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Old 12-23-2013, 03:00 PM   #1
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Norcold AC/DC fridge fix

We have the Norcold D0061 electric fridge (7 cu ft). It runs on either 120V AC and 12V DC. The specs say it uses 48 watts on 120V and 38 watts on 12V. If both voltages are present, it uses the 120V AC. That is fine when you plug in to city power, but bad when you have the inverter on since you lose even more efficiency by first converting 12V to 120V. I noticed that, when turning on the inverter to use the microwave, the fridge compressor stops and starts again. That must be bad for the compressor. I am not sure why SMB even bothers to hook up the 120V. Anyway, the fix was easy. I pulled out the microwave which is above the fridge, then reached in and unplugged the fridge power cord. Now it will always run on 12V.

David
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:34 PM   #2
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Re: Norcold AC/DC fridge fix

My refrigerator stays plugged into the AC outlet. I prefer this because I routinely keep the fridge on while the van sits (at home on shore power) and I prefer not to cycle the batteries at night. For the limited time I use the microwave I don't care if the fridge cuts over to AC and usually I run the engine anyway. Times I need to run the inverter I kill the dedicated breaker that feeds the refrigerator. Not sure if each vans electrical is wired like mine so YMMV. Those with converters wouldn't have to worry and pulling the plug would help but you right... if you're using the inverter much, you should kill that circuit or un plug the refrigerator.
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:11 PM   #3
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Re: Norcold AC/DC fridge fix

My frig has its own breaker, too. I usually leave it off unless plugged into shore power. Are you sure yours doesn't have a dedicated breaker?

I figure I might as well give my inverter and batteries a break when I can. Plus I want to use that AC juice I paid extra for!
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:07 AM   #4
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Re: Norcold AC/DC fridge fix

Brian,

My breaker has both the fridge and microwave on the same circuit. When you are plugged in it doesn't hurt the the batteries any to have extra loads on them since the converter keeps them fully charged all the time. You can think of the 12V power as all coming from the converter. I don't think it even saves any power to use 120V AC for the fridge since it is less efficient with AC. But anyway we are talking about a trivial difference one way or the other in power use whether you use AC or DC when plugged in. The only reason I can see where you need to use AC is when you disconnect the batteries when in storage and want to leave the fridge on for some reason.

David
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:35 AM   #5
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Re: Norcold AC/DC fridge fix

Unfortunately many of us do not have converters and there can be issues keeping a smart charger active unattended for longer periods of time without monitoring the charge. Solar takes care of the fridge during daylight hours.
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:17 PM   #6
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Re: Norcold AC/DC fridge fix

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Unfortunately many of us do not have converters and there can be issues keeping a smart charger active unattended for longer periods of time without monitoring the charge. Solar takes care of the fridge during daylight hours.
My van doesn't even have an inverter! Problem solved! If I had one, I'd have specific inverter powered outlets to avoid this kind of thing.
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