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Old 05-29-2023, 10:01 PM   #1
hblosser
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Question Need Refrigerator Advice

We have a 2015 Montana 3610RL with the Norcold 2118 RV refrigerator. For some time, it has not been able to keep things cold when the outside temps reach 80 or over. I've done all the normal things like extra fans inside and outside. Nothing helps much. We're planning a long trip out west in July and we've decided to stop at JC Refrigeration and have our refrigerator cooling unit replaced.

The question is which option to choose. My wife likes the idea of keeping the AC/Propane unit so the controls all work the same. The folks at JC Refrigeration are recommending their new 12 dual compressor unit. They have said that although their AC/Propane units are much superior to the originals, they will still have difficulties when temps reach 90 for more.

We already have dual batteries and could easily run the 12 volt unit. However, keeping the wife happy is also important. Does anyone have actual experience with either of the two options?
 
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Old 05-30-2023, 05:40 AM   #2
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When the cooling system on our 2006 started leaking ammonia I installed one of JC's AC/Propane cooling units. Worked head and shoulders above the original Dometic cooling unit. Coming out of storage the refrigerator would be cold enough to add food in about 3 hours. Held temps really good while camping with temps in the 90's. Only real issue I had was in high temp high humidity I was getting some icing inside the box. Solved it by adding a fan inside the refrigerator. I did have to disassemble and clean the burner once to improve cooling with propane. So I'm kind of a proponent of the dual source cooling units.
Our neighbors just bought a new unit that has the dual 12volt compressors. They are big fans having come from a traditional AC/Propane model in their previous rig.
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Old 05-30-2023, 06:16 AM   #3
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Yes, the big push right now is for everything to go EV (Electric Vehicle)... including refrigerators. I've noticed RV dealerships and newer models are coming out with Battery run 12 volt DC refrigerators instead of residential and gas/electric conventional. Why? Think about it?

However, unlike in the automobile industry, I think the 12 volt DC refrigerators are in a better standing and acceptance mode among RVers than electric automobiles are.

Personally, I've never had a battery operated device of any type, other than flashlights, that I've been satisfied with. If at all possible, I'll never own a 12 volt DC RV refrigerator. (if t all possible).

My residential refrigerator (all AC electric) works good. It's a Samsung. I know, some folks have had issues with Samsung. I don't know why. I just let mine run and leave the thing alone. It's plugged in and powered up 24x7x365. I do have an inverter and 2 - 12 volt batteries in my camper. We camp, almost 100% with electricity. If not I have a generator. So for us, the residential refrigerator works very well for us. Once I got past having the gas/electric refrigerators and figured out the residential refrigerator limitations and it's strengths, I have no problems whatsoever with it.

To each their own.... true! Happy camping.
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Old 05-30-2023, 06:24 AM   #4
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This is an excellent video done by one of our members. He details the results in the summary.
When we convert we will go this route.

Norcold fridge 12vdc conversion
https://youtu.be/LHIgoWqiJ60
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Old 05-30-2023, 09:39 AM   #5
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Unless you are adverse to adding an inverter I would use 120v compressors in a refer mod. The 12v models require heavier wiring from the battery bank to the refer.
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Old 06-04-2023, 01:45 PM   #6
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We just switched out the old Dometic 1350 LP/Electric fridge in our 2019 MHC 330RL to the Norcold N15DCSS 12V compressor fridge. It's a 15 cu ft fridge compared to the 13 cu ft of the Dometic and it cools so much better. The fridge is 34-36 constantly and the freezer is around 0. No temperature swings in hot temps. It has two compressors. One for the fridge and one for the freezer so they run independently. This fridge has all the benefits of a compressor fridge but without the need for an inverter and it's larger and lighter than the RV fridge. We are so glad we did this upgrade. There is also a 20 cu ft. It fits the same size cut out as the RV fridge so no modifications of the opening.
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Old 06-04-2023, 01:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by hblosser View Post
We have a 2015 Montana 3610RL with the Norcold 2118 RV refrigerator. For some time, it has not been able to keep things cold when the outside temps reach 80 or over. I've done all the normal things like extra fans inside and outside. Nothing helps much. We're planning a long trip out west in July and we've decided to stop at JC Refrigeration and have our refrigerator cooling unit replaced.

The question is which option to choose. My wife likes the idea of keeping the AC/Propane unit so the controls all work the same. The folks at JC Refrigeration are recommending their new 12 dual compressor unit. They have said that although their AC/Propane units are much superior to the originals, they will still have difficulties when temps reach 90 for more.

We already have dual batteries and could easily run the 12 volt unit. However, keeping the wife happy is also important. Does anyone have actual experience with either of the two options?
I had issues with my original Dometic propane/electric refrigerator. Did everything possible to help the cooling process, adding fans etc. Just got fed up and had the JC Refrigeration 12 volt unit installed. Best money I have ever spent. I did not have an inverter, and did not want to install one. I have a traditional DC converter. The 12 volt compressor system pulls about 7 amps when compressor is running. Of course, when itís not running, it draws 0. The new cooling system is wired directly to your battery bank and requires a 10 guage wire. I live in North Texas and I can tell you at 100+ degrees I maintain at least 37 degrees in fridge and 15 to 19 degrees BELOW 0 in the freezer. My ice cream is rock hard. At night my fridge will go to 35 and freezer 20-22 below. Temp recovery from frequent fridge door opening is minutes, not hours like a evaporator propane fridge. NO worries about propane running your fridge during travel, no fire hazard. Your tv probably puts out about 7 amps while traveling and I have never even come close to a low battery situation from the fridge running. I would highly recommend the 12 volt system. If you already have an inverter, you can go either way, 120 v ac or 12 v dc. Dump that piece of crap propane/electric cooling system. You will never be happy with it especially if you are already having cooling issues. I have had my 12 v system over 2 years now with superb performance all year. Just returned from 10 days boondocking in Dixie National forest and ran my generator for a few hours a day to recharge batteries. My 12 v refrigerator was never a concern. You will be happy with your new cooling system. I sure am.
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Old 06-04-2023, 03:29 PM   #8
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Just a thought, have you relocated the fridge's thermostat sensor further to the left on the cooling fins? That solved our problem when we encountered warmer outside temps.

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Old 06-04-2023, 08:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by AZ Traveler View Post
Unless you are adverse to adding an inverter I would use 120v compressors in a refer mod. The 12v models require heavier wiring from the battery bank to the refer.
Since you are going to have J-C Refrigeration do the install, adding a single 10ga wire should be of no concern. Using your batteriesí 12 volts directly will more efficient than inverting to 120 volts. The 120 volt option would be a best solution if you were planning on being connected to shore power. It sounds as if that is not how you plan on camping.
J-Cís dual 12 volt compressor will outperform the absorption model. The only suggestion Iíd make is consider using lithium batteries in conjunction with J-Cís 12 volt install. Amazon sells a 100ah Chin battery for a little more than $300.
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Old 06-04-2023, 09:14 PM   #10
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External fans are a good move. The cooling fin move like donjamin said is good. Proper door sealing is a must as well.
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Old 06-05-2023, 01:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryles View Post
This is an excellent video done by one of our members. He details the results in the summary.
When we convert we will go this route.

Norcold fridge 12vdc conversion
https://youtu.be/LHIgoWqiJ60
Thanks for posting this video. Weíre having same issues with our Dometic fridge that he discusses about his Norcold. The video runs a bit long, but provides excellent information about the options he considered and the pros and cons of the 12v dual compressor fridge he had installed.
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Old 06-05-2023, 04:48 AM   #12
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We love our JC Refrigerator conversion. Much cheaper to run (2118 is an power hog) cools great.
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Old 06-05-2023, 09:13 PM   #13
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Thanks to everyone who replied. We have done more research and we have decided to go with the 12v option. We have an appointment scheduled for installation.
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Old 06-07-2023, 11:24 AM   #14
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I have a 2015 3100RL, live in the Phoenix metro area and struggled with similar issues. I did 3 things improve my dual mode RV refrigerator/freezer efficiency. 1.) insulated the cabinet that holds the refrigerator (had make sure I did not negatively impact any ventilation). 2.) installed 2 additional condenser fans in the rear cabinet next to the 2 that were OEM installed. 3.) added an internal recirculating fan in the refrigerator compartment. The 3 improvements shared above made a significant difference in my RV refrigerator performance and were a lot less expensive than replacing the entire unit. I used to see refrigerator temps of 50 degrees plus, now run in the 38 - 42 degree range when prepping the unit for a trip when temps are above 100 degrees. Also, my rig is stored in an outdoor lot with covered storage.
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Old 06-07-2023, 02:22 PM   #15
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You'll love it! they did our 2118 last September.
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