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Thread: Do refrigerators run on 12 volts?

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    Site Sponsor Jim & Deb's Avatar
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    Do refrigerators run on 12 volts?

    I have been told that both the 8 cu ft and optional 12 cu ft. Refrigerators will run on 12 volts while traveling. I'm thinking about ordering a 337rls and since the 8 cu ft can't be opened with the slide retracted I am considering ordering the optional 12 cu ft model. At least with the 12 cu ft model one side of it can be accessed while traveling. I really don't want to travel with the propane turned on. So, being able to run the fridge on 12 volts would be a big advantage. Any insight you may provide would be great! Thank You!

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    King Pin
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    Our 8 cu ft Atwood will only run on 120VAC and/or propane. However, in order to run on propane, you must have 12VDC in order for the igniter to work. I've run for over 30 years with the propane on, and never encountered a problem. If the flame goes out, the gas shuts off. BTW, on our 2014 337, we can get into the 8 cu ft refrigerator with the slide in.

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    Site Sponsor Cate&Rob's Avatar
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    Although these same fridge manufacturers make units that run on 12V for the marine industry, this does not seem to be usual for the RV industry. I was surprised by this, particularly because if you look carefully, you can see the blacked out 12V setting on the fridge control panel. 12V operation would be really handy when towing with lots of battery charging capability from the truck. I wonder what it would take to add 12V capability to the existing 120V / propane fridges ? Another way at this is through an inverter with the truck keeping the battery charged and the inverter supplying 120V to the fridge.
    Cate & Rob
    (with Border Collies Molly & Angel and their kitty Gracie)
    2015 Reflection 303RLS #792
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    Site Sponsor Jim & Deb's Avatar
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    TusconJim, they made a change to the 2015 model. The reverse the small pantry and the fridge so they could have a common outside wall with both sizes of refrigerators.

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    Long Hauler Poppy's 5th Wheel's Avatar
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    Our new 337RLS has a Norcold 12 cu ft unit and it does not run on 12v. I should add a small caveat that I don't THINK it runs on 12v. I haven't tried it and I was told on my walk through that it ran on either propane or 120v so I am assuming .

    I have been pulling and driving RVs for 25 years and have never worried about having the propane on while traveling. I really wouldn't worry about it.

    As a side note, the first trailer we looked at had the Atwood but when ours arrived it had the Norcold in it. I think they just put whatever they have around on your build day.
    Paul "Poppy" and Deb Cervone
    2015 Grand Design Reflection 337RLS
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    I have a 337 with 8 cu. ft. refrig. No problem getting to refrig. with slides in. I would not buy a trailer if I could not get to it while traveling. If it had been an option when I ordered my 337, I certainly would have ordered the larger refrig.

    Robert
    Robert & Sheila, Amarillo, TX
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    Site Sponsor Cate&Rob's Avatar
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    On our Reflection 303, with slides in, I can open the fridge with 1/4" clearance to the island . . . and on the other side, there is 1/4" clearance between the table and the island. This is either really precise engineering or really good luck
    Cate & Rob
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    Big Traveler
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    Our '14 337 also has fridge access with slides in. I think I remember seeing that the 15's have the slideout pantry moved to the right side of fridge, which would move the fridge back far enough for the island to prevent fridge access. If that's the case, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    Now if the 15's have Norcold fridges, i'd say good move. Our old TT had one, colder than our Atwood, and didn't have to defrost it once or twice a year. Now almost monthly.
    Scott and Jan Platt Ocala, FL
    Cameron(Son) & Chica(chihuahua)
    2014 Reflection 337RLS
    2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD 4X4, Crew Cab, Dually, Diesel
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    Manufacturer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jbgarnerjr View Post
    I have been told that both the 8 cu ft and optional 12 cu ft. Refrigerators will run on 12 volts while traveling. I'm thinking about ordering a 337rls and since the 8 cu ft can't be opened with the slide retracted I am considering ordering the optional 12 cu ft model. At least with the 12 cu ft model one side of it can be accessed while traveling. I really don't want to travel with the propane turned on. So, being able to run the fridge on 12 volts would be a big advantage. Any insight you may provide would be great! Thank You!
    Hi @Jbgarnerjr,

    All ammonia/helium refrigerators require 12V to operate on either propane or 110VAC. The 12V supply powers the circuit board, control panel, cooling fans and ignitor. Actual cooling is provided either by propane or 110V heaters.

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  10. #10
    King Pin
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    I was doing some searching, and thought it this would be a good thread to resurrect to ask a question.

    I have always kept the propane on to run the refrigerator. In the Arizona temperatures, it wouldn't take very long to the refrigerator to reach temperatures that might not be safe. I was reading a tire blog this morning, and the "experts" brought up a good point. They said that if you have a flexible propane line attached to a slide (like our units do), you should not run with the propane on. The though was that if you have serious blow out, the tire can shred and take out the propane line. They said there are multiple possible ignition sources if the propane gets to a high enough concentration.

    It makes me think twice, but the chances seem pretty remote. 1. The tire would have to fail. 2. The tire would have to take out the propane line. 3. The propane would have to concentrate to a flammable level. 4. There would have to be an ignition source.

    Your thoughts?

    Jim

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