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Gas Fridge 12V Power Problems!

Article by Val Rigoli ©, free advice freely given, my personal thoughts and advice gathered from in-excess of 40 years of practical hands-on experience, learned skills, and industry knowledge. Please check out my other informative articles too >> found here<<






DOMETIC RGE400 Gas/Electric FridgeVoltsDOMETIC RM2350 Gas/Electric Fridge

The 12V side of these Gas-Electric fridges often has issues.
It can be a huge problem with these fridges when folks run them on 12V.
(The fridge is NOT at fault, it is a very common fitting fault!)



First up, just in case you were not aware, gas/elect fridges are only ever meant to be run on the 12v circuit when you are driving,
otherwise they are built and designed to run on gas, or 240v most of the time.

These fridges by design use heating elements to make them work on both 12v and 240v,
and there is no thermostat (to turn them on and off) built into the 12v circuit on many of these fridges,
the newer AES (Automatic Energy Selection) models being the exception.

This means that when running on 12v the fridge runs constantly and draws at least 10.5 amps (smaller fridge) per hour,
this would mean that over a 24 hour day it would consume at least 250 Ah and much more for larger fridges (think double that)!!

Of course there is no way you're going to keep up with that sort of power draw or would want to even try,
so it's best to run on 240v when mains power is available, and on gas when you're parked up away from mains power,
and only use 12v when you're driving.

This leads us to the next biggest common problem.

I don't know how many times I've heard the claim that these fridges don't work on 12V, or at least not very well.

If the fridge is not working well on 12V, but works ok on gas or 240V, then this is always a wiring problem, every time,
The wiring is either not heavy enough, or there is a loose connection, or both,
no ifs and no buts!!

Upgrading the 12V wiring will not cost a lot and is always well worth it, I always suggest for the fridge cable size
8 B&S (it's around 8mm²),
and please do both positive and negative wired direct to/from the battery.
I suggest that folks use this size cable on all fridges, it is a one off expense that is very well spent.

The problem in many cases is not only the wrong wiring size,
but also the wire/cable run distance between the batteries and the fridge (both really do go hand in hand).

Often there are wild amounts of wiring running halfway around the motorhome or caravan to a control panel,
then feed through a couple of switches, and some fuses, then toss in a dozen connectors,
and then meander some wires to eventually terminate over at the fridge.

Is it any wonder that the fridges poor little 12V heating element that really needs all the current it's designed for,
and at it's designed voltage (12V+), has so very little chance of performing well.
Most of the time a lot of the energy it needs to make heat,
is lost in making heat along grossly inadequate wiring along poorly thought out wiring routing.

Sadly this is not the exception, it's almost the rule.

So regardless of if you do or do not have problems right now,
it would be well worth a serious re-think about the size of the cable running to the fridge,
and where the cable is routed (for the shortest possible run),
and if found inadequate, replacement/upgrading this cable,
will most certainly vastly improve the performance of the fridge on 12V.


Comming soon--
How to test that you have the correct voltage to the fridge?
The best fuses to use that are designed for the higher, heavy, constant current draws of these fridges!

For other RV related articles you may find interesting please check my Tech page



Copyright © Val Rigoli



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