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Old 12-20-2020, 09:45 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Dometic DMC4101 DC only Fridge Review

Here's our first impressions of our new Dometic DMC 4101 12v DC compressor refrigerator:


A little background - we've just replaced our 10 year since rebuild Dometic NDR 1062 gas/electric fridge with the brand new to market Dometic DMC4101 - a 12v DC only compressor unit. The older unit had 8 cu ft of space vs 10 cu ft for the new unit.



The DMC 4101's claim to fame is that it will fit into a standard 8 cu ft footprint while offering more interior space, which is true, but there are always a couple of trade offs - hence this post.


First things first - we dealt with Panther RV out of Washington state. They have been great to deal with and we can highly recommend them.


Now the details. The new DMC4101 is the exact size as the older NDR 1062 - except that the old fridge had a 1"+ flange that totally surrounded the sides of the unit and acted as an air dam to keep cold air from blowing in from the outside via the ventilation spaces at the rear of the fridge. The new DMC 4101 doesn't have any such flange - we've added door weatherstripping and foam pipe insulation along the sides and top/bottom of the finished opening to stop the arctic blasts.


Storage - The DMC 4101 comes with four shelves in the fridge compartment - which is really one more than necessary (it also has a single shelf in freezer compartment). Unfortunately the shelf layout doesn't include a cutout for a gallon of milk, so some adjustment will be necessary. Speaking of adjustment - if your installation doesn't allow for the DMC 4101 door to open past 90 degrees - then the shelves cannot be adjusted as they have to come out past the door to be moved to another height - so plan on deciding where the shelve need to be before sliding it into the wall. There are two vegetable crisper drawers included at the bottom. The door has several trays, but frankly the older fridge had more door storage space.



Noise - well yes, the DMC 4101 has more fan noise than the gas/electric model as it has two fans, one for the freezer and one for the fridge compartment. It's not obnoxious by any means, but if you're the type that hears ever little creak and groan, you'll likely hear this as well.



Power draw - it's a little soon to tell, but running the fridge at max cold while pre-chilling the unit (meaning both fans are running and the compressor is working) the unit pulls 8 amps at 12v DC. The installation manual said the necessary wiring and fuse should support a 15 amp draw, however the label at the power connection clearly calls for a 20 amp @ 12v DC circuit. Behind the compressor cover plate is a water catch basin for the defrost cycle that has heater elements, I'm assuming the defrost cycle uses a bit more power.


Shelf Positioning - Ignore the Dometic instructions on how to release the shelf locks to reposition the shelves. If you choose to follow the Dometic instructions you will likely to put a nice hole in the fridge liner. I've attached photos showing where to unlock the shelf lock and highlighted the specific area with a black sharpie. A smallish straight slot screwdriver placed in this spot will allow you to slide the lock out from the fridge liner before attempting to wedge the lock out per the Dometic instructions.


Hinge Reversal - Dometic has released this model in both a left and right hand hinge version - but the hinge and lock assembly is easily reversible in the field, so don't hesitate to go with what your dealer has in stock. It takes all of 5 minutes to reverse the hinge assembly with common tools.


A shout out for Panther RV! Our DMC 4101 arrived with the outer packing in pristine condition - however once the unit was unpacked we discovered a 6x3 dent in the door....Panther RV went above and beyond and choose to send us a new door from their stock rather than having to file a hidden damage claim with the carrier. Panther has been nothing short of great to deal with and we will certainly continue to recommend them.


So far so good - but we will amend our review if needed as time goes by.
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Old 12-21-2020, 03:54 AM   #2
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Nice job, thanks.
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Old 12-21-2020, 06:13 AM   #3
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Nice writeup.

One point, gas/electric fridges, and water heaters, are sealed from the outside as a safety feature in the event of a propane gas leak.
Any leaking propane will escape outside and disperse, rather then build up in the RV.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:33 AM   #4
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I joined irv2 today. My (traveling) nurse practitioner wife and I are new full time RVers. We are likely to do the exact same fridge transition as mackerman in this thread: From old LP/electric Dometic NDR 1062 to new Dometic DMC 4101 12v DC compressor refrigerator. Any update on this topic from mackerman or others? I want to order the new Dometic ASAP. I'm anxious for confirmation that this is a good move. Help the newbie!
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:40 AM   #5
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Dometic DMC 4101

Mike, welcome to the Forum and the full time life.


The good news is that hasn't been any issues with our new fridge. We have learned a few more things about doing the install which I'll share here.


The new fridge is a tad smaller than the old unit. This is because the old unit has a 1" metal flange that sits against the face of the cabinet opening to help seal against propane gas intrusion. We found that the gap (about 3/8" on the left and right side) allowed a ton of cold air and noise into the RV which was unacceptable.



Out solution was to purchase door seal gasket material like this https://tinyurl.com/yd8m9t7s and fasten it to the inside of the opening. The idea is to push the new fridge in through the gasket closing off the gap. We used very short truss head screws to secure the gasket. Don't be afraid to make the gasket stick out into the opening, it's very pliable and we had no problem getting the fridge into the space.


At the top and the bottom of the fridge the gap is much larger, almost an in at the bottom and about an 1 1/2 at the top. We use 1" grey foam pipe insulation to fill these gaps.


The new fridge has a top and bottom mounting flange that does a good job of covering those gaps, but the gaps at the sides were quite visible. We purchased black plastic corner molding off eBay https://tinyurl.com/yawdgops and used it to fill in the gap. It looks much like the installation of the original unit.


A note about the electrical connection. Your old unit probably has a 12 or 14 ga wire feeding the 12v power. You'll likely need to increase the size of the wire to a 10 ga for runs less than 20 feet. 12 ga wire is supposedly good for 13'. Keep in mind that the longer the wire, the more voltage drop you'll experience and RV makers are notorious for having long wire runs. You also want to change the fridge fuse to a 20 amp fuse.

Before you slide the unit into the opening we suggest that you place the shelves where you'll want them placed. A gotcha is that the door has to be fully opened to get the shelves out. If you door swings against a wall as ours does the shelves simply can't be moved (learned the hard way on this one).


One more thing to check is that the doors are level and close easily. We reversed our doors (easy to do) and had to play with the alignment a bit to make the latches work properly. The problem with aligning the doors once the unit is installed is that you can't get to the hinge bolts as they are behind the mounting flange.


We don't have a good feel yet for how much battery power this unit will use over the average day, not how the cooling performance will be on really hot days.


The new fridge does a nice job of staying cool and frost free. The freezer seems to build up a bit of frost on the items kept there but none on the walls.


Hope this helps.


Mark
'04 American Tradition
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