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Old 03-06-2022, 10:04 PM   #1
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What Happened To Triple Source Fridge Feature?

My previous two RV trailers were equipped with smaller fridges that had a "triple source" option for the absorption LP gas fridge. Perhaps it is because I now have an 8 CF fridge it seems that the only options for RV fridges are the "DC Compressor" or the "Two Source" (LP or 110V AC).

I really liked the DC heater option because when towing down the road that would keep the fridge cold. Now if I want to keep the fridge cold I have to run an inverter the whole time you are driving...or worse yet I have to run the LP gas and that seems like a bad/illegal idea.

My trailer does not have an inverter system so I was wondering the following:

-Why would they stop producing the DC heater option?

-Is there a aftermarket DC heater that can be clamped on to the heater section of the absorption that can be used to power the fridge while traveling?

-What other options are there other than doing the ice cooler thing?

THANKS for the advice!!!
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Old 03-06-2022, 11:02 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Vibe101 View Post
My previous two RV trailers were equipped with smaller fridges that had a "triple source" option for the absorption LP gas fridge. Perhaps it is because I now have an 8 CF fridge it seems that the only options for RV fridges are the "DC Compressor" or the "Two Source" (LP or 110V AC).



I really liked the DC heater option because when towing down the road that would keep the fridge cold. Now if I want to keep the fridge cold I have to run an inverter the whole time you are driving...or worse yet I have to run the LP gas and that seems like a bad/illegal idea.



My trailer does not have an inverter system so I was wondering the following:



-Why would they stop producing the DC heater option?



-Is there a aftermarket DC heater that can be clamped on to the heater section of the absorption that can be used to power the fridge while traveling?



-What other options are there other than doing the ice cooler thing?



THANKS for the advice!!!
3-way fridges are almost small fridges with no dedicated freezer. They are usually found in popups, truck campers and very small TTs.
Buyers want more capacity and that's why 2-way RV fridges(110v AC or propane)became the industry standard. Then demand wanted even bigger fridges so larger RVs often have 110v AC only residential fridges now. Only in the last couple of years, 12v only compressor fridges have become the new standard because they are cheaper, larger, more available and don't require venting, than the 2-way fridges. There seems to be a move away from any RV fridges that run on propane.
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Old 03-07-2022, 12:06 AM   #3
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Not wanting to start a back and forth here about running the LP gas while traveling, but I'd guess thousands of us have, do, and will travel with the LP on. Unless you're going thru a tunnel or fueling up at a filling station ... to my knowledge, it's not illegal to leave the LP gas on to keep the fridge cool. Advancing on from my take above ... bikendan pretty much covered the why of the OP's question.
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Old 03-07-2022, 12:39 AM   #4
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Not wanting to start a back and forth here about running the LP gas while traveling, but I'd guess thousands of us have, do, and will travel with the LP on. Unless you're going thru a tunnel or fueling up at a filling station ... to my knowledge, it's not illegal to leave the LP gas on to keep the fridge cool. Advancing on from my take above ... bikendan pretty much covered the why of the OP's question.
I'm a big fan of my 2-way fridges. The ability to run them on sips of propane, was wonderful when dry camping and boondocking. But both of my TTs came with 2-way fridges so I didn't have to spend thousands of dollars on solar and expensive batteries. A couple of affordable 6v golf cart batteries, a small inverter and an Honda 2000i used inverter generator is all I need. Total cost for all of that, $700.
When I ever buy my new 5th wheel, I may not have the choice of a 2-way fridge anymore.
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Old 03-07-2022, 06:07 AM   #5
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My 5er has a House Frig. Day before i take her out. i set the frig up one notch. So far it worked out ok. everything cold and or frozen when i got to my destination.
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Old 03-07-2022, 08:31 AM   #6
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I have a 5er with a residential fridge and I do mostly off grid. I find the battery bank and three large solar panels to be a pain in the kester and have been seriously considering replacing it.

With respect to propane running while traveling down the road, I know that it has to be turned off if you are loaded onto a ferry. Other than that, I don't know the legalities of it.
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Old 03-07-2022, 10:29 AM   #7
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Not wanting to start a back and forth here about running the LP gas while traveling, but I'd guess thousands of us have, do, and will travel with the LP on. Unless you're going thru a tunnel or fueling up at a filling station ... to my knowledge, it's not illegal to leave the LP gas on to keep the fridge cool. Advancing on from my take above ... bikendan pretty much covered the why of the OP's question.
X2
Don't want to start a back and forth either, but my previous rig had a 2 way fridge and I ran with the propane on all the time. Just because "I" never had a problem , does not mean all people have never had a problem.
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Old 03-07-2022, 10:53 AM   #8
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I have a Norcold 2 way in my Crusader. I run it on propane always unless I have electrical hookups. I've had various versions in different rigs for the last 40 years+ of RVing mostly without issue. My feeling about the new 12 volt type is it's a cost thing to the manufacturers. They can buy them cheaper and shift the costs of making them work while boondocking to the end user. They also create a better selling image because they can be bigger while still being cheaper both in initial purchase, and in install. It's definitely about profit. Doesn't matter if you're in a RV Park/"Resort", but if you boondock/dry camp for any length of time, you will need to figure in the cost and hassle/noise of a generator, and/or a functional solar system to meet your needs. I have yet to have anybody convince me it's a better deal.
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Old 03-07-2022, 11:16 AM   #9
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The other answers are incorrect, they indeed still make 3 way refrigerators that are not small and have separate freezers. I have one in my RV. Mine is a Dometic RMD-8555 Refrigerator. It is 6.7 cu ft. and is available here: (https://www.rvpartscountry.com/Domet...r_p_39978.html) for $1577. Why 3 ways appear less common these days, I'm not sure. Anyway, I do enjoy the DC heater capability, but having said that I have traveled for many years with a 2 way and always did so while cooling via propane. Doing so is perfectly legal except, as others mentioned, in certain tunnels (mostly in the east coast states, on ferries, and while fueling.
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Old 03-07-2022, 11:45 AM   #10
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The other answers are incorrect, they indeed still make 3 way refrigerators that are not small and have separate freezers. I have one in my RV. Mine is a Dometic RMD-8555 Refrigerator. It is 6.7 cu ft. and is available here: (https://www.rvpartscountry.com/Domet...r_p_39978.html) for $1577. Why 3 ways appear less common these days, I'm not sure. Anyway, I do enjoy the DC heater capability, but having said that I have traveled for many years with a 2 way and always did so while cooling via propane. Doing so is perfectly legal except, as others mentioned, in certain tunnels (mostly in the east coast states, on ferries, and while fueling.
For those of us that don't know... what is a DC heater and how does it relate to your RV refrig.. ? Been rv camping for 49 years and never have heard of it..
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Old 03-07-2022, 12:05 PM   #11
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For those of us that don't know... what is a DC heater and how does it relate to your RV refrig.. ? Been rv camping for 49 years and never have heard of it..
RV absorption refrigerators use a heat source to cool. The heat is either supplied by a heater, which can be 110v AC or 12v DC, or a small propane flame. Most absorption refrigerators these days are 2-way which means that they work either on 110v AC or propane (flame). Three way would add the ability to heat via 12v DC as well and is apparently much less common these days.
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Old 03-07-2022, 12:39 PM   #12
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Triple Source Fridge Feature

My FR Clipper Cadet 16fq came with only a 120v fridge. I replaced it with a 3-way fridge and have been very satisfied. The night before we leave, I cool it down on propane. Before leaving, I switch to 12v. If camping w/hookups, I run it on 120 v. Because we have had to boondock occasionally, I had to install a very small, thermostat-controlled fan to blow over the top to ventilate in warm weather. In cold weather, it keeps the trailer interior cozy. The small freezer does keep items frozen.
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Old 03-07-2022, 12:54 PM   #13
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Not wanting to start a back and forth here about running the LP gas while traveling, but I'd guess thousands of us have, do, and will travel with the LP on. Unless you're going thru a tunnel or fueling up at a filling station ... to my knowledge, it's not illegal to leave the LP gas on to keep the fridge cool. Advancing on from my take above ... bikendan pretty much covered the why of the OP's question.
X2
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Old 03-07-2022, 01:04 PM   #14
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A fridge of any size...including the one in my old High Wall popup...will only be two way - 120 volt and propane - for a very simple reason. Making heat with 12 volts eats batteries alive. My old Viking PUP, had a 3-way, and I'd run it on 12 volt while towing, but once the umbilical to the tow vehicle was unplugged, I had to be on propane immediately or watch my battery drain like someone pulled the plug on a bathtub.

Run your fridge on propane while on the highway, or if your trip is short, just get the contents' temp stabilized by refrigerating for a day or so prior to travel, then shut it down until you get there. It will stay cold for hours. You can always add a gallon jug of ice to help keep things cold.

I always run my fridge on propane on the road. In fact, I start my fridge in the spring...on shore power...then I switch to propane about 24 hours prior to departure to make sure the propane system is functioning properly. I travel to my boondocking site on propane and stay that way until I return home and plug into shore power. I turn off the fridge when the snow flies in the fall. But I camp essentially every weekend.

The only time my fridge is off during camping season is when I have to defrost it...maybe once a summer. And, as I said, I always travel with the fridge running on propane.

P.S. If, for some reason, the wind at highway speeds prevents the fridge from running on propane, the worst that will happen is that the flame will go out and safety interlocks will shut down the fridge. Until you are sure your fridge will run on propane properly at highway speeds, stop a few times en route and check to make sure it's running. Stand next to the outside vent and you should hear it burning, or be patient and listen for it to ignite. Most have no problems on the road.
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Old 03-07-2022, 01:21 PM   #15
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Triple Source Fridge

Ditto, Jim. Traveling through the southwest in late spring last summer, high winds kept blowing out the flames in both the hot water tank and fridge. Agree that running on 12v will definitely drain battery or batteries quickly. Haven't had that issue yet because I switch to propane as soon as we arrive at destination. I plan to install 2 solar panels on my trailer that should help prevent any quick battery drain.
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Old 03-07-2022, 04:49 PM   #16
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The other answers are incorrect, they indeed still make 3 way refrigerators that are not small and have separate freezers. I have one in my RV. Mine is a Dometic RMD-8555 Refrigerator. It is 6.7 cu ft. and is available here: (https://www.rvpartscountry.com/Domet...r_p_39978.html) for $1577. Why 3 ways appear less common these days, I'm not sure. Anyway, I do enjoy the DC heater capability, but having said that I have traveled for many years with a 2 way and always did so while cooling via propane. Doing so is perfectly legal except, as others mentioned, in certain tunnels (mostly in the east coast states, on ferries, and while fueling.
Is that the fridge that came in your Windjammer?
My comment was based on what fridges are available from the RV manufacturers. I've never seen that big of a 3-way fridge, as standard or optional in any FR product.
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Old 03-17-2022, 06:56 PM   #17
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The F.R. Sunseeker ts2370 that I have on order comes with a 3 way fridge.
It also has 190 watts of solar. I believe it's 5.7 cft.
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Old 03-18-2022, 02:07 AM   #18
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Old school Servel absorption refrigerators on wheels.

That is what the Norcold and Domestic refrigerators are. I am about to turn 70 next month but I would have thought more of the older folks would have remembered these types of refrigerators. In fact they even used to make ones that ran on liquid fuels at one time. This type of refrigeration system can use any source of heat in the correct heat range. They work by using heat to boil a rich Ammonia solution to distill Hydrogen gas that travels through the steel tubing to a heat exchanger where it than passes through the cold plate in the freezer section and then down into the refrigerator and finally recombines with the lean Ammonia to begin the cycle again. It is extremely efficient and if you talk to anyone that works with large scale refrigeration at huge food warehouses you will find that it is still used today. Because of the steel tubing used a anti corrosion agent is used with the aqueous liquid too. I have a 1987 Avion 32s travel trailer (think Airstream on steroids) that still has it's working original Dometic three way refrigerator. There was a lead on the trailer connector that went to a source of 12 VDC that was hot when the tow vehicle engine was running that allowed the fridge to switch automatically from LP to 12 VDC while towing and switch to 120 VAC when plugged into shore power. As one of the other posters indicated Dometic still makes one.

As a side note Attwood was building a RV refrigerator a few years ago that was using Helium for the cooling but after they were bought out it may have been dropped as I have not seen any advertisements for them in a long time. They were LP or 120 VAC.
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