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Old 07-08-2020, 01:47 PM   #1
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Exclamation set a Dometic 2-way Fridge for 'always on Shore Power'...

hi

we've had our 07 Rockwood for over a month, and our son loves it as his 'home next to Mom and Dad' all to himself! Everything is working pretty fine...

except... the fridge, or at least a question about 'how' to set the fridge when ALWAYS on 120v Shore Power - he'll never use the 'gas' setting, and does not even have any propane. That's the plan - all electric.

but, the 'manual' is rather 'unclear' about really how to set the 'buttons' for this situation... the manual for this RM-2652 model does not even show the GAS wording at all, in the manual, when it shows how the 'panel' is laid out.

but, for those of you less confused than I, here's some of the 'instructions', if you can make out what it's really meaning:

"B. MANUAL MODE
When operating in the MANUAL mode, the AUTO mode
indicator lamp (A) will be off, and the refrigerator will run
continuously on the energy source selected by the control
system
."

This 'seems' to be the setting we want. We want to ALWAYS use 120v power. We don't want to ever use 'gas'. We don't want it to 'automatically' try to use gas IF we were to lose 120v power.
I 'think' we have it set properly, with NO lights illuminated, but yet perfectly operational, so far. Not on auto. Not on gas. I think....

I'm not really sure, though, what 'selected by the control system' means(?)
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:48 PM   #2
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I have the same style fridge in my camper. There is no option for shore power only. The only way to keep it from using propane would to be to somehow disconnect it from the propane supply line. You might be able to find someone who could put a valve in the line for you. When I have my unit at home I just turn the propane off at the tank. If the shore power goes out the fridge will try to start on propane then shut off until the shore power comes back on.

From the manual for this model: "This refrigerator is equipped with a control system, which can automatically select the most suitable energy source
which is available, either 120 Volt AC or LP gas operation.

The refrigerator can be operated in either the AUTO mode
(thermostat factory preset below the safe food storage
temperature) or MANUAL mode (continuous operation - no
thermostat control)."

The "Manual Mode" just means that it will still find which source is available (gas by default) but it will run all the time. No cycling on and off. Just cooling all the time.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:39 PM   #3
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Shouldn't the refrigerator default to 120 vac whenever shore power is available? That's what my Dometic does when it AUTO. If shore power is available it will always use it. It's only when 120 vac is not available will it switch to propane. If it is on propane, as soon as 120 vac becomes available it switches to that. So the easy way to keep the fridge from using propane is simply to just have 120 vac available. (Of course, 12 vdc is required 100% of the time to run the control circuit itself, and ignition power for the propane.)
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Old 07-08-2020, 10:41 PM   #4
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Yeah, if the light is on, it's using the electric. Makes sense, why use electricity for the light if you're on gas. When I unplug from shore power I have to remember to make sure that the light is out or it will try to use the inverter. If th light is on, I think you will be fine.
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Old 07-08-2020, 11:02 PM   #5
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You just set it to auto.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:07 PM   #6
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If running off of 110volt I believe you still need a battery to run the 12 volt component. Your converter would then keep the battery charged.
I could be wrong about needing the battery. I know you do need if running off gas and no shore power.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DustyRoads View Post
If running off of 110volt I believe you still need a battery to run the 12 volt component. Your converter would then keep the battery charged.
I could be wrong about needing the battery. I know you do need if running off gas and no shore power.
You need a source of 12 vdc, but not necessarily a battery.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:23 PM   #8
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When on AUTO the control board senses if you have 120v shore power and defaults the operation to that mode. When the shore power goes out, the control board auto switches to LP. When LP is selected (not on auto) the refrigerator runs constantly on LP regardless of whether plugged into shore power.

My advice is get some propane, turn the tank valve on and let the refrigerator automatically switch (and stay running/cold) on LP should the power go out.

That's the beauty of these auto-switchover appliances. They have a back-up source of cooling should the power go out.

If you are hesitant to use the auto feature, at least put a jar lid filled with water in the freezer and let it freeze. Once frozen, lay a penny on the frozen ice. If the power goes out while you are not there and the refrigerator gets too warm (and then back cold again once the power comes back on) the ice will melt and the penny will be at the bottom of the ice instead of on top. You'll know if the food is safe!
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:29 PM   #9
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The fridge control board is programed to insure the fridge stays cold and does not cause you to lose your food. On Auto if there is 120V power it will run on electric.
If power fails it is designed to switch to propane to keep the contents cold. The option of staying on electric mode when there is not electric is not normal operation and hence not an option.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:52 PM   #10
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o.k., everyone, here's the LOW DOWN I've found while 'testing' these power and front panel 'button' theories:

In the photo, you'll see how I now have the control panel set.
No lights. Nothing.
But yet, the fridge is still running JUST FINE, is cold, has continued to be cold, and NOTHING HAS CHANGED - we are on constant 120v power.

There is NO propane, even if it were to 'try' to connect to propane.
There is 12v power, of course, but now there is not even a BATTERY in the mix, I removed it the other day.
The Converter is working just fine, though, if it's actually even needed when the Fridge has 120v power.

The owner's manual does not really make this type of full-time 'setting' clear - and I can only 'assume' that it's because the fridge is designed for 'camping' where there are changes in the 'type' of power - in this case either 120v or 'gas'. But, it doesn't really contemplate those who simply want to be 'plugged in' all the time, which many of us are, and don't 'need' an indicator light to stay on 24/7.

So, the reality is that YES, there IS a setting that removes the 'indicator light', but still allows the Fridge to remain active with 120v 'shore power', even if the fridge's control panel now looks awfully 'strange' to some who would expect a 'light' to be on.

The ON/OFF button is PRESSED, so it is actively ON.

The secondary button is NOT pressed, and it is actively in '120v only' mode.
Since the 'Auto' light is not on, I am assuming also that this fridge will NOT then automatically switch to 'gas' IF the camper where to lose power(though, this is a little bit of 'why' this whole thing is confusing).
Why the word 'GAS' is there, is not necessary, since the ONLY time the fridge would even USE propane is because there is NO 120v power, and ONLY when the button IS pressed, for 'Auto' mode.
Maybe I'm misreading the actual 'GAS' representation - maybe that 'word' is only there to let you know 'what' other source of power will be used IF 120v power is not available, and IF the 'Auto' is pressed. But, it's a little confusing nonetheless.

It's as clear as mud now, right!


But.....it's working.
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Old 07-09-2020, 03:10 PM   #11
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It seems you want to hear/see what you want... but... I've had at least six of those refrigerators with the same control panel and they do not work like you are saying they do.

It's hard to tell from the angle of the photo but the auto/gas button sure looks depressed to me (same height as the on/off button) and the icon of the two buttons clearly show when on, the button is nearly flush with the control panel and when off (or on gas) the button sticks out further.

Maybe the auto indicator light is burned out?
Maybe someone had an issue and rewired the fridge to stay on regardless of the Auto/Gas button but I can assure you... when the button is in the Auto position (pushed and locked in) the Auto indicator light should be on and the control board will run the refrigerator off 120v if present and will auto switch to LP when 120v is not present.

When the Auto/Gas button is out, the refrigerator will run only on LP regardless of whether 120v is present or not.

The Check indicator will come on if the refrigerator goes into lock-out because the refrigerator didn't light on LP.
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Old 07-09-2020, 03:31 PM   #12
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let me back track here, and tell you something I've now realized....
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Old 07-09-2020, 03:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formerFR View Post
let me back track here, and tell you something I've now realized....
OK...
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Old 07-09-2020, 03:41 PM   #14
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...my theory has been blown. Forgive me for not checking 'all' the details before writing a diatribe about my findings, although while I wanted to be 'right', that no lights would have to be on 24/7, it now does look like that's the case - the Second 'Auto' button must be engaged.

Why?

well, a month ago, when we landed the camper on this site, I had tried out some of the systems, such as the propane. While not necessarily anticipating using any gas for most any of the appliances, especially the water heater and fridge, both elec/gas models, I did try each one to see 'if' the propane system on each was sparking, lighting, and powering the unit, otherwise, just in case.

I could not, ever, even now, get the water heater to fire. I tried several times, I made sure the two propane bottles, on a dual feeder, had a 'green light' showing that there was propane. I couldn't get the stove burners to light. Nor the oven. The furnace, though, seemed to fire and work just fine, but being new to a 'rv fridge' and not knowing 'how' to know if the flame was lighting or the fridge was 'working', I chalked everything up to a mysterious 'propane flow' issue at all the appliances except the furnace.

So, during this testing of the fridge, and trying to 'see' if it could operate solely on 120v power, with no 'indicator' light having to be on 24/7, I failed to remember that the propane tanks were still 'on', meaning that apparently, in my attempt to 'make the 120v power always work by 'unpressing' the 'Auto' button, I actually was ACTIVATING the gas power, which apparently has been working FLAWLESSLY for the last two days, keeping the fridge in FINE order this whole time, while 'silly me' thought it all the time was actually still on 'shore power'(silly me!)

My failure is your delight - and yes, you are right, I've deconstructed my own theory, right or wrong!


o.k., so, bottom line - the fridge ON/OFF button must be pressed to be active.
The 'Auto' button must be pressed to use 120v shore power, whether 'all the time', or whether 'only when at a campground with power'.
The 'GAS' option, which is the 'same' button, must be in the out, or UNPRESSED mode, in order to tell the fridge to ALWAYS use gas, EVEN if 120v shore power is present!


Crazy, but true. My apologies. : ) It's all good. : )
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:01 PM   #15
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It is all good and I'm glad to hear the fridge works off LP too.

Again, I'd leave the gas on and let the fridge switch over to LP should the shore power for some reason fail. You wont lose anything in there that way. It wont use any propane unless the power goes out or you put it in LP mode again. (on purpose or mistakenly!)
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:10 PM   #16
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yes, and for us, being here 'all the time' in the summer, with no travel plans in the near future, and possibly no 'school' for my teacher wife and my Senior son, the 120v shore power works just fine, and if we have an outage, we can manage whether to switch to propane or not, depending on how long the outage might be.

If we leave on an extended trip, and are leaving a good bit in his fridge, then we'll likely turn that propane back on, just in case.


Nice!

Now, I just need to see if the stove and oven and water heater will work on 'gas' ... but, no hurry.
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Old 07-11-2020, 01:51 PM   #17
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UPDATE: converter issue, but can Fridge 'still' run on 120v even without any 12v for the Control Panel?

So, I've removed the converter - seems to be in need of replacement, but I also had already removed the battery from the system last week, while everything seemed to work fine during that whole time...

the question is this: while I can't use the propane, even if I wanted to 'manually' light it, since it runs on 12v and the converter is removed and the solenoid won't 'open', and I can't operate the Control Panel since there is no 12v power, I wonder if the 120v power is actually STILL providing the power to the fridge?
We haven't seen a loss of cooling for several hours, and everything otherwise, except for the 12v light inside.
We'll look again in several hours and see if temps are dropping or not.

Now, as for the 'instructions' for this Dometic 2-way model, it's still a little confusing about 'how' the Control Panel works for various situations, one being whether it will continue working with ONLY 120v power - no 12v and no propane.

Here's what I mean:

"A. A 12 volt DC supply must be available for the electronic
control to function
. The refrigerator will work down to 9.6
volt DC. (it doesn't make it clear whether this would interrupt the ability for 120v power to continue operating the unit)

B. Press the main power ON/OFF button (1) to the
DOWN position.

B. In AUTO mode operation, the temperature is controlled
by a single temperature setting, on the energy source selected by the control system. (See Auto Mode)(I'm not sure what's meant by 'selected by the control system')

C. In MANUAL mode operation, the refrigerator will run
continuously on the energy source selected by the
control system.
(See Manual Mode)

B. MANUAL MODE
When operating in the MANUAL mode, the AUTO mode
indicator lamp (A) will be off, and the refrigerator will run
continuously on the energy source selected by the control
system.
('selected by the control system' is what I'm not sure I'm understanding, as if you have 120v power, that would seem to be the 'obvious' choice, but could it use propane even IF there was 120v power?...that's the million dollar question!)
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Old 07-11-2020, 02:20 PM   #18
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You're overthinking this.

Appliances in MOST rigs are designed with appliances that have an AUTO mode.
When were on the road, the auto mode would run all the appliances on gas. When we pulled into a campground and plugged in, the refrigerator and water heater switched to operate on electric.
The appliances also had an 'off' switch so that you could turn it completely off if you didn't want to use it. (Some people don't use a refrigerator and use it for 'dry' storage.)

There is an electronic ignition that runs on battery power to light the propane when you're using the fridge on propane. That's not a factor if you're plugged in.

The only caution would be to make certain you run the hot water faucet and fill the hot water heater with water before you try to work it on electric or you could burn out the electric element.

Just put a converter in, replace the battery correctly, put everything on Auto, turn on the propane and don't worry about it. Check the battery occasionally to make certain the cells are filled and let him have his new 'home' plugged into your house.

Hopefully you don't have to use the a/c because that can be a challenge on 120v.
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Old 07-11-2020, 02:26 PM   #19
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The water heater switches automatically? That's not my experience. My control panel has independent switches for gas and electric. You can have either, or both.

If we have power we leave it in electric mode unless showering, in which case we turn on the propane for faster recovery. When the propane is off, the electric element keeps it more than hot enough for small volume use like cooking and eating hands.
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Old 07-11-2020, 02:39 PM   #20
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no, I'm not 'worried' about it, but thinking about these electronics, and how they function, when you're NOT in a 'typical' camping or storage situation,,, such as us.

We are on 120v shore power all the time. Never without it, and if the utility were to lose power, we'd be just like ANY home - no power, nothing, to the fridge, or anything. Now, home fridges aren't 'automatic', nor should they normally be, so I'm just trying to 'see' if these RV Fridge design have the CAPABILITY to run on 120v shore power EVEN without any 12v power.
The unclear part of the instructions to the fridge is the statement "for the electronic control to FUNCTION...", from a 12v power standpoint. Yes, it takes 12v to 'function', but what does that really mean when it comes to a total loss of 12v power, whether the battery dies, or whether converter dies, or whether you INTENTIONALLY want to see if the fridge continues to use 120v power even without the battery or converter.
It doesn't state that the fridge will be 'dead', yet that's possibly what's implied, though it doesn't state it plainly, if so. It almost hints that the 'function' would not be available, but not that the last point of operation when the 12v power was lost will somehow no longer be 'active', even though it's 120v, and nothing else 'needs' to be active - it should operate perfectly fine from 120v as it's sole source of power, right? That's really my question.

Let's look also at the Air Conditioner, which like the Fridge, uses a 12v 'control panel', known as the Thermostat. Because we have no converter, and no 12v power, it, too, will not 'come on'. Now, I know that it doesn't mean that the air conditioner has no 'power', since it's plainly connected DIRECTLY to 120v power thru the 20amp breaker, but the 'link' between the 'activation' of that power to air conditioner is now disconnected due to the Thermostat not having power, essentially like having all the control buttons/switches in the 'off' position. Certainly, the 'temp' control would not function, as that is part of the Thermostat, and not the a/c unit itself, and the 'fan' controls would not work, for the same reason, but the a/c unit itself still has 'power', but the control panel is not 'letting' that power thru, via a relay or switch, I assume, which can't operate in the 'closed' position without 12v power. Makes sense.

The Fridge, though, may or may not operate that way, from it's 12v Control Panel. If there's a similar relay or internal switch that must have 12v power to 'close' to make the connection for the 120v power to flow, then yes, it's not going to get power without it. If the 120v power flows constantly, but the relay or internal switch is only activated when there is a 'loss' of 120v power, then it would seem that the fridge would CONTINUE to operate even without 12v power or a battery or a converter. That's my 'question of the day'...something to think about, if you have that kind of 'time' on your hands!


Most don't : )

The instructions allude to the 'whichever source the control panels chooses..' type of answer, but doesn't go into any detail about 'how' it makes that choice. If that choice was already '120v power', then losing 12v power, or the battery, or the converter, might make little difference, since it's already 'set' in that mode. Maybe.
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