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-   -   How long refrigerator on DC? (http://www.hilotrailerforum.com/f17/how-long-refrigerator-dc-306/)

Neal and Bev 05-09-2010 09:31 AM

How long refrigerator on DC?
Roughly how long will the refrigerator run on DC before the battery runs down?

I know there are several factors here, such as battery size and number of batteries and what else is running.

If you have one battery of average size and good shape, and you have nothing else running on DC, roughly how long can you run the refrigerator?

The reason I asked, is that DW and I are at this moment camping at a KOA in Ashville NC. The power here at the park went off last night, I thought about turning everything off but the fridge, and put the fridge on DC, before I made a decision the power came back on. It would be great information for future reference.


campthewestcoast 05-09-2010 12:22 PM

refrigerator on 12v
I found that when I had an older single 12v group24 battery with a 55amp hr rating,I could only run the refrigerator for about 2 hours. My refrigerator pulls about 13 amps on 12v.Its better to run the refrigerator on propane if you lose electricity hook-ups.I also learned that leaving the refrigerator on 12v right before leaving for a non-hook-up camping trip is not a good idea, I lost to much battery reserve.My wife got delayed at her office and I was packed-up ready to go , I left the refrigerator on 12v without the truck running.By the time we ended our camping trip I lost all battery power and I had to use the in-laws jumper cables to lower the top down.I learned some valuable lessons, don't unplug the trailer from electricity until you see the white of your wifes eyes & always have jumper cables in the truck.Since then I installed 2-6volt batteries in series to give me 12v 235 amp hrs, added a solar panel & upgraded my charging system to my trailer from my truck.

LES 97 21ft towlite 06 Toyota Tocoma

Neal and Bev 05-11-2010 08:28 AM

Les -

That makes perfect sense. For some reason, I didn't even think about running it on gas. The power has behaved itself, since the first night here at the KOA in Ashville, NC. But we'll know what to do if it goes off again.

Now if we could only do something about the rain :rolleyes:


eltech 05-16-2010 10:35 PM

solar panels
I am interested in solar panel mounting details. I am currently adding a 115 w panel to our towlite 17'

Wayne in Canada

campthewestcoast 05-17-2010 09:41 PM


Originally Posted by eltech (Post 943)
I am interested in solar panel mounting details. I am currently adding a 115 w panel to our towlite 17'

Wayne in Canada

Your lucking to have a 115 w panel(I'm jealous) I only have a 33 w panel.

I was able to mount mine between the openable vents. I had to fabircate brackets.

With size of the panel, you may to fabircate custom brackets to take into account the crown of the roof.

Mounting details? plan ahead, sounds like you may have to penatrate the roof. I would make wide brackets out of stainless steel.Use rubber to isolate the bracket from the roofing material & screw or bolt into the roof framing.

I would caulk with a 50 year POLYURETHANE. SIKAFLEX 1a.

Les 97 21ft. towlite

Hyrolr 05-26-2010 10:14 AM

Refrigerator Operation
We just bought a 1999 26FB. Thought I could run the refrigerator on 12V while going down the road between Iowa and Colorado yesterday. It seemed to be working okay (we had cooled it on 110V all night before we left) until we got to far western Nebraska. We stopped to grab a bite and it seemed to be warming up. I switched it to gas and drove the rest of the way home. When we got here last night at about 11PM, the battery was deader than a doornail. I couldn't even get the jack to operate to disconnect from the truck. I plugged it in to 110 but still couldn't get any of the 12V stuff to operate. No lights, no jack, no lift system. Without the lift system, I can't even get the storage door open to access the battery. I haven't been out there yet this morning, I hope it's charged up. I guess the moral of the story is that I won't be using 12V on the road again anytime soon. The dealer we bought it from checked the plug on the truck and said we have 12V there, so keeping the battery charged while driving shouldn't have been a problem. The battery is brand new. Hmmmm.

Neal and Bev 05-26-2010 10:35 AM

Hyrolr -

It wouldn't be a bad idea to double check that the tow vehicle really is charging the battery, even though the dealer said it was.

DW and I just recently got back from a trip to Ashville, NC. and including pit stops, it was about 7 hours. We had the fridge on DC, everything else including the fridge fan turned off, and when we got home the battery showed a full charge on the monitor panel, and the fridge was at 36 degrees, the monitor panel isn't the most accurate testing device, but when I rasied the Hi-Lo, it was easy to tell that the battery was in great shape.

I suppose that all your connections are clean and good? We have had others complain about this problem too, and then others that have the same experience as I do. Gotta be some other factors in there somewhere, that make this work well for some and poorly for others.

Here's a thread that you might want to take a look at.



Hyrolr 05-26-2010 12:52 PM

Battery Charging While Driving
Thanks for the advice. We tow with a Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab so I'll check the correct pin to make sure the voltage is there and the wires are large enough. I had time this morning to go out and do some diagnostics. Looks like the converter may be kaput. With the trailer plugged in to 110V, I could only find about 5VDC on the battery. Since the battery was dead when we got home, it didn't charge up at all during the night. I called the dealer and he told me that it was his belief that the charging circuit between the converter and battery wouldn't work unless the master switch was in the "run" position, where all lights, etc. would be powered. I tried that, and it made no difference in the battery voltage. I've got a battery charger on it right now, and everything works just fine, so I may be replacing the converter. I noticed that the 110V outlets in the front bedroom don't work unless the electric element to the water heater is turned on, but there's a separate switch on the heater that I think I can turn off, leave the heater switch by the refrig on, and I think they'll work. I'll try that later today.
What a great forum this is turning out to be!!

Neal and Bev 05-26-2010 01:11 PM


I don't think the dealer is correct about the Master Switch having to be in the "Top" position to make the battery charge. We travel with ours in the center position to assure that nothing else is using DC power except for the fridge.

*** Copied from the owners manual ***
The Master Switch (Figure 2, right side) is designed to
control 12-volt power in your trailer. When the switch is
in top "on" position (power to all lights & 12-volt
appliances) there will be no power to the Lift Motor.
When switch is in middle "off" position there will be no
power to the lights & 12-volt appliances (Except 12-volt
Refrigerator). When switch is in lower "on" position there
will be no power to lights & 12-volt appliances (Except
Refrigerator and Lift Motor).


Since the fridge uses DC power in all three positions, it wouldn't make since for the battery not to get a charge in all three positions as well. and since we tow with ours in the center position, and our battery is getting charged, we know it works there.

If you need a copy of the owners manual, here's a link. Don't worry about the year, most of the information is all the same.



Hyrolr 05-27-2010 10:26 AM

Charging While Driving
Well, I got it all figured out. You were right about the switch, it doesn't make any difference. What does make a difference is the breaker for the electric element in the hot water heater. It turns out that the two 110V outlets in the front bedroom, AND the outlet below the bed for the converter, are controlled by the 110V breaker for the electric water heater element, located (in our case) in the breaker panel below the sink. Once I engaged that breaker, I had power to the converter and to the two outlets in the bedroom. I simply switched the heater element off using the switch on the water heater and now I have solid charging voltage to the battery from the converter.

I also checked the trailer end plug and found that the contact for the 12V from the truck was corroded. I cleaned and burnished the connections and now have the same voltage to the battery in the trailer whether it's plugged in to shore power or to the truck.

Thanks for all the advice, we're ready to take it camping this weekend. It's a dry camping trip to the mountains here in CO, so I'll let you know how it works out.
Have a great holiday weekend,

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