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Old 08-06-2014, 01:47 PM   #1
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How do the refrigerators work?

I understand that MH fridges are ran on both electric and propane, but do they run on electric battery going down the road or on propane?

I know you use propane during boon-docking but can you use battery backup if need be?

The multiple batteries I see on coaches? What are they for?

No, I do not have my coach yet just trying to learn what I can before hand. I have a lot to learn and thought this place was a good place to get that education.

Thank you ahead for any info on the above subjects you care to share.


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Old 08-06-2014, 01:56 PM   #2
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Read the following web sites thoroughly and bookmark them for the future.

RV Electric

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)

The 12volt Side of Life Part 2

HowStuffWorks "Gas and Propane Refrigerators"

That should keep you busy for awhile.

Dr4Film ----- Richard

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Old 08-06-2014, 03:20 PM   #3
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We turn off the propane right before taking off down the road. When we had an RV absorption fridge we ran it on electric going down the road. Most will leave the propane on and run it on the propane.

It is up to you and up to what the rules are for where you are at. By that I mean there are some roads, tunnels, bridges, etc that want you to turn off your propane. Since we do not want to try to remember where all the little tunnels, bridges and neighborhoods are that make it illegal to have it on we just turn it off. That is us and that is how we do it for us. It is up to you how you want to run it.
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Old 08-06-2014, 06:49 PM   #4
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Briefly, consider propane, 110v, and if present, 12v as energy sources capable of providing enough heat to cycle an ingenious but simple heat pump.

Propane heats it directly with a small thermostatically controlled flame, while 110 and 12v provide heat via heating elements, again controlled by thermostats.
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Old 08-06-2014, 07:20 PM   #5
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Except in Class B RV's, most RV absorption refrigerators are called 2-way. They are the most common. They have a 12 v controller that operates the temperature control and interior light. It uses 120v AC for heat or when that's not available, it uses LP gas for heat. In Class B RV's, often the refrigerator also has the option to operate a 12 v DC heating element. They're called 3-way refrigerators. The 12 v heat option is very draining on a battery, they are often switched to only operate on that option when the engine (and alternator) are running. 3-way refrigerators are often smaller, sort of like an under-counter model in a home.

The multiple batteries are to extend the amount of power without being plugged in or running the generator. There are two battery systems, one for the engine, called the chassis battery, and the other system often is multiple batteries for the house systems.

The two battery systems are separate from each other, running down the house batteries still allows you to start and operate the engine. Often the two battery systems can be interconnected by use of a 'boost' switch on the dashboard that allows one to 'jump start' the other. It's only a momentary contact switch. In addition, most RV's allow both battery systems to charge whenever charging is available, either the engine alternator, the generator, or 120 v shore power when plugged in

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Old 08-08-2014, 10:16 AM   #6
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WHAT.....these refrigerators are suppose to work!!!
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:24 PM   #7
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In days of old they made 3-way (12 volt DC, 120 Volt AC and Propane) fridges.. But the 12 volt heat element sucked way too much battery power so they dropped it.

Modern ones are Gas/120 volt AC only, but also use 12 volt (Sip it) for control power.
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by beamisl View Post
The multiple batteries I see on coaches? What are they for?

The newer trend is to put residential refrigerators into RV's. These are the same as in your house. The benefits are the coach doesn't have to be level for them to work, they are larger, hold more food, cool better, and don't have potentially flammable hydrogen posing a fire risk.
Going down the road they can run on generator power, or powered by the batteries and inverter.

When you get to the campground, they run on shorepower (normal 120vac provided by the power pedestal). Boondocking they run on the generator, and/or batteries and inverter. Having more batteries allows the fridge to run longer before recharging the batteries is necessary. Solar power is a popular option for boondockers, this allows the batteries to recharge for free as long as there is plenty of sunshine.
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:04 PM   #9
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It is going to depend on the coach you get. Most do not run on battery power going down the road if the are 120 and LP gas. Our previous coach ran on LP while traveling but would automatically switch over to 120v if the generator was started then back to LP if the generator was shut off.

Our new coach has a residential refrigerator with 8 batteries instead of the normal 4. It will run on battery power going down the road and switch to 120v if the generator is started. The high output alternator will keep all 8 batteries charged allowing the refrigerator to run off of battery power through the inverter.
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:50 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone. Good sites Dr4Film, good reading for my education into this. Did a lot of camping and pop-up when being raised and look forward to full timing. Just 3 years away and meanwhile I can get a lot of information onboard so I have a good base for this.

Happy camping!

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