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Old 01-29-2023, 10:01 AM   #1
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2004 Beaver, pulling the JC equiped 1200 out and going residential

The background. Our Norcold 1200 quit a few years back. We decided to go the JC conversion route. We had one of the 120v units installed, this one lasted less than a year and was replaced under warrantee. The replacement one, at first simply would not stop freezing up and had a heck of a time keeping the food cold. They sent me a triple fan to install over the fins which worked. We had been happy with it since this fix, the operative word being "had".

This past weekend the frig stopped cooling, again. After some trouble shooting with JC we determined the original control board in the 1200 was faulty. They sell a "semi-replacement" control board that is supposed to fix the issue. I order one and installed it. The frig worked as it should for 3 days then stopped cooling again. Looks like it will need a whole new replacement, but this time it is out of warrantee.

I'm done with the JC units. I've lost so much food with this frig it's ridiculous. Not to mention trips that have had to be cancelled with no refunds or the labor to do all the work. Which is no easy job. In my humble opinion the JC units are a short-term band aid not a long-term solution.

I'll be going through the old topics looking for advice on which frig to get and install options.
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Old 01-29-2023, 11:08 AM   #2
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I won't give any advice on which fridg to buy as its useally driven by the availble space. I have owned 2 different brands of absorbtion and 2 different brands of residential fridges and I think you'll be quite pleased with the upgrade to a res. unit as I was. A res unit will hold temps during the hottest days and coldest of nights totally uneffected by the outdoor temperature.
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Old 01-29-2023, 01:56 PM   #3
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Nasdaqsam,
You have more patience than I do for sure. When the 17 or so year old Norcold started acting up in our '04 Itasca Horizon a couple of years ago, I considered all the options for about 5 minutes. Without going through all of my reasoning, I just jumped into looking for residential.

As has been stated, the very first thing you need to do is find out your exact available dimensions so that when you begin your search, you can look for fridges that can come very close to your opening. I don't know about you but, I had no way of doing any modifications to the available opening in our coach for a replacement so, I had to find one that was darn close.

And we did. WE found a Magic Chef 10.1 Cu.Ft. version. It fit the opening like it was built for it. We bought it and brought it home while I was doing some other prep, we plugged it in, in the garage. In one hour, it had dropped inside temp from 87 down to 33 degrees and the freezer part was darn cold too.

So, with that, we were happy. I did the install which included fabricating up a way to keep that new residential fridge in place while traveling. Most residential fridges don't expect to be carted down the roads and zooming around corners at 65 mph so, there's no real way to lock them in place. So, you'll have to come up with a remedy on your new one like we did.

Then, you'll have to also figure a way to keep the doors shut while the coach is in motion. Again, residential fridges don't have built on or in, locks to keep the doors shut since they're not moving in home.

Now here's a couple of very important points. One, READ THE OWNERS MANUAL of your potential new fridge. Specifically find the section where it talks about what kind of electricity it operates on. By that I mean MSW or PSW electricity. I was an idiot and just bought our fridge plugged it in to make sure it worked, installed it, fabricated a very neat and clean way of keeping it in place while we were in motion and found an aftermarket device for keeping the doors closed WITHOUT READING THE OWNERS MANUAL PRIOR TO NOT ONLY PURCHASE BUT INSTALL TOO!!!!

We headed out on our first trip with the newly installed Magic Chef. I did the install in our RV garage. OBVIOUSLY we were connected to shore power at the time. So, knowing that we'd be disconnected from shore power while under way, I flipped on the Inverter/Charger while getting ready to head out.

We were about 30 miles out when I asked the CEO to quickly step back and check on the fridges operation. She reported back, "It's not on"! Hmmmm. I asked her to check on the Inverter. Yep, it's ON. Hmmmm. Long, long, long story short, I eventually purchased a stand-alone 1000 watt PSW inverter with built in transfer switch soley dedicated to that refrigerator.

The second thing for you to find out while reading the owners manual for your potential new refrigerator is, what kind of side wall, rear and top clearance needed for that particular fridge. Here again, I was an idiot. It wasn't 'till that Magic Chef had been in its new home for a week or more, that I found out by reading the manual, that the sides need approximately 5" or more clearance!!!!!!!!! I have approximately 1"-2" of clearance on each side and about 2-3" of clearance in the rear.

As stated, I have no way of modifying the opening or rough in for that fridge. It's gonna operate in the conditions it's placed in, period. If and when that fridge gives up the ghost, I'll be a bit more conscientious about what the new replacement needs in terms of clearance prior to purchase NEXT TIME.

So, with all this being said:

1. Write down all the dimensions of your opening prior to starting research
2. Find out what kind of juice any potential new residential fridge needs (MSW or PSW)
3. Find out what kind of clearance is needed in the owners manual
4. Try and determine what you'll need to do to keep that new fridge in place while in motion
5. Based on the doors, try and either fabricate or look for a commercially produced mechanism to add to keep them closed while you're zooming down the road.

Good luck.
Scott

P.S. By the way, that Magic Chef of ours needs about I think, somewhere near 1.5 watts of power to operate. It needs only slightly more to start up.
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Old 01-29-2023, 02:17 PM   #4
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Usually the available height is the limiting factor on a residential refrigerator, especially in an older coach. The ceiling height my 2002 Windsor is lower PLUS I have the furnace below it which made it even harder.

I had been living in our coach while I was building a new house. We had been shopping/buying appliances and I happen to find a Samsung RF18 on clearance at Lowes for $865 so I bought it and we used in the house for a while until we bought a full size refrigerator. I knew eventually I'd need it for the coach.

Then in ~2018 the Norcold refrigerator went out. Finally in 2019 I had a chance to replace the fridge. Not an easy task with the lower headroom and furnace underneath but I got it done. https://www.irv2.com/forums/f115/sam...ne-461001.html
For me the Samsung has performed well. Once you power it up it gets cold enough to store food in after ~2 hours. It will start dropping ice soon after that. I was in +100F weather late 2021 and the fridge stayed cold and made ice all day long and that was with the sun beating down on that side of the coach.



That being said there have been reports of Samsung failures so I'd suggest doing your research.



If you get the dimensions of your opening go to the AJ Madison website https://www.ajmadison.com/refrigerators/
They have a filter for size and you can see what might be available.

If you are willing to go with a two door top freezer small residential there are lots of options. If you want a french door type the options start going down.
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Old 01-29-2023, 02:23 PM   #5
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
Nasdaqsam,
You have more patience than I do for sure. When the 17 or so year old Norcold started acting up in our '04 Itasca Horizon a couple of years ago, I considered all the options for about 5 minutes. Without going through all of my reasoning, I just jumped into looking for residential.

As has been stated, the very first thing you need to do is find out your exact available dimensions so that when you begin your search, you can look for fridges that can come very close to your opening. I don't know about you but, I had no way of doing any modifications to the available opening in our coach for a replacement so, I had to find one that was darn close.

And we did. WE found a Magic Chef 10.1 Cu.Ft. version. It fit the opening like it was built for it. We bought it and brought it home while I was doing some other prep, we plugged it in, in the garage. In one hour, it had dropped inside temp from 87 down to 33 degrees and the freezer part was darn cold too.

So, with that, we were happy. I did the install which included fabricating up a way to keep that new residential fridge in place while traveling. Most residential fridges don't expect to be carted down the roads and zooming around corners at 65 mph so, there's no real way to lock them in place. So, you'll have to come up with a remedy on your new one like we did.

Then, you'll have to also figure a way to keep the doors shut while the coach is in motion. Again, residential fridges don't have built on or in, locks to keep the doors shut since they're not moving in home.

Now here's a couple of very important points. One, READ THE OWNERS MANUAL of your potential new fridge. Specifically find the section where it talks about what kind of electricity it operates on. By that I mean MSW or PSW electricity. I was an idiot and just bought our fridge plugged it in to make sure it worked, installed it, fabricated a very neat and clean way of keeping it in place while we were in motion and found an aftermarket device for keeping the doors closed WITHOUT READING THE OWNERS MANUAL PRIOR TO NOT ONLY PURCHASE BUT INSTALL TOO!!!!

We headed out on our first trip with the newly installed Magic Chef. I did the install in our RV garage. OBVIOUSLY we were connected to shore power at the time. So, knowing that we'd be disconnected from shore power while under way, I flipped on the Inverter/Charger while getting ready to head out.

We were about 30 miles out when I asked the CEO to quickly step back and check on the fridges operation. She reported back, "It's not on"! Hmmmm. I asked her to check on the Inverter. Yep, it's ON. Hmmmm. Long, long, long story short, I eventually purchased a stand-alone 1000 watt PSW inverter with built in transfer switch soley dedicated to that refrigerator.

The second thing for you to find out while reading the owners manual for your potential new refrigerator is, what kind of side wall, rear and top clearance needed for that particular fridge. Here again, I was an idiot. It wasn't 'till that Magic Chef had been in its new home for a week or more, that I found out by reading the manual, that the sides need approximately 5" or more clearance!!!!!!!!! I have approximately 1"-2" of clearance on each side and about 2-3" of clearance in the rear.

As stated, I have no way of modifying the opening or rough in for that fridge. It's gonna operate in the conditions it's placed in, period. If and when that fridge gives up the ghost, I'll be a bit more conscientious about what the new replacement needs in terms of clearance prior to purchase NEXT TIME.

So, with all this being said:

1. Write down all the dimensions of your opening prior to starting research
2. Find out what kind of juice any potential new residential fridge needs
3. Find out what kind of clearance is needed in the owners manual
4. Try and determine what you'll need to do to keep that new fridge in place while in motion
5. Based on the doors, try and either fabricate or look for a commercially produced mechanism to add to keep them closed while you're zooming down the road.

Good luck.
Scott

P.S. By the way, that Magic Chef of ours needs about I think, somewhere near 1.5 watts of power to operate. It needs only slightly more to start up.
Wow now that's some great info. Thank you very much. I would have never thought to look at specs for power supply issues or required side and top required air flow. I will now.

I have a bit of room to work with all though if I can do this without cutting cabinets I would. But if cutting is required and/or fill pieces needed we have a custom cabinet shop right in our town here.

How did you secure yours in place?

Thanks again.
Scott
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Old 01-29-2023, 02:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
Usually the available height is the limiting factor on a residential refrigerator, especially in an older coach. The ceiling height my 2002 Windsor is lower PLUS I have the furnace below it which made it even harder.

I had been living in our coach while I was building a new house. We had been shopping/buying appliances and I happen to find a Samsung RF18 on clearance at Lowes for $865 so I bought it and we used in the house for a while until we bought a full size refrigerator. I knew eventually I'd need it for the coach.

Then in ~2018 the Norcold refrigerator went out. Finally in 2019 I had a chance to replace the fridge. Not an easy task with the lower headroom and furnace underneath but I got it done. https://www.irv2.com/forums/f115/sam...ne-461001.html
For me the Samsung has performed well. Once you power it up it gets cold enough to store food in after ~2 hours. It will start dropping ice soon after that. I was in +100F weather late 2021 and the fridge stayed cold and made ice all day long and that was with the sun beating down on that side of the coach.



That being said there have been reports of Samsung failures so I'd suggest doing your research.



If you get the dimensions of your opening, go to the AJ Madison website https://www.ajmadison.com/refrigerators/
They have a filter for size, and you can see what might be available.

If you are willing to go with a two-door top freezer small residential there are lots of options. If you want a french door type the options start going down.
Jim, Thanks for the info. I do have a heating outlet below the frig but I have enough room above it for around a 70"H frig.

The Samsungs seem to fit my size from what I have searched so far. I have purchased from AJ Maddison before and had very good luck.

Thanks again.
Scott
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Old 01-29-2023, 02:34 PM   #7
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I replaced mine with a ge jw19ss it is exactly the same size as the norcold but has 18cuft. I had to build a platform over the heat exchanger and the hoses and whatnot that run through there. I built some posts to put above it to keep it from tipping then added some blocks under the front to keep it from rolling out. I was also able to screw the back down to the platform. I haven't had any problems since the install and will never go back to the propane/electric refrigerator. The hardest part was getting it in the bus. I had to take out both seats and take the doors off the fridge. I recommend wrapping it with a thin blanket to prevent dash scratches.
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Old 01-30-2023, 08:38 PM   #8
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You can find many threads well documenting the job ,including ones that needed extra love with height, as well as some smart ways to secure it. I'm sure many u tube vids as well.
If compressor still works on old one, probably still valuable to another owner with good board.
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Old 01-30-2023, 09:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
Hmmmm. Long, long, long story short, I eventually purchased a stand-alone 1000 watt PSW inverter with built in transfer switch solely dedicated to that refrigerator.
What brand and model of 1000w PSW did You settle with?

Seriously looking for one that also has the transfer switch , so I can shut down the OEM 3000w durning quiet times (overnites) without having to run the batteries plumb down.
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Old 01-31-2023, 07:53 AM   #10
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When owners started tp fo fridge conversions the samsung was the only units that fit with little modifications. Fast forward and there are others that fit.Samsung appliances are horrible. They presently have a bunch of lawsuits over the fridges. Stoves and washing machines are no better. There is a reason they are up to 50% cheaper than others. Do a Google and you will find thousands of unsatisfied customers. Look at new motorhomes and very few are installing Samsung. Our Dynasty has a Jenn air.
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Old 01-31-2023, 03:11 PM   #11
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I think a "residential fridge" by definition expects pure sine power, the standard for "residences". Some may be able to tolerate MSW and might even say so in their detailed specs, but lacking any such statement you should assume PSW is a must.


I replaced my Norcold 1200 with a 14.4 cu ft GE standard depth, top freezer model. No fancy double doors or cabinet depth - just a nice, inexpensive fridge that was 20% larger and head & shoulders superior to the old Norcold. The frost-free design and fast, even cooling were a joy.
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Old 01-31-2023, 03:26 PM   #12
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When shopping inverters, look for low idle current draw.
Idle current is the power it uses just being on, the lower the watts the less energy wasted.

I lived on my boat for 8 years powering my Avanti fridge on a Xantrex 2000 watt PSW inverter only. It had a .5 amp idle draw.

It never saw shore power.

Had shore, generator or solar power to keep the batteries up.
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Old 02-04-2023, 09:49 PM   #13
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Quick update. Logistically, going residential just was not going to work for a few reasons. First we have a trip coming up that was over a year in planning. We are meeting a group of friends that's been cancelled for one reason or another for several years now. We needed a frig yesterday. Second, the space we have is going to take some significant revamping to fit a residential unit. We'd have to move or completely remove a floor heater, move or completely remove a central vac, 2 bundles of wires and 2 outlets And I'm pretty sure we would have had to either remove both front seats and the center counsel or bring it in through the windshield area. Not impossible but highly unlikely with the time I had to do the project. Even moving all that I have very little side clearance for air flow. And the area is only 26" deep. That is from outside wall to to the cabinet face frame. Giving a few inches for air flow in the back really would have pushed the frig into the hall. We have a roll out spice rack that would have had it's ability to open severely diminished. Then came getting a frig in time. I found 2 that had possibilities. 1 is back ordered until April. The other was in stock but out of state. To get it here in time would cost more than the frig. Also as our coach is a 2004 with the original inverter I'm sure we would have had to replace it or add one for just the frig. None of this would have been a deal breaker if it wasn't for the time constraints.

With few options I called JC. We came to a mutually beneficial agreement for one of their new 2 compressor units. They shipped it this past Wednesday, I had it Friday afternoon. While waiting for it I pulled the frig out and prepped it for the new cooling unit. I removed and through out the ice maker and all the original wiring. Then cleaned up all the yellowing plastic back to white. I started installing the new cooling unit last night and had the frig back in place and running by 9am this morning.

I will say I am impressed at how much the product has improved over my previous one. It was 72 in the coach and 70 in the frig when I plugged it in. The frig portion came down 50 in 1 hour. The freezer came down to 44. By the second hour the frig was at 39 and the freezer was at 29. I couldn't stay to monitor the drop from there. But I put a case of warm water in it when I left. It jumped 10 right away but quickly started to drop. When a came back 4 hours later the frig was at 34 the freezer was at 5. I can tell you from experience with the past unit this would have taken minimum 24 hours.

I'm going to pick up the additional 3 year extended warranty for it which will be a 6 year warranty. If it lasts that long I'll be happy.

Thanks to all that gave advise it was greatly appreciated.
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