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Old 05-20-2020, 10:53 AM   #1
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Norcold DC Compressor Refrigerators

This post is a request for feedback from owners of the Norcold DC compressor refrigerators. My questions concern the On/Off cycle rates and current consumption of these units.

Although the unit I have works well at maintaining temperature, the On/Off cycle rate seems excessive to me. My unit has an On time of approximately 1 min. and an Off time of approximately 1 min. This cycle rate is generally independent of the thermostat setting, unless I select a temp. that is very low or close to Off. Are any other owners experiencing this same or similar cycle rate?

Second question: On several occasions, I have noticed that my house batteries are showing about 12.6 VDC after returning from a camping trip with the refrigerator ON. The house battery switch was also ON. Running the refrigerator in the yard, with the house batteries ON, on a sunny day, the batteries show a charging voltage of about 13.1 VDC. The house batteries show a higher level if the coach engine is running, which indicates that the relay in that circuit is also functioning. Either the solar panels or the engine alternator should be able to source enough current to keep the batteries charged. I haven't checked the current drain from the batteries yet, but that's my next step. Has anyone else experienced this, or is my system unique. At this point, I'm a little concerned about taking a long extended road trip.

This is a 2019 View 24V on a 2017 chassis. Electrolyte in the batteries shows that they are in very good shape.

Thanks for any responses.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:02 AM   #2
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Sounds excessive to me. I've no experience with that particular unit though.
Are you sure it is cycling on the tstat and not on a safety? As in HP. LP or OL?

Have you cleaned the condenser? Is the condenser fan running if it has one. Is the evaporator iced up?

I would check these first.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAT-LON View Post
This post is a request for feedback from owners of the Norcold DC compressor refrigerators. My questions concern the On/Off cycle rates and current consumption of these units.

Although the unit I have works well at maintaining temperature, the On/Off cycle rate seems excessive to me. My unit has an On time of approximately 1 min. and an Off time of approximately 1 min. This cycle rate is generally independent of the thermostat setting, unless I select a temp. that is very low or close to Off. Are any other owners experiencing this same or similar cycle rate?

Second question: On several occasions, I have noticed that my house batteries are showing about 12.6 VDC after returning from a camping trip with the refrigerator ON. The house battery switch was also ON. Running the refrigerator in the yard, with the house batteries ON, on a sunny day, the batteries show a charging voltage of about 13.1 VDC. The house batteries show a higher level if the coach engine is running, which indicates that the relay in that circuit is also functioning. Either the solar panels or the engine alternator should be able to source enough current to keep the batteries charged. I haven't checked the current drain from the batteries yet, but that's my next step. Has anyone else experienced this, or is my system unique. At this point, I'm a little concerned about taking a long extended road trip.

This is a 2019 View 24V on a 2017 chassis. Electrolyte in the batteries shows that they are in very good shape.

Thanks for any responses.
What do you mean by "cycle rate"? Are you hearing the compressor cycling on/off every minute? That's not normal unless there's an air leak around the door gaskets/seals. Or, unless the temp inside the coach is high, and the fridge is trying to compensate for the ambient temp.
I have the Norcold DC0061 (I have the DC only model) and it does seem to draw a lot of power (compressor run time) during cool down, but after that I don't think it's that bad. The LP solenoid that operates my LPG tank's main valve, is a much thirstier vampire, in my experience. Leaving it on draws a fair bit of power. I try to remeber to switch it off if we aren't using propane.
What type of house batteries do you have? Make/model/capacity? I had the Napa 8240 pair, dual purpose, maint free, ~ 65Ah (each), and they were woefully inadequate after about 1 year of use, at providing enough power for a single day/night off grid, and I added a 3rd Sun Power 100W panel shortly after buying my Navion, because I expected that the OEM batteries would need some help. I have since replaced them with 2 X 100Ah Relion RB100-LT batteries, and now I rarely look at the power displays. It has been the answer to all the off grid concerns that came with the 2018 Navion.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:50 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.


Xmcdog - Thanks for the suggestions, but this unit is almost new as far as operation goes. It is mounted in a 2019 View that has a little over 3000 miles on the chassis. I have no way of testing for any system pressures without removing the unit from the coach and bench testing it. The evaporator core is behind the unit and also not visible.


Winterbagoal - This unit is also the Norcold DC 0061. By " I'm refering to the "cycle rate" I'm referring to the period of time from one cooling cycle to the next cooling cycle. The unit will cool for approx. 1 min. following by a off time and then the cooling cycle starts again. I have temperature sensors in both the freezer and main compartments and those temperatures remain fairly constant as called for by the thermostat setting. The house batteries are what came with the RV. Probably the same as your originals. We don't dry camp very often, so I won't replace them until they fail. I haven't checked the door seals yet,, but will today. The unit is so new that if they are bad, they must have been bad from the factory.



How does your unit run? What is the ratio of the on time to off time?



Thanks
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAT-LON View Post
Thanks for the replies.

Winterbagoal - This unit is also the Norcold DC 0061. By " I'm refering to the "cycle rate" I'm referring to the period of time from one cooling cycle to the next cooling cycle. The unit will cool for approx. 1 min. following by a off time and then the cooling cycle starts again. I have temperature sensors in both the freezer and main compartments and those temperatures remain fairly constant as called for by the thermostat setting. The house batteries are what came with the RV. Probably the same as your originals. We don't dry camp very often, so I won't replace them until they fail. I haven't checked the door seals yet,, but will today. The unit is so new that if they are bad, they must have been bad from the factory.



How does your unit run? What is the ratio of the on time to off time?



Thanks
OK, so it's the compressor cycling on/off that you hear? I have never listened for the compressor on/off rate, as ours also cools fairly efficiently when I set the dial to somewhere near the "4" setting. Fridge cool, freezer cold. Not residential fridge numbers, but good enough for our needs. I rarely hear the fridge during the evening, when we're bedded down, so I really can't say for sure what my "cycle rate" might be. I just switch ot on and it works.
I initially thought our doors weren't sealed very well, straight from the factory, and added some tape around the upper and lower compartments to make contact with, and complete, the door seals. It seemed to help a little, but I eventually took it off, after we opened/closed them regularly during our first few trips. One thing that I've found is that the doors are difficult to latch sometimes, and I actually broke off one of the strike plates for the lower door. I was able to replace it from an online parts website "TheNorcoldGuy.com". If you ever need parts they're pretty good.

Sorry I can't be more help.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:24 AM   #6
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It's not just the compressor that's turning on and off. It's a complete cooling cycle. The fan turns on, then the compressor comes on. It runs for about 1 min and then the compressor turns off. Finally the fan turns off. This cycle repeats about every minute or so. I can get the freezer down to 13 degrees with the main section in the mid 30's. So that is quite acceptable. Have a contact name at Norcold. Will continue to pursue this with them.



Sounds like yours is running more like I would expect it should.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:35 AM   #7
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I've used the RV for trips from 1000 miles to 4000 miles, maybe a total of 6 or 7 times since new, other than exercising it once in a while in the fall/winter/spring on the nice days, with dry roads, and it's had some bumps along the way, but everything is working much better, especially since I added the lithium batteries. I never really give the fridge a second thought after we turn it on. It's that innocuous.
Sorry can't be more help.
You could try an email question to the "NorcoldGuy.com". They're pretty helpful.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:52 AM   #8
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Check the door seals.

It sounds like it's warming up inside and has to work overtime to keep the temperature down.

Happy Glamping.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:12 AM   #9
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Thanks for the suggestion. Have checked them and although not as tight as I'd like on all sides, they are as good as you get. No major gaps


I have noticed that the temps. in both the freezer and main chest stay right on the set temp. I would have expected the temp. to go a few degrees above and below the set point depending on whether it was cooling or not. I wonder if the temp. sensor has shifted and is not in the proper location causing it to be too sensitive.
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Old 05-25-2020, 02:39 PM   #10
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I have the DE-0061 and it does exactly the same thing. Kind of annoying, and not good design, IMO. It works quite well, and Iím happy with it, but Iíd like it even more if it would run for 10-15 minutes then sit on standby for 10-15 minutes (or longer). I hear the relay clicking in and out mostly, and itís hard to fall asleep when Iím waiting for the shoe to drop every couple of minutes, so to speak ha ha.
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:36 AM   #11
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At least there are two of us in the universe that have Norcold units with the same operating characteristics. Hard to believe that only the two of us have noticed. From what I can see, the DE0061 is the same unit, but has the addition of an AC power supply. Agree that the unit works very well, just cycles too frequently. Should have longer On and Off times.



After emailing Winnebago customer service I finally got the name of someone at Norcold to talk to. Name is Ed Minor. Will try to make contact with him this week. First tier tech support at W was almost useless regarding this issue. Only reference they could remember was that some users had reported problems with the DC inline fuse holder at the refrigerator. Symptoms were not the same through.



I was curious about how long the house batteries would last if dry camping. I did do some current measurements over the weekend and found that the unit draws about 7.8 Amps when operating. Was surprised because the specs. imply about 3.6. Hopefully ED can shed some light. I'll pass on whatever I find out.
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Old 05-26-2020, 08:25 AM   #12
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At least there are two of us in the universe that have Norcold units with the same operating characteristics. Hard to believe that only the two of us have noticed.
There are others. It came up in an older thread. I'll try to find it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LAT-LON View Post
From what I can see, the DE0061 is the same unit, but has the addition of an AC power supply.
You're probably right. It took a bit for me to find your model - I thought it was a typo, but a generic search came up with that DC model number. Mine is shown as AC/DC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LAT-LON View Post
After emailing Winnebago customer service I finally got the name of someone at Norcold to talk to. Name is Ed Minor. Will try to make contact with him this week. First tier tech support at W was almost useless regarding this issue. Only reference they could remember was that some users had reported problems with the DC inline fuse holder at the refrigerator. Symptoms were not the same through.

I was curious about how long the house batteries would last if dry camping. I did do some current measurements over the weekend and found that the unit draws about 7.8 Amps when operating. Was surprised because the specs. imply about 3.6. Hopefully ED can shed some light. I'll pass on whatever I find out.
I'd appreciate that. I was thinking of replacing the thermostat, which is available, but it seems unlikely to solve the issue since they all seem to do that. But I wish it had a wider hysteresis band.
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Old 05-27-2020, 08:14 AM   #13
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Was able to talk to Ed Minor @ Thetford yesterday. According to him, the units in their lab typically cycled at a 1.5 min to 3.5 min. duty cycle. So mine is a little faster than that, but not enough to raise any eyebrows. Like you, I'd really appreciate more hysteresis in the cycle. My increased current drain (7.9A) didn't solicit a rise either, so I guess their tolerances are quite wide. Discovered that Thetford doesn't use Secop/Danfoss compressors opting for one from China. Once again, the bottom line wins.



I questioned whether or not the thermocouple might have become dislodged or moved and he said that it could be possible. It's located in the main compartment. He also mentioned that they had been able to extend the cycle time by disconnecting the evaporator tube (also located in the main compartment) from the pan and allowing it to hang free. Only other options mentioned were a bad thermostat and a few units had bad inline fuse holders that would heat up and open.


We don't dry camp very often, but on those occasions power loads are always a concern. At 7.9 A, this thing is a hog. Considering the 50% duty cycle of the compressor, my two group 31 house batteries should hold up. I'm going to do a test run here at the house to make sure. Between the 200 watts of solar plus the genny, I can easily top off the batteries during the day.
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Old 05-27-2020, 09:04 AM   #14
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Very interesting discussion. I'll be watching to see what develops, and in the mean time, I'll sniff around mine to see if I can find the thermocouple and/or the evaporator tube. I don't recall seeing anything obvious the last time I looked, but it was full of food then; it's empty now, and in need of spring cleaning.

With 300W (allegedly) of solar panels, you'd think solar would keep up with the fridge draw, but I never see more than 10A from them, so I'm not sure they can keep up even in sunny weather. But I use it as a travel van almost exclusively, and the 600Ah battery never drops much overnight when boondocked (or Wally-docked, really). Since I'm driving the next morning anyway, and being that the engine has a second alternator just for the house batt, it's back up in short order no matter what.

*Note to self: leave the doors cracked open during the winter.
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