Nova Kool RFU 8320 Refrigerator Installation - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 10-27-2014, 07:48 PM   #1
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Nova Kool RFU 8320 Refrigerator Installation

I am starting this thread to cover my installation of a new refrigerator in my Escape 19. I plan to remove my 4.3 cuft Dometic RM8551 and replace it with a 7.3 cuft Nova Kool RFU8320. The Dometic refrigerator is an evaporative unit that runs on 120 volts, propane and 12 vdc. The Nova Kool unit is a compressor refrigerator and the unit I ordered runs on 12 vdc only. I am doing this to increase the size of the refrigerator and freezer and to improve the cooling capacity of the refrigerator for hot weather camping. It will be an extremely tight fit in my trailer but I have the tools, initiative and experience to pull this off successfully.

This refrigerator was ordered from a firm in San Diego which is close to my residence and I received a call today that it has been delivered. I plan to pick it up on Friday. Since I have a one week camping trip scheduled for Nov. 10th, I won't start the installation until I get back. Meanwhile I will bench test the unit and learn the ins and outs before installation. Stay tuned!!
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:58 PM   #2
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Steve the trailblazer. Perhaps if it proves a superior unit (which I have no doubt it will for those with Solar) it will help convince ETI to install it on future models as an option....
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:13 AM   #3
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Well, I picked up the new refer on Friday and started it up empty on the bench in my garage yesterday. It was powered with two 6 volt batteries in series like I have in my Escape 19. I set the analog temp control knob at 4 and started it at 3:10 PM. The refer was very quiet while running and noise was made by the 12 volts compressor and the cooling fan. The compressor is so quiet that the cooling fan made most of the noise, although not much. The starting temp was 75 degrees F. It pulled 5.7 amps when it started and as the temperatures dropped in the unit the amp draw decreased as well until at 5:00 it was down to 44 in the refer and 5 in the freezer, pulling 4.2 amps then it shut off. I left it on when I ate dinner and when I came back it was at 36 and 7 degrees. I had the two 6 volt batteries on a trickle charger that put out about 5 amps maximum and the battery voltages didn't drop at all during this test.

What I learned:
> My wife and I easily lifted the refer onto my workbench so we can easily install it in the trailer when the space is ready.
> The refer is pretty quiet and runs well in a 75 degree environment.
> The "4" setting seems to be just about right for a 36 and 7 degree combination which is good for me. The dial goes up to 7 so we will see later how high I need to turn it when it gets over 100 degrees while camping.
> I was surprised that the amp draw goes down when the compressor warms up. This is good news!

We plan to leave for a week camping in the central coast area of California next weekend so the refer will stay on the bench for a while. When we get back I will start the project and remove the 4.3 Dometic unit and start working on the space for the Nova Kool unit.

Steve
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:38 AM   #4
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After several years of having a Nova Cool I'm not surprised by your initial findings. But I'm jealous because I think you're going to find you now have a better fridge

We'll all be waiting for you're installed results and oh, jealous again, we're winterizing our trailer and you're going camping.

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Old 11-02-2014, 10:43 AM   #5
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I'm going right outside now, to measure the opening of my Dometic!

(Never been to San Diego.)
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:26 AM   #6
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Way to go Steve. Post pics when you have them. As for me, I'm hoping the new RMD8555 two door will suffice for a year or two. I expect that at some point in the future I will do the same thing you're doing.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:58 PM   #7
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News Flash! I can get at least 10 1/2 gallon containers of ice cream in the freezer section....stay tuned!
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:21 PM   #8
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10 1/2 gallons? I just want to know if your solar is going to manage all of that. Could be forced to eat it. What flavor?
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Old 11-03-2014, 12:42 PM   #9
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Just back from a 10 day trip in which my refrigerator was virtually useless. No cooling on propane, some cooling on DC. Had to throw away most of my food. I need a new fridge!! Can I assume the Nova Kool would run well on 2 6 volt batteries and a 95 watt solar panel?
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Old 11-03-2014, 12:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRF18 View Post
Just back from a 10 day trip in which my refrigerator was virtually useless. No cooling on propane, some cooling on DC. Had to throw away most of my food. I need a new fridge!! Can I assume the Nova Kool would run well on 2 6 volt batteries and a 95 watt solar panel?
For the record, what fridge do you have, now?
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Old 11-03-2014, 12:46 PM   #11
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Well, what trailer? What fridge? Where did you go? What were the ambient temps?
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Old 11-03-2014, 01:05 PM   #12
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We have a 2013 Escape 19 with the Dometic RML 8551, 6.7 cu ft. refrigerator. Worked well on AC prior to trip & when I returned from the trip. No access to AC during the trip. Set up the trailer at my campsite & set to propane, could hear propane burning well, no error messages from fridge electric panel. Just wouldn't cool. Has been "marginal" on propane in the past but this time, I may as well have had the door open - it was colder outside than in the fridge!
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Old 11-03-2014, 01:10 PM   #13
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My apologies in regard to not providing the details... I have not used a forum much in the past (obviously). Sorry, should have noted... ambient temps ranged from 8C-20C.
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Old 11-03-2014, 01:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
I am starting this thread to cover my installation of a new refrigerator in my Escape 19. I plan to remove my 4.3 cuft Dometic RM8551 and replace it with a 7.3 cuft Nova Kool RFU8320. The Dometic refrigerator is an evaporative unit that runs on 120 volts, propane and 12 vdc. The Nova Kool unit is a compressor refrigerator and the unit I ordered runs on 12 vdc only. I am doing this to increase the size of the refrigerator and freezer and to improve the cooling capacity of the refrigerator for hot weather camping. It will be an extremely tight fit in my trailer but I have the tools, initiative and experience to pull this off successfully.

This refrigerator was ordered from a firm in San Diego which is close to my residence and I received a call today that it has been delivered. I plan to pick it up on Friday. Since I have a one week camping trip scheduled for Nov. 10th, I won't start the installation until I get back. Meanwhile I will bench test the unit and learn the ins and outs before installation. Stay tuned!!
Golly, Nova Kool refrigerators are manufactured in Coquitlam B.C. Thats about an hour from the Escape factory. Looks like the unit you have selected runs in the $1500 - $1800 US price range retail. Wonder what the price difference (wholesale) vs the Dometic would be. Sure hope you get to test it well before spring.
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Old 11-03-2014, 01:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRF18 View Post
Just back from a 10 day trip in which my refrigerator was virtually useless. No cooling on propane, some cooling on DC. Had to throw away most of my food. I need a new fridge!! Can I assume the Nova Kool would run well on 2 6 volt batteries and a 95 watt solar panel?
No, don't assume anything. I have 2 panels and 4 batteries and I assume I have enough storage and charging capacity to run it. If not I will make provisions for more. We really won't know until next summer for hot weather camping since I plan to finish the installation during December.
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Old 11-03-2014, 01:46 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by TRF18 View Post
My apologies in regard to not providing the details... I have not used a forum much in the past (obviously). Sorry, should have noted... ambient temps ranged from 8C-20C.
There should really be no reason why your fridge does not work over the range of ambient temperatures you report here. If this was not due to operator error (sorry to suggest that), then it seems quite likely that there is a problem with your fridge that is quite different from the "hot ambient temperature" issues experienced by others on this forum. I would suggest calling Dometic and arranging for them (or one of their authorized repair centres) to have a look at it.
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Old 11-03-2014, 01:52 PM   #17
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And it would be great if your fridge is still under warranty and you would make a claim through an RV shop to Dometic. I keep suggesting that to folks, and everyone seems to prefer self-help solutions, meaning Dometic can remain blissfully ignorant of the problem. Ours is in the shop now for a second warranty visit, at Dometic's request. I'm sorry....this is probably off topic. There is a lot of discussion along these lines in another thread. Good luck with whatever direction you take.
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Old 11-03-2014, 02:39 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by ice-breaker View Post
There should really be no reason why your fridge does not work over the range of ambient temperatures you report here. If this was not due to operator error (sorry to suggest that), then it seems quite likely that there is a problem with your fridge that is quite different from the "hot ambient temperature" issues experienced by others on this forum. I would suggest calling Dometic and arranging for them (or one of their authorized repair centres) to have a look at it.
Pretty much what I thought too. I don't think anyone reported problems at those temps, mostly in quite warm or hot climates.
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Old 11-03-2014, 03:01 PM   #19
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Can't rule out human error. I realized that my wife was closing the fridge door, but not closing it ( it looked closed ). She wasn't pressing on the door to secure the latch. She was expecting it to close itself, like the one at home.
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Old 11-03-2014, 03:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRF18 View Post
Just back from a 10 day trip in which my refrigerator was virtually useless. No cooling on propane, some cooling on DC. Had to throw away most of my food. I need a new fridge!! Can I assume the Nova Kool would run well on 2 6 volt batteries and a 95 watt solar panel?
According to the Nova Kool web site you'll use 125A a day (5.2x24). Using Vancouver BC for a location, an online calculator says you need 357 watts worth of panels. The 2 6v batteries will just manage.
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