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Old 08-08-2019, 02:03 PM   #21
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In our travel trailer, we plug into shore power at least the day before to cool the refrigerator. We also use a circulating fan to help it cool more efficiently.
As a side note, while traveling we keep frozen water bottles in the refrigerator and use the circulating fan to keep everything cold without having to run with the propane on.
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:51 PM   #22
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Triac

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Originally Posted by pgandw View Post
On AC, there is a SCR incandescent light dimmer that regulates how much power goes to the AC coil. Again, no thermostat in the fridge.

Fred W
Actually it's a TRIAC, not an SCR. And just to confuse things further, the triac is triggered by a DIAC.
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Old 08-08-2019, 04:00 PM   #23
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On my PUP, there was a toggle switch that was active when we swung the kitchen top into place. If that toggle switch was off, no power would flow to lights and appliances. Thus, the only way to pre-cool the fridge was to have the PUP set up.

The OP stated that he plugged in his PUP and then later popped it up to find the fridge was not cooled. I read that as meaning that his PUP was in the down position when he had it plugged in. I don't know if the PUPs have changed, but this would not have worked for my older PUP, either. I would have had to raise the roof and set my kitchen up in order for AC to flow through to the fridge.

My PUP fridge was small enough that the best way to pre-cool was with a half bag of ice, a half case of pop, or something else that's frozen/cold with thermal mass ... similar to pre-cooling a cooler.
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Old 08-08-2019, 04:44 PM   #24
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Also you might want to start the fridge sooner before the trip. RV fridges take a lot longer than residential type to cool down as they work differently. Also take longer to recover from putting a bunch of semi-warm food in there, so if you can use pre-chilled food and drinks that will also help.
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Old 08-09-2019, 07:51 AM   #25
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To precool my frig I keep gallon jugs frozen in the home freezer and put them in the RV frig at the same time I turn it on. I try to do it early in the morning. It usually takes less than an hour for the frig to reach temp. Also, as someone wrote, precool the food and drink you plan to put in. As you put the food in, take the ice out as needed. We usually have room to leave a gallon jug of ice in the RV freezer. That seems to help keep the frig cool on warm days.
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Old 08-09-2019, 12:24 PM   #26
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Just pointing out that the 3 cu ft (or smaller) fridges put in pop-ups don't hold many gallon jugs. Even putting just one in requires shelf removal. We use 1/2 gal Tupperware containers that fit on the door shelves to store milk, juice, tea, etc.

I've never seen one of these little fridges maintain safe temps over the course of a day (or even half a day) of towing without DC or propane mode running. We use a wireless, battery-powered outdoor thermometer ($10 at Walmart) to track the inside of our A-frame fridge. Batteries typically last about 30 days of actual use - I take out the batteries in between trips.

hope this helps the Pop-up owners
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Old 08-09-2019, 12:52 PM   #27
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Roof-down switch had no effect on the 120vAC system of my pop-up.

The top-down switch in my (former) pop-up only cut 12v power to the ceiling lights and that was only so their heat would not burn the tent fabric. No other 12v appliances were affected and we could run the refrigerator on 12vDC with the roof down as I suspect you could too or you'd never be able to keep it cold on the road. 12v is very inefficient for cooling but is better than nothing.

Even the largest of the little 3-way refrigerators recover poorly to putting warm items in them. Cooling before filling and putting cold food (and especially drinks) is best practice. Keeping the darn door SHUT is paramount. Least this appear gender biased I've noticed my wife and adult daughter seem to go into some sort of trance in front of the open refrigerator while all the cold air spills out.

Top down refrigerator access is one of the least important items when buying a popup but it becomes highly important after the fact. Our pop-up buying priority list had this feature at the top of the list -- became a very short list quickly.

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Old 08-09-2019, 01:30 PM   #28
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Just pointing out that the 3 cu ft (or smaller) fridges put in pop-ups don't hold many gallon jugs. Even putting just one in requires shelf removal.
Fred, apparently many that commented, didn't pay attention that the OP has a popup and posted this thread in the Popup section.
It also may be that many have no idea that Popups have much smaller 3-way fridges.
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:03 PM   #29
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Fred, apparently many that commented, didn't pay attention that the OP has a popup and posted this thread in the Popup section.
It also may be that many have no idea that Popups have much smaller 3-way fridges.
Agreed.
Lots of folks believe EVERY R/V has appliances just like is in theirs. Not so.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:15 PM   #30
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Are you sure that it is not simply a matter of turning on the ac switch for the fridge? I plug my popup to the house and turn on the ac switch to cool the fridge beforehand. Since it is a three way fridge, I assume there is a switch for both ac and dc, as well as for propane? One time I forgot to turn on the switch the night before, and was disappointed the next day when the fridge was not cold. Lol!
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:18 PM   #31
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regardless of whether you are using AC or propane to actually cool the refrigerator, you still will need 12 volts DC to run the circuitry that controls the flame or heater and temperature. If you have turned the converter off, you must still have the battery turned on the refrigerator will not cool since it has no circuitry functioning.
This ^^^^ . All RV fridges still require 12V power to operate the “brain” of the fridge. It won’t even turn on without your disconnect on and good battery power.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:46 AM   #32
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Nope. The little Dometic 3-way common in popups is completely manual with 3 switches for the source of heat. No brain at all. Will run on no electric power (AC or DC) whatsoever.

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Old 08-13-2019, 06:58 AM   #33
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I have been known to place a bag of ice in a waterproof container and place in refrigerator to pre cool it.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:35 AM   #34
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We have a high wall Aframe. We set it up in the driveway the night before we take off, plug it in to an outside outlet (with an adapter), turn on the fridge, and it's cold the next morning. Never a problem.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:42 AM   #35
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This ^^^^ . All RV fridges still require 12V power to operate the “brain” of the fridge. It won’t even turn on without your disconnect on and good battery power.
Nope... not ALL!

Most small three way fridges in pop-ups and other propane only refrigerators are lit manually and use a control knob to adjust the temp. No 12v needed whatsoever.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:04 PM   #36
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This ^^^^ . All RV fridges still require 12V power to operate the “brain” of the fridge. It won’t even turn on without your disconnect on and good battery power.
You must never have had a 3-way fridge.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:07 PM   #37
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The 2.5 cubic ft Dometic 3-way in my popup doesn't need DC power if I'm running it off LP.

So far all I've done is take whatever perishables I'm bringing out of the fridge at home and put them in a cooler with ice packs for the trip. When we get to the camp site I start up the pop up fridge (LP- we boondock), wait an hour or two, and put the cold food from the cooler in the fridge, and bobs your uncle.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:10 PM   #38
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Quote:
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regardless of whether you are using AC or propane to actually cool the refrigerator, you still will need 12 volts DC to run the circuitry that controls the flame or heater and temperature. If you have turned the converter off, you must still have the battery turned on the refrigerator will not cool since it has no circuitry functioning.
I have found this to be true also, battery needs to be connected and have sufficient charge. High wall PUP draw about 2ah continuously just for the lp sensor/alarm so batteries can lose charge if your not paying attention. And there is usually not a mains power shut off on them. A lot of vehicles don’t really make up for that while towing.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:17 PM   #39
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Hard to believe how many people just read the original post, or the most recent one or two, before responding!
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:14 AM   #40
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I have found this to be true also, battery needs to be connected and have sufficient charge. High wall PUP draw about 2ah continuously just for the lp sensor/alarm so batteries can lose charge if your not paying attention. And there is usually not a mains power shut off on them. A lot of vehicles don’t really make up for that while towing.
Lots of confusion here because high wall PUPs and A-frames and standard height PUPs and A-frames have VERY DIFFERENT fridges installed.

The standard height PUPs and A-frames have a Dometic 4223 or similar fridge. This fridge is 3 way, continuous run, with NO control board or thermostatic control. Each mode has controls for the mode located behind the fridge and accessed by removing the outside vents. There is no DC power draw unless DC mode is turned on.

Propane mode is lit manually with a piezo ignitor button. There is a gas valve that varies the amount of propane going to the burner. There is a safety propane cutoff that is operated independently by a thermocouple sensing heat at the burner. This safety is overridden while lighting the burner by pushing and holding in the safety valve knob while pushing the ignitor button. Because of the minimum distance between the fridge vents, the small size of the burner due to continuous run, and the lack of automatic ignition, towing in propane mode often results in the flame being blown out with no way to restart while driving.

DC mode - when turned on - runs continuously as long as there is battery (DC) power to the heater coil. The DC coil is at least 5 amps, and can be 10 amps draw on the battery. Fridge use in DC mode while towing will normally prevent the tow vehicle from recharging the camper battery. Camper battery will further discharge while stopped for gas and food if the fridge is left on in DC mode.

AC mode, like the other modes, runs continuously when turned on as long as there is AC power available. In AC mode, there is usually an SCR dimmer (used to incandescent light bulbs) to control how much power goes to the heating coil.

High wall PUPs and A-frames, with the higher counters, typically use small conventional RV fridges with a DC control board, thermostat regulation (including the infamous slider in the fridge), and newer versions have automatic mode selection between AC and propane. The control board uses 0.25AH on my A-frame when the fridge is powered; when the fan kicks in (back side of the fridge, turned on/off by temperature) the fridge 12 volt consumption doubles to 0.5 amps.

Because propane mode has electronic ignition, and the extra height between the fridge vents, towing in propane mode is quite practical.

hope this helps resolve confusion
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