Battery discharges while towing? - Page 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 07-30-2014, 09:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonW View Post
Yup. Sure the fridge was set on 'auto'. Which does either propane or 110volt AC. But that was my first guess, too
One possibility is that while on Auto, your fridge was for some reason not remaining lit on propane while driving, and the Auto selector switched over to 12V (since 120V was not available either). Of course having the fridge run on 12V could easily drain your trailer batteries over the course of a few hours. Did you actually confirm when you arrived at your destination that the fridge was running on propane? Because of the risks associated with the 12V usage, I never use the Auto mode on the fridge. When driving, I keep the fridge in propane mode. If at a campground with 120V, I will switch the fridge to 120V mode, otherwise it stays in propane mode.
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:44 AM   #12
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If I'm not mistaken, according to the Dometic manual, while in "Auto" the default is 12v, this means you probably were in the 12v mode. The other issue is your new tow vehicle, did you have a separate 12v wire run back from the battery to the 7 pin connector? The stock wires are either too small or non existent for the auxiliary 12v pin to charge your battery in the trailer.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:30 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ice-breaker View Post
One possibility is that while on Auto, your fridge was for some reason not remaining lit on propane while driving, and the Auto selector switched over to 12V (since 120V was not available either). Of course having the fridge run on 12V could easily drain your trailer batteries over the course of a few hours. Did you actually confirm when you arrived at your destination that the fridge was running on propane? Because of the risks associated with the 12V usage, I never use the Auto mode on the fridge. When driving, I keep the fridge in propane mode. If at a campground with 120V, I will switch the fridge to 120V mode, otherwise it stays in propane mode.
I have always assumed that the default sequence of operations for these fridges is 120V first, propane second, and 12V third. However, based on Jim's comment, maybe this is incorrect. The manual I have for the Dometic fridges was based on European 230V systems and gives a somewhat confusing response saying that:

Quote:
Upon switching on, the electronics automatically selects one of the three possible energy types: 230V - 12V - liquid gas.

The control electronics automatically ensures that the refrigerator
is supplied with the optimum source of energy in each respective case.

Sequence of priority:
1.) Solar (12V -)
2.) 230V ~
3.) 12V -
4.) Liquid gas

To start the refrigerator, press button (1) for 3 seconds. The previously selected operating mode is displayed, e.g. 230 which means 230V . By pressing button (1) again, you may change the operating modes to:

􀂄 AU (automatic energy selection)
􀂄 230V,12V, GAS (manual energy selection)

Mode
If sufficient mains voltage is available (more than 195 V), this power source is selected as prime option. If a solar system capable of powering the refrigerator is installed, the solar 12V supply takes priority. The 12V operation is otherwise only effective while the engine is running.
I guess the best way to check the actual sequence may be to go out to the trailer and actually see what sequence the fridge uses when searching for a power source.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:38 AM   #14
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Seems like the real questions is the size of alternator and wire gauge to the plug. Without the tow package I doubt the alternator could keep up. We always drive with the fridge in 12V mode for safety reasons and always arrive at our destination with 100% battery charge. Our 4runner has the tow package and factory wiring.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
If I'm not mistaken, according to the Dometic manual, while in "Auto" the default is 12v, this means you probably were in the 12v mode. The other issue is your new tow vehicle, did you have a separate 12v wire run back from the battery to the 7 pin connector? The stock wires are either too small or non existent for the auxiliary 12v pin to charge your battery in the trailer.
I leave my fridge on "Auto" and have never seen it go to 12v.
When I bring the trailer home to cool down before a trip and turn the fridge on, it goes to propane until I plug it in - then it switches to 120v.
Not sure about LeonW's situation
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:48 AM   #16
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While reading the manual it specifies "Sequence of priority" and propane is last. It further states if there is adequate voltage, 12v is the prime mode. It further states that gas is selected while in the auto mode only if there is neither 120v nor 12v available. Furthermore to prevent ignition while refueling with the ignition off, switching to gas is delayed 15 minutes to allow fueling before attempting to light in the propane mode. During this time the unit is in standby mode and if in automatic mode the AU will be illuminated. See pp17 http://www.dometic.com/FileOrganizer...eration_EN.pdf
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:07 PM   #17
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Leo, I'm new to the group, don't even own an Escape just looking at them and considering them. That said several years ago I ran into the same problem with our first camper which was a Coleman pop up being towed by a Tacoma and whose 7 pin plug was installed by U-Haul. They got it wrong and instead of charging the battery going down the road it was actually discharging. It took us days to figure this out but not until we ruined one battery and almost a second on our return trip. Took the thing back to U-haul and once they looked at the wiring realized the battery charge wires were reversed. You mentioned your 7 pin is after market rather than a factory OEM. I would have someone check this for you, might be the culprit.

rob

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Originally Posted by LeonW View Post
Lindy and I decided to take the Lark out for a couple of days before we part with it. Picked it up from the storage facility yesterday, drove home and parked in front of the house. Turned the fridge on propane to cool. Drove to Father Hennipin state park this afternoon. About two hours. Batteries were almost dead.

The only thing different from previous trips is we have a new tow vehicle -- a Highlander, with an after market 7 pin connector & brake controller. The brake controller works fine. The lights work fine. Do you think they could have hooked the connector up so it discharges the battery rather than charges it?
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:11 PM   #18
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I guess Uhaul couldn't afford this 7-pin tester ( I paid about $12 for mine ). Got a 4-pin tester at the same time for about $4.
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:16 PM   #19
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I guess not. Didn't know they existed myself.
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
While reading the manual it specifies "Sequence of priority" and propane is last. It further states if there is adequate voltage, 12v is the prime mode. It further states that gas is selected while in the auto mode only if there is neither 120v nor 12v available. Furthermore to prevent ignition while refueling with the ignition off, switching to gas is delayed 15 minutes to allow fueling before attempting to light in the propane mode. During this time the unit is in standby mode and if in automatic mode the AU will be illuminated. See pp17 http://www.dometic.com/FileOrganizer...eration_EN.pdf
Just reporting what I have observed - maybe my fridge is faulty... My control panel doesn't seem to look like anything in that pdf either.
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