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Old 09-11-2009, 05:38 PM   #1
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What runs the refrigerator?

I expect that this is a dumb question but I don't know the answer so I thought I would ask here.

To run my refrigerator on propane do I also need to turn on the coach batteries? I expect that I do, but I'm not certain. Without being plugged in to shore power and without running the generator, can I leave the propane and batteries on overnight or will the refrigerator draw enough energy to deplete the batteries?

Thanks/Jeff

PS: Once again, I've left things to the last minute (I want to turn it on tonight) so I could sure use some fast help.
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Old 09-11-2009, 05:50 PM   #2
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You need 12 volt power to run the circuit board that controls the refrigerator. It should not pull enough power to deplete the batteries overnight if the batteries are in good condition. We have run our 'frige overnight on propane while boondocking lots of times. Just make sure all other loads are turned off. Some refrigerators have 12 volt cooling fans on the coils. These may draw the batteries down if they run, but they shouldn't turn on at night when the air temperature is cooler.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatbear5 View Post
To run my refrigerator on propane do I also need to turn on the coach batteries? I expect that I do, but I'm not certain. Without being plugged in to shore power and without running the generator, can I leave the propane and batteries on overnight or will the refrigerator draw enough energy to deplete the batteries?
Jeff, you don't have your 'signature' info displayed so I don't know what type of motorhome you have, but FYI most modern ones leave the refrigerator 12V on when you turn off the INSIDE battery disconnect switch. Your main battery disconnect switch in the Battery Bay turns off EVERYTHING. If you are concerned about battery drain, you could use that inside switch, assuming you have one. However, the refridgerator draws so little 12V power that you should be able to leave it on for days, if not weeks, assuming you have enough propane and your battery bank is in good condition.
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:44 AM   #4
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Jeff,

That depends on the model of your rig, fridge and age/conditions of your batteries.

Batteries many times will need to be turned on. Turn the batteries off and try to turn your fridge on if it does not turn on with the batteries off then you need them on.

How long depends on how good and how much battery capacity you have along with the condition of the fridge. If everything is in good order you could expect a few days to a week or so before a recharge however if the batteries are near their end of life or the burner is constantly blowing out and needs to be reignited every few moments then you might not make it for more than a few hours. On windy days your fridge may automatically relight itself every few seconds which take more power then if the electronics are just monitoring temp and a good flame.
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:40 AM   #5
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The Refrigerator systems are controlled by a 12 volt control system

It is 12 volts that opens the gas valve, it's 12 volts that powers the ignightor, it's 12 volts that closes the relay that turns on the 120 volt heat element.

So, no matter if it's running on gas or electric,,, YOU MUST have 12 volts, either battery or converter power (or both)

So you MUST have the batteries on.

Water heater: Same

Furnace: same, save no 120 volt components
Air Conditioners: Depends.. Mine (Carrier V) need 12 volts.. Many do not.
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:34 PM   #6
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What runs the refrigerator?

Thanks guys... this is just what I needed to know... and I appreciate the quick response

Jeff
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