2014 RV-Dreams Fall Educational Rally - September 16 -21, 2014 in Goshen, Indiana. REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Click Here For More Info & To Register!

2015 RV-Dreams Boondocking Rally - February 8 - 15, 2015 in Ft. Ogden, Florida. Mark the dates! REGISTRATION will open in August

2015 RV-Dreams Spring Educational Rally - April 28 - May 3, 2015 in Sevierville, Tennessee. Save the dates! REGISTRATION will open later this summer.

2015 RV-Dreams Family Reunion Rally - May 23 - 31, 2015 in Marion, North Carolina. REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! - Click Here For More Information & To Register!

2015 RV-Dreams Fall Educational Rally - October 6 - 11, 2015 in Lake Leelanau, Michigan. Save the dates! REGISTRATION will open this winter.



Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: The Saga of a Residential Refrigerator


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 3969
Date:
The Saga of a Residential Refrigerator


Some of you already know of the on-going story of our refrigerator problems and our search for a solution. It started with the idea of either repairing the Dometic that was malfunctioning or replacing it all together with a new Dometic. In that regards, we have a 7 year extended warranty on our Mobile Suites that would have covered that repair or replacement.

After careful consideration, plus seeing the posts of others that had replaced their RV refrigerator with a residential, we decided that we would replace ours with a residential as well. Our decision was made with the consideration that we didn’t want to have to go through all the hassle of troubleshooting the next RV refrigerator, especially since they don’t seem to last all that long.

I had seen a forum comment on SOITC (Suite Owners International Travel Club) by Allen Crutchfield (Big Al) where he told of their replacing with a residential. In the series of comments to his post, I noticed that Ron Gordon (RGordon) was planning on the same modification because his Norcold had quit. (That original thread is here, although unless one is a registered member, photos won't show up.  However, I have included those pictures within blog entries, the links of which are at the very bottom:)

http://www.suitesowners.com/forums/showthread.php?2049-New-Refrigerator

So, when considering all the aspects to make a decision, I went out and posted a forum thread of my own and also sent private messages to Allen and Ron. That forum thread is here:

http://www.suitesowners.com/forums/showthread.php?2802-Wanting-to-Replace-Dometic-with-Samsung-Thus-Looking-for-BigAl

Within that forum thread, Richard Miller (with that as his username) left a comment that he had made the same conversion. Then, my private messages to Allen and Ron were answered and they provided me with some information and pictures. Richard and I talked later via phone and he described their conversion. Then he sent me some pictures that were very valuable because they showed more detail to their conversion. They certainly cleared up a question or two that I had from this oral description.

Along the time we were researching and deciding, I was posting blog entries that were related to our problem, and then later I posted blog entries related to the modifications and actual installation. So, for the benefit of anyone who is considering the same kind of conversion, I will post links to all of those blog entries. Those are located below and are in chronological order as to their posting.

If anyone is considering a similar conversion, I hope this research that I did is helpful to you. My sincere thanks go to Allen Crutchfield, Ron Gordon, and Richard Miller, as well as to all the folks who helped with our actual process. Those would be Alicia and Slade Tennery of Rolling Retreats, our sons, Kevin and Eric, and of course, my lovely wife, Jo.

If you happen to consider a similar modification to your RV, be sure and check out the blog posting entitled “Residential Refrigerator Install Finished – Lessons Learned.” You can learn from a couple of my mistakes. The links below each have their date imbedded in the link, so if you've read previous blog entries of mine, you might be able to skip those. Some of the links are to posts about Allen's, Ron's, and Richard's installations, so you will have the benefit of all that I found out from others, plus the work we did on our own. Some blog entries also have links to my Photobucket account where you can see about all the pictures I took of the process.

http://ignoringthebarkingdogs.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/rv-refrigerator-issues-and-possible-solution/

http://ignoringthebarkingdogs.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/how-about-a-prequel/

http://ignoringthebarkingdogs.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/more-on-refrigerator-changes-of-others/

http://ignoringthebarkingdogs.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/more-on-richard-millers-fridge-change-over/

http://ignoringthebarkingdogs.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/what-started-it-all-with-a-residential-fridge/

http://ignoringthebarkingdogs.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/residential-refrigerator-modification-stage-one/

http://ignoringthebarkingdogs.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/preparing-for-residential-refrigerator-modification-stage-two/

http://ignoringthebarkingdogs.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/residential-refrigerator-install-finished-lessons-learned/

http://ignoringthebarkingdogs.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/residential-refrigerator-modification-installation-of-samsung/



__________________

Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2010 Ford F150 as Tag-along or Scout

Two minor works in progess....pictures taken over the years and a webblog:

Our photos on Photobucket

Ignoring the Barking Dogs  -  Terry's Blog



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 933
Date:

Nice job Terry. The things you encountered are fairly common to this job. It is not that hard a modification in most rigs, but you do have to pay attention to the positioning of the refrigerator in its space. NOTHING is square in an RV. You will love the fridge....we would never go back to an RV fridge, and we even boondock without an issue with ours. Of course, we have a very large solar system (800 watts) and a large battery bank (1020 Ah). :) Good work!!

__________________

Jack & Danielle Mayer

http://www.jackdanmayer.com,
2009 Volvo 780 HDT, 2012 New Horizons 42' Custom 5er (SOLD), smart car
New Horizons Ambassadors - Let us help you build your dream RV.....



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 3969
Date:

Thanks, Jack.  However, I was more of a "gopher" than one really involved with the process of the modification.  I did provide a "little" muscle when it came time to actually put it into its space.  After more than a month and a half of refrigerator temps of 48 to 56 degrees, it is EXCEPTIONAL to have a temp of 38 degrees and a freezer at -2 degrees.  Cool is definitely good, especially in Oklahoma again this year.

It was almost a no-brainer in making the decision, especially since our coach was ordered with an inverter and we already had a Honda generator.  Alicia and Slade at Rolling Retreats have told us that all the coaches they order for "stock" will be equipped with inverters and residential refrigerators, especially since these things are more "home" than "camper."

Terry



__________________

Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2010 Ford F150 as Tag-along or Scout

Two minor works in progess....pictures taken over the years and a webblog:

Our photos on Photobucket

Ignoring the Barking Dogs  -  Terry's Blog



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 1124
Date:

Terry:

 

Very nice job. The finished product looks “factory.”

 

While we don’t plan to make this change out anytime soon for a number of reasons, I do have an additional “rationalization” for any who may have fridge issues and are considering a residential unit replacement and for those who don’t have extended warranties to cover those costs.

 

I’ve haven’t done the fine math, but math in my head indicates that with the savings between the dollar cost of a reasonable residential unit and a like kind RV fridge you could make a nice dent in the cost to install a modest size (2K) inverter, a somewhat larger battery bank, and a modest size solar installation.  Jack commented on the size of his “mobile power station” equipment.  I not talking about that size. {Grin}  But for those who just want to keep the fridge running while traveling a modest size solar / inverter / battery system would be well within reach with the savings from the residential unit’s cost.  This assumes you can do the inverter / solar work yourself and a few other factors. But it is just another one of those, “Gee, maybe there's more than one way to skin this cat.”

 

Glad you can now have ice cream in the summer.

 

Bill



__________________

Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2012 Chevy 3500HD Duramax-Allison \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 933
Date:

Bill, IF I had more roof space I'd have another 400 watts of solar, for sure!! The panels are relatively cheap these days, and there is nothing like the feeling of freedom when you know you are "grid independent".

__________________

Jack & Danielle Mayer

http://www.jackdanmayer.com,
2009 Volvo 780 HDT, 2012 New Horizons 42' Custom 5er (SOLD), smart car
New Horizons Ambassadors - Let us help you build your dream RV.....



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 1124
Date:

Jack Mayer wrote:

Bill, IF I had more roof space I'd have another 400 watts of solar, for sure!! The panels are relatively cheap these days, and there is nothing like the feeling of freedom when you know you are "grid independent".


 

Jack:

 

Well surely, with the Smart Car now going on the back of the HDT you could tow a solar bank behind the NH with an umbilical.  I am sure you could get another 800 watts of panels back there before the overall length exceeded 65 feet.  I’m thinking of a staggered two story unit with automatic solar tracking. Shouldn’t be a problem to whip that one up in a couple of weeks.  You’ll need a project once the new HDT and Smart carrier is completed to keep you occupied. {Grin} 

 

Seriously, I’d have 4 more panels if they hadn’t put the satellite antenna in the wrong place.  I know the feeling of independance.  Love it as well.

 

Bill



__________________

Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2012 Chevy 3500HD Duramax-Allison \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 933
Date:

Bill, it is simple to move the sat antenna....I've moved several. It takes all of an hour.... :)

__________________

Jack & Danielle Mayer

http://www.jackdanmayer.com,
2009 Volvo 780 HDT, 2012 New Horizons 42' Custom 5er (SOLD), smart car
New Horizons Ambassadors - Let us help you build your dream RV.....



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 1124
Date:

Jack Mayer wrote:

Bill, it is simple to move the sat antenna....I've moved several. It takes all of an hour.... :)


 

Touché, you’re quite correct.  Maybe I’ll just do that and just rerun the cables.

 

Seriously, I’ve considered that and if I find I need more watts that is an option.  So far, as long as I don’t turn on the air conditioning we’ve been OK.

 

Bill

 



__________________

Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2012 Chevy 3500HD Duramax-Allison \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 692
Date:

As for traveling, if you configure the proper size wiring to your battery bank, your truck alternator should be able to stay ahead of the inverter draw from the battery bank.
Several of the yatchs I have built had residantial appliances installed. We added an extra alternator (120 amp) to 1 engine to feed the house batteries. That way they didn't have to run the generator and propulsion engines. It also provided enough to run 1 7kw air conditioner for the pilot house.

__________________

2006 Dodge 4x4, Slightly changed from factory specs 

2009 36 MAX1 Carrilite

Alie & Jim

Morgan- DD

Sallie- 4 legged lab

Tabitha & Brooke -other furballs

FullTiming since March 2013



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 319
Date:

Okay. YOu have made the conversion to a residential refrigerator. I have seen a lot of pros, can you give an cons?

__________________
Full timing since 1/1/2005
American Tradition & Jeep Wrangler
www.howethsjournal.blogspot.com


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 1124
Date:

ahoweth wrote:

Okay. YOu have made the conversion to a residential refrigerator. I have seen a lot of pros, can you give an cons?


If you don’t have an upgraded battery bank / solar it can be a problem when you travel  or boondock.  (Yes, some don’t run the refrigerator when they travel – we do.  That’s a choice either way.)  That, IMO, is the biggest drawback: they require 120 volts.  There are many ways to get around this – more batteries – quality inverter - solar – generators to charge the batteries, etc.  It depends on a lot of individual factors.

 

This is somewhat of a style thing IMO.  We have a residential fridge in a rig that never moves – or doesn’t move “much.”  When the LP / electric failed (after over 15 years I might add) we put in a residential unit.  In our traveling 5th wheel, we travel a lot, don’t sit all that much, we prefer the LP / electric because I don’t have to deal with as large a battery bank and never have to worry about leaving the rig for somewhat extended periods.  The LP won’t run out and the solar is more than enough to power the 12 volts needed for the fridge control systems.  Also, when 120 volt shore power is limited, like a 15 amp outlet, we can run the fridge on LP and save those amps for other needs.  This was a significant advantage to us before we installed a larger battery bank and solar.  However, I still will use the LP when shore power is limited.  No need to “waste” the battery power.

 

Those who have relatively large battery banks, adequate solar, perhaps a generator off the engine in a motor home, etc., they can do the same thing as we do using the LP.  But for our style, as outlined above, the 120 volt unit doesn’t offer the same flexibility we want in the 5er that travels a great deal.  It does in the trailer that doesn’t move “much.”

 

IMO, either type is “correct” and neither type is “wrong.”  It depends on your style and how you want to manage your power requirements.  Oh, and I add as and edit, just how big a fridge you need.  That is a factor as well.  RV units are not made as large as residential.  12 cubic feet is large enough for the two of us.  Others may need more.

 

My 2 cents

 

Bill

 



-- Edited by Bill and Linda on Wednesday 1st of August 2012 02:46:04 PM

__________________

Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2012 Chevy 3500HD Duramax-Allison \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 3969
Date:

ahoweth wrote:

Okay. YOu have made the conversion to a residential refrigerator. I have seen a lot of pros, can you give an cons?


 

Alan,

If your question was addressed to me, we've not really had ours long enough to evaluate any "cons."  However, we originally had our Mobile Suites ordered with a pure sine wave inverter with four batteries, and we already owned a Honda EU3000IS generator.  Thus, we are already prepared for those instances when we travel or are without shore power.  Also, since we have a fifth wheel that was ordered with generator prep, we will also add a generator "socket" to the front of the coach above and to the left of the front storage door.  With that socket, we could run a fairly short electrical cord from the generator in the back of the pickup to the "socket" in the front of the coach.  That way, we could power the refrigerator should our circumstances dictate that we travel for longer than a few hours at a time.

The other "con" would be cost if if one does NOT already have an inverter and extra batteries.  Someone on another forum (SOITC - Suites Owners International Travel Club) decided to get an estimate from a dealer in Indiana for their Mobile Suites.  Depending on whether one went with a modified sine wave inverter or a pure sine wave inverter, the price for modification for the fridge, installation of the fridge, installation of the inverter and two batteries would be from $4800 to $5800 dollars.  (In reality, four batteries would be better than two, so there would be an additional cost for that.)

We also fortunate that we had friends and family willing to help with our modification and installation.  So, we were only out the price of the refrigerator and a few other minor things.  The above quotes that were recieved by the SOITC member included $720 labor for modification and installation of the refrigerator and another $720 labor for installing and rewiring an inverter.

I'm sure that if we encounter any other "cons" in the futrue, I will be willing to point those out in forums and on my blog.

Terry



__________________

Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2010 Ford F150 as Tag-along or Scout

Two minor works in progess....pictures taken over the years and a webblog:

Our photos on Photobucket

Ignoring the Barking Dogs  -  Terry's Blog



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 2607
Date:

Since we are planning to go with the same Samsung in October I have been researching how to keep the doors closed while traveling. This blog post, http://normansonthehorizon.blogspot.com/2012/09/samsung-refrigerator-door-lock.html, has one of the best ideas I have seen.  They made an upside down "U" out of plywood to hold the French doors closed and the freezer door at the same time.   They did cover it with fabric for looks and to reduce rubbing the finish.  Looks slick to me and very simple.  It also should be in Terry's skill set to make.  It is in mine, the problem being I don't have the right saw to make it.

 



__________________

Bill Joyce,
2004 Dutch Star DP towing a 2012 Chevy Equinox
Journal at http://www.sacnoth.com
Full-timing since July 2003



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 3969
Date:

Oh, thanks, Bill.  Yes, even "I," the "challenged one" could make that one.  I showed it to Jo and her comment was, "Then we have to find a place to store that thing."

What Jo does is one of two things; one, take a couple of small, short bungee cords and wrap around the two upper door handles; two, use some velcro straps to do the same thing.  In our case, the freezer door won't come open because when we pull in the slides, the freezer door is close to the cabinet under the counter top.  A small sponge or piece of foam rubber between the drawer and the cabinet prevents any possibility of the drawer coming open.

I still kind of like the idea, though, so I may yet rig something up before we really begin to travel.  I'll bet I could find the "U-shaped" door lock easier than I could find the foam pad and the bungee cords.

Terry



__________________

Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2010 Ford F150 as Tag-along or Scout

Two minor works in progess....pictures taken over the years and a webblog:

Our photos on Photobucket

Ignoring the Barking Dogs  -  Terry's Blog



RV-Dreams Community Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 14
Date:

this is what we got to hold the doors of our Samsung.
www.basspro.com/Attwood-Hardware-Fender-Lock-Kit/product/45242/

__________________

2006 Keystone Everest 344j 2005 GMC 2500HD.



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 2607
Date:

Den-Bev wrote:

this is what we got to hold the doors of our Samsung.
www.basspro.com/Attwood-Hardware-Fender-Lock-Kit/product/45242/


 I would rather not drill holes if I can help it.  



__________________

Bill Joyce,
2004 Dutch Star DP towing a 2012 Chevy Equinox
Journal at http://www.sacnoth.com
Full-timing since July 2003



RV-Dreams Community Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 14
Date:

I have not fixed them to the doors but on the cabinet frame I had black straps made with like a plastic buckle to join them. If I new how to post pictures I would.

Den.

Edit by moderator: Added photos for Den-Bev.  Note that there are straps for the top two doors and separate straps for the freezer drawer.  Terry



-- Edited by Terry and Jo on Tuesday 6th of August 2013 05:34:15 PM

__________________

2006 Keystone Everest 344j 2005 GMC 2500HD.



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 3969
Date:

Dennis,

I've sent you a private message with a link to instructions for posting a photo.  I've even offered to post it for you.

Terry



__________________

Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2010 Ford F150 as Tag-along or Scout

Two minor works in progess....pictures taken over the years and a webblog:

Our photos on Photobucket

Ignoring the Barking Dogs  -  Terry's Blog

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us