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Old 06-23-2014, 06:13 PM   #1
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Top Load Refrigerator

As I move along with my home build, I've pretty much decided to go with a top load refrigerator. The dogs make opening a standard door or drawer impossible (labs like to sleep). Our ARB will become a freezer in the back and I'm contemplating getting one of the Isotherm Build-in boxes for behind the driver's seat. As always, thanks in advance for any opinions or advice. Barry
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Old 06-27-2014, 11:39 AM   #2
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Re: Top Load Refrigerator

I'll be following this. I have seen a bunch of builds of vehicles over on exp portal where folks use these, and they seem to make so much sense. I guess the downside is that it's harder to access stuff on the bottom, but that's also an advantage: the stuff down there can be colder longer than the frequently accessed stuff on top (we would layer dry ice/frozen water bottles/frozen meat in our rafting coolers for example). And more efficient. I'm considering one when my existing one goes, although it would mean losing some drawers and a bunch of rewiring.

What are the differences in power use? Most I've seen have been electric only, but I haven't looked that closely.
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:25 PM   #3
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Re: Top Load Refrigerator

To me, the only downside is if you have it in any type of cabinet, you have to slide it out to open it. Thats assuming you're trying to maximize cabinet space. If you just have it behind the drivers seat and not plan on having anything else above it, then it seems like it should work out pretty good.
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:49 PM   #4
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Re: Top Load Refrigerator

We have an Norcold MRFT60 top load as our refrigeration. It has worked very well and has been very efficient. Ours is sitting on a raised platform behind the drivers seat which allows two large 6" high bins to act as drawers underneath.

We made up our own insulated casing and use a couple of layers of small towels near the top of each bin to decrease cold air loss when opening the top. If put another layer a bit further down in the bin, it will create a slightly warmer section at the top for veggies etc.

Temp holds really well after about three hours of settling down. We target and hold 35 to 36 degrees. Electric consumption has been very good imho, I have not done a usage measurement but have gone 48 hours on one Group 65 starter battery (before house batteries were added), this was with fridge and very light draws from anything else, and still had the engine turn over strongly. This was in high 60's day and mid 40's night temps, in a 15 pass van with windows covered with reflective material.

Pros:
Efficient
Lots of space for food storage
Keeps steady temp
Twin bins make access pretty easy
Portable so can be in and out of van as needed
Relatively quiet operation
Will go down to zero F if you ask it to.
AC/DC operation

Cons:
Prevents usage of airspace above chest for other items
(unless you put it on a pull out, but that creates other spacial issues)
The 60 may be too large for a couple and only a weekend
Typically makes us bring more than we need!
Can make cabinet layout challenging

Let me know if any questions.
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:57 PM   #5
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Re: Top Load Refrigerator

Thanks for the input. It confirms my thoughts. There's always been something wrong with a door type for our use. Top load it will be. Thanks, Barry
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Old 06-12-2015, 12:50 PM   #6
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Re: Top Load Refrigerator

Wanting refresh an old post. I'm in the market for a top load "portable" fridge/freezer. I can't afford the National Luna. Any reason to not go with the $500 edge star?
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Old 06-12-2015, 01:14 PM   #7
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Re: Top Load Refrigerator

Reliability and durability may be questionable? Anyone have experience with the edge star? I was able to find an Engle 45 on CL a few years ago in Reno while we were out in Tahoe, I couldn't find a used one near home so I just searched as we headed west. A better unit in my opinion, we've used it for both extra fridge space or turned it into a freezer.
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Old 06-12-2015, 01:21 PM   #8
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Re: Top Load Refrigerator

I think Engle/Norcold/ARB are all the same. Edgestar is different.

Quick search::

http://kpr.craigslist.org/rvs/5049139319.html
http://ventura.craigslist.org/app/5054579615.html (seems a bit too good to be true, but there are some questions/cpncerns about TEK2 models )
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Old 06-12-2015, 01:49 PM   #9
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Re: Top Load Refrigerator

Thanks. Different as in not good?
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Old 06-12-2015, 01:54 PM   #10
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Re: Top Load Refrigerator

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2horsegarage
Thanks. Different as in not good?
The first three all look and are pretty much the same, just different branding. The Edgestar is not the same as the first three and seems to have some reliability questions, iirc, when doing research. That veing said, the Norcold TEK2 models may also have some issues.
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