated using one of my 2 tanks for over 48 hrs. (How low is that one tank now?)

When refueling at a gas station, you say turn off the frig's LP supply. I assume this is to avoid any sparks in the area, even though it is a good 10 ft from the gasoline tank cover.

Also, you say turn LP off when refilling the LP tank. I don't get that, since you refill it through the same connection as supplying the RV. It has to be off! Oh, is this a 2 tank situation with the other tank still in an operable state? (I have 2 tanks. Not sure I trust the auto switch over to be that effective. )



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Old 07-27-2015, 12:44 PM   #12
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I think a small Dometic will run for at least a month on a single tank, they really don't use much LP.


About turning OFF
In a service station there may well be someone right next to your trailer's refrigerator side filling a gas tank and there's always risk of stagnant gas fumes floating around. And, basically, it's also the law in many states to turn off LP devices while refueling.


When you turn off the tank and remove the hose to refill, the back pressure can bleed propane out of your line, making the refrigerator very stubborn to restart if not turned off first. That's from personal experience.
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Old 07-27-2015, 01:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsironi View Post
My 2 prior times that I used LP for the frig ended up emptying my LP tanks overnight. I blamed the gas mode of operating to be wasteful. I now think that my bad experience was due to a low LP condition. This weekend we operated using one of my 2 tanks for over 48 hrs. (How low is that one tank now?)

Sironi
My guess is that one tank you used for 48 hours to run the fridge is still pretty close to full. I use the propane function on my fridge fairly frequently and have gone a number of weeks of travel without needing to refill the single tank I have.
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Old 07-28-2015, 08:00 AM   #14
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Carol and Bob, Thanks for good information. It encourages me to go off the grid more. Just need to determine why my 12v plug that I installed provides very little power to charge my iPhone. (That's a new topic)


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