How to refrigerate while underway?

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Fox and Hound, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. Fox and Hound

    Fox and Hound New Member

    Hi, I'm looking at the 18SB Antigua (explandable TT). I assumed it had a 3-way fridge but it appears from the brochure it's "Domestic 100/RP" only. I'm new to RVs so can someone let me know with a 2-way fridge, how do you keep things cold if driving 10 hours?? Obviously can't use propane while driving.
     
  2. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    How to refrigerate while underway?

    Actually, the way that most of us keep our refrigerators cold is with propane. While there are those who say that it is dangerous, the fact is that RV propane systems were designed to operate while under way. Many of us have been doing so for years. I attended a seminar on propane use at the Great American RV Rally that was given by an investigator of propane related accidetns and he stated that he knew of no major accidents related to propane use while traveling.
     
  3. Krazeehorse

    Krazeehorse New Member

    How to refrigerate while underway?

    We freeze water in one and two liter pop bottles to help keep the fridge cold when its not powered up. Just like a cooler, they actually stay cool for quite awhile if you aren't getting in and out of them alot.
     
  4. Fox and Hound

    Fox and Hound New Member

    How to refrigerate while underway?

    Thanks very much! I think using propane while underway is illegal in my state, but if not I TEND to feel somewhat the way you do. But just to be on the safe side, the frozen water is also a good idea. One neat thing also, which I didn't think about until reading the last post, is if you happen to have a FoodSaver (vacuum sealing appliance for foods in canisters, jars or FoodSaver bags) you can fill them with Dawn liquid dish detergent and freeze. It's like blue ice except flexible (freezes into a gel) and so will wrap around things, and you can make the bags as long as you want.

    It seems strange that all RV fridges wouldn't be 3-way. If either of you have Domestic brand fridge/freezer (2-door) do you find it does its job well once hooked into 110 or propane?

    Thanks for the opinions, I appreciate it.
     
  5. ARCHER

    ARCHER Senior Member

    How to refrigerate while underway?

    I have a Dometic fridge that is 3-Way. I use 110 while camped and while on the road I use the aux batteries. I turn up the setting to full (5) while driving. When I stop at rest areas, etc., I normally turn on the generator and switch the fridge to 110 while parked for that period of time. I never use the LP system while underway. I guess it is ok to use it while underway, but I choose not too for my own piece of mind. My fridge doesn't loose but about 3-5 degrees temp while using the aux batteries and they get charged while I am underway via the alternator. ;)
     
  6. Fox and Hound

    Fox and Hound New Member

    How to refrigerate while underway?

    Thanks Archer. Just for the heck of it I'm going to see if they can swap out a 3-way, but if not, I have a feeling it's not going to be a huge deal since there are workarounds. 3-way would seem a whole lot simpler though.
    F&H
     
  7. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    How to refrigerate while underway?

    F&H,
    There is a reason that the 3 way refrigerator has become quite rare. That reason is two fold. First, the 12v heater is a very poor cooling divice due to the small heat output and high current requirements. A 100 watt, 12V heater will require 9A to operate and will not do the job! To get enough heat to cool it will require more like 500 watts and that means 42A at 12V! Very few RVs have enough charging capacity to supply that much power on a hot day when the refrigerator will need to operate almost constantly. The second reason is that over the years there have been many more 12V loads added to the current RV. So the power required has gone up. At the same time the RV refrigerators have become larger. It used to be that 4 cubic ft. was pretty standard and smaller ones existed. Today nearly all RVs have at least 6 cubic feet of refrigerator and 8 is becoming more common with many as large as 10. If you double the size, the power required to cool the box will nearly double as well.

    If you read the specs for a 3 way refrigerator, you will find that it is only designed to maintain the cool but can not lower the temperature. Even your 120V element is not as efficient as is the propane. That too is because the propane is the largest heat source. Most RVs today just use the refrigerator too much for a 12V element to be able to keep them cool. That is particularly true in a motorhome where it can be accessed on the fly. If you treat your refrigerator as an ice box and never open it while traveling, and keep some frozen jugs in it, then it will serve well with no power just as the ice box did. But it may be a challenge to keep the jugs frozen overnight when traveling in very hot weather and just like with an ice box, you may loose some food occasionally.

    The demise of the 3 way has come more from practicality and from owner dissatisfaction due to improper use. I very much doubt that you will even be able to locate one of the larger RV refrigerators in a 3 way, but they do still make small ones. I suggest that if you wish to operate it on 12V power, get an inverter to supply the power, rather than replacing the refrigerator. But make sure that you also have the charging capacity from the tow vehicle and a charging lead from the tow vehicle that is of large enough diameter to carry the required current. That would probably be more cost efficient.
     
  8. spiderman

    spiderman New Member

    How to refrigerate while underway?

    Fox & Hound and All -

    DON'T DRIVE WITH YOUR PROPANE ON!

    DON'T USE THE PROPANE FOR KEEPING YOUR FRIG COLD WHILE YOU'RE ON THE ROAD!

    Maybe 75% to 90% of the rest of us do. But if we tell you to, and you get in an accident and burn up, we could have our pants sued off us. :laugh:

    Now you know.
     

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