Can a 3-way Dometic fridge work on 120V while not hooked up to gas? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-19-2020, 04:52 AM   #1
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Can a 3-way Dometic fridge work on 120V while not hooked up to gas?

I'm just starting to learn about trailers and fridges so excuse my dumb questions please.
I've recently acquired 1980 Trillium 4500 with a Dometic RM360 fridge. It's supposed to work on 12V, 120V and propane. It's not working at all. I've replaced thermocouple and used compressed air to clean everything (to some extent).
I'm wondering if the fridge should work while plugged into a wall outlet and not hooked up to the propane tank.
Any help/advice will be appreciated.
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Old 06-19-2020, 05:53 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by vicinto View Post
I'm just starting to learn about trailers and fridges so excuse my dumb questions please.
I've recently acquired 1980 Trillium 4500 with a Dometic RM360 fridge. It's supposed to work on 12V, 120V and propane. It's not working at all. I've replaced thermocouple and used compressed air to clean everything (to some extent).
I'm wondering if the fridge should work while plugged into a wall outlet and not hooked up to the propane tank.
Any help/advice will be appreciated.
The simple answer is yes. If it is not working on 120 vac there is a problem, but without additional information, it is not possible to say why.

Is the circuit breaker for the refrigerator turned on is the first question I would ask. But if it is not working on anything it would seem to be a universal problem. I’m not familiar with the RM360 but current Dometic refrigerators require 12v power to their solid state control boards in order to operate, and board failure is not uncommon.
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Old 06-19-2020, 06:08 AM   #3
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Yes, the fridge should work while plugged into a wall outlet. In 110 VAC electric mode, the control dial should be in the ELEC position. In all cooling modes,

- temperature setting should be 5
- vertical tube/flue in the rear of the fridge should get hot
- expect to wait 24 hours for the fridge to cool
- freezer section starts getting cold first

It is always easiest to check 110 VAC electric mode first. In this mode, check that the heating element inside the vertical tube/flue in the rear of the fridge is getting hot. If not, then its possible the heating element is not getting power or that the heating element needs to be replaced.

In propane mode, per manufacturer's directions:

- propane line should be at 11 PSI
- burner tube should be brushed and blown out
- jet should be removed, soaked in alcohol and blown out with low pressure air

Just a few days ago I cleaned the jet on my RM360 fridge. I inspected it with a magnifying glass to verify it was free of debris.
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Old 06-19-2020, 06:17 AM   #4
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"I’m not familiar with the RM360 but current Dometic refrigerators require 12v power to their solid state control boards in order to operate."

My RM360 fridge operates in propane mode without 12 vdc (or 110 vac) electric power.

I will check whether the fridge works when plugging it directly into a 110 vac wall outlet (i.e., bypassing the camper's power distribution box/converter).
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:15 AM   #5
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The RM360 does seem to cool by plugging in directly to a 110 VAC outlet. Its been plugged in 1/2 hour or so and the vertical tube/flue in the rear of the fridge is already getting hot.
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vicinto View Post
I'm just starting to learn about trailers and fridges so excuse my dumb questions please.
I've recently acquired 1980 Trillium 4500 with a Dometic RM360 fridge. It's supposed to work on 12V, 120V and propane. It's not working at all. I've replaced thermocouple and used compressed air to clean everything (to some extent).
I'm wondering if the fridge should work while plugged into a wall outlet and not hooked up to the propane tank.
Any help/advice will be appreciated.
Unlike a compressor refrigerator these refrigerators can take several HOURS to cool down. You didn't mention how long you left it on before checking whether or not it was working.
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Old 06-19-2020, 11:37 AM   #7
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RM2401 3-Way?

On a similar note. I have an older RM2401 in my 1990 Bigfoot. I also have the operating manual, installation manual that covers the whole range from 2301 - 2801. The spec sheet inside my closet door states that I have a "Dometic RM 4.6" (I assume that just means a 4.6 cu ft) LP, 120V, 12V as "fuel", which I would assume means a 3-way - unless that means it needs 12V to operate on 120V (some do, but not certain about this one).

The manual is not very clear on electric operation, see the attached clip from "electric operation" that sounds like there should be an option to select either 120V and 12V, depending on what you have available (12V while travelling and 120V when on shore power)
But the selector knob on mine only has "gas" & "elec" as options.
Is the RM2401 a 3-way fridge? And if so, does that mean that turning the selector knob to "elec" will have it run on either 120V (if available) or 12V (if 120V is NOT available)? Or is it a 120V/LP unit only?

It is also possible that this is NOT the original fridge, so the spec sheet sheet does not reflect the actual unit that is there. I have a question in to Dometic, but I am not holding my breath for a quick reply.

got hold of the seller. It does have a 12V setting, but for some illogical reason it is past the "Off" setting on the knob. I was expecting something that said 120V, 12V or AC DC , gas and Off. Not Elec, Gas, Off and then 12V. I guess that is to ensure that you REALLY intend to run it on 12V and didn't accidentally select it, thinking you were shooting for 120 or gas.
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Old 06-19-2020, 11:50 AM   #8
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RM 360 LP operation

Vic, I just tested my RM360 fridge in LP mode with NO battery and NO shore power connected. It lights up and cools just fine, thus no 12 vdc control panel, no electricity needed.

Here is a link to the RM 360 installation and operating instructions:

http://pdfstream.manualsonline.com/5...399cc965e2.pdf
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Old 06-19-2020, 01:16 PM   #9
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Thank you so much for that info. Victor
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Old 06-19-2020, 08:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by vicinto View Post
I'm just starting to learn about trailers and fridges so excuse my dumb questions please.
I've recently acquired 1980 Trillium 4500 with a Dometic RM360 fridge. It's supposed to work on 12V, 120V and propane. It's not working at all. I've replaced thermocouple and used compressed air to clean everything (to some extent).
I'm wondering if the fridge should work while plugged into a wall outlet and not hooked up to the propane tank.
Any help/advice will be appreciated.
Good chance a 40 year old fridge may not work. If it was not kept level when running it can ruin it. Do not try to start it on 12V as that method will run down your battery before it gets cold. 110V is the most efficient and quickest method to chill a fridge. Our fridge takes about 4-6 hours to start getting cold. We keep a remote thermometer in it to see when it chills down. Run on propane when driving or boon docking. Some people are apprehensive about using propane when driving but if you have the proper tanks and lines the propane will shut off if a line breaks or if propane starts coming out to fast. I've only seen propane tanks explode in a propane yard fire with hundreds of tanks on fire. If a tank gets to hot like in a fire they will vent to prevent an explosion on an RV. That is what happened when our friends big motorhome burned on Interstate 17 near Phoenix, AZ. The tank never exploded it just kept venting until the pressure went down. When towing make sure your trailer is level on the vehicle for the fridge. The only time we use 12V is when we leave a campground and are going to get gas real soon. Do not leave any pilot or propane appliance on when getting gas. The strikers can ignite the gas fumes. After fueling up we pull out from the pumps and start the fridge on propane.
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Old 06-20-2020, 05:21 AM   #11
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Jann: Thank you. The info is very much appreciated.
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Old 06-20-2020, 05:24 AM   #12
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Thanks John. It's really nice of you to do that.
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:04 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
Some people are apprehensive about using propane when driving but if you have the proper tanks and lines the propane will shut off if a line breaks or if propane starts coming out to fast.
PLEASE do not spread false information. OPD valves currently used on propane tanks will NOT shut off the propane if the line breaks or if the propane starts coming out to fast; they will only reduce the flow greatly but propane continues to flow. The only way to shut off propane completely is to manually turn the valve off.

That being said, I run my refrigerator on propane when towing, am not apprehensive about doing so, but in a major wreck leaking propane could be present depending on what damage occurs.
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Old 06-24-2020, 11:52 AM   #14
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A note about fridges from an old timer.
1) Dometic says level that is comfortable for living, is level enough for the fridge.
But we always level with a fridge bubble, we had an RV fridge in our yacht, propane on full time at sea or at the dock, never a problem, even in some waves as big as your house. One of the few boats at Cabo 1980 that had ice.
2) These fridges seem to like movement, driving them down the road seems to help to keep the refrigerant flowing.
3) Some people have reported that if a fridge seems to be working (chimney stack getting too warm to touch but not refridging, try taking the fridge out and turning it upside down overnight (turned off and unplugged of course) Have never tried it but some report that is has worked for them.
The fridge in our coach sprang a leak and quit, we got a rebuilt unit put in by the Gambler in Quartzsite and it worked well for at least 10 years after that.
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Old 06-24-2020, 08:52 PM   #15
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reply to: Dometic not working

I have a Dometic 2193 in an old Burro 13' trailer that I too am learning about. My experience is that the 120 volt option was not working due to a bad thermostat. I bypassed the thermostat jumping appropriate wires & the 120 circuit ran the fridge to 40d after a few hours.


Ordered a new thermostat which I broke (the sending tube) on installing it. So then discovered that trailer was wired to run the fridge from the tow vehicle battery while driving (the 12dc circuit does not require the thermostat). That seemed "cool" so the plan now is to detach the TV hitch wiring on arrival & using a spare TV side 7 way receptacle wire it to RV battery so that when plugged into the trailer 7 way I'm using the same Pos/Neg refridge wiring circuit as when plugged to the TV. Of course this all assumes you will have 120 vlt camp post to plug to so that you can keep a charger on the RV battery while it is supplying the Fridge.


Was excited about going solar & maybe upgrading to an Alpicool, low amp draw cooler, but realize probably insufficient sun in chosen campsites in NW part of the country. Maybe two batteries would do the job. Haven't gotten that far yet.



Other's feel free to correct this post since my Electrical knowledge is pretty weak.......as many can probably tell.
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Old 06-25-2020, 09:19 AM   #16
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I have a Dometic 2193 in an old Burro 13' trailer that I too am learning about. My experience is that the 120 volt option was not working due to a bad thermostat. I bypassed the thermostat jumping appropriate wires & the 120 circuit ran the fridge to 40d after a few hours.


Ordered a new thermostat which I broke (the sending tube) on installing it. So then discovered that trailer was wired to run the fridge from the tow vehicle battery while driving (the 12dc circuit does not require the thermostat). That seemed "cool" so the plan now is to detach the TV hitch wiring on arrival & using a spare TV side 7 way receptacle wire it to RV battery so that when plugged into the trailer 7 way I'm using the same Pos/Neg refridge wiring circuit as when plugged to the TV. Of course this all assumes you will have 120 vlt camp post to plug to so that you can keep a charger on the RV battery while it is supplying the Fridge.


Was excited about going solar & maybe upgrading to an Alpicool, low amp draw cooler, but realize probably insufficient sun in chosen campsites in NW part of the country. Maybe two batteries would do the job. Haven't gotten that far yet.



Other's feel free to correct this post since my Electrical knowledge is pretty weak.......as many can probably tell.
Depending on your TV you may end up with a dead battery when you reach your campsite. Some TV's do not have enough of a charging power or the wiring may not be heavy duty enough to run the fridge on 12V when driving and keep the battery charged. Just a few hours like 5-6 can kill the battery. We found out the hard way in hot weather while driving with it on 12V by accident. I'd fix the propane part unless you only drive for an hour a day then hook up to electric.
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Old 06-25-2020, 09:21 AM   #17
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PLEASE do not spread false information. OPD valves currently used on propane tanks will NOT shut off the propane if the line breaks or if the propane starts coming out to fast; they will only reduce the flow greatly but propane continues to flow. The only way to shut off propane completely is to manually turn the valve off.

That being said, I run my refrigerator on propane when towing, am not apprehensive about doing so, but in a major wreck leaking propane could be present depending on what damage occurs.
We were told that it would shut it off at the tank if the propane started escaping real fast with a broken hose, etc. So who do I believe? No one seems to agree with a lot of stuff.
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