Interesting article comparing fridges - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-20-2012, 07:08 AM   #1
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Interesting article comparing fridges

Blog - Fridges - Waeco Vs Engel - RV World New Zealand

I've been looking at fridges for awhile and in fact just bought a 4.5 cu ft Norcold 400. While looking I couldn't make up my mind whether I wanted to go with a DC compressor fridge or propane fridge. The reason I bought the Norcold was it was on ebay, brand new, it was the last one, and the price was almost 1/2 of what others were selling it for. Now that I have it I'm second guessing myself and I think I am going to buy a 12 v DC. I plan on having lots of solar/battery power and I love the fact I can locate it anywhere within the camper without running propane lines or having to vent it to the outside.
While researching I kept coming up with info from "Engel" touting their product as having the best compressor, albeit the most expensive fridge, lowest amp usage, best durability, etc. However I've been seeing a lot of the Waeco/Norcold fridges with the Danfoss compressor reasonably priced and a lot of Engels not so reasonably priced. Anyhow I found the previously listed article as very helpful in putting my mind at ease in going with a Norcold with the Danfoss compressor as far as availability, durability, cooling ability, and low amp usage. I hope this might help someone else thinking of going the same route.
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:28 AM   #2
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Great article, thanks for posting.

Long term I see the compressor refrigerators dominating as non-lead batteries and solar panels come down in price. Looking at the workings of the compressor type refrigerators, it appears that the only thing driving their relatively high price is low volume production.
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:50 PM   #3
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Good choice Steve.
We are very happy with our 12volt Nova Kool R2600 refrigerator/freezer (made in Canada), as it's "foot-print" was slightly smaller than the Dometic 3way we removed, but had a much larger interior capacity, as the Danfoss 134a pump takes up very little room. We bought it in June 2012 just 2 days prior to leaving on a 9,000 mile 2 month trip. Installation took less than an hour. Only had one battery with a 100 watt solar panel, and never ran the battery down past 12.2 volts (with the refrigerator running) in the pre-dawn hours.
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:26 PM   #4
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When we bought our Trillium the Danfoss fridge was standard. A dometic model as i recall. As we boon dock the no current (3 way) as opposed to low current (Danfoss) was what we chose but I did do some reading before coming to that conclusion. I'm not sure about other brands but Dometic requires venting. They suggested two possibilities. Out the back or into the living space. The latter involved raising the fridge about an inch to form a "duct" into the trailer. The heat has to go somewhere or the life of the unit may be shortened. Trailer manufacturers seem to be overlooking this. Raz
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
When we bought our Trillium the Danfoss fridge was standard. A dometic model as i recall. As we boon dock the no current (3 way) as opposed to low current (Danfoss) was what we chose but I did do some reading before coming to that conclusion. I'm not sure about other brands but Dometic requires venting. They suggested two possibilities. Out the back or into the living space. The latter involved raising the fridge about an inch to form a "duct" into the trailer. The heat has to go somewhere or the life of the unit may be shortened. Trailer manufacturers seem to be overlooking this. Raz
I know my home fridge needs to have the "fins" on the back unobstructed. I can't see why the same logic wouldn't apply to 12v fridges. Norcold advertises their "vent-less" design which, I believe, is nothing more than built in space. I had a Danfoss type 12v in my Trillium and LOVED it. No leveling required, got and stayed cold effortlessly, and never had a problem going 3 days before needing charging as I had no solar at the time. I think as technology improves most campers will come this way. All our original family campers, back in the day, had "propane" lights which most of us would never have thought of doing without. I never see propane lights built in nowadays.
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:36 PM   #6
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It might be that the venting issue was unique to the Dometic model I researched?? I don't recall the model number but the need for venting was mentioned in the installation guide I read. Raz
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:31 AM   #7
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I bought my Edgestar 63 Quart Refridgerator/Freezer 12v or 110 AC off of CompactAppliance.com for only $400. It was an Open Box model that is the reason for the low price. It has been working good in the back seat of my Toyota Tundra Access Cab plugged into the 12volt accessory plug. I use it as a fridge and have never used it as a freezer yet. It supplements my regular size fridge/freezer in the 17 ft. Casita SD travel trailer. I have not noticed any heating problems and I can hardly hear it running. This unit was recommended on Expenditionportal.com and I'm happy with it. I can't see paying $1500 for one of the other makes.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:48 AM   #8
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I ended up going with a 1.7 cu ft Waeco. A Very well built fridge that I fell in to a deal on. I wanted bigger and lost out on a bid for a 3.2 cu ft fridge but now I feel it was meant to be. In the future if I need more capacity I'll pick up something like your Edgestar. That way I can bring it when I need it or leave it home when I don't.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:47 AM   #9
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Venting the non-propane refrigerator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Hammel View Post
I know my home fridge needs to have the "fins" on the back unobstructed. I can't see why the same logic wouldn't apply to 12v fridges.
Absolutely true. Here's Nova Kool's clear statement from their FAQ:
Quote:
Q: How Much Ventilation do I need?
A: Ventilation should be one of your first major installation considerations. All refrigerators, regardless of make, are heat transfer machines which transfer heat from the inside of the box by way of the evaporator , compressor and refrigerant to the condenser on the outside of the box to be dissipated to the air.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Hammel View Post
Norcold advertises their "vent-less" design which, I believe, is nothing more than built in space.
Maybe not... here's the rest of Nova Kool's FAQ answer:
Quote:
The cavity where the condenser is located MUST be adequately ventilated. Single door units require 30 sq.in. INLET and 30 sq .in. OUTLET. Double door units require 60 sq .in. INLET and 60 sq .in. OUTLET (With the exception of the RFU9000 and the RFU8220 which is designed with, all of the required ventilation built into the front of the unit, and does not require additional ventilation.)
Does the Norcold (which model is this?) have front vent provision like the Nova Kool RFU9000 and RFU8220 (which happen to be larger units)? The vent box is visible on the bottom of these models; since it looks like it is only the bottom, perhaps it has a fan... I haven't read the manuals.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:19 PM   #10
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See the venting at the top around the knobs and at the bottom.
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