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Old 09-15-2021, 03:05 PM   #1
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Residential Fridge Works Well on Battery, Not So Much on Shore Power?

2020 Winnebago Adventurer 36Z with residential Whirlpool refrigerator.

Over the last several trips we have had trouble keeping our fridge/freezer cold. I thought it was just the ambient heat/humidity, but this past weekend was very comfortable, even chilly at night. Here are the stats from this past weekend:

We store the motorhome about a 1/2 hour from where we live, not plugged in. When we got there we immediately turned on the inverter/charger to start cooling the fridge. By the time we arrived at the campground about 4 hours had passed and the freezer temp was -6 and the fridge was 30. Perfect!

Once at the campground we plugged into 50 amp service (Friday afternoon). Saturday morning (8:30) the freezer was 13 and fridge 40. By 11:45 am it was 30 and 42! At that point I flipped the breaker to shut off and restart the fridge, and it began to cool down. Outside high temp for the day was about 82.

Sunday morning (7:00) the temps were 17 and 43 and by noon when we left they were up to 19 and 44.

So back home I left the fridge run on battery overnight. When I checked it the next day it was -4 and 27 and it was 92 in the RV!

Now it's just my wife and myself - no kids that are opening the refrigerator door constantly - and I can't imagine that would cause such a fluctuation anyway. I have also tried the different settings in the fridge (1-5), without much change.

So is there a problem when we switch over to shore power, as it seems to work great on battery? This has happened the last 3 or 4 trips, at different campgrounds, all using 50 amp service. All other power, including running both A/Cs at the same time, seems to work fine.

Any ideas?
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Old 09-15-2021, 04:28 PM   #2
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Find your inverter charger and see if it has a tripped breaker on it.
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Old 09-15-2021, 05:18 PM   #3
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Find your inverter charger and see if it has a tripped breaker on it.
Not sure what you mean. The inverter/charger is working fine. That's how the fridge is working correctly.
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Old 09-15-2021, 05:33 PM   #4
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Not sure what you mean. The inverter/charger is working fine. That's how the fridge is working correctly.
Some inverter /chargers have 2 breakers. One in and one out.

If your shutting off the inverter while on shore power and the in breaker is tripped, no pass thru power.

Are you shutting down the inverter while on shore power ?
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Old 09-15-2021, 06:02 PM   #5
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No, inverter is still on.
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Old 09-15-2021, 06:53 PM   #6
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Have you measured the AC voltage at the refrigerator plug/connection? Is it actually 120VAC on both the inverter and short power?
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Old 09-15-2021, 06:59 PM   #7
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Inverter shouldn't run on shore power so it sure sounds like no pass-thru 120VAC when on shore power.
When on battery power (inverter) you do get 120VAC from inverter.
Bad relay in inverter for pass thru??

I'd check voltage at frig. on battery power and on shore power and see the difference.

Also check to be sure you are getting both 120 volt legs at the shore power pedestal and that it's getting to your breaker box.
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Old 09-15-2021, 07:58 PM   #8
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Have you measured the AC voltage at the refrigerator plug/connection? Is it actually 120VAC on both the inverter and short power?
I have not. Would have to pull the fridge to do so.
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Old 09-15-2021, 08:04 PM   #9
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Inverter shouldn't run on shore power so it sure sounds like no pass-thru 120VAC when on shore power.
When on battery power (inverter) you do get 120VAC from inverter.
Bad relay in inverter for pass thru??

I'd check voltage at frig. on battery power and on shore power and see the difference.

Also check to be sure you are getting both 120 volt legs at the shore power pedestal and that it's getting to your breaker box.
Thanks. It's an inverter/charger, so it certainly can be run on shore power. My EMS is not showing any problems at the pedestal, and it's been the same at 4 different campgrounds. The only way I can check the voltage at the fridge is to pull it out, which is not an easy job. All other appliances, including running both A/Cs at the same time, work fine on shore power.
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Old 09-15-2021, 08:11 PM   #10
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If your residential fridge is set up like our fridge the dedicated transfer switch to the fridge could went bad. Our switch went bad and would not work off of 120 but it did off the battery side.
Check the transfer switch and make sure it is okay.
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Old 09-15-2021, 08:14 PM   #11
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Silly question...but when did you loaf the food?

If it was empty while traveling, and then you loaded food after arrival, that may explain some of the heat difference.
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Old 09-15-2021, 08:40 PM   #12
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If your residential fridge is set up like our fridge the dedicated transfer switch to the fridge could went bad. Our switch went bad and would not work off of 120 but it did off the battery side.
Check the transfer switch and make sure it is okay.
Dedicated transfer switch for the fridge? Never heard of that before.
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Old 09-15-2021, 08:44 PM   #13
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Silly question...but when did you loaf the food?

If it was empty while traveling, and then you loaded food after arrival, that may explain some of the heat difference.
Nope, fridge was full when traveling when it got down to -6.
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Old 09-15-2021, 09:04 PM   #14
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When on shore power does the fridge light come on with the door open ?
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