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Old 05-15-2015, 01:39 PM   #1
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Question about the fridge...

What are the drawbacks to putting in a normal plug-in fridge instead of a domestic?

Does anyone use a plain-old plug in fridge in their airstream?

We had an old propane fridge that worked so-so, and I didn't want to re-do the whole kitchen with that in place -- just in case it pooped out and I had to re-do the cabinetry around it.

Thanks everyone, trying not to spend the 1,000 on a new dometic if I don't have to.
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Old 05-15-2015, 03:35 PM   #2
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I know one member that installed a AVANTI frig that only draws 65 watts and run it off his solar system. He is stationary for long periods but does go on the road. He can be completely off the grid.

The disadvantage of a straight 110 system without solar is you have to stop at a campground and can not spend long periods on the road in a given day in the summer.

If I had to replace the marginal gas job again I would copy his system.
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Old 05-15-2015, 05:23 PM   #3
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The other thought would be the compressor and piping system. Trailers are not smooth riding vehicles. Since normal refrigerators are built to sit and a stable floor, would the rock and roll and vibrations potentially cause a component failure within the refrigeration system?

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Old 05-15-2015, 06:43 PM   #4
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I cant get my Dometic RM100 (vintage 78) to run. Everything checks OK and there is no obvious aftermath of a ammonia leak. Its a crying shame that they do not make replacement exchangers for this model. Sooooo, I went to Lowes and found a compact refrigerator , in stainless, runs on 115VAC and will fit in the old hole. I love the idea of originality but 1500 for a replacement Dometic vs 350 for the Haier fridge gives me pause.
I can buy the Haier, a huge YETI or Pelican cooler combined for less than the Dometic alone. I can pack a lot of groceries in a YETI, add ice every week or so and when available can plug in on shore power or generator. Plus, if a bear breaks into my airstream, he/she wont get into my cooler.. Im going to have one more go at resurrecting the RM100. If it dosent work, the Yeti/Haier fridge will be my choice.
As far as compressor failure, that is a certainty for fridges that have been moved on their side and then immediately righted and plugged in. The compressor oil has to drain down, and that can take as long as a day before placing into use. Gently gliding down the road on TorFlex axles and Centramatics shouldn't cause a problem with a household / dorm refrigerator. Now on the other hand, if you are crossing the Rubicon trail, all bets are off.
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Old 05-15-2015, 06:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyCorpsman View Post
As far as compressor failure, that is a certainty for fridges that have been moved on their side and then immediately righted and plugged in. The compressor oil has to drain down, and that can take as long as a day before placing into use. Gently gliding down the road on TorFlex axles and Centramatics shouldn't cause a problem with a household / dorm refrigerator. Now on the other hand, if you are crossing the Rubicon trail, all bets are off.
I used to have a Haier in my office and I remember all the piping and compressor being suspended and free moving to a point. I would occasionally hit it with my foot and I'd hear all the refrigeration components clanking around. While the Airstream is a good riding trailer, I don't think I'd feel comfortable unless the compressor and components were secure. I remember pulling it out of the box and they had styrofoam packing around all the refrigeration components to keep them stable in shipping. You removed those before its first use.

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Old 05-15-2015, 07:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Does anyone use a plain-old plug in fridge in their airstream?
No. But you might consider a Nova Kool 12vDC/120vAC system. Very energy efficient— which it has to be with no propane option. And because it runs on 12v, you don't need to have the inverter running while in transit to keep it cool, just run it straight off the house battery system.

By the way, that is the number-one drawback to a residential fridge in an RV— when you're not hooked up to shore power, you've got to be running the inverter for it to stay cool while you're in transit or boondocking.
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera View Post
I used to have a Haier in my office and I remember all the piping and compressor being suspended and free moving to a point. I would occasionally hit it with my foot and I'd hear all the refrigeration components clanking around. While the Airstream is a good riding trailer, I don't think I'd feel comfortable unless the compressor and components were secure. I remember pulling it out of the box and they had styrofoam packing around all the refrigeration components to keep them stable in shipping. You removed those before its first use.

Jack
Thanks for the heads up. Next trip to Lowes, I will check it out.
Clayton
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Old 05-16-2015, 03:54 PM   #8
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Which dometic do you have now? I just got the Avanti refrigerator that I read about on another thread. 8 Cubic Feet - Avanti 7.4 Cubic Foot Black/Platinum Two Door Apartment Size Refrigerator - RA7316PST
We are stationary so I REALLY didn't want to spend the $1500 for a replacement dometic. The Avanti is within the dimensions that dometic lists for replacing the RM100, but I'm worried it will be 1/2 inch too tall. I'm 1,000 miles away from the trailer now but can let you know in a couple weeks how replacement goes. ��
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyCorpsman View Post
I cant get my Dometic RM100 (vintage 78) to run. Everything checks OK and there is no obvious aftermath of a ammonia leak. Its a crying shame that they do not make replacement exchangers for this model. Sooooo, I went to Lowes and found a compact refrigerator , in stainless, runs on 115VAC and will fit in the old hole. I love the idea of originality but 1500 for a replacement Dometic vs 350 for the Haier fridge gives me pause.
I can buy the Haier, a huge YETI or Pelican cooler combined for less than the Dometic alone. I can pack a lot of groceries in a YETI, add ice every week or so and when available can plug in on shore power or generator. Plus, if a bear breaks into my airstream, he/she wont get into my cooler.. Im going to have one more go at resurrecting the RM100. If it dosent work, the Yeti/Haier fridge will be my choice.
As far as compressor failure, that is a certainty for fridges that have been moved on their side and then immediately righted and plugged in. The compressor oil has to drain down, and that can take as long as a day before placing into use. Gently gliding down the road on TorFlex axles and Centramatics shouldn't cause a problem with a household / dorm refrigerator. Now on the other hand, if you are crossing the Rubicon trail, all bets are off.



There are several places that rebuild refers. one near me is

Carren RV - Home I beleive they use H2 instead of ammonia.
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Old 05-17-2015, 08:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gomotomoto View Post
What are the drawbacks to putting in a normal plug-in fridge instead of a domestic?

Does anyone use a plain-old plug in fridge in their airstream?

We had an old propane fridge that worked so-so, and I didn't want to re-do the whole kitchen with that in place -- just in case it pooped out and I had to re-do the cabinetry around it.

Thanks everyone, trying not to spend the 1,000 on a new dometic if I don't have to.
I switched out the old dometic to a Summit 110 AC Fridge about 10 years ago. Here a similar version available today. Summit FF1074SS 10.0 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Counter Depth Top Freezer

Works great looks great, here are a few pictures that includes the fridge.
Airstream Interior 2010.pdf
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Old 05-17-2015, 08:25 AM   #11
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Our Dometic type 510A is 48 yrs old and still working. The gas burner jet needs to be removed and cleaned by soaking in a good solvent about once a year if used a lot as ours is. Do not put anything metal thru the orifice, just soak over night and blow thru with compressed air. We have also run a small piece of steel wool on the end of a piece of wire up and down in our burner tube to ensure no cold or hot spots. I don't know if you can do that in a newer fridge or not. If your fridge is either gas or electric and has power to the electric heating element but won't cool, I would suspect it is crystallized inside and needs to be rebuilt or replaced. I can't remember the contact info, but there is a company in California that has advertised rebuilt units. That is still costly though if you have to ship your refer there.
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Old 05-17-2015, 08:44 AM   #12
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IMSO ( In my stupid opinion )

I have always been impressed by the propane fridges. I am only guessing, but I think that they might cost less to run than an electric fridge. ( even though most times you pay a set amount for electric). I kinda wish I had a gas fridge for my home. They make industrial gas fridges.

Anyway, under the category of reinventing the wheel…Why did they put gas fridges in RVs in the first place?

In answer to your question…If you are ONLY going to travel short distances, and ONLY stay in campgrounds, and NEVER going to sell…then an all electric fridge would be acceptable.

P.S. I always need to bring a cooler as well, because I never have enough room in my fridge. I rarely camp less than four days.
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Old 05-18-2015, 08:11 AM   #13
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Using the Refrig on long days

I am a new AS owner. We have traveled 10 times on trips that exceeded 6 hours on the road. Do I really need to turn on the propane while traveling? My freezer items are still frozen although the ice cream was not real hard. Milk cold, lunch meat doesn't smell. Am I flirting with a health problem?
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Old 05-18-2015, 08:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
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There are several places that rebuild refers. one near me is

Carren RV - Home I beleive they use H2 instead of ammonia.
Thank You. We've got three places in central Arkansas that manufacture the replacement heat xchanger/coil for Dometic, Norcold and others. From what I was told by the owners is that it requires a special bending jig for each type. Since the RM100's have been replaced over the years with newer units, there is very little demand for manufacture of a replacement part. If the Ammonia/ H2 has leaked out over time, it is possible to remove, clean and patch, followed by recharging the mix. It takes special skills to re solder old pipe. And the added disadvantage is that if it leaked once, there is another one that will happen soon. I have also heard that a "stuck" fridge can be flipped over on its top and the ammonia crystals will "unpack". maybe that is next. I will give Caren RV a look see. Thanks again.
Clayton
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