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Old 06-18-2014, 03:04 PM   #1
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Running the Solera refrigerator on 12v

I know the 6 cubic foot Dometic refrigerator in our Soleras is only two way. I wonder if the charging system on the sprinter could keep the house batteries juiced enough to run the fridge from a properly sized inverter?
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Old 06-18-2014, 03:31 PM   #2
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Why not run on LP?
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Old 06-18-2014, 03:37 PM   #3
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I keep reading conflicting opinions on the safety of driving with the fridge running on LP. I also get the impression that it's not legal in some states or locals.

I don't mind using LP while stopped.
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Old 06-18-2014, 04:06 PM   #4
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Have not tried this, but did a little research and thinking about it. I believe the Dometic 120 volt heater element is 325 watts: http://www.amazon.com/Dometic-120V-R...productDetails

As such, I think a 400 watt inverter should work. Also, as the heater is a simple resistive load, a "pure sine wave" inverter should not be necessary. A 400 watt inverter supplying 325 watts will likely draw ~30 amps. As the refrigerator will be "on" only when required for cooling (assuming you pre-cool on shore power or on propane) - say 25% on time - average current draw should be something like 8 amps. I would expect the chassis alternator could keep up easily.

Would likely want some method of switching between the inverter and shore power - wouldn't want that 30 amp draw off your converter when the refrigerator is cooling on shore power - that would put a big dent in your converter's 55 amp capability.

Just some thoughts on the subject -
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Old 06-18-2014, 04:15 PM   #5
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It easier to just run the fridge on propane during travel. That's what the vast majority of RVers do. It's legal in all states but there are some tunnels and bridges that restrict propane, especially on the east coast. Don't make your RVing experience complicated.
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Old 06-18-2014, 04:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bclemens View Post
Why not run on LP?
Brian, I think it would enhance safety big time by having the ability to turn off your LP line and run the fridge on 12 V while driving. BTW that is a requirement not only in Europa, but they are using 3 way systems (220/LP/12v).
While parked 110 V/LP is fine.
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Old 06-18-2014, 04:24 PM   #7
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Have not tried this, but did a little research and thinking about it. I believe the Dometic 120 volt heater element is 325 watts: Amazon.com: Dometic 120V 325W Refrigerator Heating Element: Automotive

As such, I think a 400 watt inverter should work. Also, as the heater is a simple resistive load, a "pure sine wave" inverter should not be necessary. A 400 watt inverter supplying 325 watts will likely draw ~30 amps. As the refrigerator will be "on" only when required for cooling (assuming you pre-cool on shore power or on propane) - say 25% on time - average current draw should be something like 8 amps. I would expect the chassis alternator could keep up easily.

Would likely want some method of switching between the inverter and shore power - wouldn't want that 30 amp draw off your converter when the refrigerator is cooling on shore power - that would put a big dent in your converter's 55 amp capability.

Just some thoughts on the subject -
Take the following with knowledge that I am often way wrong. :-)

I saw where it uses 3a for control and 5a for the heater. My math shows 960 watts.

Doing my rudimentary math it seems the Sprinter would need to produce a continuous 80 amps DC to provide the 8 amps the fridge claims to need on AC. By the time loss was factored in, it probably needs to be pushing 90a.

If it was in fact 325 watts, it gets much simpler.
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Old 06-18-2014, 04:24 PM   #8
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We used to have 3 ways systems but it never worked that well on larger fridges. I think that's why Dometic stopped.

No reason why you could't run a dedicated inverter to the fridge.
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Old 06-18-2014, 05:24 PM   #9
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It easier to just run the fridge on propane during travel. That's what the vast majority of RVers do. It's legal in all states but there are some tunnels and bridges that restrict propane, especially on the east coast. Don't make your RVing experience complicated.
X2. Just use the systems as designed and run propane until you plug in to shore power.
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Old 06-18-2014, 05:57 PM   #10
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"I saw where it uses 3a for control and 5a for the heater. My math shows 960 watts."

I believe the control always runs on 12 Volts - so that 3 amps is 36 watts. I ignored, as I was looking at incremental load running off an inverter vs off propane. Don't know for sure what the 120 volt heater draws - I just did a search for a replacement heater and found the one noted above. May be the wrong heater.
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