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Old 06-14-2012, 07:56 PM   #1
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Running fridge on propane

I sure would like the fridge to be cold tomorrow before heading out. I can't hook up to shore power till after I get home from work so I was going to run fridge on propane during the day. Will it drain my battery doing this?
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:01 PM   #2
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It will drain the battery some, but not a lot. Are you dry camping? If your not dry camping I would not worry about the battery drain. If dry camping does your TV have a hot line to the trailer. If it does I will recharge your battery, usually not totally, but some.
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:09 PM   #3
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Our campsite has power, but I'll be running the fridge at home 10+ hrs while at work. I just didn't know how much power the fridge will use.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:11 AM   #4
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Unless your battery is very old and almost dead from age, or not charged, it will run your refrigerator way more than 10 hours. And since you have power at your campsite, go for it.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:30 AM   #5
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On my previous unit, with no access to shore power, I always started the fridge on propane 2 days ahead, both to cool it down and to confirm at least 1 day ahead that it was working. I never had a problem. I know the Jayco has more battery drain, for example the display on the stereo, but I would have no hesitation starting it 2 days ahead.
I also pull the 30 amp fuse from the battery on the Jayco when I park it and then reinsert it just before starting the fridge so I know I'm always starting with a charged battery.

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Old 06-15-2012, 06:12 AM   #6
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Great advice and thanks to all. My lazy butt stretched out a 50ft cord in the dark last night and plugged her in. Fridge is good and cold this morning and ready to load!
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:33 AM   #7
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Word of caution on long electrical cord

I don't want to hijack the thread, but perhaps someone with more expertise than me might weigh in on this. I would be cautious with using a long 15 amp cord to power the TT.
I recently looked at a campsite where I would have needed 75' of cord to access the 30 amp receptacle. I already carry an extra 25' of 30 amp cable and was going to bite the bullet and buy another 25'. I asked a couple of electricians about it and they said the main concern is voltage drop. You may start with 120 at the receptacle, but it definitely will drop and the longer the cable the more the drop, even if you stay with 30 amp cable the whole way. The drop on a 15 amp cord would be more pronounced. Most 110V appliances can withstand some drop, but it could be touch and go. Based on their advice, I decided to forego the extra length and chose another site.

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Old 06-15-2012, 07:55 AM   #8
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Voltage drops usually don't occur unless you run over 100'. All electrical loads can handle up to a 10% tolerance. W/O getting too technical, rule of thumb is to simply feel your cord for heat, if it's warm then react! I do appreciate your input grantsoo!
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:08 AM   #9
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I'm not sure how it works on the newer fridges, but on our old one, once the thermocouple kicked in, the 12V igniter turned off. If the flame blew out, the igniter kicked in again until the burner re-lit. On the new RV, I cannot hear the igniter clicking, but the indicator light blinks orange until the gas reaches the fridge and then goes green when it lights.

So basically, I don't think there is any 12V power drain from the fridge when operating on propane.
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:44 AM   #10
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I think this fridge is a glow ignition. I do have status indicator lights on front panel of fridge, so the ignition and lights are the only fridge load I can think of other than the phantom loads on radio and microwave.
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:35 AM   #11
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I think the propane/CO monitor may be 12V as well.

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Old 06-15-2012, 11:56 AM   #12
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You're right grantsoo, I didn't think about that, another phantom load. So if I collect all these "phantom" loads (fridge status lights and ignition, CO & smoke dectectors, radio/microwave), I'm guessing maybe 3/4amp DC load? I'm sorry if I'm getting too techy, it's just my nature being in the HVAC field many years. I'm very familiar with AC loads but not so much with DC loads.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:21 PM   #13
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I was told by the dealer that the battery would last 30 days under the phantom loads and if I happened to leave the antenna boost on - 3 days.
I forgot the antenna boost on once and after 3 days I was down to 1/4 on the battery guage.

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Old 06-15-2012, 12:34 PM   #14
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WOW, 30 DAYS!!!! That's good info, THANKS grantsoo!!!!
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:59 AM   #15
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You may want to consider a small trickle charge solar panel as well.
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