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Old 08-19-2008, 11:59 AM   #1
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120V AC/12V DC Norcold

The factory installed Dometic in my '77 Argosy works OK, but I have three problems...

1. It is slow to cool when operating on propane.

2. I have to leave the gas on when driving. I drive long distances - often 800 miles or more at a stretch. I must leave the gas on to keep things cool.

3. It uses a lot of propane. I used one entire cylinder on a seven day trip.

SO I am considering installing a Norcold AC/DC fridge/freezer - 7.9 CF. Draw is about 3.4 Amps on 12V. I know that they work very well, since they are a compressor design that is proven.

Cost is approximately the same as a replacement Dometic 3-way (a little less, actually)

I am installing a new 60 amp converter/charger and two 6V GC AGMs - total about 190 AH. If I do the Norcold, I would double that to 4 6V batts for a total of 380 AH. I could run the Norcold for 80 - 100 hours before recharge. I also have a Honda eu2000i generator.

I seldom have access to 120V main power.

Is there some reason that I should NOT make this change from the Dometic to the electric Norcold???

Mike
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:02 PM   #2
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120V AC/12V DC Norcold

Greetings Mike!

The only concern that I would have is if you plan to participate in many of the classic style WBCCI Rallys where 3 AMP electric may be the maximum available. Often the of generators is discouraged. In this type of situation, the option of LP Gas is desurable. I went with a Dometic 3-Way refrigerator for this reason when I replaced the refrigerator in my '64 Overlander. I still have my origianl Dometic in the Minuet, but will go with a Dometic 3-Way when it becomes cost prohibitive to reapir.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:12 PM   #3
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Mike,

I installed a Norcold DE-0061 (7 CF) in our 1954 Liner. The first time we used the trailer was at this year's International (basically an aluminum tent). We also have two Optima batteries and a Solar panel, no convertor as yet so the solar panel was there to keep the batteries charged. The refrigerator uses only .4A at 120V so the 3A rally electricity should work fine. Our only problem was two days at Glacier NP where we were parked in a forest with no sunlight on the solar panel, the batteries went flat and the refrigerator stopped working.

The Norcold automatically runs on 120V when available and 12V as backup.

Bill
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:46 PM   #4
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Thanks. I see no downside to this idea as long as I have the generator.

I often go for extended periods off grid, so need to have enough electrical power (gas of the generator). I would be able to keep the freezer going while driving (a big consideration) and my propane would power the stove, furnace and hot water heater. I think I am going to do this.

Thanks again.

Mike
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike S View Post
Thanks. I see no downside to this idea as long as I have the generator.

I often go for extended periods off grid, so need to have enough electrical power (gas of the generator). I would be able to keep the freezer going while driving (a big consideration) and my propane would power the stove, furnace and hot water heater. I think I am going to do this.

Thanks again.

Mike
Hi Mike,

I run an Engel 43 quart unit in my Sprinter van (very similar to the Norcold) that draws less than 3 amps DC, and I have had it on non-stop since May 15. It is powered by 2 Lifeline GPL-6CT 300 amp-hour 6VDC golf cart batteries and a 400 watt solar charging system. It never draws the big Lifelines below
12.6 VDC, and that was after 2 rainy days. Usually, it just uses about 0.1 amp overnight.

All this and keeping my favorite bevereges at a perfect frosty 33*F. they also work very well as a dedicated freezer.

I highly recommend these units, and I think that the Norcold unit may actually be built for them by Engel, due to the striking similarities.

I have nothing against Norcold, but IIWY, I would get the Engel, simply for the lower MSRP and bigger selection of units.
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:49 PM   #6
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Lew,

I looked at the Engel site and all the products seem to be ice chest shape not upright refrigerator type. Did I miss something?

Bill
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:13 PM   #7
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It's just plain hard to beat a propane frig for convenience...

Our 30 year old 10 CF Dometic still works great...we just got back from a 10 day trip and I finally had to change over the tanks the day we left.

We only used one 7 gal propane tank while running the frig the whole time, with morning and evening meals on the stove, and the furnace running on and off overnight.

How can you beat that...one tank!

Sure you can get those run those small 12 volt compressor types mentioned above, but compare the space...a 10 CF propane unit gives you a separate freezer and plenty of room to keep your other stuff cold.

If you are boondocking, and use a gen to keep your batteries up, you could switch the propane frig over to AC and save some propane, but I personally don't think it's worth the time to switch back and forth...turn on the gas and forget about it...

If I were buying a replacement frig, I'd probably get the 3-way type, so I could turn it to the 12 volt mode when we are towing for long distances, and let the TV send the power back there. These units automatically switch between AC and Gas to make things even more 'idiot proof'...
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexray View Post
It's just plain hard to beat a propane frig for convenience...

Our 30 year old 10 CF Dometic still works great...we just got back from a 10 day trip and I finally had to change over the tanks the day we left.

We only used one 7 gal propane tank while running the frig the whole time, with morning and evening meals on the stove, and the furnace running on and off overnight.

How can you beat that...one tank!

Sure you can get those run those small 12 volt compressor types mentioned above, but compare the space...a 10 CF propane unit gives you a separate freezer and plenty of room to keep your other stuff cold.

If you are boondocking, and use a gen to keep your batteries up, you could switch the propane frig over to AC and save some propane, but I personally don't think it's worth the time to switch back and forth...turn on the gas and forget about it...

If I were buying a replacement frig, I'd probably get the 3-way type, so I could turn it to the 12 volt mode when we are towing for long distances, and let the TV send the power back there. These units automatically switch between AC and Gas to make things even more 'idiot proof'...
Mexray,

I agree that the absorbtion gas/electric refrigerators are great. I went with the Norcold in our Liner for two reasons:1) the Liner originally had a 110V electric refrigerator so there was not a side vent or top vent to give the air circulation necessary for the gas/electric fridge and I did not want to cut the holes necessary for the venting and 2) I have to park the Liner on the street to pack before we leave on a trip and the Norcold will run up to 30 degrees off level, try that with an absorption fridge and you will soon burn it out.

The new auto select fridges require 12V constantly to make the auto select work.

Bill
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:20 PM   #9
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This is the model hat I am considering...

Norcold AC DC Fridge

Has a separate freezer compartment, which the Dometic does not.

Can freeze and chill when driving - three way types only use 12V DC to 'maintain' chill when operating in 12 V mode- so the unit has to be chilled first.

It is pretty big - biger than my current Dometic.

It will operate properly when running and off camber.
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike S View Post
This is the model hat I am considering...

Norcold AC DC Fridge

Has a separate freezer compartment, which the Dometic does not.

Can freeze and chill when driving - three way types only use 12V DC to 'maintain' chill when operating in 12 V mode- so the unit has to be chilled first.

It is pretty big - biger than my current Dometic.

It will operate properly when running and off camber.
Mike,

That is the one I have in our Liner, it works great and has plenty of room for four of us going to Bozeman this past summer. The best price I found was the local West Marine store.

Bill
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:54 AM   #11
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Thanks, all. I think that I will go in this direction.

Wkerfoot, did you have any issues with the height of this unit? It would be ideal if it fit flat against the wall...

Mike
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike S View Post
Thanks, all. I think that I will go in this direction.

Wkerfoot, did you have any issues with the height of this unit? It would be ideal if it fit flat against the wall...

Mike
Mike,

No issues with the height. You need to give adequate clearance for ventilation. I don't have a straight wall anywhere in any direction on the Liner.

Bill
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1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:39 AM   #13
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DUMB Question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike S View Post
The factory installed Dometic in my '77 Argosy works OK, but I have three problems...

1. It is slow to cool when operating on propane.

2. I have to leave the gas on when driving. I drive long distances - often 800 miles or more at a stretch. I must leave the gas on to keep things cool.

3. It uses a lot of propane. I used one entire cylinder on a seven day trip.

SO I am considering installing a Norcold AC/DC fridge/freezer - 7.9 CF. Draw is about 3.4 Amps on 12V. I know that they work very well, since they are a compressor design that is proven.

Cost is approximately the same as a replacement Dometic 3-way (a little less, actually)

I am installing a new 60 amp converter/charger and two 6V GC AGMs - total about 190 AH. If I do the Norcold, I would double that to 4 6V batts for a total of 380 AH. I could run the Norcold for 80 - 100 hours before recharge. I also have a Honda eu2000i generator.

I seldom have access to 120V main power.

Is there some reason that I should NOT make this change from the Dometic to the electric Norcold???

Mike
Have you checked the gaskets on the doors? What about the outside vents? You may think you need to replace the unit, but if the gaskets are old and don't seal properly you could be getting unsatisfactory cooling, also if the vents are clogged the heat from the propane flame may not disapate properly. Don't replace until you check the minor stuff!

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