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Old 11-13-2020, 02:43 PM   #21
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The information generously shared on this forum and thread has been immensely helpful in thinking this through. I have learned a lot from many, particularly Sean Murry, Centex and Vermilye (who's blog I am reading)...

We are going to try to get RFU9000 for our 5.0, subject to being able to secure a unit. I am going to try and secure a unit in the coming days.
  • I am not sure if I can get ETI to add a 3rd solar panel to the camper but will ask them. I don't think the modification of tilting panels is anywhere near our range. Also, we hope to be out hiking/sightseeing during the day rather than babysitting the solar panels.
  • We have yet to decide on the number of LI batteries. Likely 4.
  • We will have the built-in 7.5kW generator in the new F150 as a backup. I am not we'd have to confidence to proceed with this choice without that.
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Old 11-13-2020, 02:57 PM   #22
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Looks like that is a popular marine fridge and most of the marine suppliers are showing it. There is a list of distributors that can be called on the Nova Kool site, so you should be able to find one.
Look forward to seeing how it works for you.
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Old 11-13-2020, 03:24 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by kavm View Post
The information generously shared on this forum and thread has been immensely helpful in thinking this through. I have learned a lot from many, particularly Sean Murry, Centex and Vermilye (who's blog I am reading)...

We are going to try to get RFU9000 for our 5.0, subject to being able to secure a unit. I am going to try and secure a unit in the coming days.
  • I am not sure if I can get ETI to add a 3rd solar panel to the camper but will ask them. I don't think the modification of tilting panels is anywhere near our range. Also, we hope to be out hiking/sightseeing during the day rather than babysitting the solar panels.
  • We have yet to decide on the number of LI batteries. Likely 4.
  • We will have the built-in 7.5kW generator in the new F150 as a backup. I am not we'd have to confidence to proceed with this choice without that.
If you want to buy the fridge in Vancouver and have it intalled here before taking it back to your place, Steveston Marinee in Vancouver offered us a very good price on our NovaKool unit.
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Old 11-18-2020, 12:16 PM   #24
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no where near an authority on any of this BUT that never stopped me, so .....
after market fridge, can you physically get the damn thing IN the trailer ?
Moving large items in confined spaces does not always go well. When you have to change direction it is not just how wide or how deep, BUT also the diagonal measurement that counts.
Don't ask me how I know, but it involves a fridge, an apartment stairwell, no elevator, and some very angry tenants
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Old 11-18-2020, 12:28 PM   #25
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When looking at Nova Kool RFU 9000 - I see two options:
  • DC only: 12 & 24vdc standard
  • AC/DC: 12 & 24 VDC and 100-240 VAC 50/60HZ
Which one makes most sense? I am thinking that when connected to the shore power, the AC/DC option makes most sense but do not know for sure.

Any advice would be appreciated.

PS to Sean Murry - I did reach out to Steveston Marine following your recommendation. Haven't got a response back yet.
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Old 11-18-2020, 01:37 PM   #26
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We had no issue getting ours into our 2014 17B. It was a potential concern, but we took the listed dimensions of the Dometic we had, and ensured the Nova Kool we wanted was the same or slightly smaller. And we are VERY happy with our decision.
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Old 11-18-2020, 03:01 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by kavm View Post
When looking at Nova Kool RFU 9000 - I see two options:
  • DC only: 12 & 24vdc standard
  • AC/DC: 12 & 24 VDC and 100-240 VAC 50/60HZ
Which one makes most sense? I am thinking that when connected to the shore power, the AC/DC option makes most sense but do not know for sure.

Any advice would be appreciated.

PS to Sean Murry - I did reach out to Steveston Marine following your recommendation. Haven't got a response back yet.
AC is not really an advantage, given your converter should have enough 12Vdc output to charge the battery and power the fridge at the same time when you're connected to AC shore power.

The fridge compressor operates off 12V in any case. The AC option just adds a converter.
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Old 11-18-2020, 03:05 PM   #28
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Thank you very much, JohnE3! Appreciate it!
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Old 11-18-2020, 04:07 PM   #29
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I've had trailers with both compressor and absorption fridges (Norcold and Dometic respectively) and from a cooling performance and maintenance perspective, the compressor fridge is the winner, hands down!

That being said, there are a couple of reasons I don't know what I will replace my current absorption fridge with when it fails me again.

Firstly, I understand that the Dometic rm8500 series fridge that came installed on my 2012 Escape 5.0 was one of the most troubled units you could own. I hate that fridge... well both of them. The original was replaced under warranty after a catastrophic mechanical failure; the cooling unit broke away from the fridge body at the weld points. But other than that, I have been repairing and modifying this fridge due to both mechanical and cooling issues, forever. These included insulation, exhaust extensions (a Dometic mod), sensor tweeks, cavity mods, and fans. It now, almost reliably, keeps it's cool on hot days. As for the mechanical issues, there are metal brackets, braces, and various other reinforcements of the cheap plastic that is what this fridge is made of. The door hasn't fallen of since. Escape manufacturing, using 4 wood screws into softwood, to hold the fridge in place, didn't help it's structurally integrity any; bolts into T-Nuts now.

I think this is a worst case experience with a badly designed fridge. If I do opt for a compression fridge, I expect it would be much better than the 8500... I hope!

So why wouldn't I go with the compressor fridge I love... well, power.

Noise can be an issue if you sleep right beside the fridge, but not so much in the 5.0 (well, maybe for guests in the dining area), so power is my only concern. I mostly dry camp in isolated areas, and with a composting toilet and water filter, food is the only reason for a trip to civilization. The gas use of an absorption fridge is small, so that works, but the compressor fridge needs 400 to 500 watt-hours a day, rain or shine. While my 350 watts of solar is sufficient, I'm less confident in my 220Ah battery. Furthermore, sites are often shaded, putting more reliance on batteries. On the other hand, my 2ft² Norcold, with 100W solar, and similar batteries, was never a problem ... as tiny as it was.

So I'm putting my decision off until I have better data on my solar performance, or until the Dometic craps out again. It's been warned; next time it has to come out, it's off to the recycle depot!
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Old 11-18-2020, 04:41 PM   #30
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I respectfully disagree to compressor winning hands down. We always travel for days with our refer on propane and have never had any issues. The propane is quiet and efficient. Trying to recreate heat with a 12v refer is very inefficient and there is the noise or hum to deal with.
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Old 11-18-2020, 05:35 PM   #31
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I respectfully disagree to compressor winning hands down. We always travel for days with our refer on propane and have never had any issues. The propane is quiet and efficient. Trying to recreate heat with a 12v refer is very inefficient and there is the noise or hum to deal with.
That's the thing about compressors, they don't create heat like an absorption. They are a sealed system with only a compressor and coolant. The design is simple, reliable, maintenance free, and far less influenced by environmental conditions. That's why virtually all households fridges are compressor units. Of course, they have access to all the AC power they need.

As far as efficiency, I haven't done the energy conversion, but I wouldn't be surprised (in fact is be surprised if it wasn't true) if compressor fridges use less energy. Trailers use a gas fridge for the same reason they use a gas stove; energy density. You can carry way more energy in a propane tank than in a couple of batteries.

Of course there's also the argument that solar is Green and free.

Using an absorption fridge on 12v, on the other hand, is very inefficient, and it does use electricity to heat the coolant. This is not a particle solution off grid.

I have to give you the point on noise though. Even if modern compressors run at variable speeds to reduce noise, it's still there. But it doesn't bother me; I have tenitus, so I hear compressor noise wether it's on or off.
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Old 11-18-2020, 07:58 PM   #32
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AC is not really an advantage, given your converter should have enough 12Vdc output to charge the battery and power the fridge at the same time when you're connected to AC shore power.

The fridge compressor operates off 12V in any case. The AC option just adds a converter.
I agree. We just opted for the 12V. In speaking with Novakool they said going with AC/DC doesn't really offer an advantage, but does cost more. If you have a proper converter 12V only is just fine.
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Old 11-18-2020, 08:07 PM   #33
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no where near an authority on any of this BUT that never stopped me, so .....
after market fridge, can you physically get the damn thing IN the trailer ?
Moving large items in confined spaces does not always go well. When you have to change direction it is not just how wide or how deep, BUT also the diagonal measurement that counts.
Don't ask me how I know, but it involves a fridge, an apartment stairwell, no elevator, and some very angry tenants
We installed a 7 cu ft fridge freezer from Novakool in our 19. The limiting factor size wise, was the width of the door of the Escape. You can take the door of the fridge off very easily to reduce width, but the door frame of the trailer I wasn't willing to tackle. So if you measure the tightest part of the Escape door opening, and you get a fridge to squeeze past that, you should have no problem moving the fridge into position. That is assuming of course that the cabinet opening in the trailers is sufficient. In our case we had Escape make the cabinet to accommodate the Novakool fridge
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Old 11-19-2020, 10:25 AM   #34
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For clarity, will the absorption fridge in a E19 using propane while boondocking make ice cubes (freeze ice cubes) while boondocking?
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