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Old 04-04-2017, 02:00 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by mdough6 View Post
Question to all... Is it possible to wire the fans up to a thermometer in the fridge so that the fans will automatically kick on if the internal temperature rises above say 40 degrees? It seems this would provide a worry free method of engagine the fans but I'm not a wiring guru either.
I would ask why?

The fridge in standard height A-frames has NO thermostat. It is a continuous run fridge. On propane, you manually dial up how much propane is going to the burner. On 120V AC, you manually dial how much power is going to the electric coil. On 12V DC, the coil runs full blast, full time.

Because there is no thermostat I use a battery-powered wireless thermometer ($10 from Walmart) to do the manual setting of the fridge. The readout works when towing, too.

I put in a switch on the fan because I just didn't know what to expect from the fan install. Turns out the only times I turn the fan off is:

1) if we have low temps outside (less than 50 degrees), and the fridge is going below freezing on very low propane or AC settings.

2) when towing. There is enough airflow when towing to get the fridge down to freezing without the fan, even in 90+ degree temps in Texas. I usually have to leave the fan off during meal or rest stops to let the fridge warm some and not freeze the contents. For this reason, I need to install a switch in the fridge compartment (my present switch is inside the camper) to access it from the outside.

The fan I put in only draws 70ma, so leaving it running full time costs 1.7AH per day. The CO/propane detector uses 4 times as much power. And performance of the fridge without the fan is pitiful unless there is a breeze from the right direction to jam air through the POS Dometic vents.

FWIW, the fridge in standard height A-frames has no drain or interior light, so fishing the thermostat in is going to be a little more challenging (why I use a wireless thermomoter). Now if you are talking a High Wall A-frame or conventional TT with a bigger fridge, then maybe thermostat control of the fan makes sense.

Just my thoughts and experiences. I like to keep things very simple - it suits my brain.
Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
next trip - Waco, TX
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:48 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by pgandw View Post
I would ask why?

The fridge in standard height A-frames has NO thermostat. It is a continuous run fridge. On propane, you manually dial up how much propane is going to the burner. On 120V AC, you manually dial how much power is going to the electric coil. On 12V DC, the coil runs full blast, full time.

Because there is no thermostat I use a battery-powered wireless thermometer ($10 from Walmart) to do the manual setting of the fridge. The readout works when towing, too.

I put in a switch on the fan because I just didn't know what to expect from the fan install. Turns out the only times I turn the fan off is:

1) if we have low temps outside (less than 50 degrees), and the fridge is going below freezing on very low propane or AC settings.

2) when towing. There is enough airflow when towing to get the fridge down to freezing without the fan, even in 90+ degree temps in Texas. I usually have to leave the fan off during meal or rest stops to let the fridge warm some and not freeze the contents. For this reason, I need to install a switch in the fridge compartment (my present switch is inside the camper) to access it from the outside.

The fan I put in only draws 70ma, so leaving it running full time costs 1.7AH per day. The CO/propane detector uses 4 times as much power. And performance of the fridge without the fan is pitiful unless there is a breeze from the right direction to jam air through the POS Dometic vents.

FWIW, the fridge in standard height A-frames has no drain or interior light, so fishing the thermostat in is going to be a little more challenging (why I use a wireless thermomoter). Now if you are talking a High Wall A-frame or conventional TT with a bigger fridge, then maybe thermostat control of the fan makes sense.

Just my thoughts and experiences. I like to keep things very simple - it suits my brain.
Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
next trip - Waco, TX
A fair question I'm actually doing research. I'm buying a conventional TT (Wolf Pup 16BHS) on Saturday. My old hand me down from my father is officially rotted out. In my preperation for said purchase I stumbled across a thread referencing poor fridge performance. Within that thread was a reference to this thread. Point being I'm just getting prepared in case the fridge acts up. Plus rule for Montana, if you don't like the weather wait 10 minutes for it to change! Sometimes when I get up in the morning its friggin cold. By the time I return to my TT later in the afternoon it's scorching. So I thought a thermostat might just a convient way to never forget turning the fan on or off. I do see your point about it's power usage though. Virtually next to nothing.
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:36 AM   #63
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I also had to install fans to help with cooling. They work great. Even in the 90's and sun, the inside stays in the perfect range according to the thermometer. And I only have to have the dial around 3 during the day and lower at night. We mostly camp at places with elec/water, so we don't use propane much ( no need to waste my gas when I'm already paying for the electric).

I used the main wire coming in to draw the power. The picture shows the red electric caps. That was a quick splice as we were going camping the next day. I have since swapped this for crimp connectors after soldering the wires. Also, I added another fan. I mounted it to the left of the one in the picture. ( both together still draw less than an amp ). I added a toggle switch that can turn them off, run full time or run through the thermostat. As for that, I have moved it after experimenting with different locations to see where the best spot was to turn fans on/off. And last, I have added some additional baffles to help draw the air better. With the cover on, one can really feel the air coming out.

Sorry, I didn't take any pics Of the final install. I only have the initial install. It really is a simple install. Good luck. Sorry but I still can't get the pics to appear correctly sometimes.
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Old 04-05-2017, 11:59 AM   #64
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A fair question I'm actually doing research. I'm buying a conventional TT (Wolf Pup 16BHS) on Saturday. My old hand me down from my father is officially rotted out. In my preperation for said purchase I stumbled across a thread referencing poor fridge performance. Within that thread was a reference to this thread. Point being I'm just getting prepared in case the fridge acts up. Plus rule for Montana, if you don't like the weather wait 10 minutes for it to change! Sometimes when I get up in the morning its friggin cold. By the time I return to my TT later in the afternoon it's scorching. So I thought a thermostat might just a convient way to never forget turning the fan on or off. I do see your point about it's power usage though. Virtually next to nothing.
You had posted in the A-frame forum on an A-frame thread so I assumed you also had an A-frame. My mistake.

In your situation, I would look to drive the fan(s) off the control board (a standard height A-frame fridge doesn't have a control board) so that they would turn on/off when the fridge turns on/off by its own thermostat. Many of the newer TT fridges already come with fans (powered off the control board) because the natural air flow is so poor. As a result, the control board should already have a place to attach fan wiring. I would start there before installing a separate control and thermostat.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
- and yes we do have the similar and often violent "weather changing by the minute" because of the altitude.
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:44 PM   #65
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You had posted in the A-frame forum on an A-frame thread so I assumed you also had an A-frame. My mistake.

In your situation, I would look to drive the fan(s) off the control board (a standard height A-frame fridge doesn't have a control board) so that they would turn on/off when the fridge turns on/off by its own thermostat. Many of the newer TT fridges already come with fans (powered off the control board) because the natural air flow is so poor. As a result, the control board should already have a place to attach fan wiring. I would start there before installing a separate control and thermostat.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
- and yes we do have the similar and often violent "weather changing by the minute" because of the altitude.
A valid assumption sir. I will definitely take a look to see what the fan setup is. I'll also check out the board to see if there are fan hook ups. Thanks foie the advice! Much appreciated.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:47 PM   #66
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Solution to fridge

I have owned about every configuration of camper out there and here is my answer. I rip out the absorption fridge and install a dorm fridge and a power inverter. It takes less than 2hrs tto get down
to the 30s and maintains it. I can also make ice cubes. Got the original used 3 times sitting in the garage.Any takers? We have a 2017 213 HW.
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:41 AM   #67
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I have owned about every configuration of camper out there and here is my answer. I rip out the absorption fridge and install a dorm fridge and a power inverter. It takes less than 2hrs tto get down
to the 30s and maintains it. I can also make ice cubes. Got the original used 3 times sitting in the garage.Any takers? We have a 2017 213 HW.
Compressor-cooled fridges require cooling fans from the get-go, so you have them already. And they require significant electrical power to run the compressor, which is why dorm and residential fridges are not generally used off the power grid. But compressor-cooled fridges are more powerful and quite effective where electric power is readily available.

An absorption fridge will run efficiently on a very small amount of propane - if there is sufficient cooling air to the coils. That is what the standard height A-frames and PUPs have - a continuous run propane burner where the fridge temp is regulated by the amount of propane to the burner. High walls and conventional TTs add a low-current 12V control board for thermostatic control and auto-ignition of the propane.

An absorption fridge is the most practical refrigeration when not connected to the power grid.

just my thoughts and experiences, including powering remote communications sites through Alaska winter storms and weather
Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:08 AM   #68
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Got the original used 3 times sitting in the garage.Any takers? We have a 2017 213 HW.
Maybe.........what model?
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Old 05-01-2017, 05:16 AM   #69
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Old 05-01-2017, 05:19 AM   #70
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Bought this thermometer at Walmart for $20. Put the sensor in the fridge and the display on the counter. Now I know temp in fridge and cabin temp in camper. Works great.
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Old 05-01-2017, 06:40 PM   #71
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Bought this thermometer at Walmart for $20. Put the sensor in the fridge and the display on the counter. Now I know temp in fridge and cabin temp in camper. Works great.
I bought the cheapest model WalMart had ($10). I too put the display on the counter when camping. I use it to adjust the propane.

When towing, I put the display up on the console so I can see how the fridge is doing while driving. It usually tracks pretty well from that distance.

I use the display to turn off the fridge when it cools down to about 29 during the drive. It also clued me into the fact the fridge door had popped open while driving - the fridge was warming up instead of cooling.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:52 AM   #72
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I bought the cheapest model WalMart had ($10). I too put the display on the counter when camping. I use it to adjust the propane.

When towing, I put the display up on the console so I can see how the fridge is doing while driving. It usually tracks pretty well from that distance.

I use the display to turn off the fridge when it cools down to about 29 during the drive. It also clued me into the fact the fridge door had popped open while driving - the fridge was warming up instead of cooling.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
That's a great idea pgandw. I have a question, how do you turn off the fridge when traveling? Are you running on 12v?
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Old 05-02-2017, 12:11 PM   #73
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Bought this thermometer at Walmart for $20. Put the sensor in the fridge and the display on the counter. Now I know temp in fridge and cabin temp in camper. Works great.
You overpaid, my DW got one at the local Wallyworld for 10 bucks. It works well. I keep the receiver in the truck when I'm travelling and I can monitor the fridge temp from the drivers seat.
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Old 05-02-2017, 03:32 PM   #74
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That's a great idea pgandw. I have a question, how do you turn off the fridge when traveling? Are you running on 12v?
We do run the fridge on 12V while towing. Propane blows out with the natural wind combined with the wind from towing. I know, I've tried it. The continuous run fridge in standard height A-frames and pop-ups has no way to automatically restart when the flame blows out.

When the fridge cools down sufficiently on 12V, I simply pull over when convenient, open the outside hatch, and shut off the fridge. Same for starting it again if needed. There is no control when on 12V - the fridge heating element runs full time at 160 watts when turned on.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
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Old 05-04-2017, 05:35 AM   #75
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We do run the fridge on 12V while towing. Propane blows out with the natural wind combined with the wind from towing. I know, I've tried it. The continuous run fridge in standard height A-frames and pop-ups has no way to automatically restart when the flame blows out.

When the fridge cools down sufficiently on 12V, I simply pull over when convenient, open the outside hatch, and shut off the fridge. Same for starting it again if needed. There is no control when on 12V - the fridge heating element runs full time at 160 watts when turned on.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
Thanks for the reply. I think we have different setup. My a214hw has controls for the refrigerator inside camper. I think I need to select 12v and then pop down. Traveling I suppose the fridge will not drain my battery because I am hooked up to tow vehicle? I wonder what will happen if I pull over for an hour with vehicle off (to eat). Will fridge drain my camper battery?
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Old 05-04-2017, 08:28 AM   #76
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Thanks for the reply. I think we have different setup. My a214hw has controls for the refrigerator inside camper. I think I need to select 12v and then pop down. Traveling I suppose the fridge will not drain my battery because I am hooked up to tow vehicle? I wonder what will happen if I pull over for an hour with vehicle off (to eat). Will fridge drain my camper battery?
Yes, the high walls have bigger fridges that are more like the fridges in full size trailers. They are thermostatically controlled on AC and propane. I do not know if your fridge model is continuous run on DC, nor do I know the current draw on DC. I am assuming somewhere around 10 amps - but you need to look that up.

How well your tow vehicle supports 10 amps for the fridge, plus 6+ amps for running lights (unless converted to LED), plus trailer battery charging is a real crap shoot. Until you measure voltage at the A-frame battery under several scenarios (hooked up, TV engine running, fridge on in DC mode), it's hard to know whether the A-frame battery is actually getting charged or not. Chances are it's a trickle charge (12.8 - 13.2V) at best due to voltage drops in the wiring and full charge on the tow vehicle battery. If you get 13.6 to 13.7V at the A-frame battery with everything running, you are in great shape.

If the A-frame battery is only seeing 12.8 - 13.2v while being towed, it won't replace the 10 amp hours used by the fridge while stopped for an hour. That's what happens in my case. Not a big deal if we have electric at the campsite. But it is a big deal we are going to non-electric sites for 4 days.

Now if I shut off the fridge and tow for another 2 hours, the A-frame battery does recharge (about 13.7V), and I have a nearly full battery when I set up.

Because I can reach my fridge controls from the outside panel, it's little effort to turn the fridge on/off. One of the few advantages of the standard height. If I know the stop is an hour+, I generally turn off the fridge, assuming the fridge temp is already in the low 30s.

hope this helps
Fred W
2014 A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
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Old 05-04-2017, 08:49 AM   #77
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Thanks for the reply. I think we have different setup. My a214hw has controls for the refrigerator inside camper. I think I need to select 12v and then pop down. Traveling I suppose the fridge will not drain my battery because I am hooked up to tow vehicle? I wonder what will happen if I pull over for an hour with vehicle off (to eat). Will fridge drain my camper battery?
I realized I didn't give you any advice to fit your situation with inside controls.

If I were you, I would get a wireless thermometer from Walmart and put it in your fridge. Pre-cool the fridge before the trip, and load with stuff that won't go bad if it gets warm (soda, water, etc). Set the fridge on propane and see if it maintains temp while towing. You have auto-ignition (unlike my fridge) so if the flame does blow out once in a while, it should relight.

If the fridge warms while on propane while towing, then you will have to give the DC a try. Measuring battery voltages under load will give you an idea of whether or not the tow vehicle is keeping the camper battery charged. Realize that longer stops will likely cause some loss of battery charge that will not be recovered before arrival at the campground.

If you are going to tow with fridge in DC mode, I recommend replacing tail/stop light bulbs and running/marker light bulbs with LED equivalents.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
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Old 05-04-2017, 05:50 PM   #78
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Thanks Fred! Lots of great information, I appreciate your efforts. Steve
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