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Old 09-15-2018, 04:15 PM   #1
Jfr
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Newbie question bringing refrigerated items

Hello All. I apologize if this is not the right place to ask this question.
We will b taking our first trip in our new Cherokee in a few weeks. What is the recommended way to bring items that should b kept cold. Do u bring a cooler and xfer the food to the fridge or can u keep the fridge on running off battery power? Sorry if this seems like a dumb question.
Thanks all!
John and Diana
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Old 09-15-2018, 04:28 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jfr View Post
Hello All. I apologize if this is not the right place to ask this question.
We will b taking our first trip in our new Cherokee in a few weeks. What is the recommended way to bring items that should b kept cold. Do u bring a cooler and xfer the food to the fridge or can u keep the fridge on running off battery power? Sorry if this seems like a dumb question.
Thanks all!
John and Diana
Does your trailer have a RV fridge or residential fridge?
If RV fridge, most of us cool it overnight by plugging it in to electric, then switch it to propane while on the road.
If residential fridge, it runs off the batteries, through an inverter.
Sorry that your dealer did a poor PDI/walkthrough because this should have been explained to you.
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Old 09-15-2018, 05:32 PM   #3
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On an rv fridge all food must be pre chilled.

Freeze two gallons of water at home and place these in the fridge. Becomes drinking water. Do not pack tight. Need air space.

Pre cool 24 hours or more.

On a residential fridge it should be precooled on electricity unless you have many batteries. A single 12 volt battery will not last long.
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Old 09-15-2018, 05:35 PM   #4
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it would really help if we knew what type of refrigerator you had, rv style or residential style. also, where do you keep the rv prior to loading up for a trip? do you have access to electricity where it is stored?

the simplest answer is to start the refrigerator a day or two before you leave. then when you are loading it will already be cold and capable of keeping your food cold. then while you are traveling just keep the refrigerator running. if it is a residential refrigerator you will run it using the batteries through an inverter. if it is a rv style refrigerator you can run it on propane while traveling.
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Old 09-15-2018, 05:35 PM   #5
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If RV fridge, most of us cool it overnight by plugging it in to electric, then switch it to propane while on the road.
I'm not sure about the US (or Canada for certain) but I think in Canada you are supposed to shut the propane off at the bottles. I believe it is a fire prevention thing if you should have a wreck or pull in to gas up. Having said that, I run my fridge on propane while traveling.
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Old 09-15-2018, 06:10 PM   #6
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Thank you! Our camper is a 2019 Forest River Cherokee 26Dbh with a Dometic fridge freezer. Not sure about domestic fridge or rv fridge. I'm assuming rv fridge. It runs on both electric and propane but electric has priority. As of now I only have one battery. Thanks again!
John
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Old 09-15-2018, 06:56 PM   #7
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i do not have a rv refrigerator so what i am going to say will be restating what others have said on the forum.

first cool it down ahead of time. if you have electricity available hook up to that and start the refrigerator in electric, at least a day ahead of time, perhaps two. many people will tell you to turn of an automatic defrost function in order to save battery power. many people save milk containers, fill them with water, freeze them at home, and place them in the refrigerator to help the cool down process. we do this with our residential refrigerator. you will need to have your battery connected but the refrigerator will not use much electricity during this cool down. make sure you other electrical loads are off and that the batteries are full.

on the day you leave the refrigerator should be cold. load it up. when you disconnect from you electric source it should switch (via the auto feature) to propane. your tanks need to be open and have propane in them. i'd watch to make sure that the switch over actually happened and the propane was ignited. if you had air in the line the refrigerator might try to ignite but won't. it will then go into lockout and not try to ignite again until reset. you do not want that while you travel.

many people will don't worry about running it on propane as the refrigerator insulation will keep the food cold during travel. i guess that depends on how far you are travelling. check the refrigerator each time you stop to ensure it does not go into a lockout condition. also, when you refuel you should stop first and turn off the propane. refuel, move out, and then restart the propane. this is for safety. the odds of a fire are small, but the consequences of one would be huge. you will get many people that will post that this is not necessary. your call, but just don't me fueling next to me with the propane going.

hope this works. once you do it once it will be second nature. then sit back and enjoy yourself which was the objective in the first place.
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Old 09-15-2018, 07:02 PM   #8
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As was asked before, do you have the capability of plugging your camper into shore power while in storage between trips, either at home or remote?
If so, start the fridge 2 days before the trip. After 1 day, it will be cold and you can load it. Only load it with already cold food. If you have room, the frozen water jugs are a good idea.
As for traveling with the fridge on propane, I only do it if the trip is more than 2 hours. The fridge will easily keep things cold for that long.
If you can't precool the unit, I would suggest you run the fridge on propane as soon as you pick it up. Put the frozen water jugs in. Keep your precooled and frozen food in a cooler until the fridge is down to temp.
FYI your fridge will not run off battery power unless you have an inverter. You will not have one.
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Old 09-15-2018, 07:17 PM   #9
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Newbie question bringing refrigerated items

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Originally Posted by Jfr View Post
Thank you! Our camper is a 2019 Forest River Cherokee 26Dbh with a Dometic fridge freezer. Not sure about domestic fridge or rv fridge. I'm assuming rv fridge. It runs on both electric and propane but electric has priority. As of now I only have one battery. Thanks again!

John

Thatís an RV fridge.
Is it 3 way or 2 way? Shore power (AC), propane, and 12v? Itís not clear what you have... Some are just AC and propane like mine unfortunately.

Since my RV is parked at home I use an adapter to plug RV into outdoor 20amp plug and start it at least one or two days before leaving to pre cool it. I put some frozen bottles of water and some freezer packs in fridge when packing it right before we leave. I can say, after about 2 hours on the road in the summer heat ice cream will melt, but all other items stay fresh for awhile longer. On trips longer then 3 hours I turn fridge on propane depending on whatís packed.

If your not running it while driving, donít open door until you can plug back in.
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Old 09-15-2018, 07:51 PM   #10
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Sounds like your dealer did a poor PDI with you. Seems to becoming more and more common.

You SHOULD have an owners manual for your fridge. If you don't have one, open the outside access door to the fridge and look for the model number, then go online and do a search for the owners manual.

The most common Dometic models seem to be the DM2652 and the DMR702. I've attached manuals for each of them.

Quick and dirty operation:

1. You always need 12VDC to power the "brains" of the fridge. This 12VDC comes from either your battery if you are not on shore power, or from your converter if you are on shore power.

2, On electric, the required heating is done by a 120VAC heating element, so you need shore power to operate on electric (120VAC for the heating element and 12VDC from the converter for the "brains").

3. On gas, the required heating is done with gas, so you only need LP gas and the 12VDC mentioned above for the "brains." So running on gas DOES use battery power (but not much). [Note that some (most?) of the DM2652 models have a 12VDC heater in the door to reduce condensation on the door. It pulls about 0.5 amps, so if you plan to boondock, you may want to disable it. There are threads here on the forum that show you how.]

4. For initial cooling before you go camping, you can cool the fridge down on either electric or gas if you have shore power available. If no shore power, you cool down on gas and the battery. You should start it up 24 hours before adding food.

5. About 50% of us run the fridge on gas while going down the road. The other 50% shut the fridge off. (It will keep food cold for a few hours at a time with no problem). Those who don't run on the road see it as a "safety" issue. You'll need to decide what you think.

6. If your fridge has the thermistor that slides up and down on the fin inside, UP is colder, DOWN is warmer. Bouncing down the road can cause it to slide down to warmer, so always check it's position when you get where you're going. Also realize that the thermistor slides up and down in the plastic piece that holds it to the fin. So either or both can slide down. So the white plastic piece may be up, but the thermistor may have slid down inside it.
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