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Post Info TOPIC: Refrigerator Modification


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Refrigerator Modification


Has anyone put a COUNTER DEPTH refrigerator wider than 33 inches in their 5th wheel. I currently have the Norcold model 1210. I know it will require modify of the cabinet, but I would have to do it anyway with a 33 inch wide residential refrigerator. It seems the flavor of most people or manufacturers is the samsung model RF18. The samsung has a lot of bad reviews from the RV community. The one I'm looking at is a maytag model # MSC21C6MFZ it is 36W x 27.5 D x 69 H. The refrigerator not counting the doors is 24.5 inches deep. It has good reviews and I like the brand. Any thoughts good or bad I'm on the fence on this right now. Just researching the cost and work involved. Thanks.

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Robert & Maria
Max (the German Shepard) In Spirit, RIP 9/30/17
Living the Fulltime Dream since October 2017
2013 Heartland Landmark Key Largo
2017 Ford F350 Lariat Super Duty SRW, 4x4


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We put in a 36" wide 24 cuft Whirlpool side-by-side in our motorhome. It is counter depth. We had to reroute some water lines and drop the floor, but we had the width after trimming the cabinet. We did crack the water filter housing, it did not like the bouncing down the road, so we have no ice or in door water now. We already had a 2000watt pure sinewave inverter/charger and a decent battery bank, but we eventually moved to a 3000 watt Magnum Hybrid inverter/charger and upgraded the battery bank to 6 golf AGM golf cart batteries.  The Whirlpool is 1" shorter than the Samsung RF18 and has a much larger freezer.  Our freezer seems to always be full.



-- Edited by bjoyce on Thursday 10th of May 2018 08:26:37 AM

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Bill Joyce,
40' 2004 Dutch Star DP towing a 2012 AWD Chevy Equinox
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From looking at images from others who have done the modifications, it appears the cabinet is wide enough without the facial board. My only worry is the island to get around. Also looking at the Ramsond Sunray 3000 pure sine wave inverter. It is 3000 watts / 15 amps. Home Depot has it for $427.00 and the refrigerator for $1400.00. With wood and mouldings could probably do this model for around $2000.00.

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Robert & Maria
Max (the German Shepard) In Spirit, RIP 9/30/17
Living the Fulltime Dream since October 2017
2013 Heartland Landmark Key Largo
2017 Ford F350 Lariat Super Duty SRW, 4x4


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Sometimes I hate spell check. It should say Modification.

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Robert & Maria
Max (the German Shepard) In Spirit, RIP 9/30/17
Living the Fulltime Dream since October 2017
2013 Heartland Landmark Key Largo
2017 Ford F350 Lariat Super Duty SRW, 4x4


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Robert,

Not sure of your concern with regards to the refrigerator and "around the counter."  If you are referring to being able to get the refrigerator around the counter and into the space for the fridge, we had a work-around when we installed the Samsung in our Mobile Suites.  We've not really had any problems with our Samsung.

For some time, we had a 4-wheel furniture dolly that I had built at one time.  Unlike many others, it has a smaller footprint.  In addition, I built an "insert" out of 2x6 lumber that fits into the furniture dolly.  Those two items got the refrigerator bottom level with the bottom of the cavity it was going to go into.  We took the doors off of the refrigerator, took it up some steps to the door of the RV and inside before lifting the fridge up ont he furniture dolly and insert.  With all four wheels on the dolly being independent of the others, it easily slid around the counter, and once the left side of the fridge went into the cavity, we swung the right side in and pushed the fridge back.

That was in 2012, I think, and to this day, we still carry the dolly and insert, just in case we ever have to change out the fridge or take it in for repair.

If you are REALLY curious about things, I documented our change over from an RV fridge to the Samsung on my blog and linked to the reports here on RV Dreams.

The Saga of a Residential Refrigerator

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2014 Ford Expedition 4X4 as Tag-along or Scout

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

Our photos on Smugmug

Ignoring the Barking Dogs  -  Terry's Blog



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Wow, Terry that is a good in depth article you did. I appreciate you sharing that. I see you retained the drawer under the fridge. That is nice and something I may do as well through a cabinet shop. Unless I missed it did you ever install a inverter to run off your battery. I have read some people are dedicating a separate 12v battery (AGM) type and a inverter. Most are using 2000 watt. In doing more research this morning I actually found another inverter Natures Power model 38330 that also charges your battery as well. A bit pricey at $1700. Dollars but you get what you pay for.

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Robert & Maria
Max (the German Shepard) In Spirit, RIP 9/30/17
Living the Fulltime Dream since October 2017
2013 Heartland Landmark Key Largo
2017 Ford F350 Lariat Super Duty SRW, 4x4


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A good place to research and buy inverters is https://www.donrowe.com/.  They have a reputation of only selling quality products.   Today they have a Kisae 2000 watt pure sinewave inverter for $289.  You probably do not need a 2000 watt, most likely you need something in the 600 to 1000 watt range for a residential fridge.  Get a Kill-A-Watt meter (around $20 on Amazon) and use it with the fridge to find out.  Expect a large residential fridge to use 100 to 120 amp-hours of battery power in 24 hours, so the battery bank will need to be a minimum of 240 amp-hours at 12 volt to handle the usage.



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Bill Joyce,
40' 2004 Dutch Star DP towing a 2012 AWD Chevy Equinox
Journal at http://www.sacnoth.com
Full-timing since July 2003



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I took the liberty of looking up the power draw of an 18 cu.ft. Samsung refrigerator and it looks like it draws 10 amps. I am assuming that is maximum draw, so that equates to a 1200 watt converter. I did this last night and I can't find the source, but I'm pretty sure that's what it said. This seems a little high as my home refrigerator draws a little under 5 amps, but I don't know how big it is, but it's not tiny. It also doesn't have a ice maker - yes I am a dinosaur. Just my two cents.

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crmfghtr wrote:

Wow, Terry that is a good in depth article you did. I appreciate you sharing that. I see you retained the drawer under the fridge. That is nice and something I may do as well through a cabinet shop. Unless I missed it did you ever install a inverter to run off your battery. I have read some people are dedicating a separate 12v battery (AGM) type and a inverter. Most are using 2000 watt. In doing more research this morning I actually found another inverter Natures Power model 38330 that also charges your battery as well. A bit pricey at $1700. Dollars but you get what you pay for.


 Robert,

No, we did not retain the drawer under the fridge.  In lowering the "floor" in the refrigerator cavity, we lost that space, plus we lost space in a small compartment above the original refrigerator.  But, neither of those spaces are missed.  As to an inverter, when we ordered our fifth wheel, we ordered it with a 3000 watt Xantrex pure sine wave inverter with an additional 2 extra batteries.  Our initial idea was to still do some boondock camping, but with our method of RV'ing, we've always had full utilities.

I think the Xantrex is also a "converter" to charge the batteries, but I could be wrong on that.  I'm not an electrician by any means.

Oh, and in case you missed it, my biggest revelation in the refrigerator replacement occurred when my wife took a picture of me with my head stuck through the refrigerator vent area and I later saw I had thinning hair.  Why did I NEVER put a mirror on the ceiling of the bathroom?

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2014 Ford Expedition 4X4 as Tag-along or Scout

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

Our photos on Smugmug

Ignoring the Barking Dogs  -  Terry's Blog



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arcaguy wrote:

I took the liberty of looking up the power draw of an 18 cu.ft. Samsung refrigerator and it looks like it draws 10 amps. I am assuming that is maximum draw, so that equates to a 1200 watt converter. I did this last night and I can't find the source, but I'm pretty sure that's what it said. This seems a little high as my home refrigerator draws a little under 5 amps, but I don't know how big it is, but it's not tiny. It also doesn't have a ice maker - yes I am a dinosaur. Just my two cents.


 To tack on to the above and Bill J's comments - be careful about the power needs.  If you plan to travel little or boondock not at all, this is somewhat less of a concern.  A fridge can go up to 8 hours without power without a lot of concern for the occasional single travel day.  Make that 6 if your more concerned.  But the point is one needs a lot of batteries to handle 10 AC amps for very long - which seems very high to me for a fridge in 2018.

We have a 24 cubic foot LG rated at only 445 watts (3 amps) w\o the ice maker turned on.  ("I" would not put an ice maker in an RV that travels a lot. But that's just my view. Others are fine with them.  A choice.)

As Bill J. commented, one needs about 240AH worth of batteries (~>120AH of power used) just to power and ~3 amp refrigerator over 24 hours. That is a typical number for most units used in an RV. 

One's style of RVing - travel - little travel - boondocking, etc. coupled with available battery / solar capabilities must likewise be factored into the "will it fit" equation.  Naturally if one is in a motorhome with a generator and that genny is run during travel all this battery discussion is mute.

FWIW, if I were purchasing an inverter to run the fridge I would not look for the lowest price.  Make sure, as best possible, it is a quality unit and sized above the expected current draw.  Too large and the inverter can be a bit inefficient.  But most inverters operated close to their ratings will run warm (hot?) and that's not good for the components inside.

Bill



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I finally found the specs again. Here they are:

www.cnet.com/products/samsung-rf18hfenbsr-refrigerator-freezer-french-style-freestanding-stainless-steel/specs/

Again it seems like the amp rating is high, but then again I haven't seen the label inside the refrigerator.

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arcaguy wrote:

I finally found the specs again. Here they are:

www.cnet.com/products/samsung-rf18hfenbsr-refrigerator-freezer-french-style-freestanding-stainless-steel/specs/

Again it seems like the amp rating is high, but then again I haven't seen the label inside the refrigerator.


 https://www.samsung.com/us/home-appliances/refrigerators/french-door/33-wide-18-cu-ft-capacity-counter-depth-french-door-refrigerator-stainless-steel-rf18hfenbsr-aa/

These specs are a little clearer but not much.  Looks like the 10 amps is the minimum spec on the circuit breaker, not what the unit draws.  It's "Energy Star" compliant whatever that means in the real world.  

The specs say 617 kWh/cycle.  The kWh is a strange change from the past.  I know what that means, but doesn't tell us how may true watts for a comparison like we've always done.

That said, you'll need to find one and see what it says on the door. Bet it will be "OK."  We just purchased a new LG as I mentioned and the specs on the door are the usual watts and it was manufactured December, 2017.   It was not spec-ed in kilowatt hours, etc.  But maybe there has been a change since Jan. 2018.

 



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Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2016 RAM 5500HD \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Link Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



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All that information is making me think. Since we rarely do boondocking I would like the ability to do so just in case we have a situation that would prevent us from shore power for extended stays. That being said, other factors come into play like water, sewer needs. Makes sense your food would stay cold / frozen for a 6 hour travel day. May also explore solar option too. We are just researching this, I haven't heard many good things about long life for the Norcold 1210. When it happens we want to have a option other than the same situation.

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Max (the German Shepard) In Spirit, RIP 9/30/17
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Just me, 6 hours without the fridge running is pushing it. And that is in a S&B let alone an RV. Been there, done that... not again.

Again, JMHO



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BiggarView wrote:

Just me, 6 hours without the fridge running is pushing it. And that is in a S&B let alone an RV. Been there, done that... not again.

Again, JMHO


 Fair enough.  But we've had different experiences and assumes one doesn't open the door even once and also that the freezer is more or less packed keeping all frozen up there.  If it's pretty empty, forgetaboutit.

 That said, I don't like the main fridge to get above 33 degrees as the milk isn't cold enough.  :)

Bill



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Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2016 RAM 5500HD \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Link Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



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crmfghtr wrote:

All that information is making me think. Since we rarely do boondocking I would like the ability to do so just in case we have a situation that would prevent us from shore power for extended stays. That being said, other factors come into play like water, sewer needs. Makes sense your food would stay cold / frozen for a 6 hour travel day. May also explore solar option too. We are just researching this, I haven't heard many good things about long life for the Norcold 1210. When it happens we want to have a option other than the same situation.


 Robert & Maria:  Our previous Norcold 1210 is now coming up on 12 years old and is still going strong in our previous rig now owned by other RV-Dreams people.  That said, you might want to consider going to Shipshewana, IN and have "Leon" replace the entire cooling system and do some venting mods which are necessary as the OEM's don't do the ducting very well.   It will be much better then new.  At least ours was.

http://fixyourfridge.com/

Howard and Linda had that done with excellent results.  You can search the Forum for that story from a long time ago.  They sold the fiver with that RV Fridge still in it at 13 years old if I am not mistaken.

 I am not advocating "RV" gas / electric over residential or the other way around. Don't want to start that discussion.  (Almost as bad as Chevy / Ford. :))  But the power issue is just a fact.

We have a Dometic RV gas / electric and prefer it because it solves the "big battery bank" issue with the residential unit for boondocking.  At least for us.  We had "Leon" - see link above - make a few mods and it works super fine and Linda likes it. Even in Arizona at 115 degrees with the sun on it we've had no issues and I am not exaggerating. However, if we didn't do the boondocking thing we'd probably have a residential.  Again, its a choice.

Bill



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2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2016 RAM 5500HD \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Link Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



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With our Whirlpool side-by-side the freezer gets to 25 degrees after about 5 hours, so we do not turn it off while traveling. The Whirlpool also "required" a 20AMP circuit but luckily it did not come with a 20AMP plug, just a standard 15AMP one. Running it on a meter for two weeks the highest draw was about 7AMP. A meter like the Kill-A-Watt is not expensive and then you know how much electricity something really uses and requires. Sometimes the manufacturers stickers are accurate, like our bread machine saying 500 watts and my highest measurement was 432 watts, and sometimes they go conservative and put a big number to cover an impossible combination of everything running at once. For a fridge it should be impossible for all lights, the defrost heaters, the ice maker heater and the compressor all starting at once.



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I happened to be in a JC Penny store today and they had a Samsung RF18 refrigerator on display. The label inside said 3 amps so that's what I would go with for a design spec. Not that I think it will ever draw that much but you always plan for the worst. That may also be a start-up draw. I've done pretty much all I can do from here, good luck.

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I bought the same Samsung model.This is the perfect size refrigerator and is counter depth. The design is a real beauty. The doors open and close effortlessly. It is quiet. The lighting is LED. The interior shelving operates smoothly and the cheese, dairy case slides to either side for additional room. Most importantly, the price of the refrigerator is fabulous compared to other brands with similar design



-- Edited by cowolter on Wednesday 20th of June 2018 12:40:35 PM

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As bjoyce said, installing a home fridge is just first step required.

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Just consider that having enough battery energy available is only half of the issue. The other side is being able to recharge that extra battery. Can your inverter/charger do this adequately? Can your alternator handle it without overheating or eating belts? Solar panels?
Just other thoughts to consider when installing a residential fridge.

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I installed a Samsung RF197 (no problems yet) in 2013 in our 2006 Everest best mod I have ever did.On the road runs great off 4 6volt Golf Cart batteries driving though the night ok as well. I do have a Magnum 2000 Tri Star 60. very pleased.



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2006 Keystone Everest 344j Samsung fridge, Magnum solar, Correct Track See level gauges. 2015 Silverado 3500 cc lb. LTZ dually.

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