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Old 07-10-2019, 07:31 PM   #1
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RV Fridge or Residential Fridge?

The Dometic in our 2015 3825 RL has determined to function quite poorly and will no longer maintain a satisfactory temperature. Our local service man has eyeballed it all over and is stumped and his next idea is to change the thermister (yeah I know that isn't spelt right but it's all I got) which seems like a sound try to me. This is the sensor (it would likely have been called a thermostat a few decades ago) that decides if the box is cool enough or not and commands more or less cooling.

A few weeks ago when we reported for our weekly stay of two nights the plastic burning smell was quite overpowering. We ventilated and looked all over for anything that could have melted and found nothing. Everything continued to function as expected but the fridge began to warm up over the following days while we were away. We returned to find a warmer than comfortable fridge and suspected something in the back had given up. He looked and looked and checked and checked some more and so did we but we located nothing and did not ever smell any ammonia so likely an ammonia leak is not the reason for the gradual failure.

All of which is an awful lot of background for the question. Ought we consider changing over to a residential fridge if this one is found to be not economically repairable? The answer to which could lead to a lot of questions. Will a residential unit fit the fridge space, what will have to be done to maintain the cold on a long day of travel, is a residential really less expensive than an RV style fridge? All y'all are welcome to add some more questions or send some answers as suits your fancy.

He tells me that a new cooling unit will run in the vicinity of $1,600 bucks, a new RV fridge will run around $4,500 bucks and a residential should run around $3 grand. More or less. We do not have a genset so making 'lectricity while traveling is not happening and I am not really in the mood to have one anyway.

I am not yet knowing if we have a serious failure or a failure of one or more of the component parts. If and when we solve that troubling question will it be time to make the big bucks decision.

Thank all y'all in advance account it might be a few days afore I can check back to see what you said or didn't say.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:23 PM   #2
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If and when we have issues with our frig we will be replacing the cooling unit with an Amish unit.
Dick, Joyce, Diego, Picatso and Gustav
2017 3720 RL, MorRyde pin box
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:37 PM   #3
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I'm with DQDICK on the Amish unit when that time comes! If you do a residential Frig you will always need 110 volt AC to run it ether off shore power or a inverter off your battery bank when traveling. We like the RV frig but we also boondock.
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by DQDick View Post
If and when we have issues with our frig we will be replacing the cooling unit with an Amish unit.

What is an "Amish unit?"

Bob and Nancy Kassl Fall Creek, Wisconsin
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:42 AM   #5
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We had to replace the cooling units on both our 06 and 13 Montana due to poor performance, We replaced them with with the Amish units located in Shipshewana, Ind and never another problem. We used our extended service contract for the replacement.

Google Amish RV Refrigeration Company located in Shipshewana IN. There is more than one.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:30 AM   #6
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Our 2008 & 2012 Montana fivers had RV reefers and the current 2018.5 has the Samsung residential and we prefer it by far. It depends on how long you travel per day. We travel 6 hours or less and it would be no problem for it to be unplugged that long. In our case I would replace with a residential and it can be done for MUCH less than 3 grand. I would measure my space available very carefully and then take my tape measure shopping.
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:03 AM   #7
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I also would look at converting to DC high efficiency as well. YouTube it if you are not familiar.
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:54 AM   #8
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Been there, Done that. new cooing unit, many fans and still not a satisfactory operation of our Norcold 1210 as it was costing more in spoiled food than it was worth. These fridges can not keep up here in Naples Florida heat and humidity in the summer, so out it went for a 4 door Frigidaire. For us that was the best upgrade we have done so far besides the dometic 320 toilet. We full time so i would not have an RV fridge again if we bought a new one, But if i camped I would.
2017, 3500 Ram Big Horn, 4x4, Crew Cab, DRW, Aisin Transmission, 4:10. Curt Q20, 2014 Mountaineer 331 RLT, Sailun's on the rv and truck.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:55 PM   #9
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Thanks all y'all. My tech has one more try in mind before the next decision is made. He has used many of the Amish units and likes them which is another good recommendation for them.

I'll letcha know what the results are.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:56 PM   #10
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I think the answer to your question depends more on how you use your RV than what kind of refrigerator is actually better.

If you don't boondock I would suggest that a residential fridge is by far the best choice and you will get a lot more fridge for your dollar. Plus you can replace it extremely easily at any big box store.

But if you do boondock, then an RV dual fuel style fridge is about the only way to go.

Since we are full time in one location for the next several years it wasn't even a question it is residential all the way and I am very happy with that choice. Even when we were weekend warriors the residential was still our preference as we always stayed where there was power except during transit. The residential will keep food cold for quite a while even without power IF you don't open the door on them. Most especially if you freeze some water bottles and leave them in it.

In fact, we would be happy with a totally electric camper (IE: no butane or 12volt) if they made such a beast and the electric could heat the unit on 50amp service. I suspect we will in fact start seeing totally AC electric units on the market before to long. They would be less expensive for sure and easier to maintain. And to be honest I can't think of a good reason to have anything else if you never boondock......
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:36 AM   #11
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Our 2017 Monty has a Samsung res fridge... excellent... when driving, our umbilical cord has a charge line which feeds enough to keep the 2 batteries charged, with the inverter running......
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:55 AM   #12
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New Samsung 18 cu ft residential fits in same space as 12 cuft norcold and it is just about 1200. An inverter to keep it running while towing is about another 1200 or so...all depends on who does work and what parts are used. Fridge space does need to be modified, propane line needs to be removed, etc. So 3000 for all if someone is doing the work would be a good price.
2012 F350 6.7 L dually, 2013 3800RE with 6 pt leveling, Sumitomo 17.5" load range h tires, Samsung 18 cu ft residential fridge, 8k Morryde I.S. with disc brakes. Full timing since 2012.
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by RKassl View Post
What is an "Amish unit?"


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Old 07-17-2019, 01:41 PM   #14
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We have a Samsung residential fridge and love it. Inverter will last 11hrs. But when hooked up and towing, your vehicle will keep charged with no problem. Ours is the 3701LK
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:52 PM   #15
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Theres a great place about a mile north of Shipshewana called National RV Refrigeration. Leon is an Amish fella who deals in used ; scratch and dent, and new or refurbished A/C or fridge units. I recommend him highly. When the ammonia tank blew on my '05 3650 RK I pulled the unit out and plugged the propane line; luckily I was only an hour north of him in Union Lake Michigan and he had a brand new Dometic scratched(couldn't even tell);
swapped out my wood inlays and had me in and out in less than an hour for an unbelievable price. He also (having been an assembler at Keystone) modified the venting so to better allow the fridge to function for displacing heat so it will last longer. Full warranty! saved thousands from what my Canadian dealers quoted me.AND was well worth the trip to Shipshewana.
Just saying.....
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:55 PM   #16
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My cooling unit has been replaced under initial warranty n under extended Dometic warranty. I have a 2015 3582RL
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:02 PM   #17
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My brother's RV fridge wasn't keeping food cold.
I checked the electrical connections, heating elements (electric, and propane), etc...
The problem seemed to be the combination of a bad connection, and poorly positioned thermister.

I have a residential fridge.
My only complaint, is that I can't run it off my small solar setup (420 watt) for very long.
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Old 07-17-2019, 04:53 PM   #18
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where should the thermister be located?
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:18 PM   #19
Vic B
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Domestic Fridge

We have had problems with our fridge heating up especially in hot weather. We noticed that the freezer was maintaining the cold temp but not the fridge. Found the coils were freezing so we took a hair dryer and thawed them out and since have had less problems. We will probably do this again In hot weather. May not be your problem but might be worth a try
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:49 PM   #20
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So the Amish Assembly, isn't really a type of fridge, it is actually a cooling unit that is replaced from current fridge?
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