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Old 01-15-2016, 12:18 PM   #1
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Default Converting to residential fridge

So my rig is an '03 and I'm pretty sure the Norcold 841 propane is original. I'm figuring it's not going to last much longer. I'm also kind of afraid of fire when it does fail. I decided to switch over to a residential (120 volt) fridge. I bought a Frigidaire FFTR1222QB. It's almost the same exterior dimensions as the Norcold. The Norcold is 8 cu. ft. The Frigidaire is 11.5. I found posts on other sites from people using this fridge with a power inverter and they were very happy. I don't presently have an inverter in my rig. I only have two deep cycle batteries for house 12 volt now. I decided to get an inverter just to run the fridge. I know a lot of people use a big inverter so they can run other 120v items. I wanted to keep my costs to a minimum. Not only the cost of the inverter, but the wiring also adds to the cost. Reports are that this particular fridge uses very low wattage. I bought a Xantrex Prowatt SW600 inverter. This is a pure sine wave unit. Less expensive inverters use modified sine wave. Some people say you shouldn't run a fridge on a msw inverter. I also bought the wire kit, fuse holder, and a automatic transfer switch. I got all this from Power Inverters | DonRowe.com. Pretty happy with their selection and cost.

I've gotta run now so I'll update in a bit.
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Old 01-15-2016, 01:41 PM   #2
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BOB ! can i have the parts out of your Norcold 841??? PLEASE.

i installed an ARP fridge monitor (shuts off the fridge if it over temps). If your still worried install an automatic fire extinguisher -

https://squareup.com/market/fire-and-life-safety

my inverter took a crap a while ago - never replaced it.

we just run the generator if we need ac current (tv, microwave, air conditioners)...otherwise we don't even need ac current (since the fridge is 12v/propane).

I've been considering the Xantrex Prosine 2 (2000w) they also make a 1000 watt version thats cheaper. I like the idea of the remote mounted control/panel and some of the auto on/off features (i don't need a charger since i already have one & this one can be disabled).
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Old 01-15-2016, 05:47 PM   #3
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Sorry Don, when I took the Norcold out I put an add on craigslist and had about 5 replies in a few hours. I gave it to the first guy. He's going to put it in a fish house (we fish on frozen lakes up here in MN you know.

After pulling out the Norcold I removed the copper gas line that ran down to the manifold near my propane tank. I got a galvanized plug to screw into the manifold where I removed the line. I need to plug the hole where the copper line came into the cabinet. Thinking maybe foam spray there? Or silicone sealant?

Next is cleaning up the side walls in the opening. The builder had lined both sides with fiberglass batting. I pulled that out and it's left a lot of scruffy remains. I tried vacuuming with the shop vac. It cleaned it up some, but not that great. I used some duct tape to stick it on and pull off. That takes a lot of it off but it's rather time consuming. Any ideas how to clean that up? I don't know how they applied the batting. I wonder if they used some adhesive spray?

I need to seal off the outside access vent panel. With the residential fridge you don't want the back of it exposed to the elements. I'm thinking of cutting a piece of rigid pink foam insulation board to fit the opening and glue it to the inside of that plastic panel?

Also need to seal off the roof vent cap. Thinking maybe the same as how I intend to seal the side vent.

If anybody has advice feel free to offer it up here.
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Old 01-15-2016, 05:54 PM   #4
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Let's see if I can get some pictures to work here.
Attached Thumbnails
2016-01-13 17.04.51.jpg   2016-01-13 17.04.59.jpg   2016-01-13 17.05.03.jpg  
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Old 01-15-2016, 05:59 PM   #5
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bummer but still went to a good home.

I'd use silicone sealant (thats what the mfg used) it won't attract water like the foam may.
You might want to use some thompsons water seal or something on the exposed (to the exterior) wood & then just insulate (blue foam board insulation?) the hole and leave the factor vent cover in place.

How many watts does that fridge consume?
I'll be curious to hear your experience / battery run time when dry camping.

I think while traveling you're fine, if your coach is like ours, where the engine alternator charges the house batteries.

My guess is you'll be hunting for some solar panels and a charger to help you keep those batteries topped up during the day so you can avoid the generator run time.
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Old 01-15-2016, 06:26 PM   #6
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I'm planning to leave the vent covers in place as original. Just need to insulate inside of them. I'm a little concerned about that roof vent. There is plywood up there from the roof. Thinking about maybe cutting a piece of plastic to seal off the vent up there under the roof vent. Then putting the foam board under that. I think if I can do that then if any water does manage to get in there it should stay up in that cavity until it evaporates.

There's a guy on another forum that has the same fridge. He said he runs his on a 400 watt modified sine wave and has for three years. He said he's only got two group 31 deep cycle and no solar. Said he can run it for a week without running the generator. I don't think I'll get that kind of run time. I'm happy to run the generator everyday for a bit. I think it's better to run it than not. I don't know about adding solar. I just don't want to spend a lot of money and I don't want to drill holes in the roof. I wonder about getting a solar panel and setting it up on a stand or something as needed?
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Old 01-15-2016, 08:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob86ZZ4 View Post

Next is cleaning up the side walls in the opening. The builder had lined both sides with fiberglass batting. I pulled that out and it's left a lot of scruffy remains. I tried vacuuming with the shop vac. It cleaned it up some, but not that great. I used some duct tape to stick it on and pull off. That takes a lot of it off but it's rather time consuming. Any ideas how to clean that up? I don't know how they applied the batting. I wonder if they used some adhesive spray?
Could you use a hand wire brush to remove the rest of the batting?
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:54 PM   #8
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I am going to be doing similar conversion on mine once it warms up. I have a "Notcold" 1200 (12 cu ft) model, and it is a POS. Will not get real cold if ambient temps outside are above mid 80's. Warm beer is for the UK guys, my Notcold must be a Lucas designed frig!

The typical replacement many use for this 1200 is the Samsung RF18 model, which is an 18 cu ft; same width and is counter depth. It also has nice low energy usage, I hear 350 watts vs around 600 for the 1200 on AC power. I bought the frig, but still need the inverter; I will look into your link provided. Then just do the installation work, which does involve some cabinetry mods, since the Samsung is approx 6-8 inches taller than the Notcold. I have storage drawers under the current 1200, so will lose those and then have to build new base floor for new frig. I am looking forward to the swap and having a frig that actually works good.

With doors off the Samsung, it is 24 inches, which will easily fit through my 26 inch side door opening.
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:40 AM   #9
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This is the set up I am planning for my coach. Please keep us posted.
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Old 01-18-2016, 06:45 PM   #10
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Just out of curiosity, what are the advantages of an all electric fridge over an electric/propane model? I see that the all electric models seem to be preferred in the newer coaches.
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:19 PM   #11
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Just out of curiosity, what are the advantages of an all electric fridge over an electric/propane model? I see that the all electric models seem to be preferred in the newer coaches.
pros: cheaper to replace than conventional / propane fridges, more capacity (due to physical size)

cons: require 120vac, no alternative, limited mfg/sizes to fit the same location, larger.


personally no more power or propane than what our Norcold 841 takes i like the option of being able to run on 12vds (for weeks)
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:30 PM   #12
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The only thing I wonder, is that model of fridge you guys are using designed for a "built in" installation as opposed to free standing? A fridge is basically a heat exchanger and if you don't have enough airflow around the back to cool the coils it won't work very well if it is not designed for an enclosed space.
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Old 01-18-2016, 08:25 PM   #13
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Our Samsung is installed with an open area in the rear and the kitchen cabinet side below the counter is open so that there is plenty of airflow around it. We like the amount of room and most importantly the constant temperature regardless of the weather. We must keep extra insulin in it when traveling for weeks at a time. The LP/Elect Norcold in our previous coach would not keep the temperature at a 44 degree maximum in the summer. Our batteries, 300 amps total, will run the fridge for 6-8 hours before they are 50% discharged. The fridge uses 3 amps at 120V using the inverter. The truck alternator keeps the batteries charged when driving so you only need the generator when dry camping.
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:17 PM   #14
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only 300amps total in batteries ? how many and what kind do you have?

less than 1/2 a day run time imo isnt acceptable for the way we travel (dry camping at race tracks).

After reading this install article in MotorHome Magazine I installed the Smart RV Products fridge -fix (blows air over the cooling fins inside the fridge). The system works really well.

We were in 100+ degree temps for over 5 weeks this past summer & we never had any cooling (or icing) problems with our fridge and we were constantly switching between 120VAC & propane.

The Fridge-Fix system works MUCH better than the fan solution from RV Cooling Unit Warehouse....which i gave away to a friend.

Both systems made a huge difference in cooling the fridge down (when switched on) and both reduce icing but i still had icing with the RV Cooling Unit Warehouse system.

With out one of these cooling fan systems i would say that a residential fridge has the advantage of NOT icing or needing defrosting.....BUT i also have a residential fridge in my garage (for beer) and in the summer it struggles to maintain 43 degrees so i would say there is no real guarantee that a residential unit will keep things really cool in the summer.

If we were full timers i could see the residential fridge advantage just because of the interior size (and anti-frosting)
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:36 PM   #15
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Just to add, I have added the small fans inside the frig to blow over the coils and circulate the air, the Norcold still struggles to get cold. Low 40's is not acceptable to me inside frig. We don't typically eat out much when camping, so having food stay cold is important.

I will live with the need to fire up the generator when dry camping, likely need it for A/C anyway. To me the advantage of the residential frig are better performance and more storage space inside. Also quicker recovery, the Norcold seems to take a long time to recover when you load a bunch of warmer stuff inside. I am tired of screwing with the Notcold POS.
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Old 01-19-2016, 06:59 AM   #16
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Copy that. Thanks for the info.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:41 AM   #17
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In my case. I am building a 100% electric coach. I am not using propane for anything.
I have run an 120v fridge in my old C class for years. I just left the original fridge door in place to vent outside and built the fridge into the cabinets. It is by far the best RV fridge I have ever had. I have not tried to run it on an inverter though. I have always thought about it, but my maximum travel time in the old girl " 1984 holiday rambler alumilite" is about 8 hours from home. The fridge and freezer stay good and cold for that amount of time.
Frankly the best thing I ever did was convert the Fridge and Hot water to 120v. I don't cook inside, so I have not hassled with filling the propane tanks in over 10 years. You would be amazed at what reducing your prep check list will do for your enjoyment.
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:51 AM   #18
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That is what spurred my inquiry. I've noticed that Renegade's "top of the line" TCs are all electric, with Aquahot heat. Part of me thinks it is a great idea to simplify and do away with one type of fuel. Part of me feels as thought it is putting all my eggs in one basket. I guess it depends on how much you dry camp or how much you mind running your genset.
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Old 01-19-2016, 10:41 AM   #19
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In theory your eggs are not in one basket. You have 12vlots charging your coach batteries with either the engine running or the Genset running. You can get a 1 circuit transfer switch pretty cheap. to run off of the inverter or shore power. My new coach is even getting a heat exchanger in the water heater. That way I have hot water as soon as I set up.
Locally it is a complete PIA to get my propane tanks filled. The hardware stores won't do an rv and the campground nearby takes forever (which is good so you can earn enough money to pay what they charge).
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:36 PM   #20
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The inconvenience of the built in propane tank is what made me take notice of the all electric concept. Getting my rig into a convenient propane fill is a real chore too.
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