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Old 10-22-2021, 04:41 PM   #1
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Name: John
Trailer: Escape 21, behind an '02 F250 7.3 diesel tug
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compressor refrigerators

My Escape 21's fridge died, and the good local RV repair guy says he can't get a straight answer out of Dometic about parts availability, but he has another customer who's been waiting 11 months for a component for a similar fridge (mine is a Dometic RMD8555 which was an Electrolux design and was made in Germany)

So I am seriously considering installing a compressor fridge in its place, specifically, the Norcold N2175 which is almost exactly the same size. This guy is a Norcold dealer as well as service agent.

He told me a lot of the big trailer folks have had issues with compressor fridges not handling the vibrations of road travel well, and causing the refrigerant to get all foamy inside, at least I think thats what he was saying. This has been a problem with the big double and/or french door fridges used in big land barges, he's going to do some research to see if its an issue with the ~6 cu ft N2175.
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Old 10-22-2021, 05:53 PM   #2
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I also have been told my Dometic is obsolete and the parts do not exist. I've got all winter to research this. My trailer is a 2012 Casita Spirit.

I am also interested in alternate fridges. I often boondock and use a 100 watt solar panel to keep my battery charged up.

Another question. Do the fridges even fit through the door? Or were they put in the trailer before the top was attached?
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Old 10-22-2021, 06:13 PM   #3
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the large fridge in my 21' escape just fits through my door. I don't think you'd have any issues with a suitable 'truck fridge' fitting into a casita, but we sold ours several years ago.

Dometic RMD8555 mm inches
H 1245 49.0
W 525 20.7
D 623 24.5

Norcold N2175 mm inches
H 1249 49.2
W 527 20.7
D 613 24.1

note these are 6 cubic foot fridges, with separate freezer compartments.

my door is about 22" wide, I have heard that you have to do some tricky rotation once its inside the E21 before you can put it in its installation location.
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Old 10-22-2021, 06:15 PM   #4
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I have absorption type fridge in my Scamp and compressor fridges in my class B RV and in home. The fridge in Scamp works more or less OK, but I want to replace it with a compressor fridge. I want a reliable but not an unpredictable fridge.
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Old 10-22-2021, 06:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokhapkin View Post
I have absorption type fridge in my Scamp and compressor fridges in my class B RV and in home. The fridge in Scamp works more or less OK, but I want to replace it with a compressor fridge. I want a reliable but not an unpredictable fridge.
by pretty much all accounts, Norcold are excellent, best in class. and they have great parts availability via their dealer network.
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:44 PM   #6
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My neighbor friend installed a Norcold ~3 cu ft compressor fridge in his Transit van 4 years ago. He has since driven all over the country 50,000 miles or so, and no fridge problems.
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Old 10-22-2021, 10:56 PM   #7
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Trailer: Xplore X22
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My Xpore 22 has a Furrion 12 volt Compressor fridge. Mine is 10 Cu ft, but they may make a smaller model that would fit in your space. With a compressor fridge, it seems you get more interior volume than with the same size absorption fridge because the mechanism takes up less room.

I love this fridge and will never go back to absorption. I can hear it running, but it sounds like a small muffin fan, not a typical compressor sound. It works just like a home refrigerator, and is much quieter than a dorm fridge.

It draws about 11 amps when running, but settles into about 20% run time, or less, depending of course on how much load it has and the weather. My original solar system was putting out about 100 watts max (actual delivered max) and would not quite keep up with it. I've now upgraded the solar to 460 watts of panels (theoretical max at the panels) and I am at 100% charge before noon every day. I see no reason to plug the trailer in at all, and the fridge is sitting at about 0 degrees F all the time in the freezer.
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Old 10-23-2021, 06:42 AM   #8
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Makes you wonder why they call them "Truck fridges" https://truckfridge.com/collections/...-refrigerators

Seems to me that if you get one that is designed to go in a vehicle it should be reasonably reliable. But get a dorm fridge at Walmart, then maybe not.
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Old 10-23-2021, 07:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
My Xpore 22 has a Furrion 12 volt Compressor fridge. Mine is 10 Cu ft, but they may make a smaller model that would fit in your space. With a compressor fridge, it seems you get more interior volume than with the same size absorption fridge because the mechanism takes up less room.

I love this fridge and will never go back to absorption. I can hear it running, but it sounds like a small muffin fan, not a typical compressor sound. It works just like a home refrigerator, and is much quieter than a dorm fridge.

It draws about 11 amps when running, but settles into about 20% run time, or less, depending of course on how much load it has and the weather. My original solar system was putting out about 100 watts max (actual delivered max) and would not quite keep up with it. I've now upgraded the solar to 460 watts of panels (theoretical max at the panels) and I am at 100% charge before noon every day. I see no reason to plug the trailer in at all, and the fridge is sitting at about 0 degrees F all the time in the freezer.
That's what I wanted to know. Sounds like I'd need to upgrade my solar "array". I have a suitcase 100 watt panel.
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Old 10-30-2021, 10:28 AM   #10
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Name: Philip
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Casita Fridge Replacement

I replaced the Fridge in my Casita Spirit Deluxe. The only way to do it was to remove the back glass and pass the old and new fridge through it.

I have heard that if you remove the coils from the rear of the fridge it will fit through the door. Of course you have to reinstall them once it's inside the camper. Never seen it done only heard it is possible.
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Old 10-30-2021, 12:57 PM   #11
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Smile Strange

[As just about all the overlanders use compressor refrigerators. I myself, while not a overlander (ha, ha) have a ARB 50 Qt. compressor refrigerator and have used it going on 6 years now. Never a problem. It has been up north of the Artic Circle on the Dempster and all over Alaska. Great unit.

He told me a lot of the big trailer folks have had issues with compressor fridges not handling the vibrations of road travel well, and causing the refrigerant to get all foamy inside, at least I think thats what he was saying.
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Old 10-30-2021, 03:19 PM   #12
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I'm a bit skeptical of the "foamy" argument. That would make sense if it were a mix of liquid refrigerant and air or something like nitrogen, but the whole thing is full of just refrigerant. The pressure will ensure it's all liquid between the condenser and the expansion valve, and gas from the evaporator to the compressor inlet. I guess you could end up with more of a mix between the condenser and expansion valve, but I'm not sure why that'd be a problem. Maybe the oil's what's foaming, but I'm not sure how the vibration would cause that.

The bigger issue I could see would just be physical durability. If the various components aren't well-supported they could be damaged bouncing down the road.
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Old 10-30-2021, 03:34 PM   #13
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I suspect many of the large motor homes use residential refrigerators. I would not put this past the manufacturers. I think the "Danfoss compressor" refrigerators designed for low energy and mobile use would be OK.


I've considered going this way on out last two trailers. What stopped me was the modifications to the cabinet (different size) and need for more solar. More solar would involve a larger controller and more batteries in my case. It would be expensive.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
He told me a lot of the big trailer folks have had issues with compressor fridges not handling the vibrations of road travel well, and causing the refrigerant to get all foamy inside, at least I think thats what he was saying. This has been a problem with the big double and/or french door fridges used in big land barges, he's going to do some research to see if its an issue with the ~6 cu ft N2175.
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Old 10-30-2021, 03:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defenestrator View Post
I'm a bit skeptical of the "foamy" argument. That would make sense if it were a mix of liquid refrigerant and air or something like nitrogen, but the whole thing is full of just refrigerant. The pressure will ensure it's all liquid between the condenser and the expansion valve, and gas from the evaporator to the compressor inlet. I guess you could end up with more of a mix between the condenser and expansion valve, but I'm not sure why that'd be a problem. Maybe the oil's what's foaming, but I'm not sure how the vibration would cause that.

The bigger issue I could see would just be physical durability. If the various components aren't well-supported they could be damaged bouncing down the road.
My RV guy got back to me on the Norcold N2175... Says the problem he's heard of is only happening to the larger quad door compressor fridges put in big sunblockers, and its not the compressor, but rather the coils and outlet or something.

He's called Norcold and asked for a quote and delivery time estimate for a N2175 for me. When we get it, I want to look into getting more like 240 watts solar (I have 160 W now)
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Old 10-30-2021, 05:35 PM   #15
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Trailer: LiL Hauley
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I have about 50,000 miles on my truckfridge tf 130.
1. At first it did not seem to cool consistently with changing ambient temperatures, however after increasing the air flow to it, it is fine.
2. I don't think it is very well insulated, as the door sometimes gets condensation on it. I added a layer of reflectix on the interior sides. Not sure of the effectiveness, but it was left over stuff, so I used it up.
3. My wife doesn't like the small freezer section.
4. It uses about 40 amp-hours per day (24 hours) in 70 degree ambient.
5. I suggest you look at LFP batteries and a way to charge them. On our trip to Alaska (80 days) we never plugged in. The 200 watts of solar and the 9 amp Victron DC-DC charger worked fine. I only had charge anxiety a couple times when the battery got down to around 30% SOC.
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Old 11-03-2021, 05:47 PM   #16
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my plan is,

1) get the Norcold installed and test how much power it actually uses.

2) upgrade solar to around 200 watts, maybe 240 if I can fit it without going overboard, also replace PWM solar controller with a good MPPT one that has lithium capabilities.

3) if the lead acid batteries can't keep up, then replace with a pair of 100AH LiFePO4...
and if thats still not enough, add two more. oh, and with the batts, replace the WFCO guts with the PD4655LiV
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Old 11-04-2021, 08:25 AM   #17
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
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The foaming refrigerant thing leaves me with just one question.
HOW CAN YOU SEE THAT?
This is B$ at best.
I have an older Norcold compressor fridge with the swing compressor and it replaced an even older Norcold with a noisier swing compressor.
Neither ever gave me a problem, ever (well when Connie packed so much in the door didn't close properly is an exception).
Install the fridge and be happy.
One good modification would be to add solar and a nice high capacity LiFePO4 battery.
With the lower current draw and if you have a good connection to the TV the connection may supply enough power to run the fridge, but then usually driving down the highway with the solar on does the job for me. Most highways are not in the shade and the panels are mounted on the roof for this reason.
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Old 11-04-2021, 08:28 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
my plan is,

1) get the Norcold installed and test how much power it actually uses.

2) upgrade solar to around 200 watts, maybe 240 if I can fit it without going overboard, also replace PWM solar controller with a good MPPT one that has lithium capabilities.

3) if the lead acid batteries can't keep up, then replace with a pair of 100AH LiFePO4...
and if thats still not enough, add two more. oh, and with the batts, replace the WFCO guts with the PD4655LiV
There is a lot going on with the batteries. If I had to do my setup over I would look into 200 amp/hr units. They save some space weight and money.
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