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Replacing Notcold with residential


amrvmaps

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There are a couple of options that don’t require changing the opening, as I recall I think Haier has one and maybe Fisher-Paykel?  I’m sure members will chime in with their experience. 
 

As for the most popular counter-depth fridges that fit well in the opening WITH mods (there’s a great tutorial by @Bob Nodine in the files section), they seem to be:

1. Samsung RF-18 (least expensive at about $1,300 often less on sale)

2. Fisher-Paykel (more expensive, some have more options, don’t have some of the issues common to some Samsungs)

3. GE - more expensive, but has water and ice through the door. @Steven P has a write up with pics and can tell you the model #. 
 

Personally, I did #1 and am very happy with it (there’s a write-up in the “Appliances” section with some pics), but if I did it over I would do #3 just to get the ice and water through the door. 

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August, "assuming" you have the 1200LRIM unit in your coach, you have several options. The Samsung is the most often used unit as it's dimensions are almost identical to the 1200. That said, one of the things to consider on your coach is the height of the top shelf inside the fridge since the furnace will not allow you to lower it. I replaced mine with the Samsung R197 back in 2014. We're full timers and it's been flawless so far. No changes inside the coach as to batteries  and/or inverter. I did add a water filter for the ice maker, but other than that it's been good. The only negative, and it doesn't apply to us is there is no 'off' button on the fridge. You have to turn off the batteries or unplug the unit if you put it in storage.....I don't recall the other models but I'm sure others will chime in shortly. It's a PITA trying to match your opening to a new fridge as many web sites do not offer the specs on the fridges...Dennis

 

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We replaced the whole backend with an Amish built all electric unit about 4 years ago. Except for monthly defrost duty it has been flawless for 40k miles of fulltimin’.  Shipshawana, Indiana.

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Check out Home Depot Frigidaire # FFHT1425VV fit in mine nicely all I had to do was make a small trim piece to fill the gap around it since it was a touch smaller than the old one but 13.9 Cubic Ft I believe.

fridge.jpg

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I replaced my Norcold with the Samsung RF18 but the Samsung is quite a bit taller and I needed to modify my opening.  I also have the furnace underneath which made it even more challenging.  It can be done but a lot of work including lowering the Suburban furnace all the way to the floor and cutting the intake/exhaust holes for the furnace 1 5/8" lower to make it work.  Here's a writeup that I did.

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

If you went with a standard top freezer, 2 door, residential you can probably find one that would work without modifying the opening.

Although my install was a lot of work, the benefit of the Samsung was worth it.  Took an extended trip out west recently, in Wy with sun beating down on the passenger side of the coach the refrigerator performed flawlessly, keeping a constant temp in the freezer and the refrigerator.  Much more room and the icemaker continually drops ice. 

Good luck

Edited by jacwjames
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HI.  We had a Norcold 1200 in our 2006 Dynasty.  We kept the box, which was in great shape, and replaced the refrigeration unit with a 120v HVAC unit from JC Refrigeration.  https://jc-refrigeration.com/products/.  Did the install ourselves, following written and video instructions. Came out great.  The unit gets cold and freezes hard. It only draws 600 watts so it can run off the inverter no problem.  We didn't want to change or re-do the cabinetry,  so this was a great way to upgrade the refrigeration and keep a good aesthetic. 

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5 minutes ago, Bootlegger said:

I just recently replaced my Never Cold with a residential fridge.  I hired a local rv company to install mine and it took them about 2 hours, including removing the driver side window.  My pick was based on what was available in my area.  It works great.  

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Frigidaire-18-cu-ft-Top-Freezer-Refrigerator-Black/1000225699

 

The refrigerator looks like a viable option, does it run off a MSW inverter?

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1 hour ago, Kevin R said:

Check out Home Depot Frigidaire # FFHT1425VV fit in mine nicely all I had to do was make a small trim piece to fill the gap around it since it was a touch smaller than the old one but 13.9 Cubic Ft I believe.

fridge.jpg

Kevin, did you do this yourself or hire an RV company to do it.  I'm not sure I could handle this myself.

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32 minutes ago, Bootlegger said:

I was told that any refrigerator should work off of an inverter as long as your inverter is built for it.  I am not an electrician, so I will let the experts chime in on this question.

I had that same question, most said they had no issues with the MSW investor. The Samsung appears to say that in their instructions, and that’s why it’s a popular choice for RV manufacturers on new RVs

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3 hours ago, Dennis H said:

August, "assuming" you have the 1200LRIM unit in your coach, you have several options. The Samsung is the most often used unit as it's dimensions are almost identical to the 1200. That said, one of the things to consider on your coach is the height of the top shelf inside the fridge since the furnace will not allow you to lower it. I replaced mine with the Samsung R197 back in 2014. We're full timers and it's been flawless so far. No changes inside the coach as to batteries  and/or inverter. I did add a water filter for the ice maker, but other than that it's been good. The only negative, and it doesn't apply to us is there is no 'off' button on the fridge. You have to turn off the batteries or unplug the unit if you put it in storage.....I don't recall the other models but I'm sure others will chime in shortly. It's a PITA trying to match your opening to a new fridge as many web sites do not offer the specs on the fridges...Dennis

 

You can turn them off (somewhat) on the freezer control panel by pushing I believe it is the two buttons on the right of the three that are there. Without looking I believe I have it right. That puts it in Salesman Mode the lights will be on but the unit will not cool. I often thought about putting a switch on it but I don’t need another project. This is my second RF18 in two different coaches. 

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I added the GE GYE18... above my furnace.  Had to lower the floor that the fridge sits on, but did not have to alter the furnace.  I wanted water and ice in the door and have been pleased overall.  My MSW Magnum inverter seems to like it just fine and vice versa.  

20210818_194655.jpg

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On 8/18/2021 at 6:41 AM, Kevin R said:

Check out Home Depot Frigidaire # FFHT1425VV fit in mine nicely all I had to do was make a small trim piece to fill the gap around it since it was a touch smaller than the old one but 13.9 Cubic Ft I believe.

fridge.jpg

I'm liking that fridge a LOT and I've been looking for some time. The one thing that puts me off of a Samsung RF18 is the amount of work required to install it. I have a 2000 Diplomat and it looks quite similar to yours. I have the furnace in the compartment underneath the fridge. Was it literally just replace the Norcold and fill the gaps? (Other than the obvious like disconnect and cap the propane etc). I can get that fridge locally too...and...what's bugging me about the Norcold is the amount of power it uses. Pretty sure it's costing me about $40 per month whereas that one you show costs $40 per year.....So if you're still out there, please confirm the fitment for me 🙂

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@Bob Jones it's best to measure your current fridge and opening and then compare those measurements to the measurements of the fridge you desire.   Those dimensions are on the website where you want to buy the fridge.  Equally important is the air flow space requirements on the top and sides which is also listed. Most of us w the furnace underneath have used slotted steel braces and marine plywood to create a new, sturdy floor for the new fridge, so that may need to be done.  I had some rot and Mildew to fix too. 

20200909_084733.jpg

20200913_140638.jpg

20200913_150758.jpg

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@Steven P - Nice job, and thanks for the post. While I could do it with the Samsung the issue for me is it's a lot bigger so it's also a lot more hassle getting it through the door. It's more $$ and I really don't need that much fridge as it's just me in here 🙂 Also, availability in my area for that fridge is a little harder. 

@Dennis H - that too is a really nice job! I have to keep my furnace as it gets cold up here in the winter (up to -7c or so). Nice to see the person behind your blog. I have read almost all of it from start to finish over several weeks. You did such a nice job on the posts that I felt like I didn't even have to go to any of those places !  🙂

My Norcold actually works very well. The freezer is typically -15c and the fridge is typically 1.8c or lower. And that's in the summer (ambient of 27-35c) and on setting #3 or 2 !!

I installed a row of fans across the cooling fins and then a second fan on the bottom blowing air up to the cooling fins (these are all inside fans). That is what got me the great cooling from the Norcold and I can have frozen ground beef in the freezer unit for more than a month and it will still be red when I pull it out. 

But...it's ~22 years old. Sooner or later the door hinges will go out. But I find the electrical cost for the motorhome per month to be quite high. Typically ~$100 per month. The Norcold draws 450-500 watts and I'm quite certain it's accounting for probably $40-$50 of that monthly bill. As such, it's a power pig. 

The Frigidaire Kevin listed above looks like it's more/less Plug 'N Play, it's cheap at ~$850 CAD ($600 USD) and....it apparently costs $40 per YEAR to operate. I am quite certain it costs the same to run for one year as my Norcold costs to run for one month......At that rate, it does not take long to recoup the costs of the fridge.

So, efficiency is really what I am after because, other that that, I love the Norcold now that I have tuned it up. If I set the Norcold to setting 5 it will easily freeze everything in the fridge compartment! I never use the gas side of it as I don't want to burn the unit down.

When I think about the efficiency of a modern fridge, such as Kevin's Frigidaire, I wonder if it even would cost $40 per year in my locale. Given that the rear of the fridge is more/less open to the ambient temperature, which up here is probably averaged out to 15c over a year, my guess is it might even be more efficient. The flip side is, the Norcold will run for about 12 hours on the inverter/batteries at 500 watts draw. I bet the Frigidaire would last days and probably closer to a week!

From the looks of it, the Frigidaire, in whatever their ambient temp testing is, will use a LOT less power.

332Kw per year = .90 Kw per day = .12c

 X 30 = $3.54 per month!! Assuming my math is correct that would be a massive savings in power to the extent that it would pay for itself in probably 1.5 years. I have a kill-o-watt, I'm going to hook it up to the Norcold and see exactly what it is using in power in a 24 hour period. 

 

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  • 5 months later...
On 8/20/2021 at 10:44 AM, Dennis H said:

I installed the Samsung myself in the campground. Took me a few days because I was working by myself but it was a relatively easy install. See the link below for steps and pics of the installation process....Dennis      https://executive45pbq.blogspot.com/2014/06/samsung-refrigerator-install.html

IMG_5335.JPG

 

 

On 8/20/2021 at 8:13 AM, Steven P said:

@Bob Jones it's best to measure your current fridge and opening and then compare those measurements to the measurements of the fridge you desire.   Those dimensions are on the website where you want to buy the fridge.  Equally important is the air flow space requirements on the top and sides which is also listed. Most of us w the furnace underneath have used slotted steel braces and marine plywood to create a new, sturdy floor for the new fridge, so that may need to be done.  I had some rot and Mildew to fix too. 

20200909_084733.jpg

20200913_140638.jpg

20200913_150758.jpg

Hi Steven, 

Nice install crafted very well. I am preparing to embark on my own conversion in a couple of days and like you have furnace underneath norcold I've been looking at several videos for resources all have been helpful. My question did you have to drop furnace? if so, how did you manage to line up exhaust leading to the outside cover plate? My only other question what did you do for your power source? I appreciate your time I realize this was last years project but hopefully you can help. Thank you so much

Kind Regards,

Will

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I installed a Samsung in my 2002 Windsor, I had/have the Suburban Furnace underneath.  The Suburban is a zero clearance furnace so you can put it right on the floor, which is what I did.  This dropped it 1 5/8" (from memory).  

The intake & exhaust has to be lowered the above amount.   I used the cover plate on the outside to make a template, mounted it on a piece of wood using the 4 holes and screwed it to a piece of wood and drew the 2 holes on the wood.  Took the cover plate off, marked centerline of the two hole and found the center of the two old holes drawn on the board, then measured down 1 5/8" for the center point of the new holes.   I then mounted the board on the side of the motor home using the 4 corner mounting holes to line up with the holes the side of the motorhome.    I then used the right size hole saw and drilled through the wood into the side of the motorhome, the wood helped hold the hole saw in alignment and didn't let it drift as you cut through the sidewall of the motor home.  Did the second hole the same way. 

As you drill through the side wall you will actually be cutting through the old holes.  When you are done you will end up with a couple pieces of wood that you can slip into the old holes to cover up a portion of them, I simply glued them in place and put some screws to hole them in place until the glue dried. 

After you get done installing the furnace you'll have to redo the outside cover plate.  I used a piece of polished AL slightly large then the old cover plate , mounted this first and then put the SS over that, 

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12 hours ago, William said:

 

Hi Steven, 

Nice install crafted very well. I am preparing to embark on my own conversion in a couple of days and like you have furnace underneath norcold I've been looking at several videos for resources all have been helpful. My question did you have to drop furnace? if so, how did you manage to line up exhaust leading to the outside cover plate? My only other question what did you do for your power source? I appreciate your time I realize this was last years project but hopefully you can help. Thank you so much

Kind Regards,

Will

Will, I did not have to lower or move my furnace at all.  I lowered the fridge floor to just above the furnace and that gave me the needed clearance.  For the power, I have 2 outlets.  One that uses the inverter and one that is shore or genny power only.  I chose the inverter so I could keep the fridge on driving or boondocking without using the genny.  One thing to note. I believe 2006 was the year they raised the ceilings a few inches which may give me more clearance than you have, but see above post from jacwjames about lowering the furnace.   Here's the link from my original post:  

 

Edited by Steven P
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My 2002 Windsor has the lower ceiling height, no room to go up so all the modification was to lower the fridge.  When I was done the fridge was ~1/2" above the furnace.  I did not build a shelf but instead used conduit strut material and made 2 separate legs that the fridge slide in on.  After I made sure it would work I blocked the rear portion the legs and added wood/support in the front I could screw the legs too.

I had to split hairs on each leg as the front and back wheels did not exactly line up but I thought it was more important to have the read on the struts, the front was partially on buy then I made individual supports that anchored the front using the fridge leveling brackets so the front wheels don't take any weight. 

I put blocking on the back to keep the fridge ~2" off the back wall and then blocking on the rear of the sides to keep the fridge centered as I slide it in, I actually cut a couple of these longer on a taper so it centered the fridge as I pushed it in.  I had to do multiple test fittings to make sure everything fit, on good advice from Van Will & Bod Nodine I made a sturdy dolly that I could move the fridge in and out easily as I test fit it.  I had help getting the fridge in the RV but then did the rest myself. 

On the top I used angle and used the heavy duty 3M adhesive tape and then screwed to the face of the cabinet, painted these black so can't hardly see when everything was done.  Not sure why 2nd picture is upside down???

IMG_0671.JPG

IMG_0719.JPG

IMG_0716.JPG

Edited by jacwjames
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10 hours ago, Steven P said:

Will, I did not have to lower or move my furnace at all.  I lowered the fridge floor to just above the furnace and that gave me the needed clearance.  For the power, I have 2 outlets.  One that uses the inverter and one that is shore or genny power only.  I chose the inverter so I could keep the fridge on driving or boondocking without using the genny.  One thing to note. I believe 2006 was the year they raised the ceilings a few inches which may give me more clearance than you have, but see above post from jacwjames about lowering the furnace.   Here's the link from my original post:  

 

Thanks Steven will do. What is the proper clearance for furnace? I have Atwood 8940 DCLP-III looked it over said I needed to have about 1/2" of clearance if I read that correct it sits on a platform about 2" high. 

8 hours ago, jacwjames said:

My 2002 Windsor has the lower ceiling height, no room to go up so all the modification was to lower the fridge.  When I was done the fridge was ~1/2" above the furnace.  I did not build a shelf but instead used conduit strut material and made 2 separate legs that the fridge slide in on.  After I made sure it would work I blocked the rear portion the legs and added wood/support in the front I could screw the legs too.

I had to split hairs on each leg as the front and back wheels did not exactly line up but I thought it was more important to have the read on the struts, the front was partially on buy then I made individual supports that anchored the front using the fridge leveling brackets so the front wheels don't take any weight. 

I put blocking on the back to keep the fridge ~2" off the back wall and then blocking on the rear of the sides to keep the fridge centered as I slide it in, I actually cut a couple of these longer on a taper so it centered the fridge as I pushed it in.  I had to do multiple test fittings to make sure everything fit, on good advice from Van Will & Bod Nodine I made a sturdy dolly that I could move the fridge in and out easily as I test fit it.  I had help getting the fridge in the RV but then did the rest myself. 

On the top I used angle and used the heavy duty 3M adhesive tape and then screwed to the face of the cabinet, painted these black so can't hardly see when everything was done.  Not sure why 2nd picture is upside down???

IMG_0671.JPG

IMG_0719.JPG

IMG_0716.JPG

Hi Jim, 

Looks great I am looking at getting my conversion completed in about a week but I am getting second thoughts my only issue that I can't seem to figure out is if I need to drop furnace which sits on a platform about 2" high if I do that than I will need to figure out how to line up exhaust on the outside plate. I have read of others cutting out holes on the side of there rigs would rather not do that. What was your fridge height? I went with a Hiensen that comes in at 69" tall it will go inside a 2003 Monaco Windsor so I believe my ceiling is similar to yours. Anyhow I would appreciate any feedback. 

Kind Regards,

Will

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Will

Four posts up I tried to explain how I cut the new holes for the intake/exhaust of the furnace.

If you drop your furnace you will have to cut new holes, I don't think there is any way around it.  I was a little apprehensive about cutting new holes but it actually was pretty easy, had to get creative as I explained in the previous post but it turned out good.  

I believe the Samsung RF18 I installed is 70" tall.   Had to beg/borrow/steal all the height I could get but it fit. 

 

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  • Scotty Hutto changed the title to Replacing Notcold with residential

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