Refrigerator (new to camping) - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-02-2018, 11:04 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Here's the problem with that: if you've been camping and your house battery is depleted, it will still be depleted when you arrive at your next campsite. The tow vehicle is not able to run the fridge on DC and to charge the house battery at the same time.

In any event, the fridge uses very little propane.
You must have a wimpy alternator in your TV.
See my earlier notes about running a 12 gage wire direct from battery to the fridge. It reduces resistance considerably.
I guess you are boon docking if your battery is depleted. So, charge the battery
for the first 10 or 20 miles, then switch the fridge to 12V.
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Old 07-02-2018, 11:11 AM   #42
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I had #10 used to wire my tow vehicle and it has a heavy duty alternator.
I do not have a 3-way fridge because I boondock and DC is an inefficient way to power the fridge.
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:25 PM   #43
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You must have a wimpy alternator in your TV.
See my earlier notes about running a 12 gage wire direct from battery to the fridge. It reduces resistance considerably.
I guess you are boon docking if your battery is depleted. So, charge the battery
for the first 10 or 20 miles, then switch the fridge to 12V.

alternator on my Tacoma was just fine, 140A, I think. it was the factory wiring from the battery through the fuse-relay box to the 7-blade hitch that had 50% of the voltage drop, then the wiring in the casita from the 7-blade to the DC panel that had the other half of the drop. net result was, when the fridge was on DC with the tug running, the casita battery was discharging... yet I had 14.2V at the tug battery.

After that first leg of that first trip, I never used DC again.... However, next week I'm towing the Escape 500 miles in a day with my 'new' 2002 F250 diesel... I will run the same test, switch teh fridge to DC, and drive a few hours, then with the vehicle engine running, check the system voltage at the trailer electrical panel... if its at least 13 V, I'll call it good, and use the fridge on DC while towing... if not, then I'll revert to propane.
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:36 PM   #44
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Again, the problem is usually the wiring. Check trailer battery voltage with tow running, fridge on. If it's 12.5 or better, you're not draining it, but you're not charging either. Simple solution: start with cold fridge, either from AC or propane. Less than 2 hour drive or so? It will stay cold. Longer drive? Turn fridge on after 2 hours - off after 2. Repeat as needed. It works for us.
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:41 PM   #45
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To me, running your fridge on LP while traveling is a waste of propane.
.
Well taken literally of course it is.
But looking at the bigger picture, are you really saying that heating the refrigerant directly by burning propane is LESS efficient than burning gasoline to turn a motor, which turns a generator, which supplies its energy via a resistor to a heating element to heat that same refrigerant?
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:44 PM   #46
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But looking at the bigger picture, are you really saying that heating the refrigerant directly by burning propane is LESS efficient than burning gasoline to turn a motor, which turns a generator, which supplies its energy via a resistor to a heating element to heat that same refrigerant?
But looking at the big, big picture, if you are doing all this anyway to tow the trailer, why use a separate system to burn a separate fuel?
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:51 PM   #47
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But looking at the big, big picture, if you are doing all this anyway to tow the trailer, why use a separate system to burn a separate fuel?
well, typical absorption fridge uses 250-400 watts in DC... thats up to nearly 1/2 horsepower. driving that extra 1/2 horse will take that much more gas than not driving it. would this be significant in your fuel economy? hard to say.
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:52 PM   #48
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But looking at the big, big picture, if you are doing all this anyway to tow the trailer, why use a separate system to burn a separate fuel?
2 reasons.

1) it works better
2) My fridge is a 2-way so has no 12v option.
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:10 PM   #49
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2) My fridge is a 2-way so has no 12v option.
That would definitely be a good reason.
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Old 07-04-2018, 03:29 PM   #50
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I tow with a 2017 Tacoma with a 130 amp alternator with the Dometic 2454 3-way fridge on 12 VDC power. As stated by another, I unplug (7 pin) when parked and go to either 120 VAC or propane (whichever is appropriate). I have not experienced a battery drain issue with (2) 6 VDC in series (and rooftop solar). I monitor the temp in the freezer and fridge and am so far pleased with the system's performance. From all I have read here, these can be troublesome.
Thanks to all,
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Old 07-04-2018, 04:53 PM   #51
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I run my fridge on 12V, It is a small 3 way. I get at campsite and everything is fine. I then switch to shore power. I never lit my propane fridge yet, b/c I have not camped at a campground where there was not power. Sometime I will boondock, but not just yet. Most I have ever driven has only been about 3 hours, with a break in there to. Carl
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:08 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by skalywag View Post
I tow with a 2017 Tacoma with a 130 amp alternator with the Dometic 2454 3-way fridge on 12 VDC power. As stated by another, I unplug (7 pin) when parked and go to either 120 VAC or propane (whichever is appropriate). I have not experienced a battery drain issue with (2) 6 VDC in series (and rooftop solar). I monitor the temp in the freezer and fridge and am so far pleased with the system's performance. From all I have read here, these can be troublesome.
Thanks to all,
Unless Toyota has made changes between the 2016 & 2017 Tacoma, you don't need to unplug the trailer umbilical. There is a disconnect solenoid that shuts off the trailer charge line when the ignition is off.
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:48 AM   #53
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Unless Toyota has made changes between the 2016 & 2017 Tacoma, you don't need to unplug the trailer umbilical. There is a disconnect solenoid that shuts off the trailer charge line when the ignition is off.
Thank you Jon, I was not aware of that feature and it is reassuring. I have only camped "hitched up" a few times.
Thanks
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:31 AM   #54
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Well taken literally of course it is.
But looking at the bigger picture, are you really saying that heating the refrigerant directly by burning propane is LESS efficient than burning gasoline to turn a motor, which turns a generator, which supplies its energy via a resistor to a heating element to heat that same refrigerant?
It could never be argued affectively that running the fridge on 12VDC is an efficient use of fuels, as you point out so well. But it might be argued that it is an efficient use of time, or more convenient. We all are used to stopping at the gas station to top off frequently while traveling, but filling the propane tanks is a hassle.

I run my fridge on 12 volts sometimes. It's mainly to reduce propane consumption, instead of trying to find the most efficient use of fuels.

Making a few assuptions, it seems only about 20% or less of the energy from gasoline, running a gasoline engine, will make it to the heating element in the fridge as electricity. With propane, the flame itself is heating the fridge and probably running at about 80% efficiency. The amount of energy in ethanol gas is about the same as the energy in a gallon of propane. The current cost of a gallon of propane is similar to a gallon of gas, when filling RV tanks, or about $2.50 to $3.00. But it's much easier to fill the gas tank, than fill the propane tank.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:03 AM   #55
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I use a 33.5 lb fork lift propane tank:
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ank-49385.html
Due to the quick fill port, which I installed on the liquid draw line, some gas stations, with propane have allowed me to fill it while still mounted to the trailer.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:53 AM   #56
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my old tent trailer had a 30 lb bottle as the PO's had set it up for dry camping at music festivals. I never had to take it off for a filling station, if I could park within range of their hoses.
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:43 PM   #57
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It could never be argued affectively that running the fridge on 12VDC is an efficient use of fuels, as you point out so well. But it might be argued that it is an efficient use of time, or more convenient. We all are used to stopping at the gas station to top off frequently while traveling, but filling the propane tanks is a hassle.

I run my fridge on 12 volts sometimes. It's mainly to reduce propane consumption, instead of trying to find the most efficient use of fuels.

Making a few assuptions, it seems only about 20% or less of the energy from gasoline, running a gasoline engine, will make it to the heating element in the fridge as electricity. With propane, the flame itself is heating the fridge and probably running at about 80% efficiency. The amount of energy in ethanol gas is about the same as the energy in a gallon of propane. The current cost of a gallon of propane is similar to a gallon of gas, when filling RV tanks, or about $2.50 to $3.00. But it's much easier to fill the gas tank, than fill the propane tank.
Cant argue with that. I'll just point out that my water heater burns much more propane than my fridge. But you make a good point
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Old 07-06-2018, 11:08 AM   #58
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I have a two way fridge, but it is 12 or 120 with no propane compressor type.
I installed a 100 watt solar panel on the roof to boost the power available while towing or parked while touristing about.
My solar system ties directly to the battery as does the heavy duty wiring from the relay isolated battery in the TV.
Since there is relatively little shade on the highway or parking lots the solar should help some.
The Norcold draws 4 amps at around 50% duty cycle or less.
When I first installed it I measured an average of 17 watts over four days on DC.
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Old 07-27-2018, 07:32 PM   #59
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I have a two way fridge, but it is 12 or 120 with no propane compressor type.
I installed a 100 watt solar panel on the roof to boost the power available while towing or parked while touristing about.
My solar system ties directly to the battery as does the heavy duty wiring from the relay isolated battery in the TV.
Since there is relatively little shade on the highway or parking lots the solar should help some.
The Norcold draws 4 amps at around 50% duty cycle or less.
When I first installed it I measured an average of 17 watts over four days on DC.
good set up

you should get a little over 5 amps/hr with a 100 watt panel in full sunlight. A little strain off the altenator never hurts. You got to remeber if the alternator is pulling for power, the engine works a bit harder and the fuel mileage will drop.

The controversey of whether to run propane or not has been around longer than this forum, each to their own and that is best left like that.

no right and no wrong
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Old 07-27-2018, 10:48 PM   #60
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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.
Gordon, that's hilarious; it would make a great signature line!
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