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Residential fridge and inverter compatibility


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We are looking at replacing our Norcold fridge with a residential fridge.  Our coach has the modified sine wave Magnum inverter and I read about the fridge needing to be compatible w/this type of inverter.  I know the Samsungs are popular, but we have not had good luck w/Samsungs in our home, so we are looking at other brands.  How do I determine which brands and models are compatible w/a modified sine wave inverter?  I'm struggling to find this info anywhere.   There's a GE w/ice and water in the door we really like, but it's more expensive and I wouldn't want to get one that doesn't work, voids warranty, etc...  Thank you all.

Steven

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10 minutes ago, Onthego said:

Thanks, what is the process of adding another inverter?  How/where is it hooked up?  Is it just hooked up straight to the house batteries?  So it would always pull from the batteries if so?  When hooked up to shore power or genny is running, I'm thinking it would just be pulling from the house batteries?  Sorry for all the questions.  I should also mention the PO swapped the 4 6v batteries for 2 12v.  I'm not sure if that matters or not.

Edited by Steven P
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Steve, a couple things. First; you get less 'pop' from 2 12VDC vs 4 GC batteries so I would change them back out if this was my coach. 12v are cheaper but don't provide the best bang for your buck. More detail is available if necessary. We went with the Samsung due to it's exact fitment and good reviews. I installed it myself 6 years ago and it's been flawless and we are full timers. I have the same setup as you and have had no issues. If you're not aware the receptacle behind your existing fridge has two outlets but only one is hooked to your inverter. The other is not. So if you wanted to change to the inverter linked above, simply plug that one into the other outlet but that would mean your fridge is off if the generator is off or you're not plugged in.  As for the technical side, I would imagine you'd have to contact GE for more info as to whether the modified sine would work with their fridge. If you're interested I've linked some pictures of my installation below. It took me a couple of days to complete it but I did it in a campground with limited tools available. Good luck....Dennis

Samsung Refrigerator Install

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I did install a Samsung RF18, we had used it in our sticks & bricks while we were building it until we bought the larger units.  It worked well during that time but I also know there have been a lot of bad reviews on the Samsung.  One advantage was that I bought it on clearance at Lowes for $855.  Since it served a dual purpose I figured it was worth the chance.  I have not used it in the coach much at all so no idea how good it will be long term.

Several years ago there was a discussion on the Yahoo Monacoer group regarding adding a second inverter.  This is the one that was recommended and probably what I would use if I added a second inverter.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Aims-1000-Watt-Pure-Sine-Inverter-Charger-Hardwire-Only/114082066069?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

This does have an internal transfer switch and can be plugged into shore power.  The recommendation at the time was to use the block heater circuit.  On my coach this circuit does have a separate breaker in the panel but also is controlled by a 12 volt to 120 volt relay with a switch on the dash.  So could turn this portion on or off as needed.  It would also serve as a secondary method for charging the batteries.  This inverter is much more efficient then my Xantrex which I could leave off improving the overall battery drain/usage. 

I have not done this yet so this is just a suggestion. 

 

As to other refrigerators, first thing you will have to do is determine the size you can use.  AJ Madison has a good filter to do this.  Since I have a vested interest in this I monitor IRV2 for posts and one stated that "  Almost all new fridges have variable speed dc compressors and will work on a MSW with no issues."

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f54/ge-or-whirlpool-refrigerator-on-modified-sine-wave-inverter-464596.html 

Since it on the internet it must be true

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I think most fridge manufactures will most likely not warranty the fridge when installed in a RV. I had a warranty claim on my Samsung RF-197 back in 2012 about 7-8 months after installation. No problem with getting service or the warranty. Haven't needed anymore service since then.

The Fisher-Paykel would be my next choice for a fridge that runs great on a MSW Inverter. I cannot speak to any of the others brands. As suggested by a previous poster if going through the trouble of adding a PSW inverter just for the fridge to me it makes more sense to just replace the existing MSW Inverter with an upgraded PSW Inverter.

Good luck with the project. When completed you will quickly realize that you should have done it much earlier. I did and wished that I could have saved all of the grief, aggravation, loss of thousands of dollars worth of spoiled food and useless "fixes" to the NotSoCold piece of junk.

We've been using the fridge now for over 8 years and love the extra space, super cold fridge and SUPER cold freezer. The twin cooling system with Power Cool in each compartment is a very useful feature. Don't need the ice & water in door. We have that in our Samsung fridge at home which is great but not necessary in the coach.

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42 minutes ago, Dennis H said:

Steve, a couple things. First; you get less 'pop' from 2 12VDC vs 4 GC batteries so I would change them back out if this was my coach. 12v are cheaper but don't provide the best bang for your buck. More detail is available if necessary. We went with the Samsung due to it's exact fitment and good reviews. I installed it myself 6 years ago and it's been flawless and we are full timers. I have the same setup as you and have had no issues. If you're not aware the receptacle behind your existing fridge has two outlets but only one is hooked to your inverter. The other is not. So if you wanted to change to the inverter linked above, simply plug that one into the other outlet but that would mean your fridge is off if the generator is off or you're not plugged in.  As for the technical side, I would imagine you'd have to contact GE for more info as to whether the modified sine would work with their fridge. If you're interested I've linked some pictures of my installation below. It took me a couple of days to complete it but I did it in a campground with limited tools available. Good luck....Dennis

Samsung Refrigerator Install

Dennis, thanks for the info.  I do plan on changing back to 4 6v batteries when these start fading out.  I also had read your blog on the fridge earlier today.  You did that about 30 min from where I live.  Are you returning soon and wanna help?  J/k

 

43 minutes ago, jacwjames said:

As to other refrigerators, first thing you will have to do is determine the size you can use.  AJ Madison has a good filter to do this.  Since I have a vested interest in this I monitor IRV2 for posts and one stated that "  Almost all new fridges have variable speed dc compressors and will work on a MSW with no issues."

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f54/ge-or-whirlpool-refrigerator-on-modified-sine-wave-inverter-464596.html 

Since it on the internet it must be true

Yes, all things on the internet are certainly true!  Lol.  That was a good read and makes me feel better if I go w/another choice.

 

38 minutes ago, Dr4Film said:

The Fisher-Paykel would be my next choice for a fridge that runs great on a MSW Inverter. I cannot speak to any of the others brands. As suggested by a previous poster if going through the trouble of adding a PSW inverter just for the fridge to me it makes more sense to just replace the existing MSW Inverter with an upgraded PSW Inverter.

I looked into the F-P fridges and they certainly look nice.  I wish the $ was comparable to the Samsung.  The GE one is similar in $ to the F-P which I find interesting.  It looks like there is a F-P dealer near me.  I may go see if they have any on their floor.  Maybe they have a lightly dented one on sale.  

I really do not want to get into replacing or installing another inverter if I can find a fridge that will do all that we would like.  We are not able to use the coach as much as we would like due to working FT and a having an active teenager, so it seems hard to justify double the cost of the Samsung.  I do plan on doing the install myself when we make the decision.  

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While I was building our new house both my wife and I were looking for good deals.  The key is to be patient.  Nearly all of our appliances and fixtures were on clearance,  

I happened to stop in at a Lowes in a town near us in the early AM.  They had just moved a French door in door LG refrigerator whose selling price was +$3K to the clearance section.  Someone had run into both upper handles and the door in door would not stay closed so it was marked down to $300.  I figured that the bent handle was causing the door in door not to stay closed.  I bought the fridge and ordered 2 new handles for $125 and replaced.  I also went through LG to get an extended warranty that Lowes would not offer.  That was almost 2 years ago and the fridge is working flawlessly. 

Also bought a full size Fridgidaire for $650, still completely wrapped in shipping shrink wrap.    We bought 3 name brand whirlpool tubs for ~$500, these were returned items but I was able to fix leaky jets and/or tear motor down and fix and installed all 3 in the new house.  Wife bought a $1000 chandelier for $70.  The list goes on. 

We literally saved +$20K by buying appliances and fixtures on clearance.   Of course I then had to find match lights/fixtures to complete a room but such is life, we still saved money.

Just pays to be patient if you can. 

Edited by jacwjames
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10 hours ago, Steven P said:

Dennis, thanks for the info.  I do plan on changing back to 4 6v batteries when these start fading out.  I also had read your blog on the fridge earlier today.  You did that about 30 min from where I live.  Are you returning soon and wanna help?  J/k

Steven, I'd be happy too. Second time is always easier. If you can promise a week or so of low humidity and 78 degree weather, count me in.... 🙂 🙂 ... Dennis

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Steven,

For what it is worth, I converted our 2006 Diplomat over to the Samsung RF-197 in August 2011 and it has been running for 9 years without a problem. We never turn the frig off and leave it on 24/7. So you may have read bad reviews on the Samsung but that has not been our experience.

Bob

 

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7 hours ago, Dennis H said:

Steven, I'd be happy too. Second time is always easier. If you can promise a week or so of low humidity and 78 degree weather, count me in.... 🙂 🙂 ... Dennis

Thanks for that.  A week of low humidity in south Alabama!   Haha. Thats a good one!  🤣🤣

3 hours ago, Bob Nodine said:

Steven,

For what it is worth, I converted our 2006 Diplomat over to the Samsung RF-197 in August 2011 and it has been running for 9 years without a problem. We never turn the frig off and leave it on 24/7. So you may have read bad reviews on the Samsung but that has not been our experience.

Bob

 

Bob,  our Samsung fridge feelings are based on our own purchases.  We have 2 in our house now and have had issues with both.  Luckily I bought the Lowes extended warranty and actually got a full refund for the first one due to issues and that refund allowed us to buy the second one when we moved. Service guy has been out 2x for this one.  After researching and all the people who like the Samsung rf18, and the fact it is half the price of the others, we may go that route. We haven't committed yet. 

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I installed a Fischer Paykal (about $3,000 which is rather expensive) in our motorhome 2 years ago and have been very happy with the performance. Mine has been running on MSW inverter while traveling without any issues. I do keep it plugged into 50amp service at home so it runs 24/7. I took the doors and hinges off of the fridge and was able to get it through the front door.

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I have followed many discussions like this regarding using a residential fridge on an inverter. Recently I discovered this company that makes conversion kits for RV absorption friges to 12V DC compressor driven. Far better efficiency that using expensive sinemode inverter. If my unit goes out I will seriously consider doing one of these conversions.
https://jc-refrigeration.com/product-category/hvac/norcold-hvac-units/

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The JC Refrigeration unit is a great alternative IF and only IF you absolutely need to keep the NotSCold body. However, remember that once you spend that much money on the back end you still have a fridge with no air circulation, doors that WILL fall off due to plastic hinges, freezer that requires defrosting once a month, control boards (main & eye) that could fail and a lot less space.

Just say'n....

OMVHO

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10 hours ago, johnfr said:

I have followed many discussions like this regarding using a residential fridge on an inverter. Recently I discovered this company that makes conversion kits for RV absorption friges to 12V DC compressor driven. Far better efficiency that using expensive sinemode inverter. If my unit goes out I will seriously consider doing one of these conversions.
https://jc-refrigeration.com/product-category/hvac/norcold-hvac-units/

When I bought my coach I looked into these too.  If I wanted to keep propane an option, I would go this route.  But I like the idea of a residential fridge now. The problems Richard mentions above and increased cu ft are my main reasons.  We have also had issues with our icemaker leaking in our Norcold and w a new res fridge we can avoid that too.  But I do hear of a lot of happy people that have made that conversion. 

 

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Every time someone posts that they are going to, or want to get rid of the "NOT-SO-COLD" and convert to a residential refrigerator the discussion goes all over the board. In the sixteen years that I have been on this group, I have seen every comment, good, bad, ugly or just plain cow manure. The stories just keep getting better.

When I purchased our 2005 Monaco Exec 45 CAQ we had it built with a Whirlpool Residential Refrigerator installed from the factory. The Whirlpool Refrigerator was the exact same refrigerator that you would go down to your local Sears store to purchase. Sandy likes cooking with gas so we kept the Gas Cook Top and the Propane Tank. The coach came with the Zantrex 3012 MSW inverter(Modified Sine Wave). We never had any issue with the Whirlpool and we never shut the Whirlpool off. We sold the Exec in 2018 when we purchased our FORETRAVEL and the Whirlpool Refrigerator was still going strong then and is still performing with out incident for the new owner today. That's 15 years of uninterrupted performance from an appliance that has to operate in an Environment equal to an 8 Richter Scale Earthquake.

There have been several members in our group that have had issues with the Samsung and other brands and most of the issues were taken care of by the manufacturer. In fact in the Samsung Owners Manual it states that the Refrigerator can be safely run on a MSW Inverter. Almost all residential refrigerator that were manufactured after 2000 had electronics and compressors that were not effected by running on a MSW Inverter. The residential refrigerators that are installed in Motor Coaches today are not RV specific, but just residential refrigerators that you can purchase at your local HD, Lowes or Appliance store.

If you are someone who does a lot of dry camping and making the move up to a residential refrigerator you should pay close attention to battery capacity. My Exec was equipped with eight house battery's and Solar panels and did very well dry camping. Actually, a residential refrigerator is more efficient on AC than the "NOT-SO-COLD" on AC.

The most difficult part of installing a residential refrigerator is getting one that will fit in the existing space where the absorption refrigerator is.

If you research the files on this site on residential refrigerators you will have enough reading to keep you busy for days.

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Thanks for your input David.  We were hoping for a Whirlpool as we have one we really like,  but alas,  none will fit without sticking way out.  We will keep doing our research and appreciate the info from this who have been there before us. 

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Steve, are you sure it will be "sticking way out"??? When I was researching, I felt the same way about the Samsung. After the Norcold dumped the second time, I'd had enough and the Samsung was readily available. So, I figured I'd learn to live with it or fashion new handles out of some scrap stainless and hope for the best. Well, after installing it I attached the handles with some trepidation. All for naught. The handles don't protrude as far as I thought and measured for. Just providing my experience. Measure carefully.....Dennis

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10 hours ago, Steven P said:

We will keep doing our research and appreciate the info from this who have been there before us. 

Steve, concentrate on Counter-Depth models as they will not stick out as far as non counter-depth units.

Also, the web site AJMadison.com is a great research resource as you can input your measurements or size criteria and it will display all models and brands fitting your criteria. They are also having a Labor Day sale going on now as are most places are having this time of year. Good time to buy!

https://www.ajmadison.com/refrigerators/

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6 hours ago, Dennis H said:

Steve, are you sure it will be "sticking way out"??? When I was researching, I felt the same way about the Samsung. After the Norcold dumped the second time, I'd had enough and the Samsung was readily available. So, I figured I'd learn to live with it or fashion new handles out of some scrap stainless and hope for the best. Well, after installing it I attached the handles with some trepidation. All for naught. The handles don't protrude as far as I thought and measured for. Just providing my experience. Measure carefully.....Dennis

In comparing the whirlpools that would fit, the only options we either liked or that were the right width were standard depth adding about 3" compared to a counter depth.   Same issue with Maytag. 

44 minutes ago, Dr4Film said:

Steve, concentrate on Counter-Depth models as they will not stick out as far as non counter-depth units.

Also, the web site AJMadison.com is a great research resource as you can input your measurements or size criteria and it will display all models and brands fitting your criteria. They are also having a Labor Day sale going on now as are most places are having this time of year. Good time to buy!

https://www.ajmadison.com/refrigerators/

Thanks, I will check out that site.  I have been going to all the individual manufacturers ' sites and entering measurements there. It never hurts to check around more.  

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When I bought my Samsung RF18 the only other model that would have worked in my coach was the Fisker Paykal in the French Door type.   Even though I had to do a lot of work to get the Samsung to work I did not want to spend that much money on a Fisher Paykal and deciced to take a chance on the Samsung.

Since then GE has started making a fridge that actually is a little shorter then the Samsung. 

There are some top freezer models that fit but I didn't want that type. 

If you go to the AJ Madison site select the style of fridge you want and then counter depth.  It will narrow the selection.  Then select height, which is the critical dimension, going up in height to start seeing what choices you have.  The taller the more choices.  

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@jacwjames

i have a furnace below mine and will have to modify it, so I am watching height too.   Thank you. 

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Here is a post on IRV2 I did when I installed my Samsung.  My Windsor has a lower ceiling height then yours so it was difficult to get the height I needed, had to beg/borrow/steal every 1/16th of an inch.   I had posted what I aid on the old Yahoo site but I don't think any of those posts are accessible.  Had good advice from Bob Nodine and Vanwill, I'm sure others will offer theirs for your specific situation.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f115/samsung-install-finally-done-461001.html

My furnace is a Suburban which does have essentially a zero clearance rating for heat.  I lowered my furnace all the way to the floor, it was sitting on a wood platform ~1-5/8" off the floor.  This gave me just enough to get the refrigerator to fit.  After I confirmed it would fit I drilled new holes for the furnace intake/exhaust.  

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