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Old 06-10-2020, 01:22 PM   #1
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1974 27' Overlander
Naramata , British Columbia
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Nova Kool DC only or AC/DC

Hello, All. We are pretty sure that we will be getting a Nova Kool R4500 fridge for our 74 Overlander project and we need to make a fairly quick decision. The DC-only model is less money than the AC/DC model that will automatically switch to shore power. My question (pls be kind because it may be a dumb one giving my limited understanding of all these "systems"!) is two-fold:

A. Doesn't an inverter/converter switch to AC power? Not sure why I would need another "switch" on the fridge itself?
B. That said, what should I be looking for and considering in choosing an inverter/converter?

Hopefully, you can weigh in with some clear and quick advice. Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2020, 06:15 PM   #2
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The inverter changes DC to AC, converter changes AC to DC. If you don't have one already you need the converter. To figure out what size you need , you will need to know how many amps everything on the DC side will pull. I don't know about an Overlander but my Ambassador came with a 75 amp converter. PO replaced it with a 65 amp converter, I think later I might put an 80 or 85 amp in. You might be able to get by with a 45 amp converter but I am not sure since I don't know how big the overlander is or how it is layed out. But that would be a starting point unless you can find documentation telling how big the factory converter was.


As for the fridge, I would go with the AC/DC fridge. The automatic switch over has nothing to do with the converter. But it would allow you to run a lower amp converter if you are on shore power the majority of the time cause it would be running on AC instead of Battery. If and when I have to replace our fridge I am going to go back with a 3-way fridge. That way if we are somewhere we do not have shore power I can run it on LP and save the battery for lights and furnace if needed.
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Old 06-10-2020, 11:23 PM   #3
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Okay.Thx for this explanation. We are working with a completely gutted trailer so we can go any direction with a new converter/inverter.
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Old 06-11-2020, 05:31 AM   #4
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I would get the DC version, unless your trailer is going to be permanently parked somewhere there is AC. You should always have DC of some kind, even if only from the tow vehicle, but you won't always have AC. I believe in KISS, and the less complexity, the less stuff to break.
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Old 06-11-2020, 11:02 AM   #5
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The Nova Kool will automatically switch between AC and DC based on availability. Whenever AC is/becomes available, the refrig will switch from DC. If the inverter/charger also has an automatic transfer switch as most do, then a switch-over from one current to the other will be totally seamless.

How much is this convenience worth?
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Old 06-12-2020, 07:33 AM   #6
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Thx, All. We chose the AC/DC model for seamless switching. It was minimally more $ - the cost of convenience.
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Old 06-12-2020, 09:13 AM   #7
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An ATS (automated transfer switch) is needed to seamlessly transfer from battery to shore. It may be in the inverter, maybe be in the fridge or maybe needed to installed separately.
A DC/AC is probably the best option. It depends on a lot of things. The fridge is usually the single biggest continuous draw of power you will have.
Remember 10 amps of AC = 100 amps DC. You will need to have enough charging ability to keep those batteries up. So you will likely need a generator or lots of solar (and lots of sunshine).
If you install FLAs (flooded lead acid) or VRLA (AGMs or Gels) batteries, you can only use 50% of rated capacity without battery damage - in otherwords 50Ah out of 100Ah battery. If you install lithiums you get up to 100% of capacity without battery damage (plus higher constant voltage and faster charging).
Do not make the mistake of undersizing your system for you needs. What you spend today will save you a lot of time, money and frustration in the future.
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