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Old 01-12-2024, 09:27 AM   #21
scottz
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I have a Montana 3120 that the NorCold 2118 wire harness burnt completely trashing the refrigerator. I am going to the N20 dc . I was wondering in your case if the access back panels all lined up properly with the conversation?.
I did not replace the entire unit, I used the JC Refrigeration dual 12V compressor conversion kit; everything fit perfect.

One thing I wished I had done: There are copper gas lines behind the fridge that feed the stove, etc. Put some foam pipe insulation around them to prevent vibration noise. When pushed back in, the fridge pushes these lines against the wall and transmits vibration noise. I reached up from the outside panel as far as I could and cushioned them; solved most of the problem, but much easier to do before the fridge is pushed back in place.
 
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Old 01-12-2024, 09:34 AM   #22
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We've been traveling/ camping for almost 25 years now with gas / electric units without a problem from any of them- we currently are on camper #5, simply to trying to find right unit to fit family. On a recent RV factory tour it was stated the industry has pretty much transitioned away from these units- don't remember the reasoning why. Bad move in my opinion. With all that said , this past summer we had a mobile RV tech come work on the rig while away from home. I asked his opinion and he said stay away from the 12 volt compressor units as 7 / 10 fridge calls he had were failed compressors. This isn't new tech. and shouldn't have such failure rates at this point in the game - just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 01-12-2024, 09:45 AM   #23
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We've been traveling/ camping for almost 25 years now with gas / electric units without a problem from any of them- we currently are on camper #5, simply to trying to find right unit to fit family. On a recent RV factory tour it was stated the industry has pretty much transitioned away from these units- don't remember the reasoning why. Bad move in my opinion. With all that said , this past summer we had a mobile RV tech come work on the rig while away from home. I asked his opinion and he said stay away from the 12 volt compressor units as 7 / 10 fridge calls he had were failed compressors. This isn't new tech. and shouldn't have such failure rates at this point in the game - just my 2 cents worth.

The reasoning is efficiency, safety, and performance. The gas absorption units draw 650W when running on AC and burn a ton of propane when on gas (in the heat of summer, my burner never quit). The 12V unit draws 120W. Safety is not having a flame out there. Performance: my 12V unit is always 0 degrees in the freezer 33 in the fridge; my gas unit never achieved those temperatures or consistancy.

I've never heard of any failures (does not mean there are not any) and you are right, compressors are not new technology.

I'm happy your unit works well. We also had them for 40+ years and they worked as designed (including the one I took out), but time for me to move to better technology. My two cents.
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Old 01-12-2024, 09:57 AM   #24
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All Montanas come with at least 200 watts of solar, folks that boondock typically have more. I have no clue what boom docking is.
Boom docking is the noise that your trailer makes on impact when docking or parking in a tight space surrounded by immoveable objects. Generally, the longer the trailer-the louder the boom.
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Old 01-12-2024, 12:10 PM   #25
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Here are two youtube videos about "fixing" the RV absorption fridge guts or completely replacing the RV fridge with a residential unit.

The first video is from "Jonesin 2 go" youtube channel and he gets new JC Refrigeration conversion for his OEM "two-door" Norcold RV fridge in his 2020 Montana 3121. This video has been linked in past forum threads about the Norcold fridge...here it is again. Unfortunately he does not mention cost. My guess would be $1500 for the parts and maybe $500 for labor. Maybe someone here knows the cost.

The second video is a guy that replaces his "single door" Norcold with a Haier residential fridge in his motorhome. He goes into the theories/reasons for why these absorption fridges can become a problem. The Haier fridge costs less than $500 for a single compartment fridge, which will not work for those with the 2-door fridge. Wish they would come out with a double door option. I just googled the Samsung RF18 (the fridge in my unit) to check prices and they seem to be running $1200 - $1500 from Home Depot or Lowes currently.



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Old 01-13-2024, 09:53 AM   #26
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A tidbit of interesting conclusions from our real world conditions. Going on three years of data evidence I have determined that our residential refrigerator is actually a negligible load. Chalk it up to either more efficient appliances or more significant other loads either way my Starlink and cellular router use more energy than my refrigerator. With modern energy efficient appliances available today I don’t think the fridge is going to be the electrical concern for boondockers that it used to be.

…and losing the number one cause of RV fires is a good thing too.
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Old 02-28-2024, 03:14 PM   #27
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Look at this company they have many options for refrigerators.


https://jc-refrigeration.com/
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Old 02-28-2024, 04:25 PM   #28
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Had the 2118 (wires burnt completely ) replaced
On my Montana 3120 with the NorCold N20dc. Trouble came as the refer is at the front of the slide and the wire harnesses leave out the back of the slide . Calls for 6 gauge wire not to exceed 45ft . Service shop told me that the 14 gauge wire from the old fridge would be fine!! After reviewing the manual with them they wanted to run the 6 gauge completely around the trailer .( they said about 85 ft!) Fortunately I was able to borrow a small fridge in the park till I get home and find someone that knows what their doing.
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Old 03-05-2024, 12:15 PM   #29
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After replacing the gas absorption fridge in our camper, and reading some other posts, I would theorize that most failures are caused by incorrect wiring being used for installation. Either the dealers (for retrofits) or the manufacturer (Keystone) are using the wrong size wire. The installation manuals call for very specific sizes of wire to be used and length of run. This is all spelled out for a reason. A 12 volt compressor fridge cannot just be dropped in and hooked up the the original LP/electric wiring.

This should be looked at with units that have failed. Some units could just have failed parts but also check the wiring.
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