Originally Posted by Jandcinok
In the picture, a Newmar Dutch Star, you can see the venting under the refrigerator. Is the venting a requirement of the RV refrigerator? Im wondering if the refrigerator quit, could it be replaced with a residential type? If there is room and 120v available.
As has been stated, any venting for your basic RV fridge is up top, on the roof of the coach. And, in most cases, there's an access door on the outside of the coach, that access's the outside of the coach and backside of the fridge for service and repairs. There is no venting for the fridge below it. Whatever that is in your coach, will more than likely remain there if you decide to install a residential fridge.
And, speaking of that, I just did that a few months ago. Our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP, had the Norcold N-109 RV refrigerator in it for 16+ years and it started to warm up a bit and not keep things as cold as it did for years. So, I didn't even bother looking for any form of new cooling units for it, or a 12V compressor to be retro fitted in to it.
I simply removed that fridge and took measurements of the opening, width, depth and height. Then the wife and I cruised on down to both Lowes and Home Depot to see what they might have, that would fit the opening. Lowes had a model on the floor that was perfect but, didn't have any in stock and wouldn't have any for 8-10 weeks. Home Depot had plenty of another brand and theirs too, would fit the opening just fine.
Very little structural alteration was needed for fitment of that residential fridge into the space provided. In fact the actual only work that had to be done was some small spacers at the very rear that stopped that fridge from going too far into the opening. I did that for my own reasons for helping to secure it for when the coach was in movement. There are lots of threads on here about retrofitting residential fridges and, whether or not, any structural alteration was or was not needed.
In about 99.99999999999% of the coaches and trailers made for the last few decades, there is 12VDC, 120VAC and propane, all present at the rear of the original fridges. The 12VDC is attached to run the control board for the original fridge. The 120VAC is for a heating element that parallels the flame heating tube, that is provided by the flame, from the propane.
When a residential fridge is installed, for all intent and purpose, the 12VDC is not needed anymore. The 120VAC outlet can now be used for powering up the new fridge. The propane outlet, well, that can be capped off since there's absolutely no need for it when a residential fridge is installed.
Now, as for the 120VAC outlet. Well, there's sometimes complications with that outlet. In some cases, such as ours, there was, and still is, only ONE 120VAC outlet and, that outlet IS NOT POWERED, by the coaches Inverter. On other coaches/trailers, it is. But, even if the 120VAC outlet back there IS powered by the coaches inverter when shore power is absent, the power being provided to it, COULD BE from a MSW inverter.
That is, an MSW inverter is a Modified Sign Wave inverter. And that is an alternate form of electricity that is used by about 99.9999999% of the inverters installed in coaches and trailers. It's pretty rare that a PSW or, Pure Sign Wave inverter is installed from the factory. But, here's a tid bit of info. Some folks have installed a residential fridge in place of their RV fridge and, their new residential fridge operates just fine on their MSW inverter, IF, their outlet is powered up by the inverter. And at least in my research, which I did plenty of AFTER the fact that I has already installed our new fridge, it is very difficult to find information on potential new residential fridges, that pertains to the power requirement, whether or not, it or they, will run on a MSW or PSW inverter. For that info, you almost always have to inquire to the manufacturer of a potential unit, to see if they're unit will run, on your existing MSW inverter.
But others, like us, number one, the outlet WAS NOT POWERED by our MSW inverter so, I re-wired it so it would be powered up by our MSW inverter. But, in our case, with our brand of new residential fridge, re-wiring that outlet, did no good what so ever. You see, the new fridge was/is the type that requires PSW electricity, just like the electricity that is in your stick and brick home.
When we were shore power, that new fridge did just fine and like others have stated, it's one of the best improvements we've ever done to this coach. But, in my case, if I wanted to supply power to that fridge when we were driving down the road, or even stopped for a while, over night etc., I was gonna have to purchase and install, a PSW inverter that's sole purpose was to supply PSW power to that fridge, from our existing house batteries.
So, I did that. I installed a 1000 watt PSW inverter that, has a built-in *Transfer switch) that, when on shore power, that inverter allows 120VAC from shore power, to pass right through it and into the new fridge. But, when shore power is cut, the built in transfer switch sees there is no longer shore power and, within one thirtyeth of a nano-second, it transfers the demand of power, to the house batteries.
The new residential fridge never sees any power interruption. So, that's how I installed mine and what was needed for a seemless operation. We're outstandingly happy with the change out from a 16 year old RV fridge to a new, way more modern, low amp draw, residential fridge. And by the way, now our ice cream is hard as a rock, even with outside temps in the 90's. If you have any questions, surely ask.