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Old 04-15-2018, 12:28 PM   #1
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Refrigerator and inverter while traveling

I have a 2016 27dsrl that I would like to add an inverter to so I can run the refrigerator on while towing it. I am interested to know if anyone has done something similar what size inverter I would need? I just plan on using it for the refrigerator while towing so that my truck should keep the battery charged while towing it. I am not interested in the propane solution.

Speaking of recharging the battery from the truck I have an f250 with dual batteries but still wanted to confirm that using this would not drain my truck batteries too much. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:01 PM   #2
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Depending on which fridge you have the current draw for the heating element could be between 1.5 to 3 amps. I think in order to be safe I would not go below a 750 watt inverter.

The big "if" on the truck keeping the battery up will depend on what size wire was used for the 12v supply back to the 7 pin.
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Old 04-15-2018, 03:24 PM   #3
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I had tried this in our prior motorhome. We put an 800W inverter in the forward portion of the cab, to supply 120v power to the fridge.

The downside of this was that a typical AC/Propane Fridge draws 350W for the element. It makes the Inverter draw over 30A @12v to maintain the AC power just for the fridge. If you happened to stop along the way and forgot to switch the fridge off of inverter power, the battery was quickly discharged. After forgetting the second time - that was enough for us to leave it on Propane while travelling.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:18 PM   #4
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. . .

The big "if" on the truck keeping the battery up will depend on what size wire was used for the 12v supply back to the 7 pin.
Agree, a big "if"!

The 120 vac heating elements in the propane/electric frig are probably going to draw about 20-30 amps of 12 vdc via an inverter (amount varies with the size of the fridge). Best to go with at least a 600 watt inverter.

However, even if your truck had 10 batteries and a ~400 amp dual alternator, it's not going to prevent the trailer's batteries from eventually discharging with that kind of load.

The maximum current the truck's 7-pin connector can safely handle (continuously) is approx. 10-15 amps. The remaining current deficit is going to be supplied by the trailer's batteries. If the trailer's batteries run down too far (while connected to the truck) there's a chance you could overload the truck's 7-pin connector wiring as it tries to supply the full 20-30 amps of 12 vdc. Trucks typically use only 10-12 gauge wiring for the 7-pin connector---not heavy enough to be supplying 20-30 amps continuously over 20-25 ft. of wire (length of truck). If the fuse for the truck's 7-pin connector doesn't blow/open as designed, there is a chance you could start an electrical fire in your truck.

That's too many if's for me.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:42 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the information. It now looks like I have 4 options
1) use propane
2) I know the reefer can last 4-5 hours with a gallon of ice in it so I donít travel longer than that per day
3) Buy a 12volt travel cooler(although those only cool 40degrees below ambient air). This might not work in the back of the truck bed
4) purchase a roto molded cooler and not open it up on the way
5) purchase any groceries at any stop on the way.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:44 PM   #6
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I run with the propane on all the time. Seems to ruin the point of having a fridge if I canít use it when traveling
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:45 PM   #7
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Just kinda nervous still on running with propane. Makes me think of running with scissors
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:07 PM   #8
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Depending on which fridge you have the current draw for the heating element could be between 1.5 to 3 amps. I think in order to be safe I would not go below a 750 watt inverter.

The big "if" on the truck keeping the battery up will depend on what size wire was used for the 12v supply back to the 7 pin.
That is a very interesting "if" there Grumpy. I know my 1990 GMC Suburban was a 10 gauge wire for the "charge line." The 2014 Ram we have now needs to be looked at. Thank you for bringing the wire size up. I will have to look.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:31 PM   #9
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I have an Eagle fifth wheel with the residential refrigerator. Camper came with a 1000 watt inverter from the factory. I have had very good luck with this setup. I have driven 8-10 hours and the batteries were still perfectly charged, showed over 14 volts. I do have 2 deep cycle batteries, my truck was wired from the factory for charging, I have no idea what size the wire is. I also tested the system not hooked to my truck, went 6 hours and never lowered the voltage on the batteries either.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:52 PM   #10
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Just kinda nervous still on running with propane. Makes me think of running with scissors


What are you worried about happening?
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