How do you Norcold when driving?

Do you run it on propane or through the battery. Only asking about when you are actually moving.

Thank you!

Greg K.

Comments

  • RoameyRoamey Posts: 216Member
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  • dragonsdoflydragonsdofly Posts: 648Member
    We run on 12v (battery). Standard alternator on our TV is rated 150 amp. Keeps the fridge cold and the battery fully charged when we arrive at our destination. Many years ago watched a small trailer burn so fast they couldn't disconnect from the TV which burned also after a minor fender bender. They were running on propane. Will never, ever do that.
    2017 [email protected] sofitel([email protected])TV 2005 gmc envoy xl. Wyandotte, Michigan.
    Draco dormiens numquam titilandus.
  • GailandJohnGailandJohn Posts: 123Member
    We purchased a couple of large cold packs from Academy and placed them in the bottom of the Norcold. I used a couple of strips of memory foam, left over from trimming our mattress toppers, around them to keep them from sliding around. Then we turned on the battery and put the fridge on battery. We had a 7 hour drive and by the time we got there, everything was cold and the packs were still frozen. They stayed frozen until we got back, more than 3 days. We brought a frozen cobbler and it was still frozen when we arrived. We will definitely use them again.


    Gail & John 


  • dsatworkdsatwork Posts: 714Member
    I think you'll find that performance will differ depending on the model 3-way fridge you have. The older models that were modified with the fan to get the hot air off the top of the fridge, seem to cool better than the newer Norcold 3-way N180.3 first used in the models manufactured after January 2017. These need to be modified to cool properly when the temps go above 90 degrees. You can see my post here. http://tab-rv.vanillaforums.com/discussion/5766/turbocharging-the-norcold-n-180-3-3-way-fridge-double-side-vent-models-2017-and-newer#latest
    http://tab-rv.vanillaforums.com/discussion/5765/turbocharging-the-norcold-n-180-3-3-way-fridge-beefing-up-the-12-volt-system#latest
    http://tab-rv.vanillaforums.com/discussion/5764/turbocharging-the-norcold-n-180-3-3-way-fridge-adding-a-baffle#latest

    We haven't had any success trying to run ours on propane. It has blown out every time we have attempted to travel with the fridge on propane. We will not bother trying to use it on propane while towing anymore and am confident with the modifications made the fridge will perform well regardless of the temperature outside while towing.
    2017 Tab Basic S Silver on Silver with Sofitel Cushions....upgraded from 2013 LG 5W....Towed by a 2016 Sorento V6 AWD w/5000lb tow capacity. Dave S. married to Jen aka SanDiegoGal We pull a Tab but live in a 2014 Airstream International Signature 27 FBQ...Talk about embracing a trailer lifestyle.
  • db_cooperdb_cooper Posts: 367Member
    We've had no issues running ours on propane, hasn't blown out in several thousand miles of travel.  I started doing that after a trip where the TV alternator couldn't keep up and we arrived with a low battery, not good for boondocking.  If traveling to a site with hookups, I'd run it on battery though.


    2015 Max S Outback | 2010 Xterra



  • dsatworkdsatwork Posts: 714Member
    db_cooper said:
    We've had no issues running ours on propane, hasn't blown out in several thousand miles of travel.  I started doing that after a trip where the TV alternator couldn't keep up and we arrived with a low battery, not good for boondocking.  If traveling to a site with hookups, I'd run it on battery though.

    Yes many of you with the older 3-way can run them on propane while towing. Curious how fast you drive while towing? 

    2017 Tab Basic S Silver on Silver with Sofitel Cushions....upgraded from 2013 LG 5W....Towed by a 2016 Sorento V6 AWD w/5000lb tow capacity. Dave S. married to Jen aka SanDiegoGal We pull a Tab but live in a 2014 Airstream International Signature 27 FBQ...Talk about embracing a trailer lifestyle.
  • DalehelmanDalehelman Posts: 1,524Member
    db_cooper said:
    We've had no issues running ours on propane, hasn't blown out in several thousand miles of travel.  I started doing that after a trip where the TV alternator couldn't keep up and we arrived with a low battery, not good for boondocking.  If traveling to a site with hookups, I'd run it on battery though.


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  • db_cooperdb_cooper Posts: 367Member
    I run whatever the posted sign is up to 70.   Hasn't blown out once.  I tow with an Xterra, but I wonder if other tow vehicles might put some turbulence right in the wrong spot, to cause the blow outs?
    2015 Max S Outback | 2010 Xterra



  • VernaVerna Posts: 4,635Administrator
    db_cooper said:
    We've had no issues running ours on propane, hasn't blown out in several thousand miles of travel.  I started doing that after a trip where the TV alternator couldn't keep up and we arrived with a low battery, not good for boondocking.  If traveling to a site with hookups, I'd run it on battery though.


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    Verna, Indianapolis, Indiana; 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red; towed by a red 2015 Toyota Tacoma V6 TRD 4x4; [email protected] Administrator.  If not now, when?




  • lapowers57lapowers57 Posts: 185Member
    I have never tried running on propane while driving.  I use the battery while driving and I turn it on and off on a long drive and try to have it off for the last couple of hours if I am arriving at a campsite that does not have electricity.  
    I pre-cool my Norcold the day before I intend to leave using propane, ac and dc settings just don't get it as cold.  I load it with food that has been chilled off in the home fridge and if there is room I add a half gallon jug of water that has been frozen.  Plenty of thermal mass to help things coast when the fridge is off or on DC.   When Starting out I switch from propane to DC and if I am driving all day I will switch the DC off for an hour or two once or twice a day.  My TV can't quite keep up with the drain of the fridge and this helps me stay on the plus side and at least have enough battery capacity to get through the night.

    Speaking of nights, if I am staying in a store parking lot I put the fridge back on Propane.  So far I have been lucky enough to find parking places that were flat enough to allow me to fire up the propane with the [email protected] connected to the TV.  The fridge is not quite as sensitive to being on an angle as I was first lead to believe by some of the posts here.  

    YMMV but this has worked for me on the east coast.
    2016 [email protected] [email protected] S grey/red, towed by 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 4x4, Central Connecticut



  • gooddogs74gooddogs74 Posts: 69Member
    I have a 400, so I am not sure if the refrigerator works the same. When you say you are switching it between propane and battery, how do you do that?  My manual says that mine requires 12v or 120v current to operate.  It does not mention the propane.  Thank you.  
  • SAMSAM Posts: 2,140Member
    The 400 has a 2 way frig.  No propane.
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • gooddogs74gooddogs74 Posts: 69Member
  • RollingBnBRollingBnB Posts: 232Member
    We just rewired the 12v to the fridge, worked great on way to cg. On the way home tried propane after installing a shield around burner. Flame was out after arriving home. Will stick with 12v on the road.
    2017 [email protected] S Max White [email protected]
    2015 Chevy Silverado & 2017 GMC Acadia
    Alan & Patty
    Southern Az
  • dsatworkdsatwork Posts: 714Member
    I'm pretty convinced that the people that have more success with driving with propane on, are driving at 65 mph on relatively flat roads. We drove the 200 miles from San Diego to carpinteria with the propane on and never went over 65 without it going out. We normally drive 70 to 75 if it's legal and it never stays on.
    2017 Tab Basic S Silver on Silver with Sofitel Cushions....upgraded from 2013 LG 5W....Towed by a 2016 Sorento V6 AWD w/5000lb tow capacity. Dave S. married to Jen aka SanDiegoGal We pull a Tab but live in a 2014 Airstream International Signature 27 FBQ...Talk about embracing a trailer lifestyle.
  • VernaVerna Posts: 4,635Administrator
    Yup, I rarely go over 65 and prefer to stay around 60 for the gas mileage improvement. 
    Verna, Indianapolis, Indiana; 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red; towed by a red 2015 Toyota Tacoma V6 TRD 4x4; [email protected] Administrator.  If not now, when?




  • SAMSAM Posts: 2,140Member
    RollingBnB - you probably discussed this somewhere, how/ why did you rewire the frig 12 v supply?  
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • RollingBnBRollingBnB Posts: 232Member
    edited December 2017
    SAM said:
    RollingBnB - you probably discussed this somewhere, how/ why did you rewire the frig 12 v supply?  

    Ran 10 gauge wire directly to battery thru disconnect switch instead of the 14 gauge from the fuse panel. Last time out ran on 12v for 5 hrs, frig was 62 degrees when we got home. Useless. Now the temp dropped from home to cg an hour away.
    2017 [email protected] S Max White [email protected]
    2015 Chevy Silverado & 2017 GMC Acadia
    Alan & Patty
    Southern Az
  • RonRon Posts: 90Member
    RollingBnB   Did you run the new wire from the trailer battery to the fridge?  I ran a fused #10 wire from tow vehicle battery to trailer battery to try and overcome the small hot lead wires from the tow vehicle harness.  Perhaps I need to increase the wire size to the fridge as well?
    2016 [email protected] MaxS, 2012 Jeep Rubicon 2dr, Rural Scottsdale, Az.
  • RollingBnBRollingBnB Posts: 232Member
    Yes, from the Tab battery directly to the fridge
    2017 [email protected] S Max White [email protected]
    2015 Chevy Silverado & 2017 GMC Acadia
    Alan & Patty
    Southern Az
  • SAMSAM Posts: 2,140Member
    So there are maybe 2 factors at work - voltage drop from the TV battery to the TaB battery and voltage drop from the TaB to the Norcold.  When we had our van 7 pin installed, we requested 10 AWG for the charge line.  When nuCamp installed our ARB in the [email protected], I think we requested 10 AWG, but not sure what they used.  Works well.
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
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