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Old 07-30-2016, 08:10 AM   #1
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Keeping fridge cold during travel

We're new to RVing, but when we got the Jayco swift the owner said that the battery while hooked up to the vehicle will keep the fridge running. The fuse at the battery is good, but while we traveled the fridge didn't stay on. I suspect maybe I have the switch at the wrong setting? I kept it on the electrical position.

I cool the fridge at home so that the next day it will stay cool during travel. (I'm going to get an exhaust fan installed for the fridge soon.)

My switch has settings for electrical, propane and a circle, which I assume is the off position.
Thanks in advance!
(At McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, TX right now.) :-)
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Old 07-30-2016, 08:23 AM   #2
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I don't know. I usually run mine on propane while on the highway. Unless you have a special fridge, or an inverter, I think you need AC or propane to run the fridge.
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Old 07-30-2016, 08:31 AM   #3
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The electric setting is for when camping with campground 110-volt power. The propane setting is when not connected to 110-volt power. And you still likely have to have 12-volt turned on to run the control circuits and ignitor, unless it has a standing pilot light.
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:31 AM   #4
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My former trailer had a three way refrigerator, Propane, 110 and 12 volt.

It had a battery icon on the dial for 12 volt. Yours is 110 and propane only.

The reason for 12 volt on the old trailer I had was that it was a fold down and used a 12 volt fan to vent when folded.
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:42 AM   #5
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Good Question

That is a good question actually, since the user manual is 100% worthless on the topic.

I set my refrigerator to "automatic" and let the gods of road decide.
Seemed to work.
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:51 AM   #6
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As others have indicated your fridge is 110 or propane, no 12V. So you'll need to switch to propane before you hit the road. I like to let it run for a few minutes on propane before actually heading out and I try to remember to turn it off when refueling. If you are concerned about the safety of running with it on propane there are numerous discussions about that on the forum. The fridge is designed to do that and we always run with it on.
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Old 07-30-2016, 10:39 AM   #7
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Gas absorption fridges do not work solely on 12V but do require a 12V source to run the controller board as well as the propane supply valve and igniter. I don't believe the OPs fridge has an auto setting, it's either off, on propane or on 120V source power.

An "auto" setting would use AC voltage to heat the ammonia boiler when a 120V source is present or use 12V and propane in the absence of a 120V source.

If you are using the fridge on gas for the first time, it may not light on the first attempt due to air in the gas lines. I usually turn on a stove burner for a minute or two to purge the gas line so the fridge starts quicker.

Here is a short video on how an RV fridge works.
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Old 07-30-2016, 11:16 PM   #8
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What is the electricity usage of the fridge? I will have a large battery bank and solar panels, so I was wondering whether it makes sense to set fridge to 110V when traveling.
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Old 07-31-2016, 05:33 AM   #9
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C&L,

Welcome and congrats on the new rig.

Just switch the fridge to the propane setting before leaving, confirming it lit and didn't fault out. Then switch back once you are plugged in at the campground. Do know the fridge does run better on propane than it does on electric.

Also, unless you keep the trailer plugged in between trips the propane detector will drain the battery in a matter of days.

Enjoy the new rig!!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by bono View Post
What is the electricity usage of the fridge? I will have a large battery bank and solar panels, so I was wondering whether it makes sense to set fridge to 110V when traveling.
Do you have an inverter in your setup? Regardless if you do, I would suggest running the fridge and hot water heater on propane the entire trip. I don't know tha actual usage of either, but if your limited on your power why chance it?
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Old 07-31-2016, 07:57 AM   #10
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I was fearful of towing with an open flame burning in the trailer behind me but after doing it on a recent 6+ hour tow it was well worth it. Food stayed cold and flame stayed lit throughout entire trip. In the end it was MUCH easier then packing multiple coolers to keep food cold.
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Old 07-31-2016, 09:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
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What is the electricity usage of the fridge? I will have a large battery bank and solar panels, so I was wondering whether it makes sense to set fridge to 110V when traveling.
If you have the installation guide for your fridge the current draw should be listed in there. For the small 2.7cf Norcold in our 195RB current draw is 1.5amps at 120vac. Running that through an inverter would yield around 15amp draw on the 12V battery bank. If you happen to have a 3-way unit you could run directly off 12V. The install guide shows a 12-14amp draw for the 3-way 2.7cf model when running directly off 12V.
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Old 07-31-2016, 05:10 PM   #12
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I will have 640W panels and 400Ah lithium batteries. If I convert the units correctly, 15 amps from 12V should not be that much for my system - the panels should be pumping volts into the system when I am towing, right?

This is only my speculation - I am picking up the trailer in two weeks and do not know how all would be working.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:01 AM   #13
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Wonderful suggestions and info! Thank you all very much!
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