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Old 06-06-2022, 10:51 AM   #61
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Our gas is on when we leave home until we get home, so far we've never had a problem.
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Old 06-06-2022, 12:53 PM   #62
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We boondock almost 100% of the time. We camp every weekend. We always run the fridge on propane on the road.

I start the fridge on shore power in the spring. About 24 hours prior to departure, I "force" it to gas...manually selecting the gas switch in the fridge.

When I return home, I plug in and switch the fridge to Auto (shore power)...again switching to propane about a day prior to departure to ensure that the propane side is working properly.

We don't turn off the fridge until we winterize. Once, last year, I had to defrost, but that's the only time the fridge is off during the season.

Again, the fridge always runs on propane going down the road.

The only caveat to this would be to check the fridge en-route to ensure the propane side has not been "blown out" and shut itself down. The easiest check is to stand outside the camper and listen for the fridge alarm...sounds a lot like a smoke alarm. It's loud enough to hear from outside the rig.

If you want to test the fridge alarm, while at home, running on propane, turn off the propane supply, and accelerate the process by running a range burner until the propane is fully consumed. The fridge should begin to alarm. The hardest part of this test is purging the air from the propane lines so you can get the fridge to start on propane. How? Start at the range top with a stick lighter. With the stick lighter burning, open the largest burner valve and let it run until the flame is solid. Using the spark igniter, light the other burner(s). Then turn on the hot water heater (propane), assuming there's water in it. Then fire the furnace. When all the large "flames" have ignited successfully, then the lines will be purged well enough to run the fridge.

What's that all about? The fridge flame is relatively puny. There is NOT enough gas flow to purge the propane lines and get them primed with fuel BEFORE THE SAFETY INTERLOCKS SHUT DOWN THE FRIDGE START PROCESS. The large flames move enough propane...AFTER you have lit one stove burner with a stick ligher, to ignite without problems. But, without priming, the fridge basically would never start.

Now...let's say the fridge "blows out" on the road. One must RESET the fridge by turning off the on/off switch. This resets the "timers" on the safety interlocks, and the fridge will try to ignite on propane again. Simply restoring propane supply is not enough. You must "cycle" the power switch to reset the "thought process" on the safety interlocks.

Now, let's say you're having issues with the flame "blowing out." You can try some "foil tape" to fiddle with airflow around the burner. Obviously, you don't want to block airflow to the combustion, but you can make a little "flag" by folding some tape back on itself and leave a sticky bit to tape to something inside the burner cabinet. A very slight air diversion is likely to be all you need to keep the flame lit. After all, many of us have NO problems with the fridge blowing out on the road...so a small tweak is likely all you need.

I used this technique on a water heater burner that kept blowing out due to winds directly into the heater cabinet at our favorite lakeside site. About 2 square inches of foil tape created a small barrier to keep the wind from blowing straight on the burner. Worked great, and I never had a problem with the water heater after that.

The only REAL concern about running the fridge on propane on the road is the RARE possibility that you may need to shut off the propane to go through a tunnel or something of that nature. Ferry boats don't want you running propane while onboard. If you can afford to bring your rig on a ferry boat, you're richer than I am.

To those fans of 12 volt compressor fridges, they're great if you only camp at RV parks with hookups (not that there's anything wrong with that ). But if you boondock, be sure to budget for about 400 watts + of solar and no less than 100 amp hours + of USABLE battery. Otherwise, get used to listening to your generator...or worse. My last neighbor boondocking at Lake Vallecito was on his maiden voyage with a 12 volt fridge. No solar, no generator. So he idled his RAM 2500 diesel for hours and hours each day ... connected to the trailer's umbilical ... to keep his battery charged enough to run the fridge overnight. A Cummins Turbo Diesel's alternator does a fine job, but... A 12 volt compressor fridge consumes about 35 amp hours (AH) per day, all day, every day, day in and day out. You need enough "juice" to satisfy that big load PLUS another 35 to 50 AH/day to sustain the rest of the 12 volt loads in the rig (you know, lights, pump, furnace, exhaust fans, and the ever-present parisitic loads)...and that's WITHOUT any sort of inverter. And many brand new rigs come out of a dealership with a 12 volt group 24 FCLA (flooded cell lead acid) battery that is rated to deliver, you guessed it, 35 AH of USABLE power before the battery must be recharged. The only thing that battery can run is the fridge...for 24 hours, and then it needs to be recharged. That a recipe for both spoiled food and ruined batteries...unless you have shore power or a hankerin' to listen to your Honda run for hours and hours daily. But I digress.
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Old 06-06-2022, 02:56 PM   #63
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The only REAL concern about running the fridge on propane on the road is the RARE possibility that you may need to shut off the propane to go through a tunnel or something of that nature. Ferry boats don't want you running propane while onboard. If you can afford to bring your rig on a ferry boat, you're richer than I am.
Not true in our case! We are spending three weeks in NL. There are two ways to get there. Ferry or air.

Air ranges from $900-1800 per person round trip. Then campgrounds are about $20 a night. Plus you need a car.

Marine Atlantic is charging us $670 CAD round trip for us and the pooch and the trailer. The crossing is about 130 miles each way Campgrounds are still $20. Now gas is the wild card but whatever way you get around the vehicle wants to be fed.

we are happy to be able to cook on our own and not eat out for our visit!
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Old 06-06-2022, 03:20 PM   #64
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On.
Some don't.

If I were driving a propane vehicle I'd probably leave it on, too.
Ditto forklift, tractor, etc.
I even sleep with a propane furnace running.
Just crazy, I guess, engaging in risky behavior.
If you have a gas water htr or furnace in your home, you sleep with ‘em running.
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Old 06-06-2022, 05:39 PM   #65
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I learned from an experienced tech that putting a window screen over the lower vent reduced the buffeting effect while not reducing the efficiency much if at all.....
Interesting! I will try the screen and see if my 'norcold will 'staycold when traveling with the gas ON! Burner never goes out but temps go up.
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Old 06-06-2022, 07:28 PM   #66
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Just got to thinking of the related questions of bringing food into Canada and not running our fridge. We have a seven hour drive across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.. We stay at a KOA in North Sydney NS the night before our ferry transport to Newfoundland.



The ferry ride is seven hours long . So there will be no power of any sort to the fridge.



Back to the insulated cooler. I will be freezing food the night before and loading it into the cooler while we are in line for the ferry and putting it back in the fridge





There is plenty of fish to eat in NL but ground beef hard to find
If you have 2 good batteries and an inverter it will run the fridge for 7 hours no problem. They don't draw much when they are already cold.
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Old 06-06-2022, 08:37 PM   #67
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I used to work with dry ice for special effects on stage productions and also shipped frozen from Florida to Illinois with dry ice.
1 pound in the freezer and 2 or 3 in the fridge with a 12 volt fan to move the cold air around and you won't lose food unless it freezes solid. Should be good for 12 to 24 hours.

During a summer power outage 10 pounds kept my fridge and chest freezer cold and we opened them several times to prepare meals.
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Old 06-06-2022, 09:06 PM   #68
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Everything is a “managed risk”. Our trips are usually 2-5 hours with a packed fridge and freezer, so there really isn’t any practical way around running the propane while traveling. Maybe there are work arounds but especially today when store supplies are a crap shoot, it’s best to load it up and run the propane. I stop regularly at rest stops to stretch the legs and check the fridge. Even though the manufacturers will never tell you to do it, the fact is they made the propane refrigerator to run while traveling, otherwise they would fail to stay lit on the road. Like I said, it is a managed risk just like everything else when towing. You are more likely to have some idiot cut in front of you, or something fly out of someone’s truck that you have to avoid before worrying about your fridge running on propane down the highway.
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Old 06-07-2022, 06:56 AM   #69
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Exactly, ran mine on every trip for 27+ years.
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Old 06-07-2022, 10:56 AM   #70
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Not true in our case! We are spending three weeks in NL. There are two ways to get there. Ferry or air.

Air ranges from $900-1800 per person round trip. Then campgrounds are about $20 a night. Plus you need a car.

Marine Atlantic is charging us $670 CAD round trip for us and the pooch and the trailer. The crossing is about 130 miles each way Campgrounds are still $20. Now gas is the wild card but whatever way you get around the vehicle wants to be fed.

we are happy to be able to cook on our own and not eat out for our visit!
Hope you have a wonderful time!!
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Old 06-09-2022, 10:40 AM   #71
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My owner's manual is very clear about how the ammonia-absorption refrigerators/freezes need to be always level to operate properly. That out of level will cause the ammonia liquid to go places it's not supposed to go either killing the unit immediately (sometimes you can take it out of the wall and turn the whole unit upside down for awhile to reset) or causing damage over time. If your travels take you up and down steep hills, that may be a problem; less likely on relatively flat roadway.

You can read more here: https://lifeonroute.com/why-your-rv-...0the%20bottom.
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Old 06-09-2022, 11:03 AM   #72
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My owner's manual is very clear about how the ammonia-absorption refrigerators/freezes need to be always level to operate properly. That out of level will cause the ammonia liquid to go places it's not supposed to go either killing the unit immediately (sometimes you can take it out of the wall and turn the whole unit upside down for awhile to reset) or causing damage over time. If your travels take you up and down steep hills, that may be a problem; less likely on relatively flat roadway.

You can read more here: https://lifeonroute.com/why-your-rv-...0the%20bottom.
Some relief for your concerns. Read your shared article more thoroughly.
https://lifeonroute.com/why-your-rv-...s-to-be-level/

"... if your trailer is 22 feet long, one end would be almost 14 inches higher than the other in order to be more than 3 degrees off level..." So, if you hookup so the trailer is level on level ground, as I do, you'd need to travel through some fairly challenging terrain over an extended period to cause problems with your fridge running while on the road.

Later in the article: "Because an absorption refrigerator uses gravity to move ammonia liquid to the evaporator coils, it is generally safe to run the fridge while driving because the jostling will cause the liquid to fall even if the RV (and therefore the fridge) is at a steep angle. The exception to this would be, of course, if you find yourself stuck in stand-still traffic at an incline or decline for longer than half an hour." (emphasis mine)

They work quite well running on the road. Also note that the small 3-way absorption fridges (can also run on 12 volt), can run on battery power going down the road.
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Old 06-09-2022, 11:20 AM   #73
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Where I travel in Arizona, the highway grades are typically between 6% and 12% for distances as much as 10 miles at a stretch and are frequent along the trip from the desert (1,500 ft elevation to the high wilderness areas (8,000 to 9,000 ft elevation).

The grade percentage equates to about 4 to 7 degrees. Again, all depends on what roads you travel and for how long. It would be risky for me. Again, my owner's manual has an explicit warning about not operating under any condition beyond 3 degrees for any length of time. 3 degrees front to back (which is side to side on the trailer) and no more than 2 degrees side to side (which is hitch to bumper on the trailer). So that's what I'm going by.
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Old 06-09-2022, 11:44 AM   #74
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Where I travel in Arizona, the highway grades are typically between 6% and 12% for distances as much as 10 miles at a stretch and are frequent along the trip from the desert (1,500 ft elevation to the high wilderness areas (8,000 to 9,000 ft elevation).

The grade percentage equates to about 4 to 7 degrees. Again, all depends on what roads you travel and for how long. It would be risky for me. Again, my owner's manual has an explicit warning about not operating under any condition beyond 3 degrees for any length of time. 3 degrees front to back (which is side to side on the trailer) and no more than 2 degrees side to side (which is hitch to bumper on the trailer). So that's what I'm going by.
With this in mind, it seems that the RV fridge mfg could simply install an off-level switch to turn off the fridge when unlevel. Absent of that, it would be nice to have a switch (perhaps a wireless remote switch for RV trailers) where the driver could turn the fridge off when on a highway grade such as you mentioned which would exceed the fridge mfg recommendations. Perhaps such a switch wouldn't be all that hard to make (wire in), just stopping the 12v current perhaps to the fridge would do the trick. ~CA
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Old 06-09-2022, 12:19 PM   #75
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Oh geeze


If yer afraid, leave it off... The earth is flat...and JFK is still alive hanging out with Elvis

I'm in AZ too.... A 10mi 6% upgrade to Flagstaff takes maybe 12min to drive...maybe.... odviously less going down


But you let yer food go bad, get sick, die, if yer afraid your fridge can't handle the drive.
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Old 06-09-2022, 12:33 PM   #76
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Current trailer has a residential but last two had propane/electric. Kept it in auto all the time. Steep grades, warm temps, cold temps and all in between. Keeping the ice cream frozen is serious business and not to be messed with.

And…. Diesel.
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Old 06-09-2022, 01:39 PM   #77
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With this in mind, it seems that the RV fridge mfg could simply install an off-level switch to turn off the fridge when unlevel. Absent of that, it would be nice to have a switch (perhaps a wireless remote switch for RV trailers) where the driver could turn the fridge off when on a highway grade such as you mentioned which would exceed the fridge mfg recommendations. Perhaps such a switch wouldn't be all that hard to make (wire in), just stopping the 12v current perhaps to the fridge would do the trick. ~CA
This is one of the features of the ARP Fridge Defend unit although it does it based on boiler temperature and not angle. Based on testing detailed on their website the boiler can reach temperatures high enough to start causing damage to the cooling unit in as little as 10 minutes of greater than 3% off-level - regardless of which heat source is used. Running off A/C via inverter or a 12v heat element makes no difference in this respect. The Fridge Defend will detect when boiler temperature is increasing and automatically turn the fridge off at a temperature well below when damage can occur. It sets a timer and checks the temperature again - if normal it turns the fridge back on. If it turns the fridge off 5 times in a row or the boiler temps exceed 250C it will turn the fridge off and require operator intervention before allowing it to be restarted.

This device was one of the first mods that I did when we upgraded to our current camper and I wouldn't run without it.
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Old 06-09-2022, 01:54 PM   #78
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This is one of the features of the ARP Fridge Defend unit although it does it based on boiler temperature and not angle. Based on testing detailed on their website the boiler can reach temperatures high enough to start causing damage to the cooling unit in as little as 10 minutes of greater than 3% off-level - regardless of which heat source is used. Running off A/C via inverter or a 12v heat element makes no difference in this respect. The Fridge Defend will detect when boiler temperature is increasing and automatically turn the fridge off at a temperature well below when damage can occur. It sets a timer and checks the temperature again - if normal it turns the fridge back on. If it turns the fridge off 5 times in a row or the boiler temps exceed 250C it will turn the fridge off and require operator intervention before allowing it to be restarted.

This device was one of the first mods that I did when we upgraded to our current camper and I wouldn't run without it.

I actually thought about the ARP fridge defend when I wrote my comment and the only thing I don't like about it is the price, likely money well spent though if it saves my fridge even once. However, in the ~35 years of RV'ing I have never had an RV fridge go out so I have been fortunate in that aspect, which at the same time makes me hesitant to spend money on something I have never needed in my life.

With that said, I still may go ahead and purchase an ARP setup as there are a lot of things in life I have purchased and never needed. For example, I never needed the fire extinguishers I had purchased until the time I did need a fire extinguisher and at that time I was very happy to have one handy. Thanks, ~CA
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Old 06-09-2022, 02:10 PM   #79
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Where I travel in Arizona, the highway grades are typically between 6% and 12% for distances as much as 10 miles at a stretch and are frequent along the trip from the desert (1,500 ft elevation to the high wilderness areas (8,000 to 9,000 ft elevation).

The grade percentage equates to about 4 to 7 degrees. Again, all depends on what roads you travel and for how long. It would be risky for me. Again, my owner's manual has an explicit warning about not operating under any condition beyond 3 degrees for any length of time. 3 degrees front to back (which is side to side on the trailer) and no more than 2 degrees side to side (which is hitch to bumper on the trailer). So that's what I'm going by.
Understood. We are in CO in the mountains...nothing is level. I rely on the jostling mentioned in the article to assist with steeper grades. No problems since 2014.

But, I understand your concern. An RV fridge is a major investment.
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Old 06-09-2022, 02:35 PM   #80
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I actually thought about the ARP fridge defend when I wrote my comment and the only thing I don't like about it is the price, likely money well spent though if it saves my fridge even once. However, in the ~35 years of RV'ing I have never had an RV fridge go out so I have been fortunate in that aspect, which at the same time makes me hesitant to spend money on something I have never needed in my life.

With that said, I still may go ahead and purchase an ARP setup as there are a lot of things in life I have purchased and never needed. For example, I never needed the fire extinguishers I had purchased until the time I did need a fire extinguisher and at that time I was very happy to have one handy. Thanks, ~CA
I certainly understand that. Given where we are located most any trip we take entails one or more mountain passes so it made a lot of sense to install this device. If mountain passes were a rarity in our travels I might think differently about it, though one has to bear in mind that being off-level isn't necessarily the only underlying cause of the boiler overheating and causing damage. This device will protect against any overheat related damage so I would likely still want to have it installed.

I dug up my invoice from when I purchased in late 2019 and at the time it was $245 for the controller + 1 blower fan + 2 defrost fans. That same unit today is $255 so not much increase, at least to date. I opted for the integrated fans, both inside the fridge and outside as I liked the idea of the fans only running when needed - i.e. when the fridge is actually cooling.
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