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Old 04-21-2010, 09:59 PM   #1
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Default Using refrig on gas while traveling?

Manual says use on DC while traveling but it runs down my batteries even while truck is supposed to be charging them. Anyone use gas while traveling?
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:32 AM   #2
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As the thread on "Battery charging while towing" has discussed, the charge line from tow vehicles typically doesn't do a very good job, especially if you are running a refrigerator. The length and gauge of the wire just can't supply sufficient current and voltage to keep up to the demand.

Running the refrigerator on gas will definitely keep things cold and the battery will be kept charged. BUT, there are safety issues that come into play when you run on gas. Some places not to have the refer running on gas are: at the gas station at the pumps, going through tunnels, and on some bridges. Open flames and gas fumes are not too safe. In some areas it may be illegal to have the gas turned on and the gas tank valves open.

If you have everything in the refer cold to start with you can go quite a ways with the refer turned off and still keep things cold.

Also, remember not to have the refer on for more than one hour when the top is in the down position unless the vehicle is in motion.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:10 PM   #3
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I agree, running the fridge on gas with the top down is gonna be a real bad thing for a lot of reasons. One of which is that the roof is going to cover over the vent on the back of the fridge. I'm not sure what the result of that would be.

You may want to check and make sure that the trailer battery is actually getting charged during towing. My good friend Rich has just recently straightened me out about which pin is supposed to be hot to charge the battery. You can read this post for complete testing information. http://www.hilotrailerforum.com/f19/...g-245/#post680

I'm still fairly new to much of this, but surly if the trailer battery is good and both it and the connections to the tow vehicle are good and clean, it should keep it charged. We did a short two hour trip this past weekend, we ran the fridge on DC while towing and the trailer battery seemed to still be fully charged by the way it raised the roof on arrival and the fridge was at 35 degrees. Week after next we are taking a long trip, about 8 hours, I'll know for sure at the end of that one how things hold up. I'll keep everyone posted.

BTW - I did make sure that the master power switch (the rocker switch by the lift button) was in the center position. The manual says that only the refridgerator will get power in in this position. This way I know nothing else is drawing power from the battery but the fridge. I turn the external refridgerator fan off.

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Old 04-23-2010, 07:38 AM   #4
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Having the refer (old Army Term) turned on while moving is not a problem because there is allot of air circulation to keep things cooled. If you are going to be stopped for more than an hour either raise the top or turn the refer off, whichever works better at the time. The manual addresses that. NOTE:The operating instructions on DVD specifically state that you are to not operate the refer on gas or are you to have the gas bottles turned on while in the transit.
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:32 PM   #5
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When we had a regular trailer we did tow with the fridge on gas but made sure to turn off before going to a gas station. We do not do this at all anymore now that we have a Hi-Lo (towing with fridge/gas). I would not recommend doing so with a Hi-Lo due to top half covers the fridge vent in the down position.

We're fine using DC. We generally turn on the fridge (keeping the Hi-Lo raised and plugged in) and let it cool, pack our food, turn to DC, lower and hitch and go. If we have to stop along the way we raise the roof. Never had a problem with our food getting warm. But we generally do not have to travel too far (usually within 2-3 hours) to get to our destination.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal and Bev View Post
I agree, running the fridge on gas with the top down is gonna be a real bad thing for a lot of reasons. One of which is that the roof is going to cover over the vent on the back of the fridge. I'm not sure what the result of that would be.

You may want to check and make sure that the trailer battery is actually getting charged during towing. My good friend Rich has just recently straightened me out about which pin is supposed to be hot to charge the battery. You can read this post for complete testing information. http://www.hilotrailerforum.com/f19/...g-245/#post680

I'm still fairly new to much of this, but surly if the trailer battery is good and both it and the connections to the tow vehicle are good and clean, it should keep it charged. We did a short two hour trip this past weekend, we ran the fridge on DC while towing and the trailer battery seemed to still be fully charged by the way it raised the roof on arrival and the fridge was at 35 degrees. Week after next we are taking a long trip, about 8 hours, I'll know for sure at the end of that one how things hold up. I'll keep everyone posted.

BTW - I did make sure that the master power switch (the rocker switch by the lift button) was in the center position. The manual says that only the refridgerator will get power in in this position. This way I know nothing else is drawing power from the battery but the fridge. I turn the external refridgerator fan off.

Neal
What external refigerator fan?
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:43 AM   #7
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TJM

Most RV's have a button, usually near the refrigerator, that operates an external fan that is located on the back of the refrigerator, this fan blows air over the coils of the refrigerator, thus increasing its efficiency. This is especially good in hot weather when the fridge needs the extra help.

I don't know which Hi-Lo models have them and which don't, it seems to me that most seem to have them. After market fan kits are also available, so an RV that doesn’t have one, could have one added.

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Old 07-27-2010, 09:33 AM   #8
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We are new to all of this having just bought our 1509 a couple of months ago new. We were given a walk-through by the service people and they told us to put the refrigerator on DC when traveling and to turn the fan switch ON. And we, at least, were not given a DVD containing use information.

In our experience the refrigerator did not run well on DC. Our battery was fully charged when we arrived, but the food in the refrigerator was warm. When we returned I mentioned this to the service people at the dealership they told us to run the refrigerator on gas during the next trip we took. When I asked about safety and getting the pilot light blown out, they said to not worry about it. They said the trailer was designed for the refrigerator to run on gas while being towed. And, indeed, on the next trip we took I left the refrigerator on GAS, turned the fan switch ON and the food was cool when we arrived at every destination.

But after reading this thread I believe that this is not a good policy and I will have to change back to using DC. And, I believe, I will have to have another talk with the service people at the dealership (well, what used to be the dealership since HiLo is now closed). I am just not sure how we will keep our food cool during the trip since we are traveling in central Arizona and during the summer months the temperatures can run well above 100.

Thanks to all of you.
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:53 AM   #9
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Mike, I suspect you bought your trailer from Dillon's in Apache Junction? It's where I bought mine, anyway.

At the time, I had a Nissan Frontier for the tow vehicle and they had to wire it for the 7-pin tow plug. On our first BIG trip with that, the fuse in the charging circuit blew and the battery, of course was quickly drained. I replaced the fuse, and it blew again.

When I called and told them about the problem, they told me I should have had a 30 Amp fuse in that circuit, but mine was only 20 Amps. On top of that, the battery was defective (not really holding a charge), so the current drain through that circuit was very high.

However, when things are working, the refrigerator stays cold on DC. I always start the refrigerator about 2 days before a trip on "shore power" and we fill it with food on the day we leave. I have 2 pre-frozen ice cube trays in the freezer too. They stay frozen.

According to the thermometer I have inside the fridge, it never stays as cold as a home unit but is normally about 45 degrees in the morning and maybe about 50 degrees after a warm day, regardless of being run on propane, DC or 110V. The freezer always freezes water though, and food does not seem to spoil.

If yours won't work properly on DC, something is wrong. It should. Check the fuse in your tow vehicle. And, I think it's possible to run the thing on DC even if you have the trailer plugged in to AC (which would keep the battery charged). You might try this and see if it works for a day (keep the top up) while it's sitting at home. But, make sure it's been pre-cooled first.

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Old 07-27-2010, 05:33 PM   #10
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Of course you are right. I bought our unit from Dillon's about 4 months ago as a new unit. And given what has happened to HiLo I am looking for some kind of extended warranty.

I had our tow hitch and wiring installed at Cliff's welding where I get most of that sort of thing done. I have not checked our fuse, but I will (as soon as I can figure out where it is!).

Our experience has been that our fridge stays much colder on AC than on GAS and much colder on GAS than on DC. In fact my wife complains that we sometimes freeze water when the fridge is left on AC in a campground and I have to switch to a lower thermostat setting. That does not normally happen on GAS and never happens on DC.

We keep our 1509 in the garage so I cannot raise it up without hooking it up to the car and parking it outside. We are getting ready to get out of the head and head up to the White Mountains, so I will try what you suggest and let you know.

We are towing with a 2009 Jeep Liberty Sport and have been very happy with both the way the vehicle tows and, especially, the gas mileage. The 1509 is small and light, but still I thought it might be a problem for a car as small as the Liberty with only a V6.
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:58 PM   #11
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You can also test for voltage at the 7-pin plug on your Jeep. The +12V tap is at 1:00 O'clock and the Gnd is at 7:00 O'clock. If you have a voltmeter, probe those two taps with your ignition ON (the engine does not have to be running). If you see ~12V, you'll know your fuse is fine.

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Old 07-28-2010, 10:51 AM   #12
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Spoke with the techs at Cliff's Welding that installed the wiring harness and they told me a couple of things.

1) The wiring harness has only one circuit breaker (in my case it is not a fuse) and since I also have a brake controller installed, if that is working (and it is), then the circuit breaker is fine, and

2) I can physically check the connections if I wish with one of those inexpensive neon outlet checkers that I can buy at Home Depot. That is basically told me the same thing you said in your posting,

Since my brake controller is working, I assume the charge line to the HiLo batteries is working and so I don't know why the refrigerator works so badly on DC. And I continue to be puzzled why Dillon's told me to make sure the fan switch is ON if the exhaust vent is covered when the trailer is down. We expect to be making a trip next week so I will see what happens when I set the refrigerator to DC this time.

Since we live in a community that will not allow me to let it sit outside during the night I cannot really cool the refrigerator before the trip. I will let you know how it all works out.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeFromMesa View Post
Spoke with the techs at Cliff's Welding that installed the wiring harness and they told me a couple of things.

1) The wiring harness has only one circuit breaker (in my case it is not a fuse) and since I also have a brake controller installed, if that is working (and it is), then the circuit breaker is fine, and

2) I can physically check the connections if I wish with one of those inexpensive neon outlet checkers that I can buy at Home Depot. That is basically told me the same thing you said in your posting,

Since my brake controller is working, I assume the charge line to the HiLo batteries is working and so I don't know why the refrigerator works so badly on DC. And I continue to be puzzled why Dillon's told me to make sure the fan switch is ON if the exhaust vent is covered when the trailer is down. We expect to be making a trip next week so I will see what happens when I set the refrigerator to DC this time.

Since we live in a community that will not allow me to let it sit outside during the night I cannot really cool the refrigerator before the trip. I will let you know how it all works out.

Thanks again.
NOW it all makes sense! The refrigerator is not efficient at all on DC. It's probably only good to "maintain" temperature, and it even has trouble doing that if it's a really hot day.

My trailer "lives" outside (under cover), so the refrigerator usually starts cooling from a near 80 degree condition. I don't really see results till the next day, even on AC.

Even with the top down, the fan provides SOME heat transfer across the exchanger. That area is not air-tight. But, the heat transfer effect is reduced greatly unless the trailer is in motion.

You really need a way to pre-cool the box, and I can't think of anything if you can't raise the top inside your garage.

See how the temperature holds between campsites, using the DC while traveling.

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Old 07-29-2010, 10:44 AM   #14
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What I have done in the past is plug the unit into an electric outlet in the garage the day before we leave and put the fridge on AC. That usually gets it cool by the next morning. Once it is cool I will try to leave in on DC (instead of propane) and see what happens when we travel. Since we expect to be going to the White Mountains soon I will let you know how the DC works when all I am asking is that it maintain a reasonably cool temperature.

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 08-08-2010, 04:32 PM   #15
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We had a 1995 TowLite, (still have) dealer installed the hitch and all wireing, had same problem with fridge on DC. I have electric knowledge and I found that the wire sizes used on the tow SUV for positive and negative DC were to small ( to light of a gage) to run the fridge and keep the trailer battery charged, also the wire in the trailer to the fridge was to light, I added extra wires and then the fridge worked the same on DC as it did on AC or gas. We just got a 2209 HI LO, I will be checking the DC wireing on it for the fridge and may have to update the wireing on the SUV also as the new trailer fridge draws 15 amps on DC compared to 10 amps on the old one. Rewiring is not something anyone can do but what I found may very well be the problem.
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:35 PM   #16
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Personally, I think trying to run a frige on 12V is a waste of time and battery. If you can't plug in to shore power prior to a trip to cool the frige, cool it the old fashion way. How many of you remember pop-up trailers with an "ice box", yes I said an ice box, not a refrigerator. We used "dry ice" (frozen carbon dioxide) to keep them cool. Just look in the yellow pages for ice suppliers. A 1# piece would last several days. That gives you plenty of time to get to your next destination and plug in. It does not melt and drip like regular ice. A word of caution on dry ice - you must wear gloves when handling dry ice. Bare skin will stick to it. Usually the ice supplier will wrap the dry ice up in newspaper before giving it to you. This seems to be easier, cheaper, and less hassle than trying to rewire everything. Just a thought.....
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:20 AM   #17
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My trips are usually only about 4 or 5 hours from home, and my fridge does fine on dc. (Starting out already cold from a day running on ac in the garage or campground). But, I took a trip of 9 hours on the road, and my trailer battery was almost dead when I got there. Not completely, but low enough that it only raised my trailer a couple inches before giving out. I was thinking that something was wrong, but after reading these posts, I'm thinking I'm not the only one whose truck just can't keep up with the draw the fridge puts on the trailer battery.
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Old 08-16-2010, 05:54 PM   #18
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I have two batteries installed in our trailer and after a 9-10 hour drive, running the refrigerator on DC (with a stop for lunch with the top down), our batteries show 3/4 charge. I always hook our generator up right away to restore them.

Maybe your alternator has something to do with not keeping up. The alternator in my f150 is a 130 Amp alternator.

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Old 05-01-2011, 08:36 PM   #19
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I have two batteries installed in our trailer and after a 9-10 hour drive, running the refrigerator on DC (with a stop for lunch with the top down), our batteries show 3/4 charge. I always hook our generator up right away to restore them.

Maybe your alternator has something to do with not keeping up. The alternator in my f150 is a 130 Amp alternator.

- Jack
I had a problem with my recently purchased 2207T with DC power after using it for only a month. For example, we would drive for a few hours and stop at a rest stop for lunch only to find the trailer barely had enough power to raise & lower the top. It would go up very slowly (sounding like it was straining) and we were relieved when it finally went all the way to the top. The refrigerator did not seem to be as cold as when we left the RV park on that day.

I bought two new batteries eventually on our trip (there was only one when I bought the Hi-Lo) and never had trouble raising or lowering the top. The refrigerator (which we never had a serious problem with anyway) continues to do a great job of keeping the food cold.

I wonder if some of the refrigerator problems that are discussed in this thread might be solved by using two batteries instead of one. I think it's dangerous to use propane while traveling since there is an assumption that one will always remember to shut the propane off at a gas station or while going through a tunnel.
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:12 PM   #20
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You should not run the fridge on gas while driving. The tow vehicle should keep the batteries charged as well as supply DC power for the fridge, it sounds like the wiring in your tow vehicle is not adequate. Both plus and negative wires should be number 10 wire and fused at no less than 30 amps. I have 2 wires, the original fused at 20 amps put in by the dealer which was very inadequate and I added another wire fused at 30 amps for a total of 50 amps, I also have two ground wires going to the tow vehicle plug, one is #10 wire. I have no problems with low batteries or with the fridge running on DC.
Check your tow vehicle fuse it is probably blown, to prevent blowing the fuse disconnect the 7 pin plug before raising the top. Even fused at 50 amps if the trailer batteries are down slightly the lift motor tries to draw power from the tow vehicle battery and will blow the fuse.
2 batteries is not necessary but are very useful when boon docking.
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