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Old 06-09-2018, 02:26 PM   #1
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Powering Refrigerator while towing

Hi friends. At a year into the whole RVing, I wish to run my refrigerator while I am towing. I own a Salem 30KQBSS. I have watched some videos but all of those videos seem to say there is a Gas or Electric switch on the refrigerator. Am I missing it? How do I power my refrigerator while on the move?
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Old 06-09-2018, 02:44 PM   #2
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Our North Trails bumper pull trailer had an RV fridge (assuming that is what you have). Right above the door on our fridge, there was a switch that allowed us to switch between electric and auto. In auto mode, if not connected to shore power, the fridge would turn on propane mode - what you use when driving. It takes a long time for the unit to completely cool down using this mode, so if you can plug into shore power before taking off on your trip and make sure you switch to auto/gas power before driving, that should work.

Good luck
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Old 06-09-2018, 02:46 PM   #3
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If it is a "Gas/Elect" turn on the Gas and have a Charged 12 V Battery! Turn the switch to "Auto" and Hit the road! Youroo!!
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Old 06-09-2018, 03:11 PM   #4
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It would help if you posted make and model of fridge.
Have you read the fridge's manual?

Unless you have a residential fridge powered through an inverter, it has to be on propane while traveling.
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:43 PM   #5
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I have wired an inverter into mine and I run the fridge on electric from the inverter with DC supplied from my 7 pin on my truck. Works great, but rather than using your vehicles power to charge the batteries, it goes to the fridge instead.
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:48 PM   #6
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Welcome JANeidig. I see it is your first post.

The search function will bring up many discussions on how to use your refrigerator when traveling. I will warn you though... this is a very heated and much debated topic with some approving using propane while traveling and others strongly against it.

In the past week or so there is (yet another) thread about this very topic and it is opinionated for sure!
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:54 PM   #7
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Why use Propane when you can run the fridge off your 400 W inverter and have your tow vehicle supply the 30 A of DC? If you want to know more, let me know.
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:03 PM   #8
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Why use Propane when you can run the fridge off your 400 W inverter and have your tow vehicle supply the 30 A of DC? If you want to know more, let me know.
Because R/V manufacturers specify they can be run on propane while traveling simply the way they are built from the factory, without having to add an inverter and consequently require charging of the battery.
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:07 PM   #9
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Why use Propane when you can run the fridge off your 400 W inverter and have your tow vehicle supply the 30 A of DC? If you want to know more, let me know.

Most tow vehicles only supply power to trickle charge the batteries. Your method will most likely completely drain the RV batteries. Just run it on propane, that's what it's designed to do.
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:16 PM   #10
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Us Engineers don't want to spend money on propane when you dont need to. I don't know what kind of vehicle you have, but I have a 30 A circuit to the trailer on my 2018 GMC Sierra. That is A LOT of power. Trickle charging is 3 A. 30 Amps of DC is 3 Amps @ 120 VAC. My refrigerator pulls 2.5 A. Plenty of power from truck.
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:28 PM   #11
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Us Engineers don't want to spend money on propane when you dont need to. I don't know what kind of vehicle you have, but I have a 30 A circuit to the trailer on my 2018 GMC Sierra. That is A LOT of power. Trickle charging is 3 A. 30 Amps of DC is 3 Amps @ 120 VAC. My refrigerator pulls 2.5 A. Plenty of power from truck.
I hope you're not assuming you have 30A because the circuit has a 30A fuse. As an engineer, I would hope that you'd understand about voltage drop due to wire gauge and amperage draw. Also, your Sierra likely has a "smart" charging system like my '17 and the amount of current available to the 12v pin on the trailer connector is nowhere near 30A.

This topic has been discussed many times.

Also, the cost of propane to cool the fridge is minimal compared to the cost of buying and installing an inverter.

Also, 2.5A @ 120v = 25A @ 12v. Add in the overhead of an inverter and even if you did get 30A to the trailer plug, which you won't, you're right around 28A based on 90% efficiency.

But, you won't get that kind of current available and you'll end up draining the batteries on the travel trailer. This has been tried by many.

The OP will be just fine running off propane and won't have to do anything special except turn the propane on and set the fridge to AUTO.
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:48 PM   #12
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I haven't tried to calculate the amount of propane use for the fridge while traveling, but it doesn't seem to be much.

When parked at home we have the fridge/freezer cooled down with our shore power, and then we switch to propane when we pull out. As soon as we camp, we plug into shore power again and it automatically changes off propane.

Not too complicated.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:57 AM   #13
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Who at GMC would connect anything smaller than 10 Gauge wire to a circuit fused at 30 Amps? That is Master Electrician 101's first week topic. There is a 30 Amp fuse and 10 gauge wire to the connector and I do get 30 Amps back there, tested and tried already. 30 Amps @ 12 VDC is 3 Amps @ 120 VAC and although it is enough to power the fridge while trailering, it is not enough to also charge the batteries. If you take off with full batteries, you arrive at the campsite with a cold beer, full batteries, and a full propane tank. BTW, my 400W inverter was $20 at Harbor Freight. About the same cost as 1 full propane tank.
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:30 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Teetime;1844517[B
]I haven't tried to calculate the amount of propane use for the fridge while traveling, but it doesn't seem to be much.
[/B]
When parked at home we have the fridge/freezer cooled down with our shore power, and then we switch to propane when we pull out. As soon as we camp, we plug into shore power again and it automatically changes off propane.

Not too complicated.
It uses as much fuel as a cigarette lighter. I'll bet on a 4 hour trip you wouldn't use 4 oz. of propane.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:34 AM   #15
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Who at GMC would connect anything smaller than 10 Gauge wire to a circuit fused at 30 Amps? That is Master Electrician 101's first week topic. There is a 30 Amp fuse and 10 gauge wire to the connector and I do get 30 Amps back there, tested and tried already. 30 Amps @ 12 VDC is 3 Amps @ 120 VAC and although it is enough to power the fridge while trailering, it is not enough to also charge the batteries. If you take off with full batteries, you arrive at the campsite with a cold beer, full batteries, and a full propane tank. BTW, my 400W inverter was $20 at Harbor Freight. About the same cost as 1 full propane tank.


How did you test getting 30A to the plug? What sort of load did you put on it?

If you get 30A with no voltage drop then you’ll be the first. Heck, if you get 30A period then you’ll be the first.
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:44 AM   #16
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I have an inverter on my trailer to power the fridge. It is a residential fridge. I towed for about 8 hours with the fridge running and the truck charging the battery. I checked the battery with a volt meter after we arrived and it was showing 12.9 volts. That was with the 2012 F150. I am curious to see how my 2017 F250 will do when we head to the Black Hills the first of July. We will be driving about 8-9 hours the first day.
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:06 AM   #17
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Hi friends. At a year into the whole RVing, I wish to run my refrigerator while I am towing. I own a Salem 30KQBSS. I have watched some videos but all of those videos seem to say there is a Gas or Electric switch on the refrigerator. Am I missing it? How do I power my refrigerator while on the move?
Open the door of your freezer. The instructions are right there on the front lip on what 'buttons' to push for Gas/Electric or duel power.
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:39 AM   #18
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I highly doubt you get 30A but whatever you are doing isn't affecting anyone else so knock yourself out.
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Old 06-19-2018, 12:24 PM   #19
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I run on propane while driving. I dont think It uses enough to even notice .
OP post a pic of the fridge you have so we can actually help you
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:58 AM   #20
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In life there's people who just read and trust possible misinformation from some other source, and then there are the people who research and investigate the answer for themselves. There appear to be 2 of us on this thread who can drive 8+ hours with the propane valve turned off, a cold beer in the fridge, and a full battery when we arrive.
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