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Old 09-27-2020, 02:24 PM   #1
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How to run Norcold fridge on inverter

i have a norcold fridge on my class A RV and would like to to run it on AC while driving to save on propane. would like to know if it is practical to try to do this if so what is the best way to do it not sure how to set up the inverter to go 12v to 120AC and switch to shore power with out damaging the inverter
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Old 09-27-2020, 02:43 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ventura38 View Post
i have a norcold fridge on my class A RV and would like to to run it on AC while driving to save on propane. would like to know if it is practical to try to do this if so what is the best way to do it not sure how to set up the inverter to go 12v to 120AC and switch to shore power with out damaging the inverter
The alternator should charge the batteries when you are driving, so you can do that. Need to know if you have a pass through inverter or a separate transfer switch. If pass through, should be automatic when inverter on, if ATS, fridge must be on the inverter sub panel.
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Old 09-27-2020, 02:50 PM   #3
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Depending on model, it may run on 12v DC if you shut off the propane and it should get 120V AC if you run your genset while driving. At .6 GPH of gasoline, the genset may be more costly than simply burning the propane, IRDK.
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Old 09-27-2020, 03:11 PM   #4
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The fridge use a tiny amount of gas to heat the refrigerent.

It uses 400 to 500 watts of electricity to do that. 450 Watts at 120 volts is 3.75 amps.

Using an inverter to create that power from 12 volts will draw 37.5 amps, plus the inverter inefficiencies. So over 40 amps from your alternator while driving down the road.

It will work, but if you forget to switch to gas while dry camping, you will have dead batteries in the morning. 10 hours at 40 amps is 400 AH, most RVs total capacity.
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Old 09-27-2020, 03:22 PM   #5
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Leave it on LP.
It uses almost a trickle.
Your gas heater is the propane hog
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Old 09-27-2020, 03:50 PM   #6
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so you don't think it is worth the effort to do for refrigerator. i was also thinking of using it when boon-docking for TV
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Old 09-27-2020, 04:04 PM   #7
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Ok for TV - current draw would be low on an LED and less on a OLED.

Suggest you get a kill-a-watt meter to check current drain on your appliances or a loop ammeter.

I suspect your TV is less than a 2A draw but it is best to check.

Suggest you get a PSW inverter and fuse it on the DC side just as a precaution to limit high current drain. I did that with a 1KW PSW inverter. Works perfect. Ran 120V circuits from the inverter. Inverter should be close to DC source.
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Old 09-27-2020, 04:18 PM   #8
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so you don't think it is worth the effort to do for refrigerator. i was also thinking of using it when boon-docking for TV
TV's draw about 60 watts, 5 amps @12 volts, thru an inverter. Very low draw in the big picture.

A 200 watt inverter will do fine. They make some that plug into lighter sockets.
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Old 09-27-2020, 04:45 PM   #9
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so you don't think it is worth the effort to do for refrigerator. i was also thinking of using it when boon-docking for TV
Your Itasca should already have the TV plugged in to an inverter connected receptacle.
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:11 PM   #10
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The fridge use a tiny amount of gas to heat the refrigerent.

It uses 400 to 500 watts of electricity to do that. 450 Watts at 120 volts is 3.75 amps.

Using an inverter to create that power from 12 volts will draw 37.5 amps, plus the inverter inefficiencies. So over 40 amps from your alternator while driving down the road.

It will work, but if you forget to switch to gas while dry camping, you will have dead batteries in the morning. 10 hours at 40 amps is 400 AH, most RVs total capacity.
as aways great post here..
From a personal run with a residential fridge in old RV.. I also had a 220AMP alternator,, sp plenty of recharger when traveling..

My E 350 minnie has a 130Amp alt.. with a 40amp breaker to feed Rv battery chg relay.. SO limits.. are in place for my RV.
With my RV Norcold on 7.5cu, on my inverter.. also microwave clock/standby, TV on standby.. my 12VDC amp use is 4A to 33A when fridge calls..
I can get by,, and I have.. But if I have dash AC on, nitetime , RV travel lights.. I am sure I am pulling that Altenator to its limts.. trying to charge chassis, my inverter with 3 100AH deep cells

I would run Propane as much as I could.. Just did a Tueday til sunday.. 80 degree days, 60 nites.. used 1/8 tank or tad more.. it was filled.. so it holds 7.5 - 8 gallon.. so I may have used 2 gallon MAX. plus I ran my grille 3 times..
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:01 PM   #11
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This is what I did. I purchased a 2500 watt inverter. When I disconnect from shore poser I connect the shore power cord to the output from the inverter. My motorhome has a power management system that can be set for a 15 amp power source so system will shed loads as the usage approaches 15 amps.


I have also inserted a normally closed relay in the power source for the converter that charges the batteries. The relay is wired to turn off the power to the converter whenever the inverter is energized. This is necessary so that the converter does not charge the batteries using the power from the inverter.


I can power cell phone chargers, laptop computers and even the microwave with the inverter. I turn off the electric water heater and conditioner to avoid discharging the batteries.


My refrigerator is 12V electric and gas so If I am going to be without shore power for a prolonged time I switch to gas.



It works for me.
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:22 PM   #12
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i did the same with a relay to kill. converter chger when inverter is on, I added an aux relay to my 3 inpout transfer,, no power management other than me..

As far as boon docking with fridge on inverter,,, AWE... I did 2 back to back testes just incase I loose propane and need to run my Norcold on inverter for some old reason..
Approx 300AH of lead acid.. 12.7 volts.. fridge at 65 degrees .. inverter on. isolated only refridge.. .. watched my readout on 120V leg.. 3.2-3.6 amps.. or so for first 2 hours then it would cycle of on, more so on. after 6+ hours it is 85degrees outside and fridge is COLd.. after 7.5 hours volts are down to 12.2ish. 9 hours <12 Volts.... almost ten and i hear the beep.. low batteries.. I check 11.8V.. they about done.. I did not set the watt counter but, it makes sense..

NOW i plugged in my shore.. next morning batteries 11.9... WTf,, chger at 13.6,, DANG Circuit breaker is a 30Amp.. my conv/chger was upgraded to a 45/50A and I added a smart module that bulk charges..
SO I set manual to normal chg for half the day then resumed program rates..
I have since updated the wire and circuit breaker,, , hence why i mentioned about altenator breaker and such..

Most modern hi rate chargers are wired proper but I am sure many make oops..
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Old 09-29-2020, 09:52 AM   #13
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

We run our Norcold 1200 on inverter power all the time when driving. Just be careful and turn it off if you will be parked for an extended period of time without being connected to shore power!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:39 PM   #14
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I run my Norcold off an inverter while driving. I have a 400 watt inverter only for the fridge. I also installed an automatic transfer switch to run the fridge on shore /generator power if the inverter is not on. The inverter for the fridge will only operate after the engine has been running for 10 minutes and the battery voltage is above 13.2 volts. I switch my fridge to AC only and the rest is automatic. If there is no AC , the fridge will alarm to let me know. The main reason for my set up was so the fridge would not operate if we parked in an off level spot on the many back roads we travel.
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