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Old 06-17-2020, 02:04 AM   #1
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Default Best Compressor Fridge Recommendations 2005 Roadtrek 190 Versatile

Own a 2005 Roadtrek 190 Versatile
250 watts Solar
Victron MTTP 100/30amp Controller
2 excellent condition Lifeline Group 27 100amp hour batteries
Live & work in Southern California
Usually drive everyday some miles at least
Have a Generator
Occasionally use AC hookups to equalize my Lifelines

Own the Dometic RM2354 3 way & while it is efficient on propane, frequently I will be parked at a Patient's Home on a non-level surface for 2-4 hours & I either have to turn the fridge off for a while & use iceblocks and then deal with the compromised performance for another day or two plus in the summer, even with an internal battery fan, they limp - was considering investing $200 plus dollars taking the fridge out & installing the fan but I think the Compressor Fridge is the way to go - leveling really is the biggest issue for me, ideally I need to park anywhere as close as possible.

I did read a couple of other threads that got quite heated & the message was diluted & yes, I agree you rarely get what you paid for & not what was promised by the manufacturers* in terms of ratings ie; solar/fridge draw.

*false & misleading at times

Many times I have coasted by & purchased on the shoulders of technically versed posters like Booster, etc. Plus then I choose to have a Professional to do the install* & sometimes what the manufacturer says will fit, doesn't & it costs much more money to do it right.

I do know that I do want the expensive $200 AC/DC module you choose with Novakool, the Isotherm seem to have it installed.

You are 190 owners, what are your experiences & recommendations?

These are the models what I am looking at;
Nova Kool R3800 2.2amps*
Isotherm Cruise 85 3amps*
Isotherm Cruise 130amps*
Vitrifrigo C85 3.3amps* - too high** for 190?
Vitrifrigo C115 3.78amps - too deep** for 190?
Vitrifrigo C130 3.78amps - too deep** for 190?

I am NOT looking at the Novakool R4500 because the amps start at 4.4 & I don't need the biggest fridge but maybe some of you run a 4500 in your 190 & I would be educated by your experiences.

Leaning towards the Nova Kool R3500 (6 week delay) because of the low amperage & size of unit even though I don't have the 30 inches of clearance down below with only 14 inches of Roadtrek Lower grill but with a compressor fan standard down below & an extractor fan on a circuit above (beyond my knowledge), I think the 26 inches of upper grill should be enough. Plus Stuart at Novakool is quick to answer your questions accurately. My only concern is the only 2 year guarantee. I would purchase from Southern California Marine, the CA Distributor in San Diego - they have been helpful, professional & accurate & also sell the Isotherm with a minor price difference.

I like the Isotherm warranty & the fact you can extend it with West Marine but I know that costs more money for something that with the correct installation should last 5 years easily. From what I have read on the reviews, if you don't buy the West Marine coverage & have an issue, sometimes they will exchange the unit but sometimes no & if its a lemon, you have to store it until Isotherm pick it up* & you are usually without a replacement which knowing the lead time is frustrating. The good thing about West Marine, now the lead time is 3 days.

**these other reps are sending my details on units that on one page seem to fit but on other sites, do not.

If you need any more info, please let me know - I rarely watch TV, low electrical usage at night - average solar yield in winter depending on the usage is 250-350 watts, in the summer 300-900 - again that is based on usage.

In the winter, sometimes it might get to as low as a reading* of 12.3 but is typically 12.5.

* this is the reading on the Victron History page that seems to cut off at midnight & if it ever gets that low, I either drive or run the Generator.
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:18 AM   #2
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was considering investing $200 plus dollars taking the fridge out & installing the fan

do you mean cooling fans on the fins???


on my pleasure way that is done by removing the top vent cover ( the PW uses same cover top and bottom)


If the R/T vent can;t be removed, I'd mount fans in the lower area to push more air up and through




cost for fans, wire, fuse, switch under $20


Mike
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:25 AM   #3
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What I meant is that my guy in Burbank, Mark at Lodgemobile (excellent, 50 years experience, honest & very busy), said one of the answers to the Dometic cooling issues in Roadtreks with side venting is pull the unit out some way & install a computer fan on a thermostat to blow on the cooling fins. For $200, I would rather have Mark do it than myself.
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:00 AM   #4
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These are the models what I am looking at;
Nova Kool R3800 2.2amps*
Isotherm Cruise 85 3amps*
Isotherm Cruise 130amps*
Vitrifrigo C85 3.3amps* - too high** for 190?
Vitrifrigo C115 3.78amps - too deep** for 190?
Vitrifrigo C130 3.78amps - too deep** for 190?
I would not get the Vitrifrigo as it is foreign/European made (Italy, but hey I am 1/4 Italian and proud of it). So parts and service may be difficult.

Nova Kool (NK) has a good reputation for performance and factory help when needed. If NK made a drop-in unit for my 210 I would get it to replace my 5 CF Dometic 3-way. I did suggest to NK that they consider making the RM2554 size fridge and the person I talked to did not seem interested in taking this to his management.
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:21 AM   #5
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Thank you - the Nova Kool rep Stuart is very prompt & accurate.

Whereas the Vitrifrigo guy seems to be sending details of fridges that don't fit & hence if there are any 190 owners here that have a Vitrifrigo, would love to hear from you.
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:28 AM   #6
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I know Booster has owned a Isotherm & there was initially a venting problem he overcome but not everything i understood as to outside venting versus internal - with the Roadtrek, unless I get the 85, a lot of the venting can only go back out.
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:50 AM   #7
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Here's a link to a good read on Interblog's site:

https://interstateblog.blogspot.com/...bel/APPLIANCES

Not a totally direct answer to your question but might be worth reading just
the same.
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:21 AM   #8
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Thank you Gallen - this was one of the articles I studied in depth from taking it from another thread here two days ago - really enjoyed the effort they put into that article. The challenge is will it fit in the 190 - you could feel the frustrations they went through making it fit into their cabinetry. I don't want that but if I can get some Vitrifrigo owners saying yes, I might buy one even though according to my measurements its a very tight fit.
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Old 06-17-2020, 10:53 AM   #9
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I know Booster has owned a Isotherm & there was initially a venting problem he overcome but not everything i understood as to outside venting versus internal - with the Roadtrek, unless I get the 85, a lot of the venting can only go back out.

We did have a lot of venting issues back then, mainly because we were one of the first to install a compressor frig as a retrofit. Once the problem was identified as venting it was remedied and good since. It is related to the compressor and coils location and the fan blowing direction.


The rear coil units like the Novacool are probably easier to get good venting in place for, but may be a bit less efficient (unconfirmed). One big thing in the Isotherm is you can get a nice energy saving control for it that is said to really help efficiency.


When we looked at frigs originally, I think a Cruise 85 was the biggest that would fit in our 190 because of top space for venting.


Going by the amp they are rated at is not a accurate way to know energy use, we are finding out, so it is best if you can find some standaridzed testing done on the units, which will give you energy use under standard controlled conditions for a 24hr period.
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Old 06-17-2020, 12:22 PM   #10
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Thank you Booster.

I would like the AC & DC option in case I am ever in a situation where I need the fridge but not the on AC
- it appears that system doesn't work with the ac module - do you see the logic beyond just the DC option?

Or am I too trying to throw money away?

I presume without using the inverter, starting up the Generator is all I need should for whatever reason, the solar isn't producing enough juice during the day.
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Old 06-17-2020, 12:54 PM   #11
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Thank you Booster.

I would like the AC & DC option in case I am ever in a situation where I need the fridge but not the on AC
- it appears that system doesn't work with the ac module - do you see the logic beyond just the DC option?

Or am I too trying to throw money away?

I presume without using the inverter, starting up the Generator is all I need should for whatever reason, the solar isn't producing enough juice during the day.

We have ours on DC only and have for years. The frigs are really DC frigs, so the AC mode is just a small AC to 12v DC power supply like your battery charger. Most folks get the impression they are AC frigs with and inverter to DC, but it is the other way around.


The frig, whether AC/DC or just DC will always be able to be run when on DC, so no issue there.


If you get an isotherm, I think it would be more useful to spend the extra bucks on the advanced temp controller, there are a few discussions on them on the forum, as they are said to save a lot of battery use. I think they may also work on other brands of frig that use the Danfoss compressor, but I am not sure on that.
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:27 PM   #12
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Thank you as always Booster!

Maybe I don't need the upgraded module but I just think perhaps if I am ever in a future situation where my rig is out of the rain & therefore the sun, then I would need the AC Option.

Any suggestions as to whether this is faulty thinking or not?

Because I would like the Smart Technology for those 50% savings - less stress on the batteries.

If I go with the 85 its height is only 24 inches compared to the 29.5 inches H of the Dometic 2354 (yet the ISOTHERM is the same cubic capacity).

In that scenario do you then suggest running the duct from the top right rear where the compressor is out to the the front in the 5 inch open space? (behind a fascia with a grill guard)

Or from the rear lower up to the upper front?

Or was your venting because your unit has the Compressor below?

Or do you need to vent from the bottom to the top
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File Type: jpg img_2018-12-19_15-26-04_6441d43f2787b74a1a5dea398bbbaed5.jpg (37.0 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg Cruise_Elegance_85_USA.jpg (126.6 KB, 9 views)
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:36 PM   #13
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Thank you as always Booster!

Maybe I don't need the upgraded module but I just think perhaps if I am ever in a future situation where my rig is out of the rain & therefore the sun, then I would need the AC Option.

Any suggestions as to whether this is faulty thinking or not?

Because I would like the Smart Technology for those 50% savings - less stress on the batteries.

If I go with the 85 its height is only 24 inches compared to the 29.5 inches H of the Dometic 2354 (yet the ISOTHERM is the same cubic capacity).

In that scenario do you then suggest running the duct from the top right rear where the compressor is out to the the front in the 5 inch open space? (behind a fascia with a grill guard)

Or from the rear lower up to the upper front?

Or was your venting because your unit has the Compressor below?

Or do you need to vent from the bottom to the top

The AC option gets redundant because if you have AC, your battery charger is running so no load from the batteries in that case either.


Our 85 has the compressor setup in the upper right rear corner, so what I did was make a duct to feed air to the condenser fan assembly. By then blocking the area behind the frig in between the upper and lower vents, it is forced to take air in the bottom vent and it has to go out the top without looping back. It runs the same efficiency in the van as it did on the bench. I will put some pix of the duct setup up if I can find them. The nice part is that the duct attaches to the frig, not the van at all, so the whole works just slides in. I raised the frig up a few inches in the opening to give easier access and a bit of storage for the van jack under it, but not so high it blocked any air.
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:50 PM   #14
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yes pictures will help me & anyone else considering the Isotherm - it seems to me from your description of blocking the space between the upper & lower with whatever, the draft sucks it through our small existing lower vent & into the duct & then out of the piping onto the condenser & then out the the upper grill or into the cab?

And with the 5 inch difference between the Dometic & the Isotherm you raised the fridge 5 inches or had it sit in the original space & then put the duct, jack, etc on top?

Photos when you can please.
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:52 PM   #15
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The AC option gets redundant because if you have AC, your battery charger is running so no load from the batteries in that case either.

I thought that if I connect to shore power the juice goes directly to the appliances without accessing the Inverter Charger?

Or does it go there & get modulated?
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:52 PM   #16
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Found some pix. There is also foil board insulation added to the sides and top of the frig for better insulation and tighter fit in the cabinet to make it easier to seal to the inside of the van. The opening in the duct points straight down at the bottom.








It slides in and bolts to the riser rails on the bottom and tight to the cabinet face on the front as I got the flanged front trim. Then I wire it up from the lower vent and stuff fiberglass between the frig and van metal outside above the lower vent, but below the upper vent.
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File Type: jpg IMG_0650.jpg (49.5 KB, 168 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0651.jpg (48.2 KB, 171 views)
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Old 06-17-2020, 06:04 PM   #17
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Aha!

Thank you!
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Old 06-17-2020, 06:41 PM   #18
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Just got this info & two photos from Brandon Lombard, Salesperson at Isotherm USA;
Hello Mark,



Please see the several pictures I have attached. This is largely how our units are installed, and the main point I am emphasizing is the ventilation of these units. The first picture shows a vent in front, just above the refrigeration of roughly 5 x 18. Then the second picture has a slightly smaller vent in the same area of roughly 4 x 14, but the back of the pre-fab cabinet is open to the cabin and allows the air to escape as it is generated.



We do not recommend installing an Isotherm refrigerator close to any heat source. The compressor gets slightly warm as it compresses refrigerant as part of the cooling process, and should not be kept near items that will cause it to get additionally warm.



The product can be sourced through West Marine, there is also Aegis Marine International in Newport Beach, CA who are a distributor of ours. They will have individuals that can install the unit or can inform you of local companies who can help you with this. We do a great amount of business with this company.



Our lead time is typically 24-48 hours, but this varies from distributor to distributor because each company does not ship individual orders and may have other policies where they wait to ship several order together. The company you decide to purchase from can provide you the answer to this questions about lead time and shipping.
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File Type: jpg CR130 SS.JPG (66.8 KB, 16 views)
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Old 06-17-2020, 06:50 PM   #19
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Hey Fridge and Vent Guys- a question
Would it be practical to have a door to allow the fridge to vent heat into the RV for aux warming?


and during warm weather vent to heat to the out doors?


Mike
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Old 06-17-2020, 06:52 PM   #20
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And just got this offer from Robert Pick at Southern California Marine in San Diego on a Vitrifrigo C115 - I had originally called them because they are the only Nova Kool dealer in CA (with a 6 week lead time), & are also a Isotherm dealer.

My concern is the Height of 31 5/8, it seems the Dometic is only 30 3/16 - any experience here of the 190 height for the Dometic without me pulling it out?

Overall width (In.) 23 1/8
Overall height (In.) 31 5/8
Overall depth (In.) 21 7/8

Hi Mark,
Based on the dimensions you provided of your current unit I would recommend the Vitrifrigo C115IBD4F-1 is basically the same size as your current unit. See link below for Specs.

C115IBD4-F (internal cooling unit) - Yachts and RVs - Vitrifrigo

See attached quote, we currently have one of these unit left in stock.

I think with the position of your vent on the side of the van that the C115 and the R3800 would work better since the compressors are mounted at the bottom of the units.

I have not tested these units to see how accurate their amp ratings are.

Let me know what you think.
Regards
☘Robert Pick ☘

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

MARINE ENTERPRISES &

A to Z Marine

1214 Rosecrans st.

San Diego, CA. 92106

Open M-F 8:30am-4:30pm

Office: (619) 224-2869

fax: (619) 226-0496

Home | SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MARINE ENTERPRISES
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