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Old 08-27-2011, 12:45 PM   #1
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Default running the fride

Thanks to all for responding.You say to use 12v on knob when towing or it will drain the battery, OK , but can i run it on 12v with say a 18 watt solar panel charger hooked up at the same time (daytime)& (camped) and wouldn't that maintain the battery's power supply? I'd much rather run it on propane but the pull knob is gone.Where would i look to try to replace a knob that goes to a Dometic refrigerator from a 1978 Hi-Lo ?I doubt a regular RV place would carry one and when i contact the hi-lo parts company ,i usually get a response to the tune of .Your Hi-Lo's to old and would recommend a newer fridge and i don't need anything but the gas pull knob. The big deal is summers waning away and i need that fridge working now. so i'm willing to spend $200. ( new batt. & solar panel)to run it off the battery if need be,but i want it to run off the propane so i can run my appliances of the solar panel.I don't think finding a replacement knob for my 1978 fridge is going to be easy and i'm still not sure the knobs come off or was it twisted off when it was broken?Perhaps someone out there has a Dometic fridge that doesn't work and is parting it out,if anyone can tell me where to look for a pull knob for the gas ,Please let me know.Many Thanks to you all.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:01 PM   #2
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You can run in 12 volts when on the highway, the tow vehicle's 12 volt charge line will supply power. That is, if the tow vehicle's charge line is heavy enough to supply that much amperage. If you have everything cold and the fridge has been pre-cooled prior to loading up everything will stay cold for a number of hours without harm. That will require less power while on 12 volts. When we go short distances we leave the fridge turned off.

Your fridge can draw about 15 amps on 12 volts or 180 watts, at least that is what ours is, and I don't believe a solar panel is going to come anywhere close to keeping up to that. The fridge on 12 volts can kill the battery in a few hours.

Running on propane is very efficient and would work better than 12 volts when not hooked to shore power.

Contacting Hi-Lo repair is not who you want, they only do Hi-Lo trailer repairs and the appliances are generic, you need to contact Dometic for help.
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Old 09-13-2011, 09:12 PM   #3
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on my maiden voyage... i ran on 12v for the fridge.. KILLED my battery.. had to plug into shore power to pick up enough juice to charge the battery back up and it liftd no problem.. BUT note to self.. THIS FORUM taught me a TON already! GAS on the road.. but i think the key is to pre cool it before rolling out... then switch to gas when you get there.. and then run on shore when parked....

but even then.. my fridge even on 5 didnt get below 35 deg
hmmm.....
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:14 PM   #4
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We always precool the fridge on 110v for at least 12 hours before leaving home.

The fridge inside temperature can be signficantly affected by the temp outside the RV. If the outside temp is 100 degrees, we have to run the fridge at "6" to keep the inside at 40 degrees. If the outside temp is 70 degrees, we have to run the fridge on "2" to keep from freezing the lettuce and other veggies.

We prefer to run the fridge on 12v while towing, so we have increased the size of the wires of the TV charge circuit. We also wait to unhook from electricity until the last possible moment before we head out. I learned this important lesson as there have been a number of times that my wife got stuck at the office and within 3 hours the trailer house batteries were dead. Now I don't unhook shore power until she is seated in the truck.
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:52 AM   #5
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If you can pre-cool the fridge and load it up in advance to allow the temperature to stabilize after having the door open during the loading process things will stay cold for quite a while. Loading up the night before is ideal. If you are only going to be traveling for 3 or 4 hours you should be OK with the fridge turned off. We have made some very long trips with the fridge in the 12 volt mode and have never had battery problems. But, we have dual deep cycle batteries. If we stop along the way for an appreciable time we raise the top and switch to the LP mode.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:20 PM   #6
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Are there any Rv salvage yards around you where you can buy a used knob?
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:35 PM   #7
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Just took a 3,440 mile trip and I always run the fridge on 12V DC while driving and the cooling fan turned on. But my SUV has a heavy charge wire in it running to the trailer plug, my deep cycle batteries never go dead. The fridge runs off the SUV alternator. Also you must unplug the trailer from the tow vehicle when raising the top or you will blow the charge fuse in the tow vehicle. I learned this with the 95 after having a dead battery many times, and the dealer installed wire and fuse were to small a rating.
As Les said pre cool the fridge on 110 volts before loading it with food. If I forget to pre cool the night before, I put several frozen freezer packs in the fridge this shortens the pre cool time. At least 3 in the freezer compartment and 4 or 5 in the bottom part. I switch the fridge to DC before we are ready leave but leave the 110 power cord plugged in till the last thing before leaving. When we stop I switch to propane if we are going to be stopped more that a half hour but there are 3 batteries supplying power to the fridge, 2 in the trailer and one in the SUV. I always use 110 shore power when available.
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:58 PM   #8
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We were also told to cool the fridge over night, travel only on battery (mid position) and if a long trip to drop the temperature to 2. We have never had an issue keeping our food cold or with the battery.
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