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Old 08-02-2015, 03:07 PM   #1
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Norcold 12101m Refrigerator

Having read through many of the "notcold" or "fire" threads about cheaply made refrigerators, I've come down to a couple questions:

Is this model Norcold any better than the 1200 series in eliminating cooling problems?

Is it still thin tubing and should I put a Fire extinguisher in the compartment?

Would an Amish cooling unit be a worthwhile upgrade,

This fridge was installed last year under a warranty replacement in a 2006 coach I am considering buying>

Thanks

Keith
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Old 08-03-2015, 04:36 AM   #2
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Keith.....The Norcold refer failures is one of the most talked about issues in the RV forums. Many people have used theirs for years with no issues. Some would get moderate performance and many had failures. Norcold NEVER fixed the issue. There solution was to offer a recall device that was basically a thermal shutdown switch. An authorized dealer would add a heat sensor to the burner tube, that was wired into a small black box. The box was wired to the 12 volt power supply of your refer. If the temp got to high, the black box cut the power, shutting down the refer, no matter if it was on gas or 110 volt. It would then need to be inspected to see if it shut off prematurely or there was a failure. Even the boxes they provided had nothing but failures. The last I heard they were on generation/version "G" of the box.

I had a Norcold in my previous coach and with careful use, extra fans, specific interior loading, it would do okay until the temps got above 90 outside and then it suffered. I really liked the idea of a propane/electric refer and looked long and hard at doing the Amish replacement. It wasn't long though, before many reported the Amish unit was failing. I watched a couple of videos on how to install a new cooling unit and I believe that insulating the new cooling unit and better fans was a key to a better operating unit, but not necessarily the answer. I finally gave up on mine and installed a residential refer. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Even when my Norcold was working correctly, it didn't compare to how well a residential unit works.

Many diehards will come on and say their refers work fine, but many of those don't have the Norcold 1200. The smaller Norcolds have been great and still are, but the 1200's are just a failure in design. Many will argue that you can't boondock with a residential, but that's not true either. Yes, it will take more generator time than a propane unit, but most are willing to accept that. If you're a hardcore, live in the woods for weeks without power type, than you're probably not a candidate for a residential refer.

Like it or not, the residential refer and all electric is the future of RVing. You can fight it, but the move to all electric is already filtering down into Class A gassers and large fifth wheels.
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Old 08-03-2015, 09:41 AM   #3
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The 1210 is only an incremental improvement vs the 1200 and doesn't really change much. Yes, it's the same Norcold cooling unit design.

The "Amish cooling unit" gets a lot of hype and many RVers repeat the advertising, but it's too soon to tell whether there is any advantage in long term reliability. They do claim to use thicker metal walls, but that's just one piece of the total problem. Nor is there any actual use data that says they cool better in an RV. Again, many factors apply, e.g. venting, sealing around the fridge box, etc.

If you are concerned about the 1210, change it out for a residential fridge rather than swapping cooling units. You get more effective cooling, more fridge & freezer space, and much reduced fire risk.
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:38 PM   #4
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Both Vitrifrigo and Nova Kool make 12v units, that have compressors. I chose the Nova Kool 9000 and it works like all fridges should! Not cheap but I got tired of tossing out food, since Dometic fridge temps were all over the place 😡


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Old 08-03-2015, 04:23 PM   #5
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We have used Norcold 1200 in our last two MH, no problems. I can't speak for others, however cooling has never been a problem. My theory is, avoid a unit with the refrigerator (any brand) installed in the slide out.


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Old 08-04-2015, 12:06 PM   #6
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My Norcold 1200 (now 11 years old) also works well and reliably. ) freezer, 39 fridge, with the control set to "5" even in extreme outside temperatures. With proper installation (and avoiding slideouts, as Fred & Bonnie suggests), it's a good fridge. Too many RV builders got sloppy with the installation procedure and caused a lot of problems for their customers.

I've added an ARP control to the cooling unit to make sure it never overheats, thus substantially reducing the possibility of a fridge fire.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:52 AM   #7
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Thanks all for the replys!

Well it's already installed in a slide, however with proper fans and temp controllers I think (there he goes thinking again) it will work, I'll just have to get in there and look at it.

Quote:
Both Vitrifrigo and Nova Kool make 12v units, that have compressors
Thanks for the information, I'll look them up

Quote:
I've added an ARP control to the cooling unit to make sure it never overheats
I think that's on my list also, along with the fire bottle.

Blessings all thanks!
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