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Old 07-26-2009, 03:09 PM   #1
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Cool How to get fridge to work on battery when traveling

We are new to the trailer world, and have a 1997 wildwood trailer. The fridge works great when pluged into power or on propane. However we are taking a trip to mexico and need to know if there is a way to get fridge to run while we are driving on the battery, as we cant travel with propane on.

any help would be great...
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Old 07-26-2009, 05:10 PM   #2
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Unless your Wildwood came with a 3 way fridge, it is not setup to run on 12v. Usually only popups and fold-downs have 3 way fridges.

Why can't you run your fridge on propane during travel ??

BTW........
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Old 07-26-2009, 05:59 PM   #3
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only fridges i know that still run on 12v are on popups.

i haven't seen a 3-way fridge in a travel trailer for years.
even then they were very small and had no freezer.

why do you say you can't run with the propane on? most of us do, if we want to fridge to stay cool.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:38 PM   #4
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I was told that it was dangerous to travel with the propane on. It seems like ever person we talk too tells us that it has to be turned off when traveling.
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:07 PM   #5
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i always travel with mine on propane if you want a cold fridge when you get where you are going ,the only thing that is burning is a small flame like a pilot light.
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolter View Post
I was told that it was dangerous to travel with the propane on. It seems like ever person we talk too tells us that it has to be turned off when traveling.
I leave my propane on when I travel. Just make sure to turn off your propane when you go to the gas station. Pilot lights and gas fumes don't mix well.
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:54 AM   #7
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A camping friend of mine did exactly what you want to do. He powers his fridge off of the battery. He has a Jayco TT but the fridge is not a Dometic. This was an experiment on the way to Myrtle Beach last year and it worked great. I now have the samething in my camper and I have a Dometic. I can give you details later on and maybe some pic.
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:28 AM   #8
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The only way to know if you have a 3 way fridge (possible but
doubtful) is to look up the owners manual online.
To do that you need the make and model number of the fridge.
There will be a sticker inside the fridge somewhere that gives that information.
I had an 03 Shadow Cruiser that had a little 3 Cu Ft fridge that
had 3 way power but it had a LED display that told you which
mode it was in. You just pushed the manual button repeatedly
and it changed from AC to DC to LP and back.
As mentioned, ours did not cool very well on DC.
In fact, it didn't cool hardly at all on DC in hot weather.
AND you didn't want to leave it on DC with the engine off or it
would run down your truck battery in very short order!
Once we discovered that we ran it on LP on the road too.

If I were you, I'd just run yours on LP....... that's what we do.
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:58 AM   #9
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wolter, there has a been a lot of controversy over the years about running the fridge on propane, but I think most RVers now do it.......I do now that I have a 2 way fridge instead of the 3 way fridge in my previoius Trailmanor.

As 1 poster stated, you need to turn off the gas when fueling.....which is hard for me to remember so far.

Sme states require propane to be turned off in tunnels......VA. beiing 1 of those. There are inspection stations that you need to pull into, and they will check your gas to be off.......you can turn in off then if you like, or before if you anticipate the tunnel at your last pee stop. I like to do that, so I can walk in the trailer and turn the fridge off before turning the propane off.......just so the fridge won't try to be lighting without propane. You will see campers stopped at the nearest convenient pull-over after tunnel and turning their propane back on.

If you are still concerned about the propane issue, super-cool that puppy during the nite before, and just turn everything off......it should stay cool during travel, as long as you don't open the door. Me, I like to stop for a drink and sandwich during the day.

If you are really inventive, and don't want to travel with the propane on, maybe you could rig up a inverter to run the fridge, but I don't know if the TV charge could keep the battery charged enough for that.
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:04 AM   #10
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Running my fridge on propane for 4 yrs while travelling No problems.
When refuelling as long as you have it 15' away from pumps you are good to go. Ferries and tunnels will have signs advising when you need to turn off propane system
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:24 PM   #11
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Thanks for the advise. Really new at this, so all advise was appreciated.
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:42 AM   #12
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I toke pic of mine as to how it is set up, but I have not had a chance to post them, but I will by to night.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:43 PM   #13
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Ok Here It Is........

Pic #1 shows a 350 Watt inverter from Radio Shack, notice the wire with the RED DOT, this wire is connected to the inverter at one end (THE SUPPLIED POWER SIDE) the other end that you can not see is connected directly to the buss bar in the breaker panel and the other wire is connected to the common.
Take note of the wire with the GREEN DOT, this wire is the supply power from the inverter and connected to a second receptacle I have installed in the refrigerator access service panel on the out side of the camper.
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Pic #2 shows the refrigerator access service panel.
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Pic #3 shows the second receptacle I have installed and as you can see there is a Green DOT on the cover plate, this is where the wire with the GREEN DOT from pic #1 terminates. Once the inverter is powered up this receptacle is hot and is supplied with 115-120 volts.
Now note the wire with the YELLOW DOT, this plug and receptacle is installed by the factory and it is your refrigerator connection. Now the way this works from the beginning.....Two days before we head out to camp, I turn on the refrigerator, once it is at operating temperature ( about 34 degrees) we load up the refrigerator. Now getting ready to leave..... with the camper hooked up to my truck, I turn off the refrigerator unhook house power then unplug the YELLOW plug from it's original receptacle and then plug it in to the receptacle I installed then I go in side of the camper and turn on the inverter and then the refrigerator. While I am driving the trucks electrical system is charging the battery to the camper as the power is used by the refrigerator....The refrigerator does not run all of the time, only when it needs to so it can maintain temperature. One might say "WHAT NO BREAKER" the inverter has a 30 amp fuse right next to the power switch for protection. There is one thing I am going to change, and that is the wire with the GREEN DOT, I am going to install 12 gauge copper wire, I have notice a voltage drop and it is boarder line. The wire I used was supplied with the inverter. I hope I have made myself clear and I hope it helps.
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:09 AM   #14
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As stated there are two camps on traveling with propane on, for or against. I have always run with it on over the last 20 years we have been camping. One year we tried the 6 hour trip from home to Myrtle Beach with it off. The contents were cool but not cold when we arrived so I decided not to repeat that experiment. Trips of under 2 hours can be done without significant loss of coolness in the refrigerator.
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Old 07-29-2009, 07:06 AM   #15
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Rockwood06, that is a great alternative to those that don't want to go down the road with propane on.
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:50 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolter View Post
I was told that it was dangerous to travel with the propane on. It seems like ever person we talk too tells us that it has to be turned off when traveling.
i can tell you that i read about this subject on various RV forums and vast majority use propane in transit. i'd say close to 80-90%.
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:48 PM   #17
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I use the propane feature on my unit, it automatically switches to propane when 110V is not connected. I have two 30 # tanks one turned on the other off. I just returned from Myrtle Beach where the trip was 11 hours each way, excluding a 2.5 hour breakdown on I-95 about 30 miles south of VA on a VERY HOT SATURDAY afternoon our food and drinks remained cold and boy was I happy!
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Old 07-29-2009, 07:39 PM   #18
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Mr.B, sorry to hear about your break down. With the inverter set up in the event of a break down or for any other reason the fridge can be put back into regular service just by turning of the inverter and putting the plug to the fridge back into It's factory installed receptacle then turn on the propane, you still need power for the fridge in any case. Glad you and your family made it back safe, I hope everyone had fun.
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