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Old 06-04-2019, 03:21 PM   #61
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Running down the road with the fridge running on propane is a bad, bad idea, not to mention illegal once you pull in a gas station. You might as well light matches while you're pumping your gas. If your propane tank is turned on and you have a leak, a blow out or kick something up from the road and damage a line it could be catastrophic.

And yes, I've done it before too.

If the fridge is already cold, it will stay cold for a fairly long time.

I'd stick with running on 12v dc and keep an eye on the batteries, everyone's situation is different and it might work fine for you.


I agree with running on 12v while traveling. Just make sure your vehicle is wired for that. On my 2011 Silverado I had to hook up the wires under the hood for brake controller and aux. after doing so we arrived at campgrounds with totally dead battery! Pulled out volt meter, which is a good tool to have with you, checked aux. pin and had no voltage! Here GM didnít install fuse for aux. circuit. All good now. Lol. Donít ASSume! Check with meter at pin. Should have 13.5v or better with vehicle running.
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:25 PM   #62
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I agree with running on 12v while traveling. Just make sure your vehicle is wired for that. On my 2011 Silverado I had to hook up the wires under the hood for brake controller and aux. after doing so we arrived at campgrounds with totally dead battery! Pulled out volt meter, which is a good tool to have with you, checked aux. pin and had no voltage! Here GM didnít install fuse for aux. circuit. All good now. Lol. Donít ASSume! Check with meter at pin. Should have 13.5v or better with vehicle running.
Most of the time, if you buy the tow package with your truck or SUV, you will get a fuse and/or relay installed for the charge line, along with everything you need to tow up to the tow rating except hitch equipment.
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:48 PM   #63
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The 12v setting, on your 3-way fridge, is what it's designed to do, charge while driving.
Those of us, with 2-way fridges, have to run ours on propane while driving.
Your dealer should have told you this, during the PDI/walkthrough. Wonder what else they failed to go over with you, since this is basic RV system information.
Hmm, my dealer advised me to turn off the gas when driving down the road. Luckily, so far all our trips have been within an hour or two away -- not enough time for the fridge to warm up before we get to a shore-plug...
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:25 PM   #64
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3-way refrigerators are propane refrigerators with inefficient, secondary 12vDC and 115vAC heat sources. If the propane will remain lit on the road don't turn the gas off. These refrigerators can run for weeks on a single 20 pound LP cylinder and a couple of hours of a 12v battery either in the camper or on the vehicle.

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Old 06-06-2019, 08:18 PM   #65
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Awesome, thatís probably what was the initial reason, but they extended it to all travel. Multiple people said it was a safety risk. I had battery issues with my last trailer . Probably didnít help that the fridge was draining it during travel to the site. Many thanks.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:28 PM   #66
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Multiple people who know little will claim anything is a "safety risk." I can't begin to count the number of travel trailers I've seen in flames along side the road or in exploded gas stations from running their refrigerators on the road. OK, I can. The number is zero. Seen plenty of car fires, though. They're a safety risk.

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Old 06-06-2019, 09:06 PM   #67
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Three way refrigerators are only work well with propane. I’ve never ran my fridge on anything but propane. 12V and 120v don’t produce the same heat as propane. Its this heat exchange that makes the fridge cool. Even when on a 30amp plug I still keep it on propane.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:35 PM   #68
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Multiple people who know little will claim anything is a "safety risk." I can't begin to count the number of travel trailers I've seen in flames along side the road or in exploded gas stations from running their refrigerators on the road. OK, I can. The number is zero. Seen plenty of car fires, though. They're a safety risk.

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I'll take this for what it's worth.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:16 AM   #69
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Three way refrigerators are only work well with propane. I’ve never ran my fridge on anything but propane. 12V and 120v don’t produce the same heat as propane. Its this heat exchange that makes the fridge cool. Even when on a 30amp plug I still keep it on propane.
Mine works great! on any of the the three modes, yes I’ve use all three modes depending on the circumstances.
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Old 06-07-2019, 11:32 AM   #70
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Mine works great! on any of the the three modes, yes Iíve use all three modes depending on the circumstances.
Yes..mine works great on 120V as well although I have never had it run with it hotter than 90įF outside.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:03 PM   #71
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Yes..mine works great on 120V as well although I have never had it run with it hotter than 90įF outside.
Yeah, I’ve used mine on elec at campsites and towing on 12volt in all spans of temperatures, 25- 90+ degrees.
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:29 AM   #72
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Three way refrigerators are only work well with propane. I’ve never ran my fridge on anything but propane. 12V and 120v don’t produce the same heat as propane. Its this heat exchange that makes the fridge cool. Even when on a 30amp plug I still keep it on propane.
May have been true at one time, but the Dometic 3 ways installed in the past 6 years cool very nicely on any of the 3 sources.

What is an issue, and may make it SEEM to cool better in one mode than others is the cooling air flow in the back of the fridge. In reality, I have found, as delivered from Forest River, all 3 modes have inconsistent cooling. Use it enough (and measure internal fridge temp) and you will find a day where it just doesn't cool right.

If you study the installation manual for a Dometic fridge, there are a lot of requirements - minimum size of vents, spacing between top and bottom vent, size and location of baffle, insulation around the box, etc. FR does a very POOR job of complying with those requirements - at least in both my A-frames.

After fixing most of the installation issues, I find the 3 way fridges cool consistently and well in all 3 modes - again, 2 different fridge models in 2 different A-frames.

First thing is to stuff the gap between the fridge box and the cabinet walls (and counter top) with insulation - I used the pink stuff. I then sealed the gap at the back with Reflectix and duct tape.

The compartment behind the fridge - where the guts are - is next. Seal off the space above the cooling coils and top of the top vent with Reflectix - all that open space does is hold heat. Provide a nice smooth path for air from the cooling coils to the top vent. Put a baffle against the outer wall to force air coming in the bottom vent to go through the cooling coils instead of straight to the top vent. Finally, make sure the chimney exhaust is aimed at the vent.

For cooling on really hot and windless days, adding a computer case fan or two to blow air out the top vent will guarantee cooling. I tie-wrapped my fan directly to the plastic vent grill.

Reflectix is really good stuff. We took the left over and lined our ice coolers with it, and cut a cover to go on top. A huge difference in how long ice lasts with Reflectix vs without.

just my experiences
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:32 PM   #73
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Don't like the propane on while driving? Use a few freeze packs and let the fridge act like a cooler. As long as it is not a long trip, then use the gas.
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:45 PM   #74
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Only reason to not use propane when on the road is the refrigerator won't stay lit. The little refrigerator in my popup had this problem so it ran on 12vDC on the road and was switched immediately when we stopped or parked anywhere. The lack of "stack" on these makes a small exhaust fan a good modification. 12v computer fan is quiet and cheap as is a thermal switch to turn it on and back off.

The unit in my Roo is set to Auto and switches between 115vAC and LP all by itself. No 12v option. If it's hot enough to run the AC I run it on propane.

A glance at the BTU ratings of LP and electric will show just how much more effective LP is -- AC is not even close and 12vDC is worse.

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Old 06-12-2019, 05:14 PM   #75
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A glance at the BTU ratings of LP and electric will show just how much more effective LP is -- AC is not even close and 12vDC is worse.

-- Chuck
I have never heard the propane flame on 100% of the time so its likely only a duty factor issue. Even when its really warm out, I hear the propane flame turn off for a certain amount of time.

Out of curiosity, whats the BTU rating of the flame in the fridge? Of course then you have to figure out the loss of energy of the flame up the vent. My bet, is they are fairly close in the end.

EDIT: So I looked up the specs for my Dometic 2652. It consumes max 1501BTU/hr on propane and 440W/hour on 120V. Guess what? 440W is equal to 1501 BTU so the energy used for both propane and 120V is IDENTICAL. So much for the theory that propane works better 120V.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:39 PM   #76
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Just returned from the Grand Canyon and ran up almost 3k miles on truck.
Drove about 400-500 for three days each. Used fridge on 12v while driving and at the end of the day at the campground, fridge temp was always between 45 and 50 degrees. I had no battery problems and used electric lift to raise roof with no problems. I was very satisfied with operation of 12v system.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:47 PM   #77
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Used fridge on 12v while driving and at the end of the day at the campground, fridge temp was always between 45 and 50 degrees. I had no battery problems and used electric lift to raise roof with no problems. I was very satisfied with operation of 12v system.
That is WAY to warm! Needs to be in the 30s.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:31 PM   #78
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Just returned from the Grand Canyon and ran up almost 3k miles on truck.
Drove about 400-500 for three days each. Used fridge on 12v while driving and at the end of the day at the campground, fridge temp was always between 45 and 50 degrees. I had no battery problems and used electric lift to raise roof with no problems. I was very satisfied with operation of 12v system.
Yeh, that food shouldn't be that warm. Should only be above 40 degrees for a couple hours, after that it isn't safe anymore according to the fda.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:37 PM   #79
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Started to think about what people commented on about temps so I went out to the camper to get the thermometer I was using and it was at 45 degrees after sitting for two days in a warm fridge. Put inside my deep freeze and an hour later it still said 45 degrees. Guess it's time for a new thermometer. Thanks for the heads up to all.
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Old 06-15-2019, 06:31 PM   #80
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Well now I thought that 3-way fridges shouldn't be used when towing because the amonia cooling system has to be within three degrees of level or it could fail, and possibly catch fire?
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