3 way fridge might as well be 1 way???

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 09:49
ThreadID: 22443 Views:5353 Replies:8 FollowUps:5
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I am new to this caravaning malarky and we have a three way fridge onboard. it works great if we have a hook up but will not run on 12V and as for gas i have no idea where the pilot light is so i couldn't tell if it was lit so don't know if it runs or not. so to the questions.

Any ideas what might be up with the 12v??
any idea how to tell if the gas is lit???

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Reply By: trendy - Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:00

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:00
danccooke, the 12v problem may be associated with the wires from the battery in the van to the fridge, if they are not the right thickness they will not carry enough current to the fridge causing it to run inefficiently. This said the 3 way fridge will still use an extremely high amount of power so if you use it when stationary you will end up with no battery power in no time.
As for the gas pilot light location this will depend on the model of the fridge. Some are in the bottom corner of the inside of the fridge, some are just a light on the control board at the top of the fridge ect. ect. Best to ask your local caravan shop for specifics on your fridge.
hope this helps Trevor.
AnswerID: 108549

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:06

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:06
G'day mate,

We'd probably need to know what brand and model of fridge it is please.

Most 3 way fridges are bloody woeful on 12 volts. At best, they might be able to maintain a fridge at or near the temperature achieved on either gas or electricity. 3 way fridges need to be dead level to operate properly; something that is not going to be possible when you are on the move.

As for the gas, there should be a small window that you can look into which will show you the pilot light (depending on the type of fridge). I know the Dometic (Electrolux) have this feature.

I ditched the 3 way fridge in our camper trailer in favour of a Engel 80 litre upright, cos the 3 way was just too "hit n miss" and in really hot climates it just couldn't cut the mustard.

Good luck


AnswerID: 108552

Follow Up By: trendy - Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:21

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:21
Roachie, totally agree with unreliability statement and I too have gone to a permanent 12v option with a waeco though. Need to carry more battery power but up here in queensland that is the only real option if you want cold beer at the end of the day.
Cheers mate.
FollowupID: 365294

Follow Up By: motherhen - Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 11:35

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 11:35
Agree with Roachie - when we bought the wind-up van, we ditched the 3 way, and put in an Engel upright 12/240. We usually turned it off at night as it was generally cool at night inland. It was easy to use - ran on 12 v unless we plugged into mains power when it ran on 240. I am paranoid about gas in caravans (seen 'em go up in smoke) so would never use the gas cycle anyway.

Our latest van has 12 v only - would have opted for 12/240 if i'd had the choice, but it hasn't been a problem. If we were too long in cloudy weather, we could re-charge the batteries with the genny, but haven't needed to so far.
FollowupID: 365304

Reply By: danccooke - Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:14

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:14
it is an electrolux three way "thingy" (notice the techincal terms there) i am only ever away for a weekend so two nights, i don't have to worry about high temp climates i am in England ;) running on gas would be fine but i just need to try and find the pilot. took me a while to work out the heater but have that sorted. as you can tell i am a technical sort of guy.

cheers for help so far though
AnswerID: 108553

Follow Up By: danccooke - Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:18

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:18
also there are no lights on the control board at all. just three dials, one side a gas dial. the other side the voltage selector and thermostat.
nothing to indicate that it is working.
FollowupID: 365293

Follow Up By: Member - Ross P (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 11:33

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 11:33
You may need 12V connected to get the pilot light going. The only way I've been able to tell if the fridge is working on gas is to feel the temperature of the flue on the outside upper vent.

So you may need to make sure you have 12V at the fridge before you start looking at gas.
FollowupID: 365303

Reply By: Redback - Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:53

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:53
Hey mate we have an electolux 3 way and yes not good on 12v but good on 240 & gas with ours it doesn't have a view window to see if the pilot light is alight what ours does is the button you push to light the gas stays in when it has ignited also if it has taken a while to light it makes a woof sound when it ignites from the build up of gas.
With the 12v could be a broken connection or as said above wire not thick enough but if it is in a caravan i would think that it would be fine if it is the original fridge put in buy the manufacturer of the van.

Hope this helps
AnswerID: 108558

Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 13:15

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 13:15
Mate I reckon I know the type open the fridge and look in the bottom left hand corner and on the back wall of the fridge will be a little clear button about the diameter of a ciggie but - this is your pilot light sighter. pricks of things and you need it to be dark to see the little blue flame if you have achieved a successful ignition
AnswerID: 108589

Reply By: AdrianLR - Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 13:27

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 13:27
To light the gas, set the Gas dial on Max, push it in and hold it in, press the igniter button (you haven't said that your fridge has one but the Electroluxes I've used all do) a couple of times, look in the sight glass or if you can look down the left-back of the fridge you should be able to see the flame down the chimney, after 30 secs release the gas control knob. If you have a stove, light one of the burners first to let any air out of the gas lines as this is faster than waiting for it to bleed out of the fridge. Should run very well on gas.

AnswerID: 108591

Reply By: Steerpike - Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 23:48

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005 at 23:48
I'm new to this 3 way caravan fridge thingy too, but I read the instruction book. I have a 90 litre Dometic fridge in the 7 week old Rapid. There is a flame detector which operates a little needle on the front panel and will shut off the gas if it doesn't see a flame. I have no way of actually seeing the flame.

To light the fridge, you hold in the Flame failure safety valve push button (button C) which bypasses the safety flame shut off and then push the piezo igniter button (button D)- this is the one that clicks. If a flame appears and the detector sees it, then you see the needle go from the red into the green. You can then release button C. If the flame goes out, the the flame detector will automatically shut off the gas.
You shouldn't hold in button C for a long time with the needle in the red- you'll fill the van up with gas.

I just ran mine on gas at Fraser Is for a week at Easter, and it performed perfectly. Got it running in the front yard on 240v right now ready for a quick getaway tomorrow arvo for the long weekend, and it's very chilly. Got iceblocks in the freezer and icy cold drinks inside.

It must be dead level though. A pain in the neck compared to my 40l Waeco, but for a long stay without 240v, it worked a treat.
AnswerID: 108731

Reply By: Member - Banjo (SA) - Friday, Apr 29, 2005 at 09:40

Friday, Apr 29, 2005 at 09:40
Did not read most of the above - but a few points....
1. The 12 volt element may be blown.
2. The 12 volt wiring may be dodgy (suggest you install an indicator light to confirm that the circuit is running).
3. My 3 way in the Jackaroo has just done 2 weeks of sterling work - ran like a champ. The 12 volt circuit chews up power - we only use 12 volt when mobile (which runs very well, following a cold run on the gas)- the 12 volt is a good maintenance option - it is not woeful in my view, as someone mentioned) - we connect to gas when stopped.
Gas is the best performer - if you can't get a clear fix on the pilot and the running etc. get back to the manufacturer or agent for some guidance.Cheers.
AnswerID: 108765

Follow Up By: stotty - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 13:55

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 13:55
This could depend on the type of van. I nearly went crazy trying
to get the fridge to work on 12v in my avan aliner. Then the
distributor pointed out that I needed an independent 12v supply
from the car into a separate pluc low on the front of the van.this
supply needs to be connected so that it is available only with the
engine running or a flat battery may result. This supply should be
of a fairly heavy guage wire to ensure 12v at the fridge.
I have upgraded to a avan Gabrielle and you should see where they've
hidden the plug on that!
FollowupID: 369316

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