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Author Topic: picking a fridge  (Read 2872 times)
Jackling54
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« on: January 30, 2011, 02:37:37 PM »

Norcold or dometic? any thpoughts on pro and cons...Is there a better way to go,while still in planing stages of a new conversion project?
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2011, 02:50:20 PM »

I lean way over on the Dometic side.  The full manual ones are the most reliable cause that "main control board does fail.  Clifford and others have a third party source for the "main" board that is 1/4 the cost.

ONE THING I LEARNED and don't ask how is to never install a "cabin" model in anything but a fixed land install.  The cabin type requires more precise leveling and will burn up in a bus.  Fortunately they cast every bit as much as a RV model.  My cabin model lasted 20 minutes so that was a quick $800.

Clifford knows of a shop down in Ark that sells refurbished, like new, refers for $450 or so and that included shipping last time I looked.  Check with Clifford for a referral for thing you might need from dentistry to astrology. Wink

John
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2011, 03:11:18 PM »

Have been using apartment size refer for 15 yrs and no failure. 120 volt     under 400$ new      Bob
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2011, 03:17:38 PM »

Sanyo 10 cu ft stainless steel apartment 120v refer/freezer.  It works off the inverter or shore power.  Bus does not have to be level unlike RV units.  And, the door stays shut while driving without any locking devices. I've had mine for 8 years and 65,000 miles. 
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Jackling54
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2011, 03:20:12 PM »

Thanks guy..I am just finishing up a 13" roof rise on my 54 crown.Tons of room now,thinking of A house fridge ? any thoughts on that?
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2011, 03:24:44 PM »

thats what I used on last 4 conversions and had excellent results.  Under 400$ and you can replace at any appliance shop. 15 yrs and no problems     Bob
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2011, 03:28:32 PM »

We have had a house fridge for 10 yrs, and gone several hundred thousand miles, and never an issue. We put a large french door fridge with bottom freezer in our new one, and I love it. The doors and drawer stay closed also. You get so much more room with a house fridge.
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Jackling54
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2011, 03:34:12 PM »

thats what I used on last 4 conversions and had excellent results.  Under 400$ and you can replace at any appliance shop. 15 yrs and no problems     Bob

How much power on the inverter due they draw,We do alot of week long boon-docking.I'm installing 8 gc battery's and some solar panels..
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2011, 03:40:34 PM »

I'm not a boondocker so can't comment there. the energy efficennt models should be a low draw. If we keep door closed when traveling it doesn't melt the ice in freezer area for 8 hrs.  Bob
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Jackling54
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2011, 06:42:39 PM »

Thanks bob and all other for u helping me make up my mind....First Bus conversion,so i want to get it right...Been in factor built motorhome's,and currently pull a 39 ft' fifth wheel.So i no what i don't want !!! ALL thoughts tinny fridges such !!!!lol
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2011, 07:30:42 PM »

Same here, no boon docking. Gen runs all the time. Good luck.
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2011, 08:14:53 PM »

thats what I used on last 4 conversions and had excellent results.  Under 400$ and you can replace at any appliance shop. 15 yrs and no problems     Bob

How much power on the inverter due they draw,We do alot of week long boon-docking.I'm installing 8 gc battery's and some solar panels..



I live in Alaska and most of my camping is boondocking. Also most state camp grounds don't allow generators to run after 10:00pm. If you do a lot of boondocking, and money isn't a big issue, I would suggest going with RV style propane/electric. I have the Dometic side by side with ice maker and it has been good so far. If you set your bus up to run on propane and electric you have the best of both worlds.
Good luck




Gary
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Gary Seay (location Alaska)
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2011, 08:36:25 PM »

Gary  don't you just hang your food outside up there, LOL

Dave Wink
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2011, 08:43:49 PM »

Outside the Igloo Cheesy
About 7 months out of the year!!!
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Gary Seay (location Alaska)
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2011, 09:08:17 PM »

I've never liked the absorption type refrigerators that both Norcold and Dometic make-think propane with a flame.  Hence, I have a 6.3cu/ft Norcold Marine type refrigerator that uses a compressor that runs on either 12vdc or 120ac that automatically chooses 120vac first then goes back to 12vdc.  I also have the Norcold 2.1cu/ft chest freezer that can be either a refrigerator or a freezer.  Both work well since they are 15 years old and run on the old R12 freon.

On my truck, I'm still going to use the Norcold chest freezer, but am going to change to the NovaKool 9cu/ft two door refrigerator that runs on straight 12vdc and uses a Danfoss compressor. Granted they are expensive ($1,800) but if you're doing alot of boon docking and want the lowest battery draw (it uses 5 amps DC when running, or about 3 amp/hours) then the NovaKool is the one for you.  If you stay at the power pole for days or weeks on end, then the apartment type refrigerator will be the one for you.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2011, 06:24:41 AM »

I used a 120v by Summit. Thin, only 18" dp. and draws only 1.2 amps.
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2011, 08:11:29 AM »

Eric-if you're running your 1.2amp @ 120vac refrigerator through an inverter, with about 90% efficiency, you'll be pulling almost 13.5 amps @ 12vdc. Still well over twice the draw of a dedicated 12vdc running refrigerator.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2011, 08:37:45 AM »

The way I look at it, with power management you can easily use a house fridge.  1.2 amps at 120 volts is typical of an efficient apartment sized fridge if you disable auto defrost.  13.5 amps from your batteries when it's running, which is about a third of the time, average DC draw is about 6 ah at 12 volts nominal or 3 ah at 24 volts like my setup.  run for 12 hours, that's 72 ah @12 vdc or 36 @ 24 vdc.  If you have a battery bank of around 4 times that, or say 280 ah 12vdc, you will be able to run the fridge and typical other house uses like TV, your laptop, some lights overnight for sure.  You won't be running a stove, or a microwave for long periods, or you coffee maker hot plate, or your airconditioner, but you can sure run your fridge.

Brian
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« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2011, 08:41:42 AM »

1.2 amps is fine with me-- I am not very good at conserving batteries when boomdocking so I run my diesel generator once or twice a day anyway to charge up the batteries (four golf carts).  I am used to running the microwave, an electric coffee maker, watching Direct TV and all sorts of lights.  And my beer is always cold!
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« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2011, 08:45:14 AM »

You need to look at total energy usage over 24 hours.  A fridge that draws 1.2 amps, but runs 30 minutes an hour, will use more energy than a fridge that draws 2.4 amps, but only runs 10 minutes an hour.

I went from a 10CF fridge to a 14.5CF Energy Star fridge.  I am using less energy with a larger fridge as the new one is more efficient
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2011, 08:55:32 AM »

Bite the bullet and buy a SunFrost be done with it


good luck
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2011, 11:25:54 AM »

Why doesn't anybody like propane?
It's obvious the jury is out and the majority is against propane. I myself like propane!! It is clean, reliable, doesn't stink, and fairly efficient. I use it in all my houses also.
I know that you should conserve on electric when boondocking and there are some electric refrigerators that are efficient. But what if you are boondocking and you don't start your big 12 to 20kw Diesel gen set at the campground after 7:00pm, Just because you don't want to offend the neighbors or stink them out. Then your kids open the refrigerator every few minutes out of boredom. Then someone forgets a window or a vent open, and it's a cold night out. You go to sleep and all is well, but your big forced air furnace runs longer than normal. About 4:00am your wife says she's cold, and you tell her... I can't start the generator until 7:00am. "This happened many times in the S&S"
 
Just wondering why most seem to be against propane? Is there something wrong with the propane refrigerators for the RVs that I am unaware of?
I have had S&S RVs for 20years and haven't had any problems with the propane units.
Any insight would be appreciated!

Gary
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Gary Seay (location Alaska)
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2011, 12:48:53 PM »

Gary,

I am with you on this Bro.  My fridge will run all summer on one fill of propane...maybe all year.  The furnace runs more than a month in 40 degree weather.  2 10 gal tanks.

If you step into the Marine environment you will find people with the "Missionary Zeal" that demonize propane.  It is a gas that sinks to the bilge and even the tinyest leak will accumulate enough gas to remove everything from the water line up.  I have Coast Guard friends that turn "white" if you say propane and boat in the same sentence.  They have to board a boat with a gas leak that is known and they sometimes find boats with asphyxiated passengers that are overcome by propane fumes.  That arena spawns horror stories that lose their nautical association.  Then there is the cost angle with propane costing a grand for starters and apartment going for less than half that.  We are a frugal bunch.
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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2011, 12:53:31 PM »

I like propane I went from a electric fridge to a propane never looked back cut my generator time in 1/2 I also went from diesel fired heat to propane boilers best thing I did.
 1 draw back is people don't like vents on the side of their bus when I changed my electric fridge it was not on a outside wall all the guys here told me I had to mount it on a outside wall guess what it was mounted in the same place as my electric with no vent in the side of my bus I worked around that it preformed great for years and the propane fridges of today are pretty efficient now.
 I never worried about being level with mine it was never a problem always was cold even in AZ fwiw mine was a Norcold


good luck
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« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2011, 12:59:34 PM »

I like propane too, particularly since I have it on board for furnace, hot water and the stove.  Reasons I don't like propane refers as much as I would prefer to have an electric one - maintenance.  I have spent hours maintaining my propane fridge in the past two years.  rust in the flame chimney, the flame sensor goes out, the electric ignition isn't 100%, it doesn't get as cold in very hot weather, stuff like that.  It's a good fridge, I just wish it was more reliable and I didn't have to pull it out to clean it every year.

Brian
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« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2011, 01:28:03 PM »

Reasons I don't have a propane fridge:

1. No propane in my bus.
2. More expensive than a household fridge.  I was going to have batteries and inverter regardless.
3. Takes a long time to get cold.  Don't stay cold as well in hot weather.
4. Most RV fridges are small.
5. Tend to be more finicky and require more work to keep running.
6. Requires a roof vent.

I'm not going to tell anyone they shouldn't have a propane fridge.  The beauty of a bus is we can each do it our way.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2011, 01:51:37 PM »

The main reason for my last post is.. Just looking out for the gentleman that started this thread.
He said that he is just finishing up on his roof right now, and he does a lot of boondocking. If he decides he wants to go propane... Now would be the time!
I just think if we could get him some good pros and cons to both, then he could choose what would work best for his usages. He also stated that he doesn't want a small refrigerator. I do know that there are some large RV style refrigerators out there. Propably not as big as a residential style though.
I really don't mean to offend anyone that has their own preferences...Just trying to help Wink

Gary
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Gary Seay (location Alaska)
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« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2011, 03:16:21 PM »

Gary,

Well, I for one, am in a serious snit over your post.....LOL Wink  I value your participation and advice.  Truly, I do. That is not to guarantee that the Canadians won't be on you like a chicken on a June bug.  Can never be 100% sure. Roll Eyes

Belfert,

I am not going to contradict your experience in any way.  BUT!  My gas refers have all dug deep for some serious cold immediately after being lit off.  And, as per Clifford's experience, they have all performed without a hitch in the heat of summer although I have never been in anything above 100 as my living room has an ignition key in it.  Anything above 100 or below 32 and my engine starts, as if automatically, and the wheel takes a southerly or northerly heading as what seems appropriate. Wink

Brian,

My Dometic worked like a charm for 10 years with so much as a glance at it's innards.  I did get a lot of rust out the chimney when I removed the unit due to interior of the refer damage.  Some of these things need elect for a control board but some operate without any DC at all.

If your refer is not charged correctly at the time of mfr. then you can have a marginal performer.  A certified tech can eval performance.  There are also user guides that spell out min temp drop over a specified time for proper performance.

I know, I know..."We" are not amused...

John



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« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2011, 04:23:38 PM »

I can assure you that RV fridges do not work particularly well at 115F.  I was at a yearly national rocket launch so I didn't have much choice about it if I wanted to launch rockets.  It was still hot in the RV even with teh A/C running full blast.

The next time I went to this same event five years later I had the bus with the household fridge.  It was only 101F that year, but the fridge worked just fine.  It was still warm inside with two A/C units running.
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« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2011, 04:34:49 PM »

A suggestion to conserve batt bank.  We have a dorm size ref  with drinks in this keeps from opening up the larger box.
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2011, 04:46:22 PM »

Well looks like Clifford beat me to it! If you are serious about boondocking, and want a fridge that will be able to cool in all weather, then go with the Sunfrost. Super insulated and really efficient, quiet as well. Propane is good but they will not cool in hot weather like a 12 volt unit with a Danfoss compressor. Not cheap but what about a Bus is??? We do not plug our coach in unless it is in covered storage, otherwise solar fills the batteries for us 90% of the time. Check 'em out here, http://www.sunfrost.com/

Enjoy

TM
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« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2011, 04:55:27 PM »

Well, if you want an RV fridge, you should be able to find them fairly cheap as many S&S folks are removing them due to the terrible fire problems.  Both Dometic and Norcold have had several recalls.  It would appear to me that they cheapened them up a few years ago and the coils are failing resulting in ammonia fires.  Other fires also have been experienced.  Not a propane issue, as such.

Do a search on Norcold and fire and you will see a ton of lawyer sites as well as the Norcold recall site.

Jim
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« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2011, 05:29:44 PM »

Thetford bought Norcold in 2002 they have lost a little since,they are finding now most RV fires lately are started by owners they loosen the gas line and when the hot waterheater, furnace, or fridge lites the fire starts my oldest a lawyer in Houston was telling me about this scam she just won a case for Dometic don't you know they had a rare 75,000 dollar cat that died in the fire 
Jim anything can cause a fire most are caused by workman ship look what almost happen to you a few weeks ago lol me I just hate the sound of generators running when you are trying to have fun you could not hardly breathe at Quartzsite all the generators running to charge their battery banks


good luck
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« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2011, 09:33:17 PM »

clifferd 
    Sounds like im going to check into the cost of a sunfrost..If its two much, Its ether the big $$ 2,000 norcold or a 120v fridge and spend the leftover cash on something else the old bus needs... Shocked

Everyone else you have all been a huge help...What a great group of busers... Grin
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