Refrigerator on propane while moving? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 07-11-2017, 06:22 PM   #1
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Refrigerator on propane while moving?

Do any members leave their fridge running on propane while the trailer is travelling, and if so, does this present any problems ? Flame blowing out? Is it permitted everywhere?

My only experience has been to be told to shut off all propane valves before boarding a ferry.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:25 PM   #2
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Propane off for ferries, tunnels and while fueling. Other than that no issues.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:27 PM   #3
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There are lots of threads here on the subject, and lots of conflicting opinions. We tow running the fridge on propane, and have had no issues.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:30 PM   #4
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We turn off the propane while traveling. It's much easier than turning it off before every gas station or tunnel. And we find that the batteries handle it OK.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:39 PM   #5
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So you turn it off at the tank? And does that cause re-start issues when you get to your destination? We've been travelling with it running because it's been a little warm and I have a concern about how cold the fridge stays just running off the batteries when in transit.
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:00 PM   #6
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So it has been woking fine at highway speeds?
Is yours a 12V/120V/gas Unit? My instructor at RV101 said to never use the 12V while traveling because the battery would not be able to maintain the fridge temp in a typical tug & trailer set-up.
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:08 PM   #7
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We have the three way option but have been just using propane, as you say, because I'm not sure the other options will keep things cool / cold. Hate to lose ice cream!
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by padamas View Post
So it has been woking fine at highway speeds?
Is yours a 12V/120V/gas Unit? My instructor at RV101 said to never use the 12V while traveling because the battery would not be able to maintain the fridge temp in a typical tug & trailer set-up.
I was going to get a three-way fridge until Reace said that if you leave a campsite with a depleted battery ( maybe running the furnace overnight ) and head for another campsite, you will arrive with a depleted battery. The tow may supply enough power to run the fridge on 12V, but can't do that and charge the battery at the same time.
I opted for a two-way fridge and I run with fridge on propane.
Another option is just turn the fridge off if ambient temps aren't too hot, but don't open the door to get anything out.
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Do any members leave their fridge running on propane while the trailer is travelling, and if so, does this present any problems ? Flame blowing out? Is it permitted everywhere?
Quote:
Originally Posted by padamas View Post
So it has been woking fine at highway speeds?
I have used both 12V and propane in a trailer; I preferred 12V because the propane burner in that model of refrigerator was a pain to light. I never had a problem with it blowing out.

My motorhome's refrigerator - like most larger refrigerators - does not have a 12V mode... so I run it on propane. No problems, and this one is a direct spark ignition model (same series as currently used by Escape), so no hassles.

As the other threads and other posts in this one have explained, having the propane tank valves open is permitted almost everywhere, with tunnels and ferries being the common exceptions. The only other restriction is that in a gas station there can't be an open flame - that means the burner must be off (and not set to ignite), but the propane tank valves can be open and propane available to all appliances, because in a gas station the hazard is the flame and not the propane.

Quote:
Originally Posted by runnergirl View Post
So you turn it off at the tank? And does that cause re-start issues when you get to your destination? We've been travelling with it running because it's been a little warm and I have a concern about how cold the fridge stays just running off the batteries when in transit.
If propane is not allowed (such as in a tunnel), it is turned off at the tank, and there can be a delay in relighting.
At a gas station, the refrigerator (and water heater and furnace) only need to be switched off - the propane supply isn't interrupted and there is no delay in restarting when allowed.

Quote:
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My instructor at RV101 said to never use the 12V while traveling because the battery would not be able to maintain the fridge temp in a typical tug & trailer set-up.
This has been a challenge for some people; however, if the 12 volt mode isn't usable when driving, it is essentially useless. Still, most small RV refrigerators are 3-way, including 12V operation. Why would RV manufacturers, who as an industry are well-known for cost efficiency, pay for the 12V mode? It can and does work for many.

In the standard electrical connection used between tug and trailer in Europe, there are two power supply circuits: one to charge the battery, and a separate one for the refrigerator. Some refrigerators - including Dometic models used by Escape - have both separate 12V DC power inputs for the control electronics and for the heater, and a vehicle running signal to control mode switching. I'm not aware of anyone using these features in North America, but with at least some models they could be used to avoid the problem of running down the trailer battery.
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:17 PM   #10
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'm not aware of anyone using these features in North America, but with at least some models they could be used to avoid the problem of running down the trailer battery.
The problem, as described to me by Reace, is not that the battery will be run down, driving on 12V. It's that the tow vehicle doesn't have the oomph to charge a battery that is already run down, and to run the fridge at the same time.
So, if your batteries are fully charged when you leave one campground, you should be able to run on 12V and arrive with charged batteries.
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