Norcold N300.3 current draw on gas? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-07-2013, 02:19 PM   #1
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Norcold N300.3 current draw on gas?

I have given up on my 21-year-old Dometic RM2310 3-way fridge. Too much trouble and repairs are too expensive. A new fridge is in the offing.

Modern Dometic replacements all have electronic controls that draw current even when in gas mode. As a solar-powered boondocker I find .5 amp draw 24/7 unacceptable.

I've been looking at the Norcold N300.3, which Norcold says fits the same cabinet opening as the Dometic.

N300/N302

It has manual rather than electronic controls and I see no printed circuit board in the exploded view included with the online parts list.

N300 Series

Thus I conclude that it draws no current when in gas mode. But I'm not sure.

The Norcold customer service person does not know. Nor does anyone at several Norcold service centers. Is anyone out there using the N300.3 or know about this model?

Thanks!
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:15 PM   #2
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Hi Tim. I had a N-300 in my previous camper. Mine was the first version (01?). There was no DC current draw on propane. No electronics. There were two issues: 1) because they put the controls inside, the thermal couple to safety valve wires were long. As a result, there was considerable voltage drop between the two and the safety valve would randomly shut down the propane. Lots of very unhappy folks. They fixed the problem by using larger wires but there were at least a dozen push connectors/switch contacts in line that sooner or later will need cleaning or the same thing will occur. Google search Norcold N300 problem for some of the discussions. 2) the cooling coils/fins are in the freezer so that works great but at the expensive of the fridge section. Frozen chicken and sour milk. I added proper baffles and an outside fan which did help. The installation guide talks about the baffles, unfortunately my trailer manufacturer didn't read it. A fan inside might help as well. The third version may be an improvement??? Raz
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:43 AM   #3
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Thanks so much

Thanks for the info, Raz. I have read about the wire / thermocouple issue in older posts on other forums. I was hoping the problem had been corrected by now.

I was unaware of the N300.3 design favoring freezer over fridge. I'd much rather have the opposite. This has become another case of being unable to find all desired features in a single product. Perhaps I'll have another go at having the old Dometic repaired.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:00 AM   #4
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Our Trillium has a Dometic 2193. It is a little less that 2 cubic feet, fridge only, and has the controls outside. It works far better than the Norcold. No need for fans so far but we have not camped in 100*+ weather yet. The only issue so far is the igniter wire is so close to the coil it started to short out. Since it's easy to ignite with a lighter I'm not sure I will bother fixing it. Very simple. Raz
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:25 AM   #5
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Yes, someone at Dometic customer service suggested the RM2193 as a manually-controlled model. Since two of us live several months out of the year in our 17' Bigfoot we enjoy the ~3 cubic foot including a freezer-a small luxury in a mostly Spartan lifestyle. I have suggested to Dometic that if they made more manually-controlled fridges more of us would buy new instead of continually repairing the old.

I suspect the cooling unit in our RM2310 is not working to its potential, a shame since it was just replaced with a re-manufactured unit a few months ago. Only after that did I learn from Dometic that a brand new cooling unit to fit our fridge is available.

The Norcold N300.3 has received many unfavorable comments in various forums over the years I have discovered. But then so has just about any other fridge one searches on. It would seem happy owners are infrequent posters.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:50 AM   #6
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The N300.3 can run on lp with no voltage to the refrigerator

When I called, the Thetford/Norcold phone rep could not answer the question and would not refer me to anyone else. A couple of days after phoning I emailed them to ask the question about the N300.3 drawing current when in propane mode. Here is the response:
Hello,

The N300.3 can run on lp with no voltage to the refrigerator.

Thank you,

Ed
Consumer Service
Thetford Corp/Norcold Inc
Yippee! Though the Norcold N300.3 has about 7 cubic inches less capacity than the comparable Dometic that will fit into the space available, if I buy a new fridge it will be the Norcold.

BTW, I have emailed Dometic USA and Dometic Stockholm to request that they resume production of a greater variety of manually-controlled gas absorption refrigerators.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:21 AM   #7
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If you buy the Norold, read the installation notes on vent separation and baffles. On my installation the vent placement was close to the minimum. I added baffles in the suggested locations as well as a fan at the exhaust vent. As a result performance did improve. Good luck, Raz
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