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Old 03-16-2015, 09:48 AM   #1
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Nova Kool 12V Operation

I suppose it was inevitable that we would have a significant problem with our Grand Tour requiring warranty repair (been otherwise very lucky), but there is a lot of technical expertise on this Board, so I thought I would try it here first: the GT has a stacked Nova Kool refrigerator and freezer separate units. Both work fine on 110v, the freezer appears not to run without shore power connection. We are connected so much of the time when the freezer is in use that we may not have noticed until this weekend, when freezer temp jumped from 20 to about 48 over the course of a three-hour drive. I think both units use a common 12v circuit, so I don't suspect a fuse...but that's no more than a guess.
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:31 AM   #2
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I'm not familiar with separate fridge/freezer installs as on the GT. But in an Interstate, both units should run on 12vDC, and both should run on 120vAC though the inverter without shore power hooked up, though of course there would be some inefficiency in doing it that way.

If it jumped from 20°F to 48°F, here is what I think might be wrong, in order from simplest to check…
1 - The temperature setting may have changed. I haven't seen inside a freezer-only unit, but if the dial is exposed then something could have bumped against it and knocked it to a different setting if the freezer's contents shifted. Look to see if the setting is the same as where you left it.
2 - The unit could have blown a 12v fuse, in which case it would run on 120vAC (if the inverter is on and so is the breaker) but not on 12vDC. Of course if it blew a fuse you'll need to figure out why it blew a fuse. Check the fuse panel.
3 - The thermostat could be defective. If the interior temperature warmed up to 48°F but didn't warm up to room temperature, then it may still be cooling but just not enough. Not sure how to check that, but that's a warranty repair anyway.
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:38 PM   #3
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The clue is "both work fine on shore power...". Has it ever worked in DC mode? If not, my money is on a mis-wired unit, tripped fuse/breaker (reset or replace and see if it trips again, and then find the cause), or mis-wired connection. The ten seconds the installer used to plug it in probably forgot to plug in the DC power. Or shorted it out and left it that way. Or wired it backwards. Could be any one of these. I doubt the unit itself is defective, although, there is a very small possibility the electronics module on the fridge (which senses the voltage to be used, giving preference to AC if it's available) could be defective (or possibly damaged if they wired it up backwards which would't at all be surprising).
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Old 03-26-2015, 08:05 PM   #4
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Had difficulty with 12V operation of the Nova Kool early on. Found that the blade fuse had been installed improperly (one blade in, one blade out). 7.5 if I remember correctly. Couldn't figure it out at first. The red light was intermittent. Grabbed my fuse puller and re-positioned the fuse correctly and have had no problem on 12V or 120V since. Fuse panel always a good place to look.
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Old 03-26-2015, 08:43 PM   #5
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Have had a couple of interesting experiences with Danfoss compressor fridges. The first was with anew Isotherm AC/DC fridge that I installed in a new Airstream. It ran perfectly on 120VAC but would not run on 12VDC. Had proper fusing and wiring. Luckily, the owner was headed right past the importer and I arranged a stop over.

Turned out to be a bad control board, which was replaced on the spot and the problems were solved.

The second was with a Nova Cool that would only run on 120VAC. This was in an Interstate coach. the owner stopped at a dealer while on the road and they found a defective board as well. replaced the entire fridge for that one.

If your 12VDC supply is correct and verifiable at the fridge, my bet would be a bad control board.
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Old 03-26-2015, 11:25 PM   #6
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FWIW, the NovaKool inverts 120 VAC to 12 VDC to run.
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:51 AM   #7
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Have a 2015 iS GT picked up in February. Initially Nova Kool was fine while plugged in or on the road, but outside temps were low. Now I am having problems with holding temp, as well as, we are in 70-80 degree weather. Initially, only wide temp variation night and day, but now not cooling below 44 for frig and 27 for freezer. Will take in to our home service Ctr when home. Have discussed with service mgr who has talked to AS who referred to Nov Kool. Initial discussion has been " make larger vents for cabinets and thermostatically controlled fan". This doesn't appeal to me as my bet is defective NK unit and a venting/cooling problem should be fleet wide and cause AS to issue service advisory. We know folks in Florida who have had exactly same issues who went through venting, fan, and then new fridge. They just hit the road so not sure if issues persist.
This may be a more widespread problem as the 2015's hit the road in warmer weather.
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirrus Flyer View Post
Have a 2015 iS GT picked up in February. Initially Nova Kool was fine while plugged in or on the road, but outside temps were low. Now I am having problems with holding temp, as well as, we are in 70-80 degree weather. Initially, only wide temp variation night and day, but now not cooling below 44 for frig and 27 for freezer. Will take in to our home service Ctr when home. Have discussed with service mgr who has talked to AS who referred to Nov Kool. Initial discussion has been " make larger vents for cabinets and thermostatically controlled fan". This doesn't appeal to me as my bet is defective NK unit and a venting/cooling problem should be fleet wide and cause AS to issue service advisory. We know folks in Florida who have had exactly same issues who went through venting, fan, and then new fridge. They just hit the road so not sure if issues persist.
This may be a more widespread problem as the 2015's hit the road in warmer weather.
What number did you have the inside dial set for? I get by with it set on 3— except in summer when I set it on 4 if I can park where I have afternoon shade on the driver's side, or as high as the dial will go if I have to park where the driver's side gets afternoon sun. On mine the fridge is on the driver's side; not sure where it is on a Grand Tour.
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Old 03-31-2015, 11:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
What number did you have the inside dial set for? I get by with it set on 3— except in summer when I set it on 4 if I can park where I have afternoon shade on the driver's side, or as high as the dial will go if I have to park where the driver's side gets afternoon sun. On mine the fridge is on the driver's side; not sure where it is on a Grand Tour.
Ours too (the little fridge).

If we set it at 5, everything on the top shelf will freeze.

We do not, overload ours, maybe that's the key.

Ours is 12V only
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:54 PM   #10
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We started out on 3-4 setting and was fine in cold weather. Now up to 6-7 and will only hold 45 for frig. Freezer on max will hold 19. On lower settings when we started we were in the low 30's and -2. The NK tech told our service mgr that it should hold temp. so ours is not performing up to specs. We are in the shade with no excessive heat and ours is on driver's side, as well.
Our friends with modifications noted above have to keep their new fridge on 7(highest) to keep below 40 degrees. They have just taken a few short trips and checking it out for performance.
Will try contacting AS to see their thoughts/input.
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Old 04-05-2015, 12:54 PM   #11
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I am a new member of the forum, and my wife and I are very interested in the AI. We feel that it is a very well designed unit. Our big concern is with the frig., as we do spend several weeks each year dry camping. We are aviation nuts and often dry camp at aviation events on airports. The question is whether the frig will make it through the night without power. We were hoping that it would run from sunset, to sunrise, where the solar panel could start recharging the batteries. Any experienced users thoughts would be greatly appreciated...........Tom
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Old 04-05-2015, 01:51 PM   #12
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Welcome to the Airforums.

With the new 100W solar panel and minimal use of the inverter, I'd think there would be no problem keeping the frig going over nite. Minimum opening of course would help. The frig is a 12VDC/120VAC unit. However it inverts the 120VAC to 12VDC so it is more efficient to run on straight DC rather than invert twice.
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Old 04-05-2015, 02:31 PM   #13
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Thanks Rivet Master. If you run the numbers; current draw vs battery capacity, and solar power charge rate, the numbers work. I just would be a lot more comfortable knowing that it works in practice, as well. Usually, generators are not permitted from 9:00 pm until 8:00 am at these aviation functions that we frequent, and I would hate to think that I would need to go the ice chest route, after spending a buck and a half plus on an AI. The frig in my old rig is 3 way, and this has never been an issue, but we are looking to down size. I know that other B van makers use 3 way units, but I really like the other features of the AI, and it sure looks like the Nova offers excellent storage for it's foot print. Power seems to be the only issue. I don't mind running the gen a couple of hours in the evening, if that would make the difference. Tom
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Old 04-05-2015, 03:41 PM   #14
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Usually, generators are not permitted from 9:00 pm until 8:00 am at these aviation functions that we frequent, and I would hate to think that I would need to go the ice chest route, after spending a buck and a half plus on an AI.

I don't mind running the gen a couple of hours in the evening, if that would make the difference.
The best time to run the generator is when you would have the most load anyway. Most generators operate at their most efficient, in terms of power produced versus fuel used, when loaded to somewhere between 50% and 75% capacity.

In other words, if all you're doing with the generator is charging the house batteries, that's pretty wasteful. But if you're charging the house batteries plus running the air conditioner in the hottest part of the day, that's a more efficient use of the generator. Or if you're charging the batteries plus running the convection/microwave oven to prepare a meal, that's also a more efficient use of the generator.
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