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Old 08-25-2013, 06:23 PM   #1
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Dometic Fridge Propane problems

Don't know where to start! Tried out for the first time Dometic DM2652 fridge on propane while towing. Worked perfect on way to campground (one hour).

On return trip left campground with it running as it should on propane. had been connected to power all weekend so supposedly battery charged. Got home an hour later and and the CHECK light was on. Ran stove to make sure gas was good, it was. Checked battery indicator in bathroom which said battery was dead and sure enough no 12 volt lights! Battery tester indicates 12 to 12.5 volts. Charging battery on my battery tender as I write this. Water levels good.

Could the battery be bad (new last fall)? Or charging system from truck? Does the fridge on propane draw that much current to kill a battery that quick? Fridge was working fine on 120 volts.

Don't know where to start with getting the fridge checked, or the battery or the truck or all three! Trailer is Forest River Surveyor Ultralight 186
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:30 PM   #2
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Another clue is fridge would start at home if propane stove was running. And turn off when stove was turned off. If stove not running then endless clicking heard.

Trailer is 2009 model.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:44 PM   #3
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To draw a good battery from full to dead in a weekend, would be a "big" load.... were multiple lights left on all weekend? Did someone pull the cable on the "emergency" brake (about the worse thing that you can do to an RV battery)? Was the "condensation" heater turned on, on the fridge doors (big draw)? Any other power hogs?
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:16 PM   #4
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...Could the battery be bad (new last fall)? Or charging system from truck? Does the fridge on propane draw that much current to kill a battery that quick? Fridge was working fine on 120 volts...
To answer the question about the frig running the battery down that fast is NO. The frig uses minimal 12v for ignition of the burner and holding the gas valve open and you have to remember the burner is not on very long at a time, maybe 15 minutes to maintain the temperature.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:22 PM   #5
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To draw a good battery from full to dead in a weekend, would be a "big" load.... were multiple lights left on all weekend? Did someone pull the cable on the "emergency" brake (about the worse thing that you can do to an RV battery)? Was the "condensation" heater turned on, on the fridge doors (big draw)? Any other power hogs?
Actually I was hooked up to 120V electricity all weekend. I assume the battery was being charged. No problems whatsoever over the weekend. Battery seemed dead at home so wondering if the propane fridge could drain a battery that fast if not being properly charged as I drove? I suppose I'm not certain the battery was working well over the weekend as the trailer was hooked up to 120v & everything seemed to be working.

I'm also wondering if truck wasn't charging the battery as I drove?

By emergency brake you mean the breakaway cable? Wouldn't that lock the trailer brakes?
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:31 PM   #6
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The breakaway cable "locks" the brakes by applying a VERY heavy electrical load to them. It'll drain a good battery in a very short time, and may cause damage to the coils and electronics in the brake system. This should NEVER be used as an emergency brake, though we often see posts from folks who, because they weren't told differently, tried....

Otherwise, it sounds like either the 120v to 12v converter isn't charging your battery, or you had another very heavy 12v load drawing it down.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:32 PM   #7
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do you have a two way fridge (110v & propane) or a three-way (110v, 12v, & propane)?
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:46 PM   #8
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I think the "Climate Control" was turned on on the fridge, forgot all about that! But would that really draw so heavily while driving that the battery would not be sufficiently charged by the truck as I drove and go dead in anhour? Or maybe my truck doesn't charge the battery as I drive as I assumed?

Actually what is "Climate Control" on this fridge and should I just leave it off?
Really hoping that was the culprit but not too optomistic as l never experienced my battery discharge like that. I take really good care of it too!
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:50 PM   #9
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do you have a two way fridge (110v & propane) or a three-way (110v, 12v, & propane)?
Pretty sure it is 2 way 110v & propane only. No 12v or DC setting anywhere. Manual is quite uselss. I did have it set on LP gas only mode when I left for home.
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:02 PM   #10
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Don't know where to start! Tried out for the first time Dometic DM2652 fridge on propane while towing. Worked perfect on way to campground (one hour).

On return trip left campground with it running as it should on propane. had been connected to power all weekend so supposedly battery charged. Got home an hour later and and the CHECK light was on. Ran stove to make sure gas was good, it was. Checked battery indicator in bathroom which said battery was dead and sure enough no 12 volt lights! Battery tester indicates 12 to 12.5 volts. Charging battery on my battery tender as I write this. Water levels good.

Could the battery be bad (new last fall)? Or charging system from truck? Does the fridge on propane draw that much current to kill a battery that quick? Fridge was working fine on 120 volts.

Don't know where to start with getting the fridge checked, or the battery or the truck or all three! Trailer is Forest River Surveyor Ultra light 186

RCE, Your fridge is a duel power fridge. Electric (110) or propane. To run the controls on the fridge you will need 12v power. At the camp ground the 'converter' will change electricity to 12v to run your Domestic controls, you do not need a battery to run the 12v systems in the camper since the converter is taking that over. imo your battery was never 'charging' while you were on your camping trip. Do you have a disconnect and it was 'disconnected' from the batt. Your towing unit in the connection power cable has a wire to 'charge your battery going down the road. If the battery was dead when you got home... same thing, wire off batt. or disconnect somewhere. When you unplugged the 110 at the campground the propane will auto switch over and try to light the propane. The 'switch over' is powered by 12v power.... no power (12v batt or 12v coming from converter) then the 12v igniter can not light and the propane 'valve' can not be opened (which is a good thing)

Find out if you had a loose batt wire or a disconnect was off or a fuse is popped and needs to be changed or reset.

To check to see if the converter is charging the batt. Disconnect your batt. (have wires not touching each other or any metal part) Plug into 110 and take a volt meter and check for 14v coming from the convertor. If there is not power (12v) coming from the converter, narrow down the causes.
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:07 PM   #11
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The breakaway cable "locks" the brakes by applying a VERY heavy electrical load to them. It'll drain a good battery in a very short time, and may cause damage to the coils and electronics in the brake system. This should NEVER be used as an emergency brake, though we often see posts from folks who, because they weren't told differently, tried....

Otherwise, it sounds like either the 120v to 12v converter isn't charging your battery, or you had another very heavy 12v load drawing it down.
Thanks for the clarification about the emergency brake. I think I would have noticed if it came on accidently. I was fidelling with the Gain Setting on the truck trailer brake controller a couple of times. Also tried slowing the tuck with the trailer brakes only twice, would that draw heavily on the battery?

Normally no problems before with battery staying chargedwhen plugged in to 110v even after 9 days of camping at an electrical site. Fourth time out this summer, no problems the other 3 times. Only difference was this time I tried out travelling with the fridge on propane. Scratching my head about that else could have drawn it down.

Could a battery just go bad all of a sudden one weekend?
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:12 PM   #12
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"Climate control" on the fridge is actually a heat-tape that follows the door opening/ Purpose is to heat, thereby drying any condensation. Unless you are always connected to 120v, it tends to be a draw.

Even this should have not been a big draw on a short drive. Something else sounds amiss, unless the battery was a bad battery to begin with.
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:27 PM   #13
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"Climate control" on the fridge is actually a heat-tape that follows the door opening/ Purpose is to heat, thereby drying any condensation. Unless you are always connected to 120v, it tends to be a draw.

Even this should have not been a big draw on a short drive. Something else sounds amiss, unless the battery was a bad battery to begin with.
I have removed the battery and will charge it fully and then try running the fridge on propane with no Climate Control and if it runs see if battery discharges quickly or not.

Battery gauge in trailer indicated fully charged battery when I left for home & fully discharged battery an hour later at home. Nothing else on that I can think of as I drove other than the fridge.

I foroat to mention that I did test the battery at homewith my cheap battery tester which seemd to indicate battery was at roughly 12 - 12.5 volts. I don't trust it much. As soon as I plugged the trailer into 110v at home the trailer battery gauge read fully charged within a minute. Not sure if this is possible!

Bad cell in battery a possibility? (I hope)
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:44 AM   #14
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You can't "test" the battery with the built in battery gauge in an RV if it's plugged in to 110v , or receiving a charge from the tow vehicle. It reads line voltage, and if it sees 12.5v or more, it says "FULL" regardless of the battery's real condition.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:21 AM   #15
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I have removed the battery and will charge it fully and then try running the fridge on propane with no Climate Control and if it runs see if battery discharges quickly or not.

Battery gauge in trailer indicated fully charged battery when I left for home & fully discharged battery an hour later at home. Nothing else on that I can think of as I drove other than the fridge.

I foroat to mention that I did test the battery at homewith my cheap battery tester which seemd to indicate battery was at roughly 12 - 12.5 volts. I don't trust it much. As soon as I plugged the trailer into 110v at home the trailer battery gauge read fully charged within a minute. Not sure if this is possible!

Bad cell in battery a possibility? (I hope)


You can 'fully charge' your batt at home and use your volt meter and get a 12v reading..... This does not fully tell you the condition of the batt. As when it use it may discharge in a matter of minutes. Several cells may be 'gone'. When you think that you have it 'fully charged', take the batt to a auto parts store and they can put the batt under a test 'load'. they will tell you if it is dead, dying, or ok.

Even if the batt is 'dead', your tow vehicle when running should be able to run your fridg to get you home with a cold fridge. If you shut your tow vehicle off the 12v charge power will stop. This will shut your fridge down if your batt is dead. to get your fridge going again.

1) plug in camper and start tow vehicle. Push the batt button inside camper to see if you are getting 12v. Hit the 'reset' button on the fridge to get the ignitor going to light the propane. Propane should ignite and fridge will work as long as your dead batt is hooked up and your tow vehicle is running. If you shut off your tow vehicle for any reason with a dead camper batt. you will have to reset the fridge again after you get it going.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:32 AM   #16
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I don't know where or even if you have a battery cut-off switch, you might want to double check that. In my last camper the switch was easily accessible to my 1 year old grandson, he had pushed it in and I didn't notice until we were on the road. Same symptoms you described in your OP.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:36 AM   #17
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They may well have failed to install the necessary jumper and/or fuse in your tow vehicle when they put in the trailer connections. The truck manufacturers leave a step to be done by the RV techs.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:57 AM   #18
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You can 'fully charge' your batt at home and use your volt meter and get a 12v reading..... This does not fully tell you the condition of the batt. As when it use it may discharge in a matter of minutes. Several cells may be 'gone'. When you think that you have it 'fully charged', take the batt to a auto parts store and they can put the batt under a test 'load'. they will tell you if it is dead, dying, or ok.

Even if the batt is 'dead', your tow vehicle when running should be able to run your fridg to get you home with a cold fridge. If you shut your tow vehicle off the 12v charge power will stop. This will shut your fridge down if your batt is dead. to get your fridge going again.

1) plug in camper and start tow vehicle. Push the batt button inside camper to see if you are getting 12v. Hit the 'reset' button on the fridge to get the ignitor going to light the propane. Propane should ignite and fridge will work as long as your dead batt is hooked up and your tow vehicle is running. If you shut off your tow vehicle for any reason with a dead camper batt. you will have to reset the fridge again after you get it going.
After a not so good night's rest I'm thinking I will reinstall (charged) battery and see if I can replicate the problem in my driveway. One way or another then probably should have a proper load test done on the battery. It's less than a year old and fortunately RV service place who sold me it is 1/2 mile away. I imagine they will be able to tell if battery is a problem or rule that out.

Appreciate all the excellent advice. One of these days I hope when I have gained enough knowledge I can repay the help!
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:16 AM   #19
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If you have a voltmeter or circuit tester, check the RV plug in your truck between terminals 1 & 4. You should have 12-14 volts there if your truck is properly setup.

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Old 08-26-2013, 09:19 AM   #20
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After a not so good night's rest I'm thinking I will reinstall (charged) battery and see if I can replicate the problem in my driveway. One way or another then probably should have a proper load test done on the battery. It's less than a year old and fortunately RV service place who sold me it is 1/2 mile away. I imagine they will be able to tell if battery is a problem or rule that out.

Appreciate all the excellent advice. One of these days I hope when I have gained enough knowledge I can repay the help!

Don't loose any sleep over this... it is all fixable.
Before you install your batt.
1) look for any blown or tripped fuses.
2)Check for any batt disconnect that may be off.
3) plug into 110 and see if the converter is coming on and with a volt meter check the wires that connect to the battery. you should be able to get 12-14v power from those batt cable. if you do then good. if not, find out why.

4) now unplug the 110 for the house and hook up you batt to see if the propane/12v system is working.
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