Towing with refrigerator on - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-06-2003, 07:39 PM   #1
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Towing with refrigerator on

Do most of you use your refrigerator on 12 volts when on the road? :steer I have had two people tell me that when they do, their battery in the trailer is discharged.(one almost dead) :cry Both had the large one in Casita's. Another person with a large one in a Scamp said they used gas on the road( no 12v installed), I thought this sounded kind of dangerous.:splat
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Old 02-06-2003, 07:46 PM   #2
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Hi
Up to last summer I towed with propane on running fridge.Last summer i used 12 volt because i knew that i would be at full hook ups.If boondocking i will go with propane.Remember to turn of if gassing up and going into restricted zones IE ferrys:wave
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Old 02-06-2003, 07:51 PM   #3
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Battery

Chester, Is your battery low when you arrive?
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Old 02-06-2003, 08:20 PM   #4
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Hi------I run with two batteries.One for my tv,radio the other for lites, fridge. I have never had a problem.At present time I have two deep cycle batteries but normally run with old caterpillar batteries.I can get them at the Coal Mine for 5 or 10 bucks depending on there mood.All my friends run on this system. I have also used 2nd hand car batteries with no serious problems.I also have a third battery which is charged but never had to use it.(just old junk battery).Hope this sheds some lite on the subject.
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Old 02-06-2003, 08:46 PM   #5
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Battery

Chester,

I'm not sure of your setup. But if you are charging the battery that is hooked to to your refrigerator when driving, then you would be like ours. From what I am being told you would notice the difference.
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Old 02-06-2003, 08:56 PM   #6
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Hi
Yes i know where your coming from.Like i said, i only run with battery WHEN i know that i will have power at destination point.At this point in time i have never tested battery,i just hooked up and forgot about it.But you make a good point.Next time i do go to hook ups i will test battery and check.I mostly go boondocking except for last season.:)
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Old 02-06-2003, 10:07 PM   #7
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Hi
I have just learned that the new modles of rv fridges use a lot less power than the older modles.I am not sure of the teck details.I have only once had a new rv and that was in 1978.Since then i have had only used units.I really don't know what the difference is.:o
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Old 02-07-2003, 06:23 AM   #8
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Am I missing something?

OK, maybe I'm wrong but I thought that in transit the trailer battery was hooked up to the vehicles battery with an isolater between them. When the vehicle battery isn't being charged the isolater switches it to charging the trailer battery. The isolator also prevents the trailer from draining the vehicles battery. Both batteries should remain charged.

This is basically how it was explained to us when we considered hooking the trailer to the van to be charged.

Charles, am I right? or close.
Nancy
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Old 02-07-2003, 06:29 AM   #9
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Nancy
You are right.Your info is dead on the money.I used that system for years.I think what is happening is that the motor battery is always the first one to get charged. If running fridge it does pull the RV battery down.I have never checked my battery when I have gone straight to a power site,But next time I will.:wave
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Old 02-07-2003, 07:16 AM   #10
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In my experience, if you have a smaller fridge, and run in cooler weather, you'll probably be fine. But, if you have a large fridge, run at night with lights or in hot weather with air and accessories running, you may deplete the trailer battery. Since the car battery gets priority from the isolator, and since newer vehicles (unless upgraded) have the smallest alternator the manufacturer can get away with (saves weight, cost and fuel), the alternator doesn't have enough reserve capacity to run the fridge along with all the vehicle accessories. If you want to run the fridge on 12v, the simple fix is to install an oversized, or better yet, a "hot-shot" alternator, which has higher capacity.

I have only a 2-way fridge (120v/LP), and I run on gas while driving. It is recommended to shut it off while fueling, as mentioned, and in blast zones. I also always pull up to the first pump, not the last, leaving the trailer sticking out as far from the pumps as possible. If you don't shut the fridge off, or forget, that way you are keeping the pilot light in clear air. The risk of igniting a fuel pump with a fridge are EXTREMELY slim, but are well known due to a very few well-publicized (and sensationalized, more than likely) cases. However, it is a small price to pay for the safety. Shut it off while fueling.
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Old 02-07-2003, 07:25 AM   #11
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We do it

We almost always tow with our refrigerator running on DC power. One time the battery was, indeed, DOA when we got to our destination. But it turned out the battery was bad.

Usually we are aware that running the fridge on DC will have pulled the battery down a bit, so we are extra careful about power consumption until the solar panel has had an afternoon or so to bring it back up.

And, yes, Nancy. I think you have it right.

:sunny
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Old 02-07-2003, 07:54 AM   #12
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Frig

Originally we towed using the 12v system. However, we discovered that the 12v is much less efficient and the fridge is much more prone to temperature fluctuations, especially in hot weather. So changed our method to primarily using propane (except when parked where 120v is available.) If you use the 12v system be sure to switch to propane if you're going to stop for an extended period, say a half hour or more. The 12v heater will quickly deplete the reserve in your battery.

I know it's been recommended elsewhere, but get a good wireless remote thermometer for your refrig. (Oregon Scientific makes a good one.) That way you can monitor the temp in the fridge, even take the base unit up to the cabin in the tow vehicle when you're moving. You'll be surprised at the crazy things those little fridges do--like freezing your lettuce or melting your ice cream--if you don't know the accurate temperature inside the box.
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Old 02-07-2003, 08:01 AM   #13
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12v when not towing

I guess I could have added, we do shut the DC off when we stop. For a half hour or so, I'd not bother to light the propane; just let it sit and don't open the door - it'll be okay. (We don't carry ice cream, however.)

I find that no matter what, the fridge will freeze lettuce - except in very hot weather I pretty much carry our produce in a separate, soft-side cooler, with a couple of blue ice blocks in it. I keep a couple more in the freezer, and switch them out every morning.

I also have pretty much given up on trying to travel with eggs - between the breakage and the freezing. I buy them when I get near my destination, and eat them before we pull out. If possible.

I love the fridge in our Casita (with freezer large enough to bring home some fish!) but it is, as George points out, much trickier to use than the fridge at home.

:sunny
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Old 02-07-2003, 08:22 AM   #14
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>>with an isolator between them

Nancy, I make no claim to being an expert in anything except being an expert in being a happy camper.

Having said that, yes, that's the way I understand it too, provided the tow vehicle has an isolator installed.

To be honest with you, I have no idea whether my Suburban has an isolator or not. I know it does have some sort of "run down" feature where it will automatically disconnect the vehicle battery if it drops to a "just barely enough to start" level.

Like Mary and others, I always make sure I either turn off all DC appliances or disconnect the trailer pigtail if we're going to be stopped for any length of time.

>>frig on dc or gas

Over the years, we've done both. I've also run down the road with the refrigerator on AC 110 setting. (Hey, it wasn't my job to switch the little do-dad as we were breaking camp!).

Now, please understand one thing. Pam and I head for the mountains or Canada for most of the summer ... and have for years. I don't like hot weather and will drive thousands of miles to get away from it.

So, particularly in mild temperatures, a lot of time we'll just turn the refrigerator OFF in the morning and run with it OFF, particularly if we aren't going very far.

But then again, please remember. I summer in cool climates. For example, last summer, between the maritimes and Colorado, most mornings we ran our furnace.

Running 300 miles in the cool, crisp Colorado mountains is much easier than running 300 miles across central Texas or Arizona under the hot blistering sun.
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