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Old 05-06-2018, 09:57 AM   #1
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Amps leftover for use while running fridge and air conditioning

So excited for taking out this summer our new 21 that we picked up last August !!! We have 5 long weekends planned to state parks and two exciting 10 day trips. (One being to the Boler Rally-that one will be our first boondocking experience &#128512 Being newbies, we still have so much to learn, but by the end of the summer, hopefully, we will know more what we are doing 🙂

Since our big trip last year was driving back home to Chicago from Chilliwack, stopping off at Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, the weather hasnt required us to use the air conditioning much. We have only run it for an afternoon or two while plugged in for a weekend trip after we came back.

Ive read that the air conditioner uses between 15-20 amps and am assuming that our trailer can run it and the fridge on electric at the same time while on shore power. My question is, while running both together, the fridge and the air, about how many amps are left over for using other relatively low amp devices at the same time? Could we, for example, run an electric fan and watch TV, and charge phones at the same time or would that exceed our 30 amps?

Thanks so much for all your help! I dont know where wed be without all the help from this great forum.
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:25 AM   #2
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I’ve read that the air conditioner uses between 15-20 amps and am assuming that our trailer can run it and the fridge on electric at the same time while on shore power. My question is, while running both together, the fridge and the air, about how many amps are left over for using other relatively low amp devices at the same time? Could we, for example, run an electric fan and watch TV, and charge phones at the same time or would that exceed our 30 amps?
The Air Conditioner may use those amps to start up, but nowhere near that when running. You can run basically everything at the same time when on shore power. We've even run the Air Conditioner and several other items while connected to 20 Amp power using a dogbone. The trick isn't running lots of things with shore power, but running them without.

Also, I would not recommend running the fridge on AC power, even when you have hookups. Not because you can't, but because it won't perform very well. Propane is by far the best fuel source for cooling the fridge. Have you noticed that when the fridge is set to Auto, it selects propane as the fuel source (provided it's available) even when you're hooked up? There's a reason for that.
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:35 AM   #3
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Thanks so much for the info, Robert
I didn’t realize that about the fridge on auto
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:59 AM   #4
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Also, I would not recommend running the fridge on AC power, even when you have hookups. Not because you can't, but because it won't perform very well. Propane is by far the best fuel source for cooling the fridge. Have you noticed that when the fridge is set to Auto, it selects propane as the fuel source (provided it's available) even when you're hooked up? There's a reason for that.

?? Mine works just as well on AC as it does on propane. I have sensorpush devices so I can see the temperature in both compartments and I stay under 40 degrees in the fridge compartment usually down around 36 to 38 degrees. Now 12v is a different story. I beefed up the 12v line from the truck to the trailer and it still can't keep up while traveling. Never tried it while parked but figure it would act the same.
Also when on auto ours will default to 120v if plugged in. I have to manually select propane.
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Old 05-06-2018, 12:21 PM   #5
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?? Mine works just as well on AC as it does on propane. I have sensorpush devices so I can see the temperature in both compartments and I stay under 40 degrees in the fridge compartment usually down around 36 to 38 degrees. Now 12v is a different story. I beefed up the 12v line from the truck to the trailer and it still can't keep up while traveling. Never tried it while parked but figure it would act the same.
Also when on auto ours will default to 120v if plugged in. I have to manually select propane.
Ours also works fine on 120 too and always if have hookups use the 120 . The gas we only use for traveling and boondocking . Pat
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Old 05-06-2018, 01:21 PM   #6
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We try to not use more than two high-draw items at a time. We have things that go on and off, or we may turn them on and off a number of times. We can be up near 30 amps with two and if a third comes on, it can cause a problem. At least, we have had a problem. We use a microwave but not necessarily with the A/C and certainly not with something else.

We have the water heater usually only on for an hour in morning and in the evening but it might be switched to on, and then come on.
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Old 05-06-2018, 02:13 PM   #7
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Thanks Ken, Pat, Cathy,
There’s so much to learn, and since we haven’t been “out” since September, relearn ...
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Old 05-06-2018, 03:50 PM   #8
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...
We have the water heater usually only on for an hour in morning and in the evening but it might be switched to on, and then come on.
The hot water on AC probably draws in the neighborhood of 12 to 15 amps. (Anyone with a manual handy to confirm?)

Of course, you can set the water heater to run on propane only to avoid that problem.

The 'fridge only draws 2 or 3 amps of 110. (For some reason my wife thinks the 'fridge cools better on 110 than propane. I don't argue!)

Haven't found a propane powered microwave - yet. But the propane grill substitutes nicely as a toaster oven.

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Old 05-06-2018, 10:51 PM   #9
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If you have the EMS, you can watch the number of amps being used while running your various appliances. If I remember right, my AC draws about 11 amps.
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:58 PM   #10
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... Have you noticed that when the fridge is set to Auto, it selects propane as the fuel source (provided it's available) even when you're hooked up? There's a reason for that.
Actually... was just reading through all my manuals yesterday (preparing for my first full season, and total novice).... unless the manual is wrong, on my 2017 Escape, AC is the default on Auto, when AC is available
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:17 PM   #11
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Alan, the hot water may draw 12 amps but I don't expect it to draw 15 but maybe it does sometimes. I do expect that the A/C or microwave may draw 15. Of course, the refrigerator may be using 3, however, as some have found, in some cases it draws high amps for a while, 10 or even more.

If we have hook-ups, we are using electric for the water heater. We simply use it as needed, morning and night a little, unless out in cold weather. That is the time, however, when we may also be turning the microwave on and off. We have learned pretty well to pay attention to the water heater being off if we are using other devices. I say that anyway, until the next time when I don't pay attention!
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:18 PM   #12
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The hot water on AC probably draws in the neighborhood of 12 to 15 amps. (Anyone with a manual handy to confirm?)
The Suburban SW6DE draws 12 amps based on the manual.
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:24 PM   #13
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If you have the EMS, you can watch the number of amps being used while running your various appliances. If I remember right, my AC draws about 11 amps.
You may see different numbers for different reasons. For one thing, the refrigerator may be using a different number of amps at different times, or something else may be. You may have other numbers included that you do not realize, and they also change with that appliance. In other words, there often is not a single number for a particular appliance. And they may go on and off.
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:32 PM   #14
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The Suburban SW6DE draws 12 amps based on the manual.
Thanks for that. Just what I thought from what I had seen on the EMS so many times.
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Old 05-12-2018, 03:16 PM   #15
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I actually see a somewhat lower number for my A/C after the initial start - closer to 88A pulled from the batteries, which is 8-9A@120VAC. Maybe round up to 10A sustained.

I checked Dometic's site.. there's a few different fridges, but the 6cuf one is rated for 2.7A AC (and 440W, which makes zero sense... so I'll pick the higher one at 3.6A)

The converter/charger can charge at 55A, so probably around 6A pulled from the shore power.

So:
water heater 12A
fridge 3.6A
charger 6A
A/C 10A
total: 31.6A

So, slightly over 30A total. Breakers don't trip instantly unless they're at several times the rated amperage. At only ~5% over, it would usually take at least a few minutes sustained to trip, and possibly several hours (or never, on a cold day). Add in a hairdryer or electric space heater and it'll probably trip after a couple of minutes. If you want to be sure, you can leave the fridge or water heater on propane until the charger kicks out of bulk charge mode.
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Old 05-12-2018, 05:22 PM   #16
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Our general way of doing it is not to have more than two high-draw items on at a time. That seems to cover it.
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Old 05-12-2018, 05:52 PM   #17
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Thanks again to everyone who answered! Really appreciate the info!
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