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Old 12-17-2015, 11:59 AM   #1
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Name: Brad
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Ordering new Scamp with Larger 3-way Refrigerator

Has anyone had this problem? I was prepared to order a brand-new Scamp 16', pretty much with all options. The refrigerators they offer are either a 1.9 Cu ft. 3-way, or a 4.6 Cu ft. 2-way. I wanted to order the trailer with the larger refrigerator, but 3-way. I see no point in a two-way, especially with the way I plan to use this trailer, and the difference in price is usually about $80 - $100.
The salesman first told me that they don't install the larger 3-way because the larger fridge draws too many amps. I pointed out that they draw 15 amps while on 12 Volts DC (according to Dometic's website), and any tow vehicle that could tow this trailer is going to have at least an 80 Amp alternator. Obviously the fact that these 3-way refrigerators are made, and other people actually use them, meant nothing to the people at Scamp.
Then he told me to speak to the owner of the company, who suggested that I buy the 2-way, and operate it on gas while I was driving. This is not only dangerous, but illegal in many states.
I also pointed out that the 3-way and 2-way models are exactly the same size and the only different thing they'd have to do is run a 12-volt line.
After a few phone calls, they finally said flat-out they wouldn't install the 3-way, larger model. The salesman understood that I was ready to order but wasn't going to order unless I could get the refrigerator I wanted.
There's no way I could install it later -the door isn't wide enough.
So, they are loosing an order for a brand new trailer for no good reason. I guess that they have all of the business they want and don't need anymore money?
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Old 12-17-2015, 12:30 PM   #2
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I thought I wanted a three-way fridge when preparing to order my Escape. Instead I opted for the larger two-way.
It was pointed out to me that if I left a campsite with a depleted battery ( from running the furnace, etc. ) that when I arrived at the next campsite, I would still have a depleted battery because the vehicle could not supply enough power to run the fridge on 12V and to charge the battery.
If you insist on running your fridge on 12V, you will also have to upgrade the tow wiring to #10 from the normally used #12 just to get enough power to the fridge.
Don't know where you got your information about running the fridge on propane while driving, but it is not correct. It is not dangerous and I doubt you can find a law against it in any state. I know you won't find such a law across Canada.
You will be advised that propane must be shut off before entering tunnels, getting on a ferry and for fueling.
The fridge will stay cold for quite a while when turned off, if you don't open the door, so that's another option.
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Old 12-17-2015, 12:56 PM   #3
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What about level?

Hey, just reading this thread out of general interest, no dog in the fight one way or the other, but I have a confused beginner's question.

How can you run the fridge on propane while traveling? I've heard others discuss this, but I've also understood that the refrigerator needs to be level, with little tolerance, in order to 1) run properly, and 2) not cause permanent damage to the refrigerator.

Seems to me, that travel, with a possible tongue low position or just general travel, particularly in hilly areas would preclude you from running the fridge on propane. What am I missing?
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Old 12-17-2015, 01:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by LyleB View Post
Hey, just reading this thread out of general interest, no dog in the fight one way or the other, but I have a confused beginner's question.

How can you run the fridge on propane while traveling? I've heard others discuss this, but I've also understood that the refrigerator needs to be level, with little tolerance, in order to 1) run properly, and 2) not cause permanent damage to the refrigerator.

Seems to me, that travel, with a possible tongue low position or just general travel, particularly in hilly areas would preclude you from running the fridge on propane. What am I missing?
No need for level when moving since the ammonia is kept flowing.
by the motion and the hilly areas and general travel.
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Old 12-17-2015, 01:17 PM   #5
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Surveys say consistently that over 70% of RVs travel with propane on.
Some may say that it is contraindicated, but where exactly is it illegal?
I used my 12V a few times when my trailer was new, but quit using it years ago.
We travel with frozen bottles of water, tea, or other drinks to keep our fridge cold in transit.
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Old 12-17-2015, 02:35 PM   #6
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Thanks Floyd

Thanks, Guess I have to learn more about how these fridges actually work. Taking your word for it, you know a whole lot more about it than I do.

My thoughts were similar for travel, just use it as a big cooler with ice to keep things cold until I get to camp. My trailer battery doesn't charge at all from the tow vehicle, so it would quickly drain the battery.
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Old 12-17-2015, 03:54 PM   #7
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Most of the newer refrigerators do not DO NOT have a pilot light and are perfectly safe and legal to use when traveling. Fueling and some tunnel restrictions do apply but when I travel my refer is running on propane until I plug into shore power
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Old 12-17-2015, 05:12 PM   #8
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The OP raises some interesting questions, among them:

Replacement fridge installation through the door? I do not think they install the fridge first and then glue the top and bottom of the shell together. Does not make sense.

Running on LP while on the road? Scamp does say in their manuals to turn off the propane when traveling, but very few people follow that recommendation. (I used to when I started, but now I run the fridge on LP when underway.) I believe it is legal, in general.

As an explanation for the benefit of the OP, the small fridge needs less of a heat source to keep the absorption cycle working, and the alternator and the wiring can handle it. With the bigger one, only the 115V AC or propane has the energy density to handle the job. Scamp may have some other good reasons not to provide the large size 3-way.

The Scamp delivery times suggests that they have all the business they can handle. When I visited them two years ago I found out that the company growth is stymied by certain federal regulations (50 employees). Some work they could do actually do inside, they contract to an outside company, down the street. I think they mentioned the trailer frames as an example.

And lastly, the customer is the king, as they say, but even the king is not almighty, as they also say.
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Old 12-17-2015, 05:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jack L View Post
Most of the newer refrigerators do not DO NOT have a pilot light and are perfectly safe and legal to use when traveling. Fueling and some tunnel restrictions do apply but when I travel my refer is running on propane until I plug into shore power
What difference would a pilot light make when the thing fires up?
I think the biggest concern is a charged line or fitting cracking in transit.
With the tank valve closed that presents no problem.
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Old 12-17-2015, 05:50 PM   #10
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And, with the safety valves in all new tanks ( that detect sudden increases in flow and shut it down ) is still no problem.
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
What difference would a pilot light make when the thing fires up?
I think the biggest concern is a charged line or fitting cracking in transit.
With the tank valve closed that presents no problem.
A pilot light is a constant source of ignition. Electronic ignition is only activated when the refrigerator calls for more cooling.
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
As an explanation for the benefit of the OP, the small fridge needs less of a heat source to keep the absorption cycle working, and the alternator and the wiring can handle it. With the bigger one, only the 115V AC or propane has the energy density to handle the job. Scamp may have some other good reasons not to provide the large size 3-way

I would point out that the 6.7 cuft 3-way Dometic I have in my trailer performs quite well on 12v when traveling. For that matter, it stays colder on 12v than it does on propane. The 12v power source when traveling mostly comes from a 150 watt solar panel and the battery stays close to fully charged. I would believe Scamp has no other good reason not to provide the requested 3-way refrigerator other than its "my way or the highway" approach to customer requests. When I ordered my Scamp (no longer owned by me), I asked them to install shelves in the wardrobe closet. They declined.


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Old 12-17-2015, 06:41 PM   #13
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I wonder if your setup would still work well on a fully overcast day or at dusk or dawn. Any experience under those conditions?
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Old 12-17-2015, 07:36 PM   #14
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Solar has never worked well at night for me so if I needed a supplementary power source that's when I would be switching to propane, (or at the very least keep the fridge door shut and eat soup).
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Old 12-17-2015, 07:50 PM   #15
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Ordering new Scamp with Larger 3-way Refrigerator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
I wonder if your setup would still work well on a fully overcast day or at dusk or dawn. Any experience under those conditions?

Works fine in overcast. Fully is a relative word. What is fully? Dark sky and raining? I have had no problem running on solar/12v on rather cloudy days. Dusk or dawn I can't say because I make a habit of not being on the road at those times. I don't usually start traveling until the sun is up or it is very light, and by late afternoon I have generally stopped for the day. When not traveling I typically run on AC or propane. Kind of obvious solar doesn't work at night.....
My point was that larger refrigerators can and do work on 12v.

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Old 12-17-2015, 08:43 PM   #16
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The following is a little off-topic but may be of interest as an alternative (or not). I installed a 4.2 cu "1 way" (12V only) TF-130 Truckfridge in my Scamp. I am very happy with the size, performance, and ease of operation. I start it to cool down the day before leaving on a trip while connected to 120V. To travel I just unplug from shore power and it runs off the batteries/tug power.

The TF barely fit through the Scamp's door with its' door and brackets removed. It would have been easier if my Scamp did not have the folding screen door blocking some of the door opening.

But did I mention I really like it? Yes, I have to ensure I have 12v at all times, but I need that for other things anyway (CPAP off inverter).
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Old 12-17-2015, 09:09 PM   #17
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I installed a Norcold 12 / 120 compressor fridge in my rebuild to not have to deal with the propane issues
It draws 4 amps when running and it cycles about 50 % for an average of 2 amps or so.
I am installing a power meter for the 12 volt circuits so later I might have a better numbrr.
This unit barely fit through the door wit it's door off also.
Personally I am planning on this being a good fit for my usage and the power use age from the TV is within reason.
I think it will also work with the future solar system.
Perhaps a gas unit would work better with solar, but my experience traveling with them hasn't been as good as the experts on this site.
I am looking into 2 100 watt flexible panels on the roof with hopes of having the low power electrical take care of itself.
We shall see!


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Old 12-17-2015, 09:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jack L View Post
A pilot light is a constant source of ignition. Electronic ignition is only activated when the refrigerator calls for more cooling.
Still begs the question.
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Old 12-17-2015, 09:25 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
And, with the safety valves in all new tanks ( that detect sudden increases in flow and shut it down ) is still no problem.
That assumes that the tank has that feature and that a cracked line would leak sufficiently to cause a "sudden increase in flow".
Also the regulator is downstream of the tank and upstream of the appliances.

Obviously the tank will allow enough gas to run the burners on the stove the hot water heater, the fridge, and the furnace all at once, that's a pretty good sized leak!
[Nero...]

I can't say what the risk is, but it ain't zero, of course.
As I said, 70% choose to assume the risk.
I am not second guessing them.
I am only doing what PC does not allow... Stating the obvious!
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Old 12-17-2015, 11:50 PM   #20
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I have a 3 way fridge and have used the 12 volt option a couple of times in 6 years. Found the 12V to be a power waste. Would rather keep the 12v power for items when 12 volt is really needed - lights, furnace and water pump. When dry camping its on propane. Works just as well on propane as it does when plugged into power or at least it does when the various parts have been cleaned. Like a number of others here I found that the tug can not keep up with supplying the 12v demand of the fridge when towing. Resulting in a depleted battery at arrival at destination. When on the road it can run on propane but I opt to simply put a couple of freezer packs in beside the dairy products and meat and it stays cool enough if you do not open the fridge for a number of hours of driving.

Have a solar system but find it does not work well at night ;-) or when camped in heavily treed campsites in poor weather which can happen more often than not here on the wet coast.

Personally would have no problem going with a 2 way fridge and probable will with the next trailer.
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