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Old 07-09-2019, 02:44 PM   #1
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Dometic refrigerator will not run on propane while driving

We purchased a 2019 Rockwood Mini Lite 2509s.
We just returned from our first trip in it. The refrigerator runs perfectly on 110 volts. It also runs perfect of propane when parked. I tested it for eight hours on propane alone.
The issue is when driving the check light will com on. We have to stop about every hour to turn on and off to reset it.
It is a Dometic Model DM2652RBX.
I have soaped all gas lines and fittings from the tanks to the fridge and found no leaks. Water heater, stove and furnace work fine.
I checked for loose connectors in fridge. Both wires to shut off and board. Wire to igniter. 12 volt power to fridge. All fine. While it was parked and running on propane I tapped all boards and components to see if I could simulate bouncing down rode but it kept burning fine.
Does anybody have any ideas? It is under warranty but I am really trying to avoid a trip back to the dealer.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:50 PM   #2
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I run mine on auto normally which defaults to propane unless hooked up to shore power/Genny. Is it possible that your gas tank is running empty? The only time my check light comes on is if calling for propane and it is not there.... or OFF.

My wife will turn it on Gas mode if she is last one out.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:55 PM   #3
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I have tried it in auto and in gas only mode. It doesn't seem to matter. It will run fine with electric or gas when parked. After driving for a bit the check light will still come on. Propane tanks are both full.
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Old 07-09-2019, 03:14 PM   #4
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Sounds like the flame is being out while moving.

Make sure the flame guard is in place and the covers aren't loose to where they direct air into the cavity with force.
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Old 07-09-2019, 03:36 PM   #5
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Iím in agreement with BamaRambler in that it sounds like your flame is blowing out while in motion. The link below provides some other ideas in addition to what youíve already tried.

https://www.arprv.com/dometic-fridge-flame.php

I had an issue with my Dometic fridge not cooling while in motion, however, I did not get the error light(s) like you did. In my case the issue was too much airflow over cooling the cooling unit at the back of the fridge. The solution (in my case) was to block the air flow into the exterior lower vent. The thread on the symptoms, troubleshooting and vent blocking pictures is below. You might try blocking the air flow, remember, the blocking doesnít have to be air tight just enough to still the air coming through the vent while driving.

Dometic 3962 refrigerator
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:32 PM   #6
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A bit of a tangent question. I was told you have to have the propane tanks turned off when driving. I thought the person said it was illegal to have the propane tanks on. Part of why I ask is I have a similar issue but it's with the refrigerator switching from AC to DC. AC on shore power and when I drive I wanted it to automatically switch to DC and I get the check error. I didn't try propane because I thought you could not do that while towing in motion.
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:27 PM   #7
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I'm inclined to thing other answers, especially air flow issues, are better.

But, a two/three-way RV fridge wants to be level or moving to function properly. Any chance that you are towing with the trailer substantially out of level - tongue high or low compared to the rear? That MIGHT be a problem.

Also, while unlikely, it's possible that the fridge is low on ammonia coolant. Perhaps there is a manufacturing defect and some has leaked out. Even after 5 1/2 seasons, my fridge is very tolerant of not being level (I boondock in rough terrain), and it runs flawlessly on the road, but I have a hunch that ammonia levels might come into play here.

Some insight into how an RV fridge works: https://home.howstuffworks.com/refrigerator5.htm
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoinks View Post
A bit of a tangent question. I was told you have to have the propane tanks turned off when driving. I thought the person said it was illegal to have the propane tanks on. Part of why I ask is I have a similar issue but it's with the refrigerator switching from AC to DC. AC on shore power and when I drive I wanted it to automatically switch to DC and I get the check error. I didn't try propane because I thought you could not do that while towing in motion.
Many, if not most, of us run propane on the road. Every jurisdiction is different, but generally restrictions on the use of propane are in tunnels, on ferries, and in other similar circumstances. It's typically legal to run propane on the road. And the tanks have several safety interlocks to prevent spewing huge amounts of gas in the event an accident ruptures a hose or breaks the regulator. (If the tank ruptures, all bets are off, and whether the propane is running or not doesn't change what happens then. )

As for running your fridge on 12 volts, you will drain your battery despite being hooked to the tow vehicle (TV). The TV can deliver about 7 amps for charging thru the 7 pin connector. The fridge is making LOTS of heat to transform the ammonia, and heat means BIG amps...often far more than 7 amps, which means you're running a drain on your battery.

If you will connect to shore power at the other end of your trip, and if that trip is not too long, you might be fine on 12 volts for a short period. But, to illustrate, in my original PUP I had a TINY 3 way fridge - not even a freezer. I ran it on 12 volts to a boondock destination and discovered that my battery was substantially drained after only a 4 hour drive! I had to fire up my generator to recharge...an unexpected and unwelcome surprise. I got that bugger running on propane right away and always thereafter on the road.

Your fridge makes heat to cool. Heat production is the enemy of 12 volt battery power. Do not run your fridge on 12 volts unless it's your only option.

One more illustration. I have solar and a small inverter. I use my battery thru an inverter to run a 360 watt electric blanket for about 15 minutes to take the chill off our bed. 360 watts ain't nuthin', yet at 12 volts, 360 watts thru a 120 volt inverter draws more than 30 AMPS!! 30 amps for an hour is....30 amp hours. A group 24 battery (typical with a new towable) can safely deliver about 35 to 40 amp hours before you start damaging it. THAT'S the 12-volt price of making heat.

Get your fridge running on shore power or propane, and let it run for a few hours. Then go feel the amount of heat pouring out of the top exhaust vent for the fridge. Your 12 volt battery won't make that kind of heat for long before it goes dead.

Last bit of info. A 12 volt group 24 battery is rated at about 70 to 80 amp hours. You get to use half. Let's say 40 amp hours.
Now, by comparison, how much energy is in a tank of propane?
~ One gallon of propane = 91,000 BTU/hr
~ A 20 pound tank of propane holds about 4.5 gallons = 410,000 BTU/hr
~ Convert 410,000 BTU to watts = 120,159 watts
~ Convert 120,159 watts to amps = 10,013 amp hours.

Your battery delivers about 40 amp hours, and just one of your likely two propane tanks delivers about 10,000 amp hours of equivalent energy. If you carry two propane tanks, you have the energy equivalent of 500 of your batteries!!

Run propane whenever possible, unless you have shore power.
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:55 PM   #9
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RV is pretty level when driving so I don't think that is the problem. I am inclined to believe it is air flow blowing out flame when driving. I am going to move the drain hose further to the rear. I think it may be acting as an air scoop driving wind into the burner. If that does not work I am going to try TJA1 fix of fabricating something to block wind while driving.
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Old 07-10-2019, 07:57 PM   #10
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Smile Dometic Fridge

We also have a MiniLite (2306) with the same fridge. After several trips with the Check light on, I figured it out! Here’s my process:
— once you are plugged in, keep it on Auto
— before you disconnect the power for your trip be sure the propane is on.
— bleed the air out of the gas lines by lighting the stove burners if you have not been using the stove to be sure the fridge igniters will light.
— disconnect from shore power.
— walk around outside to the fridge vents to listen for the sound of the burner. A clicking sound is the igniter doing its thing.
— look inside trailer just to be sure the Auto light is still on and you’re good to go.
If you battery is dead you may need to connect to the truck for the igniter to work. If you’re out of propane you better get some ice and just treat your fridge like a cooler!
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