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Old 03-01-2021, 08:42 PM   #1
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Running Norcold Fridge on Inverter

My Winnebago Adventurer 37F has a Norcold 4 door fridge, a 1000 watt inverter, and the batteries are charged by the Ford V10 engine's alternator.


Can I run the fridge on the inverter while driving since the batteries will be charged by the V10 alternator?
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Old 03-01-2021, 09:50 PM   #2
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My Winnebago Adventurer 37F has a Norcold 4 door fridge, a 1000 watt inverter, and the batteries are charged by the Ford V10 engine's alternator.


Can I run the fridge on the inverter while driving since the batteries will be charged by the V10 alternator?
Yes, just remember to switch to propane when you stop for the night, the fridge will drain your batteries pretty quickly if the engine is not running.
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Old 03-01-2021, 10:02 PM   #3
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You can. I would think that fridge AC heater is a 450 watt, which would mean your using about 45 amps per hour from the battery. That might be a bit much to have a continuous load on the alternator.

Why would you not just run the fridge on propane when traveling?? that's what we have done with many of our campers.
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Old 03-01-2021, 10:37 PM   #4
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Thinking your alternator is about 130 amps or more. Running your alternator to charge battery and handle coach load, [lights, ignition, ac/heater blower etc] would not be more than 60 or 70 amps. Well within your alternators ability.
Unless you are in very hot weather, your fridge will not be running continuously anyway.
I run my fridge and a crock pot running down the road drawing about 1400 total intermittent watts, and my 160 amp alternator still can put a small charge on my batteries.
But would not do it with a small alternator.
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Old 03-02-2021, 06:35 AM   #5
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I run my fridge on an inverter while traveling . The inverter will only operate when the engine is running and the batteries are above 13.2 volts so there is no danger of running the batteries down when parked. I also have a transfer switch installed so the fridge will switch to shore or generator power when available.
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Old 03-02-2021, 06:45 AM   #6
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Just a side question, why not run your generator while traveling? By doing this you can run your frig on 110 plus the coach ac.

Just a thought
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:52 AM   #7
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Just a side question, why not run your generator while traveling? By doing this you can run your frig on 110 plus the coach ac.

Just a thought
If you run your ac, very likely necessary to run your generator.
But why fuel, change oil and filters more often, and put wear and tear on a 5-10000 watt generator to only support a 450 watt load when the main engine can handle it easily? 450 watts will put way less than a 1 hp load on your V10.
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:00 AM   #8
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Thinking your alternator is about 130 amps or more. Running your alternator to charge battery and handle coach load, [lights, ignition, ac/heater blower etc] would not be more than 60 or 70 amps. Well within your alternators ability.
Unless you are in very hot weather, your fridge will not be running continuously anyway.
I run my fridge and a crock pot running down the road drawing about 1400 total intermittent watts, and my 160 amp alternator still can put a small charge on my batteries.
But would not do it with a small alternator.
Automitive Alternators from what I have alway understood have the high amps, but are not ment for continulus high loads. Start the vehicle and rapidly re-charge the battery to a point where if you turn off the vehicle you have a charge to start again. But once you are to that point go to a slow charge cycle.
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Old 03-02-2021, 11:00 AM   #9
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Automitive Alternators from what I have alway understood have the high amps, but are not ment for continulus high loads. Start the vehicle and rapidly re-charge the battery to a point where if you turn off the vehicle you have a charge to start again. But once you are to that point go to a slow charge cycle.
Not sure what you are trying to say. 60 or 70 amps out of a 130 amp alternator is a continuous high load and too much for it? The fridge is running off the house batteries and inverter. After starting coach, alternator will charge start battery till it is full, then supply house batteries the 45 amps necessary to keep house batteries full and supply fridge. No different than dry camping for a couple of days and running your house batteries down, than starting coach and driving away. Coach alternator will supply high amps for several hours just to bring them up to a voltage that allows a lower charging rate. That is the nature of LA batteries, and coach designers take that into consideration when they spec the size of the alternator. That's why it is not recommended charging lithium batteries directly off the alternator, they will take max amps off your alternator till fully charged. Lead Acid are self regulating and the charge rate will fall as the battery voltage rises.
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Old 03-02-2021, 05:16 PM   #10
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I just did this to my 97 damon coach. After alot of googling I found I only have 130 amp alternator. The newer 2013 coaches will have bigger more than likely. My norcold had a sticker on the inside that told me the exact wattage. I'm sure your 4 door will be more than the 300watts mine was. It's a smaller unit. I wired it to run all the 120v circuits beside the A/C. wanted to watch tv while driving.
Bottom line.
Your alternator and inverter will work just fine.
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:37 PM   #11
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Thanks to all for your interesting replies - they answered my question.

Why not run propane or generator while traveling? Why should I use propane or the gas to run the generator when the alternator will charge my batteries for free and the inverter will run the fridge?

That's why I asked the question - no need to spend money on propane or gas if I have another alternative!

Thanks again, guys!!
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:15 PM   #12
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I have a Xantrex RS 2000 inverter and the Norcold refrigerator 120VAC receptacle is the only such receptacle in the MH NOT connected to the inverter.
I inquired why and was told the amp-draw of the two 120VAC heaters was unsustainable from the battery bank. That is why Winnebago designed the 120VAC system that way.
Both 120VAC heaters draw a combined 450W from the inverter, that equals a 4,500W draw on the battery bank for the fridg alone. My calculator says 4,500W divided by 12 + 375A battery drain.
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:52 PM   #13
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I have a Xantrex RS 2000 inverter and the Norcold refrigerator 120VAC receptacle is the only such receptacle in the MH NOT connected to the inverter.
I inquired why and was told the amp-draw of the two 120VAC heaters was unsustainable from the battery bank. That is why Winnebago designed the 120VAC system that way.
Both 120VAC heaters draw a combined 450W from the inverter, that equals a 4,500W draw on the battery bank for the fridg alone. My calculator says 4,500W divided by 12 + 375A battery drain.
Watts are just a measurement of power, will be the same at 12 volts or 120 volts. Amperage will change. So 450 watts at 12 volts will be about 38 amps where as 450 watts at 120 volts will be about 3.75 amps. A 100 amp battery [50% usable] will run your fridge for an hour or so before it needs recharging. However alternator has no problem supplying that 38 amps while driving. Your fridge is not on the inverter because if you lost 120 volt shore or generator power, fridge would go on inverter and quickly flatten your batteries. But many coaches do have an inverter outlet in the fridge compartment that you can use while driving because alternator will charge batteries as you drive. Your setup is just Winnebago being careful by not allowing you to forget and leave fridge on battery and inverter power by accident.
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Old 03-03-2021, 10:26 PM   #14
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Watts are just a measurement of power, will be the same at 12 volts or 120 volts. Amperage will change. So 450 watts at 12 volts will be about 38 amps where as 450 watts at 120 volts will be about 3.75 amps. A 100 amp battery [50% usable] will run your fridge for an hour or so before it needs recharging. However alternator has no problem supplying that 38 amps while driving. Your fridge is not on the inverter because if you lost 120 volt shore or generator power, fridge would go on inverter and quickly flatten your batteries. But many coaches do have an inverter outlet in the fridge compartment that you can use while driving because alternator will charge batteries as you drive. Your setup is just Winnebago being careful by not allowing you to forget and leave fridge on battery and inverter power by accident.
Thanks for straightening out my terminology blunder and corresponding failure in calculations.
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