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Old 31-07-2012, 18:08   #1
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Reefer reccomendations

Our fridge has gone into the great beyond She was a 1997 Norcold de 541. No one has parts, been told not worth fixing, runs for a bit then just clicks, gets cold but not freezing, she was working great for 3 weeks than done.
Believe it or not West has the cheapest Norcold replacement unit, the de 0041 for $899. same size, draws 2.7 amps under DC use. Found a $1200. new Isotherm same size, for $800. but specs show draws 5 amps under 12v load. Not sure if its a better unit but defintly draws more.

Anyone have any ideas for a less expensive AC-DC fridge? We have the edgestar 63 and its great but really miss the fridge and we ran it all the time (4 batteries + 2, 130watt Kyocera panels kept everything going great)
I have read a ton of threads on dorm fridges which we already own 2, being run on inverters ( I wouldnt leave on overnight) but have been told the inverters draw large amounts of power etc, even in stand by. A high quality marine inverter is probably same price as A new Norcold. would a cheap inverter get us through until we have enough $$ for the new unit in 3-4 months?
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Old 31-07-2012, 18:38   #2
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Re: Reefer reccomendations

You need to figure out fridge budgets for both fridge and freezer. It comes down to cubic feet. The other issue is insulation. You need more is a safe assumption and I've never seen your boat. Finding ways to improve insulation will make those amp hours stretch. On a boat NOTHING uses more power than a fridge. Making water would come second.

Cost of the fridge is nothing compare to cost to operate and the problem of food going bad. In that sense the brand of fridge you buy means almost nothing before you do the math. A good solar setup is important! A wind gen is also important too. I don't choose to anchor in the wind but can't anchor in the shade all that often. Solar is a good thing and on a cat is easy to install.

Using shore AC powered fridges works for Trawlers that have large engines and move regualrly. While you could install one on a cat, I don't think it's going to fit you all that well.

Personally, we have an inverter and a small one at that. Inverters waste a lot of power and make you think you can live like you do on land. The energy loads and your ability to make pwer is NOT like the shore based power company. You'll never have a lot of electricity so start thinking that way.

Bottom line: So how big a fridge do you really need? Also- "ain't no cheap inverter". They suck the joy out of you with engine noise. Solve the fridge problem and your power problems go away! It's really about the power you need more than the brand of frisge you buy.
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Old 31-07-2012, 18:46   #3
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Re: Reefer reccomendations

Just to clariy these are self contained fridge units not the built in fridge boxes. We have plenty of power with 400 a/h of battery plus 260 watts of solar, (+ 2x 50 amp alternators if we want to run engines)
Old fridge was 4 cu ft, new one when we buy it will be 3.6-4.1 cu ft. Old one worked great for 15 years. was really wondering if anyone had run a dorm style fridge of an inverter even if just temporarily when on board for a few days at a time (this will help us out greatly until we have the moolah for a new fridge)
Also if anyone had any opinions or facts regarding diff between isotherm unit 5 amp draw, (made in China) and Norcold 2.7 amp draw (made in US)
And lastly if anyone had maybe ideas of repair for our old unit, though have been told by service tech its a no go for parts.
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Old 31-07-2012, 19:36   #4
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Re: Reefer reccomendations

Norcold's compressor is called a swing compressor. it's made in japan. very innovative, Norcold and others have been using them for many years. I don't think you would go wrong to go with a new unit if you can find the $ I'm sure you could get by with an inverter and 115 volt unit too but there are losses when you use the inverter.
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Old 02-10-2012, 17:17   #5
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Re: Reefer reccomendations

I can sympathize with your fridge problems. Not sure if it helps but I just installed an Engel 57 Litre (2 cubic foot) fridge freezer combo and it works a treat. These 12v/shorepower units are designed in Australia for 4WD camping and marine usage. It is very efficient drawing between 0.4 and 4 amps, depending on load conditions and doesn't stress my system at all.
Here is the website if you are interested....
Engel Australia - Portable Fridge-Freezers
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