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Old 04-21-2016, 12:13 PM   #1
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Running fridge on propane or inverter when driving

We are newbies and wonder if it is safe to run your fridge on propane or use the inverter when driving down the road? Does the inverter draw the chassis batteries down? Which is the best choice? Thank You
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Old 04-21-2016, 01:03 PM   #2
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Check your coach manual but ours states we can run the propane appliances anytime, although common sense says not to use the stove top burners while in motion🔥😫. We run our fridge on propane all the time while in motion. Although you can also run it on the 12v DC house batteries I think most will agree this is not desirable as it can rapidly deplete your batteries depending on your model and installation configuration. We have a 3-way fridge (LPG, 110V AC, 12V DC) and don't use the DC option. I'll be watching this thread to see what other opinions there are on using the 12V DC power source.


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Old 04-21-2016, 01:11 PM   #3
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I just realized I didn't address your second question about the inverter. Absolutely! Use the inverter anytime you want AC power (phone chargers in wall outlets) wile underway. That's what the inverter is for. Your alternator will provide the necessary DC power to keep your house batteries charging and supply power to your inverter for uninterrupted use. If you're not using AC power as you drive then you may as well turn of the inverter, but the charging side of the inverter will continue to charge the house batteries. I don't know which inverter you have, but I am assuming it's not a small, i.e. 1000watt, inverter only unit.


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Old 04-21-2016, 01:24 PM   #4
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Okay. Now I realize you had a third question. Knowing the coach model and inverter installed would be helpful, but the answer should be "no" the inverter will not draw down the chassis battery/batteries. The chassis batteries are designated (with a few exceptions) for just that, chassis related power needs only. Your alternator will recharge and maintain your chassis batteries after each engine start. The inverter does not use the chassis batteries but uses the house batteries instead which are also charged and maintained by the alternator while the engine is running. Your coach may have a "Boost" switch which allows you to "jump start" the chassis batteries using the house batteries in the event the chassis battery is not adequately charged. You will want to read your manual to see how to properly utilize this feature if installed. My coach also has a second "Boost" switch for the generator allowing me to use the house batteries to jump start the generator if necessary.


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Old 04-21-2016, 01:25 PM   #5
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The inverter will draw the house batteries down if the engine is not running, generator is not running or not on shore power.


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Old 04-21-2016, 02:25 PM   #6
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Am I missing something?

perhaps I'm not understanding the thread. Although the coach model and other specifications are not mentioned, you do mention that the refrigerator runs on propane which would indicate it is and absorption unit. I am unaware of any absorption refrigerator equipped coach where the power outlet to run said refrigerator on AC power is wired to the inverter. At least not from the factory. If you put the refrigerator on auto and disconnect the shore power it will automatically revert to LP regardless of whether or not the inverter is on. I have wished on many occasion that I could run my refrigerator on the inverter to save on the propane but it's not happening. Am I wrong or are there coaches out there with George and refrigerators that are wired to the inverter?
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Old 04-21-2016, 03:34 PM   #7
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Our 2012 Ventana LE has the plug for the refrigerator (Norcold) propane/electric wired to run on the inverter. Came from the factory that way. We run it that way all the time going down the road.


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Old 04-21-2016, 03:40 PM   #8
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My fridge will not run on power from the inverter although it could be rewired that way. Propane seems to last forever in my coach so I'm not sure why I would change it to run on AC from the inverter. I don't know the details of the OP's configuration.
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Old 04-21-2016, 03:50 PM   #9
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The inverter powered outlet is usually for the ice maker.

Absorption fridges use 35 amps DC and up, thru the inverter.

Gas use is slight in comparison.
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Old 04-21-2016, 03:57 PM   #10
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I run the refrigerator on battery/inverter while traveling. Saves on some propane consumption. Albeit not a lot, as the refrigerators don't consume much propane.
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Old 04-21-2016, 04:05 PM   #11
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We run the fridge on inverter while driving all the time!

Just don't leave it on inverter while the RV is parked for several hours! Don't ask me how I know that!
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Old 04-21-2016, 04:09 PM   #12
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I just run my generator while I'm driving, problem solved. The fridge, freezer, house A/C, TV, etc. No problems.
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Old 04-21-2016, 04:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
The inverter powered outlet is usually for the ice maker.

Absorption fridges use 35 amps DC and up, thru the inverter.

Gas use is slight in comparison.

In our coach the refrigerator and ice maker plugs share the only outlet in the compartment behind the refrigerator. Both on the inverter.

Running the refrigerator on inverter vs propane has nothing to do with saving propane in our case. As you correctly point out that is a small amount. We turn off our propane while traveling more for safety. Although the threat is low having the propane off when moving reduces the chance of a fire on the coach igniting and being fueled by propane being sent through the lines if a fire should start while moving. It therefore increases the time to safely exit the coach if necessary.


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Old 04-21-2016, 05:33 PM   #14
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Correct me if I'm wrong but...

My fridge uses 300W when plugged in to 120VAC. Running that on an inverter would mean drawing 25 amps from the house batteries. 300W / 12V = 25A
Does the charging circuit from the chassis alternator allow 25 amps to reach the house batteries? If not, they will drain. (Long trip, tired batteries)

We always ran the fridge on propane while driving, shutting it off while at the gas station, on a ferry, etc. That said, if we're only driving a few hours, we just shut it off. It stays plenty cold in there until we reach the campsite where we just might have an icy drink! #appletonandcokeanyone?


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