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Old 12-20-2021, 04:58 PM   #1
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Default Danfoss refrig... truck frig or vitrifrigo or ??

I am getting closer to the decision to replace my dometic approx 3.2 cu 3 way with an ACDC danfoss type refrig.

I am looking at the Truckfridge website and also a Vitrifrigo unit. Looking for typical door unit rather than a drawer or chest refrig. Looking to put it in the same space as my current refrig... approx 31"H x 22" W x 22+"D.

Would love to hear about experience with these two options but VERY open to other options that I haven't discovered yet.

I have 400ah of lithium in the van. no solar but I do have onan 2800 gen and dc to dc 20amp charger... and a separate 40 amp plug in lithium charger. So I think I will be OK for electricity. I don't boondock for long periods.

Thanking you all in advance.
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Old 12-21-2021, 06:45 PM   #2
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What specific vehicle do you have?

Only after I added Solar was I able to make the switch.

Oneof the best decisions I ever did was replace my Dometic 3 way with a Novakool R3800 - I could have gone with the larger R4500 but chose the more modest power consumption of the R3800 with a 250 watt Solar Array & a 220 Amp AGM Bank.

Vitrifrigo & Isotherm and TruckFridge* are the same company.

*budget version

I chose the Novakool because of the fact they made an easy slide out/slide in compatibility whereas the Isotherm & Vitrifrigo were slightly smaller or larger & therefore required cabinetry work.

The Novakool Support has been nothing less than fantastic.

After I put the fridge in, I only then found out I had a lot of electrical issues which needed resolving, Novakool were superb.
Because of how much Lithium you have on board, I woukd recommend either the Isotherm or the Vitrifrigo over the TruckFridge if you don't choose the Novakool.

Call Novakool or the others, with your model specs they can tell you exactly what fits.
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Old 12-23-2021, 01:57 AM   #3
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Thank you VERY MUCH for all the detailed information. I was looking for ANY refrig last night. Looks like due to supply chain, labor shortages, covid... or ??? refrigs are 2 - 6 mo. waiting for novakool, isotherm, vitrifrigo. Truckfridge seems to have a supply but after your information, looking for the other options.

You mentioned you had other electrical issues that needed to be resolved after you put your novakool in. where they issues that anyone making the switch might have?..or just specific to your rig.

I have an old 1999 Ford Coachman. It is old but I love it. It has a small tube for showers ... which I love. Plenty of room for me and my dog.
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Old 12-23-2021, 02:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by NW Lady View Post
I was looking for ANY refrig last night. Looks like due to supply chain, labor shortages, covid... or ??? refrigs are 2 - 6 mo. waiting for novakool, isotherm, vitrifrigo.
I am currently shopping for a particular Isotherm unit. Although most sources show them as out of stock, diligent Googling has turned up a number of places that claim to have it in stock. I haven't tried to order yet, so who knows? But on the face of it, it looks like persistence may pay off.

Also, several of the "no stock" places had notices saying that they would be available again in mid-to-late February.
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Old 12-23-2021, 03:23 AM   #5
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Good to hear that! I will take me awhile to figure out which unit I want. lol
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Old 12-23-2021, 05:36 AM   #6
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Do NOT be in a rush to buy a DC Fridge, there is a reason the top manufacturers are behind in demand; real world owners are willing to wait for the appliance that will be with them for 20 years. Buy only a Novakool, Isotherm or Vitrifrigo, these three
companies have been at the forefront of the equally demanding Marine industry for decades, everything else is junk.

Here is a link to a post for RAUSCS when he was looking for a Novakool recently,on post #21 I gave him a list of dealers who might be able to help him.

https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...a-12766-2.html

These are dealers that probably sell Isotherm & Vitrifrigo & they have been in the business for a long time rather than these flash in the pan stores. And they carry Inventory all year round when it's available so they get preferred status. And they know fitment.

I don't know if this unit will fit but there was a Novakool R3800 here in Orange County, CA a guy was selling on Ebay for $1200 but I would rather buy a new one, from a dealer.

Ideally what slides into your space without a lot of woodworking.

Call Novakool (unless you want hard ice-cream), they will tell you what will fit & what will not.


Monday - Friday
7AM - 4PM Pacific Time
Services available in english, tagalog, w jezyku polskim

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support@novakool.com
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https://www.novakool.com/

Again, for me the Novakool R3800 or R4500 slid into the place of my previous Dometic 3 Way with zero changes built a piece of 3/4 plywood underneath.
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Old 12-23-2021, 05:51 AM   #7
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Thank you VERY MUCH for all the detailed information. I was looking for ANY refrig last night. Looks like due to supply chain, labor shortages, covid... or ??? refrigs are 2 - 6 mo. waiting for novakool, isotherm, vitrifrigo. Truckfridge seems to have a supply but after your information, looking for the other options.

You mentioned you had other electrical issues that needed to be resolved after you put your novakool in. where they issues that anyone making the switch might have?..or just specific to your rig.

I have an old 1999 Ford Coachman. It is old but I love it. It has a small tube for showers ... which I love. Plenty of room for me and my dog.
I discovered, only after I put my refrigerator in, that I had an intermittment loose Ground/Negative Connection deep in the bowels of my chassis.

It was a very simple fix once we found it but.

Very frustrating, I was reluctant to go with an Electric Fridge because of all the early horror stories I heard about power consumption, insulation, etc.

I was bombarding this forum & everyone did their best & we thought initially it was the fan, etc but because I didn't have the right Electrical Tools or know how I was NOT able to ascertain the crucial problem.

The Head Engineer at Novakool got it right in the first conversation & it tool a couple of days to get an appointment with my RV Guy so I decided to completely revamp my electrical system at the same time.

Wow!

What an improvement in the entire functioning of my system & ZERO problems with the fridge.

And the Head Engineer of this company would actually call each morning for an update - you cannot get better service than that.

Many people* who work on refrigeration & AC in boats all said;

Buy Novakool, they are simple & bulletproof. You won't have any issues buy if you do, they are in Canada (next to the party but no fun), and they have a huge distribution network throughout the USA.

They said the people who buy the Isotherm & Vitrifrigo pay more, for a nicer looking finish.

*including Rod Lambda, the retired Guru of Marine AC & Refrigeration for high end, megayachts
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Old 12-23-2021, 07:06 AM   #8
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I discovered, only after I put my refrigerator in, that I had an intermittment loose Ground/Negative Connection deep in the bowels of my chassis.

It was a very simple fix once we found it but.

Very frustrating, I was reluctant to go with an Electric Fridge because of all the early horror stories I heard about power consumption, insulation, etc.

I was bombarding this forum & everyone did their best & we thought initially it was the fan, etc but because I didn't have the right Electrical Tools or know how I was NOT able to ascertain the crucial problem.

The Head Engineer at Novakool got it right in the first conversation & it tool a couple of days to get an appointment with my RV Guy so I decided to completely revamp my electrical system at the same time.

Wow!

What an improvement in the entire functioning of my system & ZERO problems with the fridge.

And the Head Engineer of this company would actually call each morning for an update - you cannot get better service than that.

Many people* who work on refrigeration & AC in boats all said;

Buy Novakool, they are simple & bulletproof. You won't have any issues buy if you do, they are in Canada (next to the party but no fun), and they have a huge distribution network throughout the USA.

They said the people who buy the Isotherm & Vitrifrigo pay more, for a nicer looking finish.

*including Rod Lambda, the retired Guru of Marine AC & Refrigeration for high end, megayachts

I found this old thread, perfect if you need something to fall asleep with;


https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...dge-11086.html

Bottom line; you have so.much battery capacity,you are NOT going to have any issues unless you have something likea a loose ground/Negative wire & once you find it, it's a simple repair.

If you were looking to replace a Dometic 3.1 cu ft unit, I would suggest asking Novakool if these three units would fit; R3100/3.1 cu feet, R3800/3.5 cu feet or the R4500/4.5 cu feet.

You almost have enough juice to run oneof those fantastic INCINERATOR TOILETS;

https://www.doityourselfrv.com/incin...rating-toilet/
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Old 12-23-2021, 11:43 AM   #9
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I am currently shopping for a particular Isotherm unit. Although most sources show them as out of stock, diligent Googling has turned up a number of places that claim to have it in stock. I haven't tried to order yet, so who knows? But on the face of it, it looks like persistence may pay off.

Also, several of the "no stock" places had notices saying that they would be available again in mid-to-late February.

I ran into the shortage of Isotherm frigs last spring in similar way but finally found two places that had them on hand and still at reasonable cost. (I found one or two others that were crazy high price or shipping charges that were about 5X what they should be.) Using different search terms worked for me, including using UPC code, different color model codes, or oddball descriptions. I only found one ITC in the country and it was at one place that also had the frig. Now I wish I had never found the ITC at all
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Old 12-23-2021, 03:28 PM   #10
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Thank you one and all for all the helpful information. My learning curve on compressor refrigs is coming along nicely!!
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Old 12-23-2021, 03:37 PM   #11
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Booster or anyone else - wondering about ventilation for an isotherm vs novakool. Novakool seems to have the compressor at the bottom. The isotherm 85L seems to have it at the top.

The dometic that I am replacing was the RM2351 (i think, about 3 cf). I have a 1999 Ford coachman. The refrig is on an outside wall. Access grate on the outside of the lines up with the bottom of refrig and there is a vent on the outside of the van that lines up with the top of the refrig. (Very typical of vans of this era)

Would this be enough ventilation for a novakool or isotherm of about 3cf? Or... since I would have an extra 5" between my current cutout and the height of a new refrig, would it be better to block and insulate the existing vents and leave a roughly 2" space above and below the new refrig that would vent from and back into the interior living space of the van?

thank you for any thoughts, past experiences etc.
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Old 12-23-2021, 03:55 PM   #12
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Booster or anyone else - wondering about ventilation for an isotherm vs novakool. Novakool seems to have the compressor at the bottom. The isotherm 85L seems to have it at the top.

The dometic that I am replacing was the RM2351 (i think, about 3 cf). I have a 1999 Ford coachman. The refrig is on an outside wall. Access grate on the outside of the lines up with the bottom of refrig and there is a vent on the outside of the van that lines up with the top of the refrig. (Very typical of vans of this era)

Would this be enough ventilation for a novakool or isotherm of about 3cf? Or... since I would have an extra 5" between my current cutout and the height of a new refrig, would it be better to block and insulate the existing vents and leave a roughly 2" space above and below the new refrig that would vent from and back into the interior living space of the van?

thank you for any thoughts, past experiences etc.
I looked at several photos of your model - you have an abundance of ventilation.

One thing Lambda pointed out to me as you mentioned was the Compressor location at the bottom which makes the infinitesimal amount of heat produced, escape without extra baffling, etc.

The images I saw were two grates,on the passenger side,in the third rear of the rig - this was my observation.

I read so many horror stories before buying about Power Draw, Heat, etc & yet there was not a single issue after I remedied my loose Ground/Negative.

Call the Manufacturers, Novakool & Isotherm - I am sure they have upgraded your model Coachman before.
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Old 12-23-2021, 07:02 PM   #13
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Booster or anyone else - wondering about ventilation for an isotherm vs novakool. Novakool seems to have the compressor at the bottom. The isotherm 85L seems to have it at the top.

The dometic that I am replacing was the RM2351 (i think, about 3 cf). I have a 1999 Ford coachman. The refrig is on an outside wall. Access grate on the outside of the lines up with the bottom of refrig and there is a vent on the outside of the van that lines up with the top of the refrig. (Very typical of vans of this era)

Would this be enough ventilation for a novakool or isotherm of about 3cf? Or... since I would have an extra 5" between my current cutout and the height of a new refrig, would it be better to block and insulate the existing vents and leave a roughly 2" space above and below the new refrig that would vent from and back into the interior living space of the van?

thank you for any thoughts, past experiences etc.

You would have very similar ventilation to what we had to deal with on our Roadtrek 190.


It will not work well for either of the frigs without modification. We know that from personal experience.


IMO, the Isotherm would be easier to ventilate than the Novakool as it can be done on the back of the frig by building a foam insulating duct from the bottom of the cavity to the inlet of the frig. I recently posted pix of the setup on our new 85 frig. At that point you install the frig and push fiberglass insulation in to seal the area between the upper and lower vent to prevent hot air looping to the inlet.


The Novakool needs to have the bit chimney made to direct the inlet air over the large coil area on the back of the frig. Dick Till has posted pix of his Novakool chimney on the same model van that we have.


Bottom line is that both frigs can't be just dropped in but both can be readily made to work very well.
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Old 12-23-2021, 07:18 PM   #14
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For the first time, I beg to differ with the whole of Booster's analysis.

Mine dropped in effortlessly.

And the existing vents were more than adequate.

But again, the Novakool R3100 & R3800 have the Compressor down below, the infinitesimal amount if heat produced rises & escapes through the upper vent.

However as Booster stated, you might have to plug some gaps, etc if you have excess space. Especially if you are like Booster & want to have your efficiency within 2% or less. Then extra cladding might be of value.

But I am not standing behind the Warranty, the Manufacturers are & I know if you call Novakool they can tell you what others did.

I asked so many questions & peppered this forum because there were so many horror stories out there but apart from the undiagnosed electrical issue that I had, the fridge has performed flawlessly.
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Old 12-23-2021, 07:25 PM   #15
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I am getting closer to the decision to replace my dometic approx 3.2 cu 3 way with an ACDC danfoss type refrig.

I am looking at the Truckfridge website and also a Vitrifrigo unit. Looking for typical door unit rather than a drawer or chest refrig. Looking to put it in the same space as my current refrig... approx 31"H x 22" W x 22+"D.

Would love to hear about experience with these two options but VERY open to other options that I haven't discovered yet.

I have 400ah of lithium in the van. no solar but I do have onan 2800 gen and dc to dc 20amp charger... and a separate 40 amp plug in lithium charger. So I think I will be OK for electricity. I don't boondock for long periods.

Thanking you all in advance.
If you wanted to save some money. You could get a residental mini refrigerator. For 4.2 CF, they are about $250. You would need to get a small inverter. Your existing wiring is probably adequate since you have a preexisting 3 way frig. Just need a small inverter(500-1000watts)? It would require some calculations and some work. Downside, residential compressor refrigerators are nearly robust as marine variety but cost is lower. Just something to consider?
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Old 12-23-2021, 07:39 PM   #16
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For the first time, I beg to differ with the whole of Booster's analysis.

Mine dropped in effortlessly.

And the existing vents were more than adequate.

But again, the Novakool R3100 & R3800 have the Compressor down below, the infinitesimal amount if heat produced rises & escapes through the upper vent.

However as Booster stated, you might have to plug some gaps, etc if you have excess space. Especially if you are like Booster & want to have your efficiency within 2% or less. Then extra cladding might be of value.

But I am not standing behind the Warranty, the Manufacturers are & I know if you call Novakool they can tell you what others did.

I asked so many questions & peppered this forum because there were so many horror stories out there but apart from the undiagnosed electrical issue that I had, the fridge has performed flawlessly.

I am basing my comments about problems without modifications on what I have seen in comments about Novakool installs that had cooling issues in hot weather. Almost all the internally vented installs needed internal fans to be added to cool properly and most of the externally ones also did.


Dick Till has shown that a proper chimney to direct and accelerate the airflow works well without extra fans. It also prevents hot air looping.


The good Doctor may have been lucky and his works OK, but as he says he doesn't concern much about efficiency so without measuring energy use it would be hard to tell how well it is running from that standpoint.
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Old 12-23-2021, 11:00 PM   #17
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I am basing my comments about problems without modifications on what I have seen in comments about Novakool installs that had cooling issues in hot weather. Almost all the internally vented installs needed internal fans to be added to cool properly and most of the externally ones also did.


Dick Till has shown that a proper chimney to direct and accelerate the airflow works well without extra fans. It also prevents hot air looping.


The good Doctor may have been lucky and his works OK, but as he says he doesn't concern much about efficiency so without measuring energy use it would be hard to tell how well it is running from that standpoint.

I agree Booster that I could have added some more insulation, etc but it just purrs away. I am happy, in fact, ecstatic after 9 years of babysitting thst 3 way Dometic.

GallenH I believe is another who has been able to get the best performance out of his 3 way
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Old 12-24-2021, 12:20 AM   #18
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I got a request for pix of our Cruise 85 Isotherm fresh air duct, so I will put them here.


The duct is only there to assure only air from the lower vent goes to the cooling of the frig and then out without looping back to the inlet to the cooling unit. It tapes to the rear of the frig with foil tape and is sealed to the compressor module with silicone caulk and tape at the fan inlet. Hot air comes out the top and side of the module and goes out the top vent without any extra fans as it can go nowhere else because the area between the frig/duct and the van skin is packed with fiberglass insulation.








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Old 12-24-2021, 01:28 AM   #19
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Masterpiece!
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Old 12-24-2021, 03:42 PM   #20
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Booster.... thanks for the pics! I can see how your amazing adaption works.
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