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Old 08-19-2016, 10:53 AM   #1
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Help with running refrigerator off propane!

Hello all. I am a new owner of a Flagstaff 21 FB Super Lite Travel Trailer. It is a 2001 model. I have had it for a couple months now and I'm slowly learning how everything works. One thing I need help with is running the refrigerator off of propane. I have run it in the electric mode and it works fine. I have run the gas on other appliances and it works fine. I just can't figure out how to run the refrigerator on the propane.

I have turned on the gas, pressed the button on the refrigerator to run on gas, and nothing. I have gone to the access door on the outside of the trailer directly behind the refrigerator assuming there is a pilot light I need to light, but I have not been able to find it. I have tried lighting every possible spot I was thinking it could be and no light catches.

Is there a pilot light hidden in there somewhere that I'm just not seeing? Is there even a pilot light for the refrigerator? Just want to be able to run on gas so I can start cooling things down the day before a trip.

Thanks in advance for any help. I have tried researching and I have watched videos showing people lighting a pilot light but I just can't seem to find mine or I'm not following the right steps.
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Old 08-19-2016, 11:12 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Landomontana View Post
Hello all. I am a new owner of a Flagstaff 21 FB Super Lite Travel Trailer. It is a 2001 model. I have had it for a couple months now and I'm slowly learning how everything works. One thing I need help with is running the refrigerator off of propane. I have run it in the electric mode and it works fine. I have run the gas on other appliances and it works fine. I just can't figure out how to run the refrigerator on the propane.

I have turned on the gas, pressed the button on the refrigerator to run on gas, and nothing. I have gone to the access door on the outside of the trailer directly behind the refrigerator assuming there is a pilot light I need to light, but I have not been able to find it. I have tried lighting every possible spot I was thinking it could be and no light catches.

Is there a pilot light hidden in there somewhere that I'm just not seeing? Is there even a pilot light for the refrigerator? Just want to be able to run on gas so I can start cooling things down the day before a trip.

Thanks in advance for any help. I have tried researching and I have watched videos showing people lighting a pilot light but I just can't seem to find mine or I'm not following the right steps.
You probably have air in the lines going to the frig. The ones I have owned automatically switch to propane when disconnected to electric. They have a light on the front panel that tells which type it is using. We usually run ours on electric the night before and when I unplug the next morning and it switches to lp. Just have to make the gas is turned on. I sometimes have to run the burners on the stove to get the gas to fill the lines.
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Old 08-19-2016, 11:19 AM   #3
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Can you give us the model number of the fridge.

Newer units have spark ignition so there's no pilot to light. Also the flame is hidden, so it's hard to see it.
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Old 08-19-2016, 11:32 AM   #4
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I don't have the model of the refrigerator with me. I'm not at the trailer. It's a 2001 Trailer if that helps.
So you are both saying that there may not be a pilot light to light at all?
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Old 08-19-2016, 11:42 AM   #5
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Probably not on that model year.

How did you determine that it wasn't working?

Do you have a good charged battery? Those fridges require 12 volt power even to run on propane.
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Old 08-19-2016, 12:10 PM   #6
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That may be my problem. I don't even have the battery connected because the guy I bought it from told me it was old and would need a new one which I haven't gotten yet. I have been running the trailers electric off my generator only. The battery is another item I am still not sure what all it is used for.

I was thinking I could just run the propane refrigerator without being hooked up to electricity at all. I simply turned the gas on and waited for it to cool down because I could not find a pilot light. I assumed it would run off of just propane because the other gas appliances do without being hooked up to electricity or battery. I did think maybe there was a problem with that because the light on the front of the refrigerator that shows wether it's using gas or electric obviously would not even come on when not hooked up to generator.

Basically you're saying I need to have charged battery to even run off propane?
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Old 08-19-2016, 12:21 PM   #7
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The "Gas" button is for gas when electric IS available.

The on/off button will illuminate the AUTO light unless you select "Gas Only" (by not pressing it so it pops out). The fridge will then run the unit on electric if available and gas if not (without doing anything at all on your part). If the power goes out and propane is available, the fridge will fire up the gas when the box warms up enough to need cooling.

I use the gas only button when at a campground with low voltage to limit additional voltage drop caused by my camper (water heater on gas too).

If you still can't get the unit to fire on gas there are several troubleshooting steps specific to that malfunction. (like pushing on the stack overtemp heat sensor to reset it.)

If the stack temp sensor is in and the fridge has ONLY the auto light and the "check" lights lit, let us know and I can give you further direction.
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Old 08-19-2016, 12:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Landomontana View Post
Basically you're saying I need to have charged battery to even run off propane?
So, the controler board runs on 12 volts and 12 volts is needed to open the gas valve and monitor the temperature. You always need 12 volts.

BUT that 12 volts can be supplied by your converter (if your battery is removed and you are plugged into the shore power). If your lights are on at the fridge panel you should have enough power to run the fridge on gas.
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Old 08-19-2016, 01:19 PM   #9
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OK. I think I understand now. I was hoping I could run the refrigerator on propane without being plugged into power at all. Like running the stove.

But without being plugged in, I at least need the battery charged and hooked up to start fridge to run on propane. Is that correct?
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Old 08-19-2016, 01:25 PM   #10
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OK. I think I understand now. I was hoping I could run the refrigerator on propane without being plugged into power at all. Like running the stove.

But without being plugged in, I at least need the battery charged and hooked up to start fridge to run on propane. Is that correct?
Correct.
Doesn't matter if the 12v comes from the converter (being plugged in) or from a charged up battery. It simply needs 12v from something to run the control board so it can fire up on propane.
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Old 08-19-2016, 01:45 PM   #11
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You've got it figured out. Good job!

The very old RV fridges had a pilot light as you thought and didn't require any power to run. The newer ones like ours, have to have 12 volt power to operate the electronics and the gas valve, as Herk pointed out.
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Old 08-19-2016, 02:11 PM   #12
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You've got it figured out. Good job!

The very old RV fridges had a pilot light as you thought and didn't require any power to run. The newer ones like ours, have to have 12 volt power to operate the electronics and the gas valve, as Herk pointed out.
To test this our, 'borrow' a 12v battery from your riding lawnmower, ATV or some other toy.
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Old 08-19-2016, 03:13 PM   #13
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The gas is electronic ignition. If the controls are set at "auto" the gas will ignite and operate if the thermostat calls for it AND YOU ARE NOT PLUGGED IN AT YOUR SHORE LINE. If you have pre cooled the refrigerator on electric and you switch it over to gas it may not light immediately if the refrig. is cold enough inside. once it warms a bit inside and the thermostat calls for cooling the board will ignite the burner.
If the refrigerator is warm inside and you push the "gas" button the ignitor should light the burner. if not the check light will come on and you can try a restart. If you have gotten LP lately you may have a slug of air to clear through the line.
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Old 08-19-2016, 03:15 PM   #14
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My truck camper was a 2001. To run off gas, it had to be switched to gas mode, then you had to push and hold a button that allowed gas to go to the pilot, then you pushed an igniter button a bunch of times. There was a meter with a needle that would move from the left side to the right, ( green), and then you can let the gas button go. At that point the pilot is lit and the gas thermocouple allowed the pilot to stay lit. If you have that little meter with the needle that is how to do it. I don't remember the brand for sure, but I think it was a Dometic.
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Old 08-19-2016, 03:23 PM   #15
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I had a problem one time with gas/electric refrigerator. I had to light my stove first until flame. Then I tried the refrigerator on gas only and it worked. So I assume that there was air in the line. You might try your stove prior to using the refrigerator on gas. This should eliminate any air in gas line.
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