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Old 06-27-2014, 09:17 AM   #21
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There is no other choice, 3 way fridges are very rare to come by. So I really appreciate the time and effort Living_The_Dream is putting in, I hope he finds a solution and if he does I will immediately copy whatever he does.
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Old 09-07-2014, 10:20 AM   #22
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Well, putting life back in this topic - since that in my FRF search (refrigerator on 12 volt), this post was one of the results of that search.

To me - for any motorhome to tap into the 12 volt power of the coach makes sense. The coach 12 volt is maintained either by the engine alternator or the shore power via converter. Using propane is not as convenient. My propane tank is permanently mounted so not easy to get more as it is for a tt or 5ver. The less I can depend on propane - the longer I can go. I use the heatpump for heat and electric element in the water heater as much as I can.
The problem is not the cost of propane but rather the task of getting it. If I have an alternate source (power) that is easier - then it makes sense to go with that source.
Motorhomes with the residential refrigerators don't use propane so this won't be the first ever attempt to power a refrigerator through an inverter.

That said; I am looking to somehow automate our Dometic refrigerator to either 12 volt or 120 volt using a automatic transfer switch to switch to 120 volt when on shore power.
My calculations show a 400 watt inverter will do the job since there is no in-rush for the heating element and leaving the 12 volt controls as they are.

Anyone attempt this?

As a side note, this topic should be in electronics and appliances for motorhomes (that section doesn't exist) since like I stated, it makes sense for motorhomes tap into the coach 12 volt. Now there is exception to this such as when boondocking but my purpose is to power the refrigerator when on the road.
I do remember the day when refrigerators were tri-source. We never had trouble on 12 volt but that was a long time ago.

Bobby
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Old 09-07-2014, 09:08 PM   #23
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I'm interested in the dedicated inverter that bclemens mentioned. Our 4 year old accidentally turned on the propane stove while we were driving down the Interstate, we smelled propane and we were able to get it turned off and the MH vented. I would prefer to have the fridge run on 12 volt. The Sprinter AC works great so we really never have to run the propane generator while driving.


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Old 09-08-2014, 01:17 PM   #24
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Samlex makes a whole line of inverters. I think Zamp, Progressice Dynamics and others.

Hook the inverter to the batteries, plug the fridge into the inverter and run it on electric. Not sure if the charge line can keep up with the draw however...but when plugged into shore power you would have no problems that I can think of. Class A's do this all the time with residential style fridges.
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Old 09-08-2014, 04:55 PM   #25
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So if I understand correctly, If you added a 400 amp inverter wired directly to the battery you would essentially lose the ability to run the refrigerator off of propane without disconnecting the the refrigerator from the inverter and plugging it back into the 120 volt system. Or could you install a switch similar to the one near the battery disconnect that would allow you to switch back to propane while boondocking. Seems easy on paper but I know there is something that I'm not thinking about? For instance, how accessible is the refrigerator 120 volt plug? Maybe it's easier to just unplug from inverter and plug into 120 volt system if you will be boondocking and turn the refrigerator to auto?
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:59 PM   #26
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Ecopco, the refrigerator auto switch won't do any good because it allows to automatically select the preferred energy source which is 120 volt. The gas setting of the switch is self explanatory - so you could force it over to gas by moving the switch there. The refrigerator doesn't know what its giving it the 120 volts (shore power or inverter). If you have it powered with an inverter and the switch turned to auto then it will stay on 120 volt until either the inverter shuts down or the battery drains - in which case you would be with a refrigerator anyway because the controls operate off 12 volt coach batteries.
I was thinking more inline with an automatic transfer switch, one side from the inverter connected to 12 volts and the other side to 120 volts from the coach breaker panel. When you disconnect from the shore power the coach breaker panel is "dead" therefore the ATS would go to the alternate source - the inverter.

The refrigerator 120 volt plug is behind the refrigerator accessible from the outside grill.

As Brian mentioned, several coaches with the residential refrigerators are powered through an inverter. I would think they have a similar automatic transfer switch to take those refrigerators off the coach battery and on shore power.

Bobby
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