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Author Topic: Refrigerator died, Need advice.  (Read 2446 times)
JohnVickrey
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« on: April 13, 2012, 05:48:33 AM »

It seems our 3-way refer had died, and we need to tap into the collective knowledge available here. 

We are looking at a Atwood Helium Fridge( http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-refrigerators/atwood-helium-rv-fridge.htm ) and a Norcold 2-way ( http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-refrigerators/rv-refrigerator-norcold-n841.htm ).  I like the Atwood, got more bells and whistles.   

Anyone have experience with either, which one would you recommend??
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John Vickrey   -   Dearing, GA
About 2 hours East of ATL on I-20 and 4 miles south of I-20.
Got Electricity and Water for 4-5 coaches.  Less that a mile to a
dumpstation.  Stop by and sit a spell.
Eric
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2012, 06:24:28 AM »

If the old one is in good shape and not leaking why not fix it? If its new enough lookup a Dino Board for it  Smiley
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crown
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2012, 06:37:22 AM »

 john there is one in the spare tire its in tampa fl.  john
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john
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2012, 07:03:01 AM »

John, don't forget the 3-ways require a greater degree of levelness than the AC/DC.  We bought our bus in 1993, original conversion had been done about 7 years earlier and up until a few months ago, the Norcold ac/dc fridge worked great.  So, about 24 years of service?  We acquired a used but not as old Norcold 2-way that needed some fixing.  That got done and it seems to be working good.  You should give Kirby a call for fixin' details if you are interested.  While he was fixing, I was fantasizing about new units... we both admired the ones made by Vitrifrigo and would have gone that way if the fix-em-up had not been successful.  The only down side to the ac/dc deal is that when dry camping, we need to run the generator to keep the batteries up, whereas if we had a propane option we could run the generator less often.  Kirby says "there is no free lunch."
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luvrbus
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2012, 07:06:30 AM »

Those are nice fridges (Atwood) John we have a friend has one in his new MH gets downs in the 35 degree range even on hot days AZ
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belfert
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 07:09:13 AM »

I didn't even know Atwood made RV refrigerators.  I thought it was just Norcold and Dometic.  Is there a good reason the current one can't be fixed?  Some of the replacement cooling coils are better than the OEM ones.  The Dinosaur control boards are also better than OEM if that is the problem.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
TomC
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 07:23:43 AM »

I personally don't like absorption type refrigerators.  To finicky-require being close to level, using propane (also dislike propane), takes a lot of current when on 12v, doesn't cool well in hot humid weather, it doesn't react fast to thermostat changes, etc.
I have a 6.3cu/ft Norcold AC/DC with compressor (like a home refrigerator) in my bus that has been zero problems since I installed in '94. Only pulls 5.5 amps when running, and runs about 50% of the time.
On my truck, I've bought a NovaKool.  It is also a 2 door (with freezer on the bottom), although advertised as a 9cu/ft-don't see it though.  It uses the excellent Danfoss compressor that nearly every commercial refrigeration system on boats is based on (so servicing, if needed, is easy). 
Both the Norcold and NovaKool will cost about the same as their absorption type counterpart.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
Geoff
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2012, 08:17:01 AM »

Our local Costco is carrying the Sanyo 10.3 apartment refer for $299.  i've had one of these in my bus for the last 10 years.
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Geoff
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2012, 08:53:53 AM »

   I have a Whirlpool, house frig in the bus, and it is also frostless, so far so good.  Some of my frends in s&s have gone to house frigs also. Last fall I purchased a 120AC/12Vdc/24Vdc 8cu.ft. love it. It also comes in 5.8cu.ft or 8cu.ft. also normally 12Vdc/24Vdc. Also by changing the thermostat it can be a frig., the puter board & thermostat are on the end and easy to change.
    How you use your coach,vacation/fulltime, I do not level my coach.
   
   
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belfert
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2012, 08:54:43 AM »

I've found that some of the apartment fridges take more energy than a larger 15 CF fridge that is Energy Star.  The Energy Guides are the best way to compare energy usage.  Frigidaire makes a 15 CF fridge that is Energy Star that you can find for around $450 (or less) at times.  Be cautioned that Frigidaire makes the same fridge in both Energy Star and standard models and they look exactly the same.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
junkman42
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2012, 09:16:36 AM »

I use a normal home frig running off of a freedom 458, has not skipped a beat in 6 years.  As all modified sine inverters are not created equal I would mention that My modern led LCD TVs have no problem and My microwave does not complain either.  I have measured the input current to the inverter and find that the energy loss is pretty much a non issue.  Just My way.  John L
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luvrbus
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2012, 09:34:24 AM »

The new propane absorption type fridges don't give you much of a problem it just take a little maintenance on the owners part I never worry about mine being level and it never misses a beat but I would like a new Atwood those nice.

I hate going to rally's and the people using the house type running the generator every morning for hours charging the batteries for another round lol all types have their drawbacks if I was going the electric route it would be a SunFrost a little pricey though
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Lin
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« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2012, 11:00:22 AM »

As with many things, which frig you use depends upon your camping style.  We have used both RV and house type frigs in different vehicles.   When most of what we did was pole to pole, the house frig was great, and the RV frig was an unnecessary nuisance.  More recently, we have been dry camping more, and you can't beat propane for that.  I am generally concerned about running the generator in these places.  The Atwood one mentions it has an alarm that warns about tilt angle.  That sounds like a good feature assuming the frig is not too sensitive to leveling.
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Dave5Cs
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« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2012, 11:18:31 AM »

John did you try turning it upside down for 72 hours and then try it again. This sometimes breaks loose all the stuck amonia on the propane cycle. I did that to the last one we had and got another 5 years out of it.

 We have a Norcold and it does well except when we start the motor the DC breaker for it flips. Works great on AC or Propane. The problem is the wife make lots of soups and things that need room and these just don't have the room. In a 5C we don't have the room for a regular freezer in the bays either. Next best thing is an Apartment refrigerator. I like the Sanyo 10.3 from Costco but when I checked it was 759.00 so Geoff was that like 10 years ago? for 299.99
We know a guy who refurbishes them and he has them for 150.00 on up. 289.00 for 11.0 regular apartment size delivered to the house.

Dave5Cs
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Geoff
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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2012, 06:27:18 PM »

With my Sanyo 10.3 apartment refer, Trace 2512MC inverter, and 4 golf cart batteries I can run the refer for 3 days.  And if I have to start my 7kW diesel genset it is only for a hour to have my microwave/convection oven on.  And I can use my 3-way water heater without propane on 120v.  Works for me for 12 years.
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Geoff
'82 RTS AZ
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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2012, 07:50:26 PM »

Absorption refrigs only have to be level side to side, usually fore and aft on the bus.

It is a common myth that they require leveling in all directions.
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PD4107-152
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Ash Flat, AR
Uglydog56
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« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2012, 09:29:55 PM »

I'm not done fitting it in it's hole yet, but I'm putting in a 9cuft chest freezer with an external thermostat (so it's a fridge now) run off it's own 300w pure sign inverter.  450.00 total investment, 450watt-hr per day according to the kill-a-watt.
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Rick A. Cone
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muldoonman
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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2012, 07:07:20 AM »

Replaced our house double door with another one and was shocked that they pulled front passenger windshield out (91 prevost) to get old one out and new one in. They said it was easier. Replaced glass also. It had a chip or 2.
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JohnVickrey
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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2012, 07:14:10 PM »

Thanks all for your input. 

I have the old one turned over on it's top and I'm going to set it back up tomorrow and plug it in.  Wheather that fixes it or not this is a excuse to get a little bit bigger fridge.  We have a freezer that lives in the bay and runs on the inverter.  We do a lot of dry camping and I kinda like the idea of the fridge not dependent on the generator or batteries.  Sometimes we can go a couple of days without starting the generator. 

Anyway, I think I'm going to order the Atwood.  It's a little bigger and the co-pilot likes the way it's laid out. 

Thanks again for all your input. 
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John Vickrey   -   Dearing, GA
About 2 hours East of ATL on I-20 and 4 miles south of I-20.
Got Electricity and Water for 4-5 coaches.  Less that a mile to a
dumpstation.  Stop by and sit a spell.
Linda-4104-FL
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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2012, 09:13:23 AM »

"It's a little bigger and the co-pilot likes the way it's laid out."

You are a smart man, John!  LOL
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Iceni John
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« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2012, 03:01:33 PM »

I'm not done fitting it in it's hole yet, but I'm putting in a 9cuft chest freezer with an external thermostat (so it's a fridge now) run off it's own 300w pure sign inverter.  450.00 total investment, 450watt-hr per day according to the kill-a-watt.
Aha!   Someone else here who's seen the light!   I shall also be going this route when the time comes, if only because I shall be using a roofload of solar panels instead of a generator.   I've heard that "fridgers" typically run for only 90 seconds to 2 minutes per hour, well withing the ability of PV.   I also plan on it having its own dedicated inverter which will be switched on and off by the external thermostat, thus avoiding any current drain when the fridger's not running.

John
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« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2012, 03:15:42 PM »

Just replaced my old frig. with a Norcold marine frig. runs on 12 volt @ 2.3 amps and 120volt ac @ .4 amps and it will work at up to a 30 degree angle,And it will fit in the same space as your old frig. they run $ 1400.00 but looking it over I think there worth it.
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Geoff
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« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2012, 05:26:04 PM »

This subject has been hashed over the bus conversion boards for as long as I can remember and the apartment refer and decent inverter/genset have always been the winner.  Or have the times changed?  Are people more concerned about living off the grid because diesel is too expensive move the bus?  Bring on cheap solar panels and move to the desert!!
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Geoff
'82 RTS AZ
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« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2012, 05:52:50 PM »

I have a Summit refer. It has the freezer on the bottom. It is 120v but the draw is 2.0 amps. Yeas that is correct!! It has run 24-7 since I installed it in 2009 with no problem. I leave my bus plugged in when at home. It is 14cf. and is less than 24" deep. I have no ties to this company, but I have been extremely pleased. They make speciality refrigerators, stoves, etc. I forgot to plug the bus in after a trip, and 5 days later it was still running!!LOL

http://www.summitappliance.com/catalog/model/FFBF285SS
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hargreaves
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« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2012, 06:23:19 PM »

My Westinghouse apt. fridge uses 1.5 amps . The issue is when the defrost cycle comes on for about 20 min. it is using 20 amps at that point.  If I disconnect it, it freezes over.

Gerry
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« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2012, 05:23:50 AM »

Never had a problem with mine freezing over with defrost turned off.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2012, 07:08:14 AM »

3 thousand for a good inverter 2500 for a decent battery bank 10,000 for generator all to run a fridge lol the 1400 looks good to me fwiw I never cared for my electric coach I still  think the 12/24 fridges like SunFrost is the way to go for a electric fridge but we are all different

good luck
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Geoff
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« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2012, 08:23:25 AM »

Or we can try $300 for 4 ea golf cart batteries, $1200 for a decent inverter, and $5-6k for an 8kW 1800 rpm diesel genset.  And if you are building a livable conversion you are going to need the above no matter which refrigerator you buy.  I cannot see spending $1400 or whatever for a refer that uses 1 amp less electricity than an $300 apartment refer at 1.5 amps @ 120v. And I know how much power my Sanyo apartment refer is using as the load amps on my Trace SW2512MC inverter flashes between 1 and 2 amps with the refer on.  I have yet to catch how many amps it is drawing on the defrost cycle, it doesn't do it too often.  And I could always disconnect the defrost if I wanted to.
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Geoff
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« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2012, 10:16:14 AM »

I too am using a chest freezer with external thermostat.
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Paul, High Desert CA
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« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2012, 04:10:45 PM »

  Just replaced my old frig. with a Norcold marine frig. runs on 12 volt @ 2.3 amps and 120volt ac @ .4 amps and it will work at up to a 30 degree angle,And it will fit in the same space as your old frig. they run $ 1400.00 but looking it over I think there worth it.

    That was my choice.  I went with the 12v only; about 40watts (once it's cooled down and not much more than that while it's cooling).  BIG money but I love it; it was one of the few things that I went for the big expense for and I think it worked out pretty good.
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
1976 Daimler (British) Double-Decker Bus; 34' long
6-cyl, 4-stroke, Leyland O-680 engine

(New Email -- brucebearnc@ (theGoogle gmail place) .com)
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