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Old 09-03-2019, 10:03 AM   #1
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Default First Trip

New member here.
Back from the first outing with the new to us 2000 year 17 ft HI LO.

Everything went smoothly a few things need to be updated as expected.

The water heater, furnace etc. all worked as expected Refrigerator not so good.

We used a 500 Watt Honda generator to keep things alive during the day Off at night. however the Refrigerator warmed up a lot over night. The LP portion isn't working or safe to use so the choices are to use 110 with a generator or 12 volts. We just left it off over night and everything was thawed in the freezer and the refig part was quite warm.

Camping in the middle of an old drive in outdoor theater presents some challenges.

I'm considering a Solar panel and replacing the re fig because we do boon dock a lot.

We had a good time for the 4 days we were gone and really enjoy the new to us camper.
Best
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:37 AM   #2
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Arti
Glad u had a good time.
The 110v power is best for refrig, second is Propane. Your 500W Honda is NOT up to the task of running the refrig. You will need a considerably larger generator than 500 w. 12V is the worst case scenario for use. It will deplete your battery quickly and not provide good cooling!
If it runs on the 110v and 12v it works and will run on propane also. U may need to clean and check all of the fittings. Propane is the go to fuel when boon docking. Spend some time and u will fix it. Not sure why u said "not safe to use" about the propane. If it is set up correctly it is safe! U shouldn't use propane while in drive, some have been able to do, but not on my trlr.

hth steve
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Old 09-03-2019, 02:58 PM   #3
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I'm going to respectfully disagree with you on one thing, Steve. I've been made to believe that the 3-way refrigerators in our trailers operate most efficiently on propane, rather than AC power.

I totally agree with everything else you posted though. Propane in a trailer is just as safe as natural gas (or propane) is, in a household appliance, such as a cooking stove, water heater and so on. The only real danger from gas is a possible leak that is undetected. My trailer has a propane detector, so that is not an issue. The water heater, furnace and refrigerator in my trailer all have automatic cutoffs that stop gas flow if ignition fails.

Do some troubleshooting on your refrigerator gas burner, Arti. Common reasons for it not lighting are spiders in the burner or failed spark lighters.

- Jack
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Old 09-03-2019, 05:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renoites View Post
Arti
Glad u had a good time.
The 110v power is best for refrig, second is Propane. Your 500W Honda is NOT up to the task of running the refrig. You will need a considerably larger generator than 500 w. 12V is the worst case scenario for use. It will deplete your battery quickly and not provide good cooling!
If it runs on the 110v and 12v it works and will run on propane also. U may need to clean and check all of the fittings. Propane is the go to fuel when boon docking. Spend some time and u will fix it. Not sure why u said "not safe to use" about the propane. If it is set up correctly it is safe! U shouldn't use propane while in drive, some have been able to do, but not on my trlr.

hth steve
The Propane part of MY Refrigerator isn't safe. - Propane is fairly safe in an Appliance in good condition.

The Tube that carries the Propane to the Burner is Rusted out also the burner is rusted out where the tube attaches to it. I took the burner apart and cleaned it however When you light it the bottom of the burner and the tube carrying the propane to it catches on fire from all the leaks. I don't feel that this is very safe having Fire everywhere in the cooling compartment. My burner Assembly looks like a Smokers Pipe Not like the newer ones that are a small tube with groves cut in it.

As near as I can tell the Burner Assy is in the 100 Dollar range plus the tube to carry the propane.

I'm not sure that putting that kind of money in a 20 year old cooling unit is the thing to do. I can buy a new residential 2.7 cu ft Refig for the same money and they use less than an Amp when running. A small 12 v to 120 converter would power it very easily giving me a 120volt / 12 volt refrigerator.

The 2.7 cu ft Dorm unit is almost an exact fit where the existing unit is.

As far as the 500 Watt Generator it ran the Inverter and Refrigerator but any extra load would over load it The 500 watts converts to about 4 amps so it was workable for what we needed. Charging the battery and keeping the food cold. When we started the Genny in the morning it was at it's limit until the battery got charged up again.
We didn't run the Refig on 12 volts at nite as we felt that it would drain the battery over nite and we needed to run the Furnace .

We also carry a 30 Amp RV ready Generator however it wasn't needed last weekend as no Air conditioning was necessary.

I checked the amp draw with a clamp on Amp Probe the Refrigerator Model RM 4290 pulls 2 Amps when cooling on 120 volts. If I switched it to 12 Volts the draw would increase the same 2 Amps on the 120 volt line which was interesting to me.
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:44 PM   #5
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Jack, I do agree with you about which is the most efficient.
I threw the other in since, if you have the ability to use 110v it is just much easier.
Arti
It is a shame that there is so much wrong with your unit. From your posting it sounds dangerous also.
In every campground I have been in over the last 15 Years there is a quiet time from 9-10pm until ? am.
So running your gen all of the time may not be the practical answer.

I just started mine up today for a short trip to Great Basin and the Lehmann caves.
I totally rebuilt mine in 2012 and it still works excellent. 3 way fridge is the answer for boon docking! And it is a 4cuft, with a spacious freezer.

I personally would invest the $100 and repair correctly, and SAFELY. You have already taken it apart and know the lay of the land. Gas, propane, isn't hard to work on but there is a strong need to do it right.

good luck
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:44 PM   #6
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Steve, have fun at Great Basin! We went there this summer and stayed a week. The cave is beautiful! The narrow passages make you feel almost like it's a "wild cave". We stayed in the Upper Lehman Creek Campground in site #3 as I remember. I think it's the BEST camping spot in the entire park. (We looked at all the others.) We were visited by deer and wild turkeys during our stay.

Arti, the refrigerator you speak of that uses 1 Amp at 120 Volts will be pulling 10 Amps out of the battery to provide the needed Wattage (as I'm sure you know from reading your post - you clearly understand electricity.) I suspect it will actually consume more than 10 Amps due to inefficiencies in the inverter you will be using. That's going to drain your battery pretty quickly.

I agree with you on the safety aspect with the burner in its current state, but I also agree with Steve that it would be better to replace the burner assembly if you plan to do much boondocking. I think a 120 V refrigerator is only good if you only camp at places with full hookups.

- Jack
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Old 09-04-2019, 09:49 AM   #7
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T hank's for all the helpful replies,

All in all the camper works extremely well for what we want to do with it. A few small issues from a Camper that has sat for a few years with out being used can be expected. Overall I would say that good quality materials and craftsmanship during the building is evident in our HI LO.

I agree that Propane is the most desirable for boon docking.
A lot of folks that are going to these shows use a high efficiency small Refrigerator with a 12v to 110 converter 2 Solar Panels and 2 Batteries. This seems to keep things workable for the 3-4 Days that they spend at the show.

For Air Conditioning a Generator or a land line seems to be the only solution at this time.

We don't actually go camping. My wonderful wife of 50 some years and I enjoy going to shows and festivals. The bigger ones don't have adequate hookups or Motel rooms available.
We sold our 36 ' Class A because we really didn't use it that much and it was difficult to maneuver and park in the tight spaces available. Also the HI LO is much easier to store during the winter.

Our Labor Day trip was to Davenport Ia. to a large Motorcycle show. This last summer we went to Portage Wi to a Lawn Mower Show with nearly 1,000 entries. Also to several small Town Festivals, Everyone loves a Parade !!
We usually park in a Fair Grounds or in open spaces, Also we have parked in Large parking lots and Truck stops that are close to the show we went to so running a generator isn't usually an issue.

I'm a retired HVAC contractor so I do have the skill level to repair the cooling unit safely.
Just wish I had a crystal ball to see how much life is left in the existing Refrigerator.
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