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Old 08-02-2020, 10:57 AM   #21
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Ignorant question, but why not use electricity to maintain refrigerator temperature while driving? Don't the batteries charge from the tow vehicle alternator? Seems like it would be more efficient and save propane.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:23 AM   #22
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Ignorant question, but why not use electricity to maintain refrigerator temperature while driving? Don't the batteries charge from the tow vehicle alternator? Seems like it would be more efficient and save propane.

You can, but, if you leave a campsite with a trailer house battery that is depleted, when you arrive at the next campsite, the house battery will still be depleted ( maybe even more depleted ), because the vehicle is incapable of running the fridge and charging the trailer battery.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:12 PM   #23
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Depending on the fridge in question, some use way more then the TV can provide, at least given original wiring. Add in a solar roof solar panel and you can get in the ball park. 2 or 3 roof panels as well as the TV alternator may take care of it, someone with such would have to pipe in. For my 6.0L fridge, with the F150's original wiring, and a 160w panel, at the end of a 7 hour drive I was down 20ah from the morning. As Glen mentions, if I were to start with a deficit from the night before I'd compound the problem. Running off DC is not feasible for most of us.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:44 PM   #24
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I ran mine on DC for the first few trips but switched tp propane. I tend to make stops when ever the urge strikes me and If on DC the fridge will eat up the batteries quickly.

Too much trouble switching to propane while stopped (if I remember it) so I just use propane now. No trouble keeping batteries up while traveling with the truck and solar when on DC tho.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:22 PM   #25
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Do you need to turn off the propane when you stop at a gas station to refuel?
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:27 PM   #26
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Some do, some don't.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:44 PM   #27
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That means propane is on and the fridge is cooling.

Is the trailer generally level enough to do this without hurting the fridge? In one of the videos, Reace mentioned not to operate it when out of level by more than 10%.


Actually it needs to be level so that the liquefied ammonia can drain to the bottom of the system to be reheated to circulate back through they system. The moving and jostling of the system as you drive, does more to move the liquid down in the system than being level ever does.

But, generally if your have the proper hitch height the trailer should be level front to rear, and mostly level side to side any way.



How does Dometic or Norcold RV Absorption Fridge Work?

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Originally Posted by UncleTim View Post
Can you tell by the bubble level how much 10% is? What do you do? Please.
This is a photo of a 9 degree angle which would be 10% of 90 degrees I guess.
9 degree angle.png
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:07 PM   #28
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Do you need to turn off the propane when you stop at a gas station to refuel?
You should!!! Just Google 'RV Gas Station Fire'
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:21 PM   #29
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Depending on the fridge [and tow-vehicle] in question, some use way more than the TV can provide, at least given original wiring.
This.

For example, I can (and and always have when driving) run the 3-way reefer/freezer in my Casita on the 12VDC of my '05 F150, no worries (circuit rated 30A).

BUT, with my '19 Ridgeline, it's a 'no-go' - the 12V trailer feed is fused too low (circuit rated 20A).

Both those TVs with OE 7-pin RV sockets, wiring, and circuit protection, with different rated capacities on that circuit. I'm in the camp that much prefers LP off at the tank whenever driving, YMMV.
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:51 PM   #30
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BUT, with my '19 Ridgeline, it's a 'no-go' - the 12V trailer feed is fused too low (circuit rated 20A).
Does it blow the fuse?
Does it drain your trailer batteries?
Are you just comparing the amp draw of the fridge and the vehicles circuit rating? The trailer batteries should act as a buffer, so your fridge isn't drawing directly from that circuit.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:44 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by TTMartin View Post
Actually it needs to be level so that the liquefied ammonia can drain to the bottom of the system to be reheated to circulate back through they system. The moving and jostling of the system as you drive, does more to move the liquid down in the system than being level ever does.
Good grief. Not this do you drive with the propane on discussion again.

We pre-cool the fridge in the driveway with 110v the day before, fire up the propane, load the fridge and freezer, drive some of the roughest roads in North America and come home and unload the still frozen stuff. The only exceptions are ferries that issue turned off propane stickers.

I might add that with our old fridge this would have been a dream but the newer model fridges are a different breed and they work exceptionally well.

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Old 08-02-2020, 03:52 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by TTMartin View Post
Does it blow the fuse?
Does it drain your trailer batteries?
Are you just comparing the amp draw of the fridge and the vehicles circuit rating? The trailer batteries should act as a buffer, so your fridge isn't drawing directly from that circuit.
No fuse blown, it reduced the single trailer battery, well-charged at the start of the drive from home base shore-power, during a long day of driving in hot weather. I've not experimented further with the Ridgeline supporting the reefer in 12V mode on the road.

The F150 manages to support the reefer and re-charge the trailer battery after camping without shore power.
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:01 PM   #33
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It is entirely acceptable to tow with the propane on and have the frig. on propane fuel. And yes, there has been testing. There are even Codes and Standards.

National Fire Protection Association has conducted testing. Their standards are based on real-world testing of a variety of scenarios, staged accidents, etc., that are much of the basis for their standards (they burn up lots of stuff!).

NFPA 30A (Motor Fuel Dispensing..) and 58 (LP Gas Code) are among them.
Neither mention shutting off tank valves, but both address removing ignition sources within 20 feet of dispensing. The most obvious hazard is fuel spills.
The International Fire Code, the model Code for many jurisdictions in North America, references NFPA 30 and 58 as standards.
So, you can tow with propane on. Certain ferries and certain tunnels require propane to be shut off when using them.
Flames (such as the one on the frig.) must be extinguished within 20 ft. of dispensing of fuels. It is relatively easy to turn of the frig. when you're in a gas station, then restart it as you leave. Note that I didn't say turn off the propane at the tank, but you could.


Question for those of you with propane water heaters: does it have a pilot, or an ignitor, and is it normally an on-demand appliance or does it cycle on and off to maintain hot water?
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:11 PM   #34
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Question for those of you with propane water heaters: does it have a pilot, or an ignitor, and is it normally an on-demand appliance or does it cycle on and off to maintain hot water?
Mine is a 120VAC/LP 2-way 6-gallon tank WH (same type as in Escape trailers, with or without AC option).

It uses DSI rather than an always-on pilot in propane mode. Ignition can be triggered and create an 'open spark / flame' at any time based on the temperature in the tank when the WH is turned "on" in LP mode. That can be prevented by turning the unit 'off' with a switch in the trailer, and mine also has an LP cutoff in the WH exterior access hatch (which I never touch).

My LP furnace also uses DSI rather than an open pilot, and can spark / ignite at any time when "on" at the thermostat.

I honestly don't remember if my reefer will attempt to go to LP mode if it senses too-low voltage in 12 volt mode (it might, it's a 'smart' unit?). That appliance, too, uses a DSI-sparker for LP ignition.

For me, the 'preference' for LP shutoff at the tank is simply a matter of long-established ritual with the Casita, based in safety-conservatism and convenience. It's just part of my 'automatic routine' to switch the reefer to 12 volt mode, the WH to "off", and turn of the tank valves when getting underway, then reverse upon arrival, never giving it a second thought when fueling in between. Obviously, per posts above, that preference and ritual will need to change if I continue to tow with the Ridgeline. I leave my LP tank valves closed when stored at home. Again, YMMV.
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:05 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by TTMartin View Post
Actually it needs to be level so that the liquefied ammonia can drain to the bottom of the system to be reheated to circulate back through they system. The moving and jostling of the system as you drive, does more to move the liquid down in the system than being level ever does.
Attachment 49149

Thank you, this is very helpful. I have been wondering about this all week.

I just got back from four days in the Medicine Bow mountains in Wyoming. I ran the fridge the whole time. Both fill ups.

No problem. And I do appreciate all the experience here.
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:06 PM   #36
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good grief. not this do you drive with the propane on discussion again.

Ron

lmao!!!
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:29 PM   #37
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lmao!!!

Good Grief More strings of letters that I don't know what they are.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:41 PM   #38
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Yeah you do!
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:54 PM   #39
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Do you need to turn off the propane when you stop at a gas station to refuel?
you're supposed to, but I rarely remember to.

re: running the fridge on tow vehicle provided DC... My experience with my Toyota Tacoma was, the Tacoma could provide enough current, but the voltage drop at those amps was such that the Casita battery discharged rather than charged, and after 3-4 hours of travel, my Casita battery was nearly flat. Switched to propane, drove the remaining 3-4 hours of that long haul travel day, and voila, battery was fully charged again.
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Old 08-05-2020, 12:10 PM   #40
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I recently traveled with my trailer across and back across the Sierra Nevada range in California. I always run the refrigerator on 12v while traveling and my Jeep Grand Cherokee plus solar panel keeps the battery charged. On my last trip, I noticed that the trailer battery didn't recharge any but it did not discharge either. And that was while crossing through the Ebbetts Pass which has some parts that are less than a full two lanes wide and a grade of 24% !! I was going up the steep part and the Jeep pulled us up with no problem. The refrigerator was cool at 36 degrees F when we arrived at our campsite. Fortunately, the traffic is fairly light and we didn't pass any large trucks or others towing trailers.
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