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Old 04-04-2011, 10:19 AM   #1
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UPDATE: Residential Refrigerator Installation

UPDATE: Residential Refrigerator Installation

I reported on Feb18 and 27 of 2011 that I was going to install a residential refrigerator in my 2008 Monaco Diplomat 36PDQ motorhome. I am happy to report the project is complete except as noted in this report. The results are better than I had anticipated and I hope I will not be disappointed in the performance.

I worked on this residential install between other projects around my house. My last update ended with several unresolved issues. After more research I decided to block off both the side wall and roof opening. I made this decision based on several points. First, when an OEM installs a residential refrigerator they do not have these openings. These opening have the potential to create a vacuum effect because a residential refrigerator is not sealed from the living quarters like a gas absorption unit. In talking with several aftermarket installers of residential refrigerators they seal off both wall and roof opening. When I blocked these opening I also insulated them with R4 foam board to insulate from the outside heat and cool. I also installed a vent at the top of the refrigerator.

My two other biggest concerns were a method to secure the refrigerator so it would not move even under the most severe road conditions. The roads we encountered on our trip to Alaska in 2009 convinced me that things need to be very secure. My other concern was a method to make sure the refrigerator doors did not open while traveling.

The opening for this refrigerator has very close tolerances in my application, especially the depth. The residential refrigerator without the doors is 24 3/8’ deep and the depth of my opening is 26”. I initially was going to use a method obtained from a local RV converter and repair business to secure the refrigerator to the floor. They use a piece of wood secured to the bottom of the refrigerator and another piece secured to the floor. These pieces of wood are cut at an angle so they lock together. You push the refrigerator back and lift it over the wood attached to the floor and then bring it forward to lock in place. Then attach a bracket to the front so the unit cannot move toward the back. I decided that this method would not work well for me because my depth is marginal.

I developed a cable method using the original leveling legs which I removed from unit. I used 1/8” coated cable which is rated at 340 lb load which far excesses my requirements. According to Samsung, this refrigerator requires a surface to support a fully loaded refrigerator weigh of 223lbs. I am not sure of the dry weight but based on this information this refrigerator weighs less than the Norcold 1200. These two cables have a compression fitting on one end and are run through a washer then through a slot on the bottom back of the refrigerator. I did this for each side. I connected the other end to eye bolts and ran then through a slot in the floor toward the front to the leveling leg brackets which I attached with bolts to the underside of the floor. The cable must be run through the refrigerator bottom before it is crimped to the eyebolt. I also should mention that I reinforced the underside of the floor with 2x4’s using Kreg system and pocket screws. I also used ¾” new plywood flooring. This cable method provides a way to adjust the unit to the opening and also will prevent any forward movement of the refrigerator. I found that getting the refrigerator even and square in the opening in very tricky because you are dealing with x and y axles of the opening and the refrigerator.

I also made two 90 deg angle support brackets with 7” leg and 3” leg. I had to carefully match drill the 3”vertical leg so it matched the hole pattern in the original leveling leg. I could not use the original leveling leg because I needed the horizontal leg to be flush with the floor. I attached these new bracket supports to where the leveling leg supports were originally attached to the front of the refrigerator bottom using the original 10mm bolts. The bottom 7” leg of the bracket is positioned toward the back of refrigerator and bolted to the floor. This was a very tedious process because you are working in very confined area with very close tolerances. However, the end result makes the refrigerator solidly attached and it cannot move out of the opening even under the most severe conditions.

I plan on attaching cabinet latches to the refrigerator to insure the doors stay closed while traveling. I saw these latches used by Tiffin Motorhome on their OEM installed residential refrigerators. These are plastic and spring loaded. They seem to work very well on cabinet door and drawer applications. I have found that these latches in different load rating’s for both heavy and light applicants.

To install the refrigerator I had to make a platform with wheels. I saw this used by another person when they did their residential refrigerator install. This makes installation of the refrigerator in the opening a one man job and allows for easy removal. I pushed the refrigerator approximately 2/3 into the opening and then went outside and positioned the cables through the slots in the floor. I also ran the electrical and water line for the ice maker through a predrilled hole. Then I attached the door hinges and the top control board prior to pushing the unit completely into the opening. Once it is in the opening I attached the eye bolts and then the two front leg supports. I determined that securing the leg supports first and then tighten the cables provided the best method to align the refrigerator edge to the opening edge.

This has been an interesting project. In my next report I hope to be able to provide performance measurements as to DC Amp Hour requirements and battery bank recharge cycle requirements.


I have pictures but unable to figure out how to upload. Anyone who understands the loading process let me know.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:38 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rorr1821 View Post
,,,I have pictures but unable to figure out how to upload. Anyone who understands the loading process let me know.

You have an hour to edit a post. After that you will need to make a new post. Either way:

Click on the paper clip icon in the tool bar of the Message: box (a manage attachments box will pop-up)
Browse your computer for the photos (you can do 4 at a time)
Click on Upload
Click on Close this Window when done

Lori-
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:21 AM   #3
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Here are the pictures of mt refrigerator install:
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:06 AM   #4
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EXCELLENT- I have been an advocate of residential refrigerator over the Norcold fire hazard for quite some time. I currently have residential in my coach that has been performing flawlessly for 6 years.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by rorr1821 View Post
After more research I decided to block off both the side wall and roof opening. I made this decision based on several points. First, when an OEM installs a residential refrigerator they do not have these openings. These opening have the potential to create a vacuum effect because a residential refrigerator is not sealed from the living quarters like a gas absorption unit. In talking with several aftermarket installers of residential refrigerators they seal off both wall and roof opening. When I blocked these opening I also insulated them with R4 foam board to insulate from the outside heat and cool. I also installed a vent at the top of the refrigerator.
After you filled in the openings in the wall/ceiling with wood/foam, how did you finish off the exterior to make it look "pretty" and waterproof?
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:22 AM   #6
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How do you power the fridge when travelling? I have seen a lot of the new coaches with compressor fridges and wondered how they fared travelling.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:16 AM   #7
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How do you power the fridge when travelling? I have seen a lot of the new coaches with compressor fridges and wondered how they fared travelling.
During the summer, generator is running with air conditioners.
During winter, I usually go 5 hours with it off. Has not left me with any soft ice cream or warm beer
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:05 AM   #8
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After you filled in the openings in the wall/ceiling with wood/foam, how did you finish off the exterior to make it look "pretty" and waterproof?
Making a seal for sidewall was very challenging because the manufacture did not weld the braces square. Keep in mind the original outside cover is still in use. What I had to do was make a cover which I could remove from the outside once I removed the original outside vent cover that is painted to match the motorhome. I cut a piece of plywood and attached it to the inside wall with screws. I placed rubber sealing strips between the wood and the wall prior to attaching. The inside diameter was cut out leaving a 1 1/2" edge which also has sealing tape around the circumference. I made a cover using 2 pieces of wood and R-4 insulation foam board which is installed from the outside against this 1 1/2" edge and locked in place with latches. Then the original vent is replaced over this cover so it looks like it did when I had the Norcold.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:11 AM   #9
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How do you power the fridge when traveling? I have seen a lot of the new coaches with compressor fridges and wondered how they fared traveling.
I have a 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter which will power the refrigerator from the battery bank. Keep in mind these new refrigerators that have energy star rating are very efficient. Somehow they have redesigned these compressors so the Amp draw at startup is much less than previous models and the Amp draw during the running cycle is very low. I hope to be able to report more specifics after I make some test using my Fluke meter.
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:15 PM   #10
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Residential Refrigerator

What model refrigerator are you using? Please respond to Jerry@carlson-lakeshore.com Thanks JC
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