Running Fridge on 12V while on the road

Discussion in 'On The Road' started by mattlreese, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. mattlreese

    mattlreese Member

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    Sep 6, 2017
    As the post says I have a 3 way fridge and I am wondering if anyone runs it on 12V while on the road? My biggest concern is running the battery dead in my car. I plan to disconnect the trailer electric plug when parked to be safe, and I will bring a battery jump start as well.

    I have a Chrysler Pacifica Minivan.
     
  2. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I usually fire up my Fridge on 12VDC when I am a couple hours out from the camp ground. This just gives me a head start on getting it cold when setup at the camp ground. I also have a couple of one gallon frozen water jugs setting in my fridge when we leave the house. This is the water I use to make my fresh ground fresh brewed bean coffee with. Using our own water makes the coffee taste to our liking... This also helps getting the fridge cool quicker as well. I have never used my Fridge with Propane when on the road... Too dangerous of an idea for me back there behind my truck unattended haha... Our Fridge in the POPUP is pretty small so we actually live out of the 5-day COLEMAN ICE CHEST for our meats and things. We have a small see through container with lid sitting on top of the ice... Fridge is only used for soft drinks and snacks and things... Our Ice chest is setting in the rear of my truck under a covered and locked bed liner. Always keeps ice for three days or longer...

    We always plan on heading back to town somewhere every three days or so to restock on eats etc... Always Like to know where the WALMART STORES with groceries are located...
    [​IMG]
    Roy's image

    Roy Ken
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    Rik Peery likes this.
  3. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Santa Clarita, California
    The alternator would keep feeding juice to the battery while on trips. I did use 12V and it was fine. But when I park for meal breaks, I have a choice to shut off 12v before I go to eat and I come back to turn 12v fridge on after I start engine (NOT before). It usually work out great for me. On short distance to campground, I do not do this. I usually put frozen water bottle in to speed up the cooling process. I also bring my large 2.8 fridge for meats and veggies.
     
  4. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Mar 16, 2011
    Elkins WV area
    You will be fine running the fridge on 12vt when traveling, even when stopped while eating, getting fuel. It would take several hours to run your battery down
     
  5. mattlreese

    mattlreese Member

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    Sep 6, 2017
    I wish I could get some data to back this up, how many amps does it draw on 12V?
     
  6. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    I run my fridge on 12V while in transit all the time. For extended trips I also have a 12V cooler and a 2nd 12V hybrid fridge running in the TV. Never had an issue, even with lunch stops. You do need to cool it down before you leave though - I find the 12V to be less than efficient.
     
  7. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    And if you want to make life even easier freeze a gallon of drinking water you can pick up for $1.00. It can keep stuff in your fridge cool AND you have the added benefit of having drinking water when you get where you are going.
     
  8. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Santa Clarita, California
    that's what I do on LOOOOONNNNG trips.
     
  9. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Active Member

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    To be safe, I installed a battery isolator relay on my charge line. it Cuts power from the battery to the trailer connector when the engine is off. That way I don’t have to worry about accidentally killing my battery.

    https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-and-Parts/Tow-Ready/TR118665.html
     
  10. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    I go up to 4 hours with my fridge off. I have a couple blue ice packs in the fridge and freezer and cool it down before the trip. I did use the 12v on a 6 hour drive, but don't know if it really made a difference. As long as you aren't going in and out of your fridge during the drive, it holds the cold well.
     
  11. Fless

    Fless Active Member

    A battery isolator may not be needed. If your TV supplies 12v to the trailer hitch's charge line, it may or may not be controlled by the ignition switch. My Tahoe's charge line is ALWAYS active, key-on or key-off, but other TVs may supply only key-on power. Know how your charge line is set up if you're going to rely on it; a simple test with a voltmeter can tell you what to expect.
    _
     
  12. mattlreese

    mattlreese Member

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    Sep 6, 2017
    Mine is hardwired directly to the battery since its an aftermarket install. So It is always powered.
     
  13. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Active Member

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    Thousand Oaks CA
    My fridge runs over 9 amps when on DC power. Granted, I have a highwall, so the fridge is bigger. My battery is 150 ah, so I could theoretically run it (alone) for 8 hours to get the the 50% SOC level.
    I did some testing this weekend after getting back from a 7 day trip, and I have some interesting information regarding the use/charging while driving that I am going to address in a new thread later tonight.
     
  14. woodentoy

    woodentoy New Member

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    Apr 16, 2018
    Ogunquit Maine
    I run my fridge on propane when I’m traveling. I’m 6 weeks into an 8 week trip and have driven almost 6000 miles. I have dry camped some of the time and between cooking, heat and the fridge have only used about one and a half tanks of gas. Why use your battery?
     
    Orchid likes this.
  15. GreyFox

    GreyFox New Member

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    Oct 10, 2018
    S Ontario
    Since you're also on RV.Net you know that almost all travel trailer owners, most of whom have 2-way fridges (i.e. no 12 vdc option), run their fridge when towing on propane as there's no other choice other than leaving it off entirely. That means there are literally millions of travel trailers using our highways every camping season with a fridge running on propane ... so if it's good enough for them why would it be any more dangerous for you? [?:~{]

    Back in '05 we did a month long trip out to Yellowstone, The Black Hills, RMNP, and countless places in between. I had intended to run the Norcold 323 fridge in our Fleetwood Santa Fe on 12 vdc while driving but as soon as I switched the fridge to that mode my Ford Explorer's airbag warning light would go on! [:(!] I ran it on propane instead for the month, no issues at all, but when I got back and asked a Ford tech about this he speculated that because this particular truck didn't have a factory tow package it's electrical system was being overtax by the fridge load, resulting in that erroneous air bag warning light. Next spring I'll have to see how my current '12 Silverado can handle a 12 vdc fridge load, if not I'll run it on propane, no concern at all. [:D]
     
  16. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    I don't run the fridge on propane while driving my clipper because I had gasoline fuel line issues and didn't want a flame anywhere near my rig. Even now that it's all been replaced, I don't run it on propane because I camp with a parrot and don't want to risk him if the propane lines spring a leak.
     
  17. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Ontario
    Transport the camping parrot in the TV.. Beside, lot more things that could have set your fuel leak on fire before the fridge running on propane would have, like the hot exhaust..
     
  18. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Can't do that in the clipper, it's a motorhome. And whether something else can blow it up, my intent is to reduce the chance of that by whatever I can. He always rides in the SUV when we take the trailer.

    In reality, I've travelled up to 4.5 hours with the fridge turned off without losing the cold. So it's not a big deal for me. I don't insist that traveling with the propane on is inherently dangerous, but I choose not to do so.
     
  19. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Ontario
    Thought your Clipper was of the popup variety .. Perhaps you should add this info to a signature for yourself, so folks know what vehicles your talking about.. just saying..
     
  20. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    The FnR (Fold n Roll) is the hard sided popup. I thought I had my sig set up - never actually looked at my posts to realize I didn't... :)

    I'll do that now.
     
    Snow likes this.

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