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Old 11-17-2019, 12:33 PM   #1
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Fridge Question

Hi everybody, I have a question to an age old problem I'm sure has been beat to death here before, but the more I read the more confused I become. Our 2000 Alpine still has the original Dometic NDR1292 fridge that still functions great.
It is not on the recall list but reading other owners encounters with these refers overheating and potentially catching fire has me not sleeping well. I have done a visual inspection and see no obvious signs of any leakage, cracks or overheating. The way I see it, I have a few options and respect your opinions based on experience. In other words, WWYD, or have you done?
My thoughts in no particular order are:

1) Nothing, take your chances and leave it alone. Keep inspecting frequently, up the insurance and still sleep like crap.
2) Install the ARP fridge defend system. Is it worth it or just a gimmick sold by fear?
3) Upgrade to the Amish replacement cooler unit.
4) Replace with residential unit. (My least favorite option)
5) Replace with another LP/AC model of similar size
6) ?

Sorry if I should post this on the Dometic Norcold thread instead, and I will if need be but I wanted to ask the "experts of experience" here first.
Thanks, Mike
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:05 PM   #2
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I would sure add the ARP to any absorption refrigerator.


It monitors boiler temperature and controls heat source if an overheating situation develops for any reason.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by wolfe10 View Post
I would sure add the ARP to any absorption refrigerator.


It monitors boiler temperature and controls heat source if an overheating situation develops for any reason.
Thanks. My thoughts are to pull the fridge for closer inspection, install the ARP, inspect the roof vent for any blockages and possibly fabricate a tin heat shield if needed.
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Old 11-17-2019, 02:06 PM   #4
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2000 year model that has been working just fine for 19 yrs
NOT part of recall cause it wasn't produced duringg the years that the cooling units were made using thinner walled tubing which failed due to poor welding techniques or overheating issues
The Dometic Recall involved installation of a high temp device to shutdown DC to fridge and extra shielding around burner area......NOTHING to prevent overheating/leaks etc.

Temp device can be manually reset.but usually when temps are high enough to trip it the cooling unit is BAD



The APR Device is a'real time' monitoring and control system.
It uses a temp sensor and circuit board that monitiors the coolant temps in perk tube (boiler section) during operation. If coolant temp rises too high (380*F IIRC) it shuts down DC to halt heating cycle UNTIL coolant temp decreases..then resets DC and allows heating to continue.


Fridge running----
Park off level (side of HWY Ramp, parking lot etc) and coolant temps can rise
Traveling up/down LONG grades.......coolant temps can rise
Anytime gravity flow is affected....coolant temps can rise


The APR Device can montior these temp increases and shut DC down BEFORE overheating causes damage
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Old 11-17-2019, 02:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
2000 year model that has been working just fine for 19 yrs
NOT part of recall cause it wasn't produced duringg the years that the cooling units were made using thinner walled tubing which failed due to poor welding techniques or overheating issues
The Dometic Recall involved installation of a high temp device to shutdown DC to fridge and extra shielding around burner area......NOTHING to prevent overheating/leaks etc.

Temp device can be manually reset.but usually when temps are high enough to trip it the cooling unit is BAD



The APR Device is a'real time' monitoring and control system.
It uses a temp sensor and circuit board that monitiors the coolant temps in perk tube (boiler section) during operation. If coolant temp rises too high (380*F IIRC) it shuts down DC to halt heating cycle UNTIL coolant temp decreases..then resets DC and allows heating to continue.


Fridge running----
Park off level (side of HWY Ramp, parking lot etc) and coolant temps can rise
Traveling up/down LONG grades.......coolant temps can rise
Anytime gravity flow is affected....coolant temps can rise


The APR Device can montior these temp increases and shut DC down BEFORE overheating causes damage
Thanks Old-Biscuit, I'll rest easy and keep her level.
We've had several Norcolds and Dometics over the years with no issues to speak of. I still think the APR device would be a good idea, so probably go that route.

I noticed Alpine put an angled kicker board just above the top of the service panel wall opening and cooling tubes. Would it behouve me to remove that panel for better circulation? Anyone else removed that panel?
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Alpine36 View Post
I noticed Alpine put an angled kicker board just above the top of the service panel wall opening and cooling tubes. Would it behouve me to remove that panel for better circulation? Anyone else removed that panel?

Read your refrigerator installation manual. There is a maximum as well as minimum clearance from refrigerator to outside wall.


If too wide a gap, you do not get linear air flow up and through the condenser.


Installing a board to set proper gap is an accepted practice, though likely not quite as good as having the proper gap to start with.
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:34 PM   #7
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Why is a residential your least favorite option? I'm just asking. It's a viable option. They do take some amp hours but the advantages are worth it, IMHO. Lack of fires is a big plus.
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:38 PM   #8
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Why is a residential your least favorite option? I'm just asking. It's a viable option. They do take some amp hours but the advantages are worth it, IMHO. Lack of fires is a big plus.

Dan,


Don't know if you are addressing me, but I will give you my thoughts:


I have nothing against a residential refrigerator-- our Alpine came from the factory with one.


BUT, if one does a lot of dry camping (we do not) an absorption refrigerator is still a very viable option.


With an ARP controller and some minor tuning for air flow and annual burner area tune-up I see nothing wrong with an absorption refrigerator.
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Old 11-17-2019, 04:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by wolfe10 View Post
Dan,


Don't know if you are addressing me, but I will give you my thoughts:


I have nothing against a residential refrigerator-- our Alpine came from the factory with one.


BUT, if one does a lot of dry camping (we do not) an absorption refrigerator is still a very viable option.


With an ARP controller and some minor tuning for air flow and annual burner area tune-up I see nothing wrong with an absorption refrigerator.
What wolfe10 said^^^
I'm planning on stepping up the solar game someday.
At that time a new inverter and battery upgrade will be installed, then a residential fridge would make more sense.
We like boondocking and the LP option is great for the time being.
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Old 11-17-2019, 04:53 PM   #10
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Thanks Old-Biscuit, I'll rest easy and keep her level.
We've had several Norcolds and Dometics over the years with no issues to speak of. I still think the APR device would be a good idea, so probably go that route.

I noticed Alpine put an angled kicker board just above the top of the service panel wall opening and cooling tubes. Would it behouve me to remove that panel for better circulation? Anyone else removed that panel?

NO!
That is a baffle to direct the airflow across condenser fins and to prevent a dead air space


After 19 years you want to go doing modifications?



http://bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/operating/ndr1292.pdf
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Old 11-17-2019, 05:52 PM   #11
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Great point. I agree, don't mess with success.
Since I don't have the installation manual I didn't know what it was for. Thought removing it would make inspecting the nether regions easier. I won't.
Thanks for your valuable input, much appreciated as always.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:41 AM   #12
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As you may have seen we just replaced our 2001 Dometic 1292 last week with an 18.6 CF residential unit.

I looked long and hard at alternatives before we made the decision.

There were 2 things driving our decision:
  • The overall performance of the refrigerator
  • the interior size and akward layout of the small, narrow compartments

Our refrigerator was not consistent at keeping temps consistent.....the interior of the refer portion would sometimes be at 37* but others up to as high as 45. We always tried our best to keep the doors closed and reasonably full....not that hard with the size.....but the biggest thing we hated was that the freezer portion was always too warm.....rarely got to zero and never was into negative numbers.

One of the big issues with the absorption refers is that they have no way to circulate the air unlike residential refrigerators and this leads to the inconsistency especially when you live in AZ year rounds as we do.

Certainly, the fire hazard was part of the equation for us but not the main reason.....unless of course, you are trying to rationalize pulling out a functioning refer for the upgrade

We explored the Amish upgrade, both Absorption, and 12V compressor replacement and in both cases, even though the reviews cited better performance we would still have that small box and no factory designed circulation.

We also looked a newer absorption unit with up to 18CF of storage and while we could make it fit (barely) it was still the same old issue with a dated technology, fire hazard, and most importantly a $4000+ price tag...just to be able to work off the grip without electricity.

It's important to note that we do a LOT of boondocking, and this is at least 50% of our nights on the road, so the residential solution poses a little more issue as well.

So I made a financial and keep my wife happy decision all at the same time. We decided to go with a Residential unit that was $1200, added $2000 worth of Solar panels (1600W) and a $900 inverter upgrade (Magnum MS3012 - 1 year old) and for the cost of a larger absorption fridge we not only ended up with an AMAZING refrigerator that keeps everything at a constant temperature, keep ice cream hard, but we also ended up with a better way to run ALL of our electrical items (except AC) on a regular basis with almost no need to ever run the generator

I know this doesn't work for everyone but it was certainly the right decision for us
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:12 AM   #13
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Looks great Paul. You just lived our long term plan with the fridge.
It's just not in the short term for us right now. Since this coach is a relatively new purchase for us, I don't want to make it a total money pit until we're absolutely sure this is the one for us. So far, the initial purchase cost was well within our budget and repairs/maintenance have been about what we expected. We absolutely love this coach so far and we have done all maintenance items ourselves, so that's a big cost saver.
One item at a time.....
Today we're off to Home Depot for new fixtures and tile for the wife's coach project. Of course I'll take a peek at fridges while there, lol.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:11 AM   #14
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Great pics and the refer looks terrific!

Maybe you mentioned this in an earlier post, but what did you do about the furnace? Does it fit under the new refer or did you remove it?
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