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Old 09-16-2017, 02:20 PM   #1
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Vitrifrigo fridge

In March 2013 I installed a new Vitrifrigo 12V DC/ 110V AC, mechanical thermostat, refrigerator. I usually run it on AC when shore power is available. Today I went to check on the boat in it's slip and the fridge was not running, fortunately I only had a few water and soft drinks in there. I checked the breakers all seemed ok I tried it on DC and it started running. Turned the unit off with the thermostat control and tried it on AC again, it still wouldn't run, on AC. The unit is screwed into its recess so I couldn't reach the back to check the condition of the wiring or outlet it runs off of, but, other appliances on the same (I believe) circuit are running. I checked the trouble shooting page of the fridge's manual and it mentions "check the fuse in the electronic control unit has not blown".
I plan to go to the boat tomorrow to unscrew and pull the unit out of it's recess. I'll check the 110 connections and be sure power is available at the outlet and that the "electronic control unit fuse" is OK.
Have any Vitrifrigo owners had this or a similar problem with their units?
Any one else have any suggestions? It does run on DC.
The unit has worked fine until this, I hope tomorrow I will find the cause.
Thanks for any experiences or suggestions.
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Old 09-16-2017, 05:34 PM   #2
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I had the opposite happen. Runs on AC but not DC. Diagnosed to be a bad AC/DC Power Module. Cost for part was around $400.
From the Tech:

My best advice is to purchase the newer Danfoss AC/DC module that attaches directly to the compressor. Your only concern would be if there is enough clearance on your unit for this part to fit as it is taller and deeper than the existing DC only module on your compressor. The new part number is R101007. You can purchase this part from Sure Marine in Seattle, WA (206-784-9903)

Regards, Doug Stann – Vitrifrigo America (954-979-7737)

This was one of several problems I've had with the fridge, which I replaced my old Norcold with. Doubt I'd buy one again.
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Old 09-17-2017, 02:15 PM   #3
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I was able to check the AC power to the fridge this morning it has 119.8V right up to the Electronic Control Module. I opened the module checked the fuse and found it still good.
So, I guess the next step is to get a Vitrifrigo tech on the phone tomorrow morning to see what is next.
The unit will run and cool in 12v mode.
Will post when have news.
Thanks to Max Simmons for the posted information above.
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Old 09-17-2017, 02:24 PM   #4
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We fitted a new Vitrifrigo larder fridge with the auto change and we reckon its the best fridge we've ever had. The service from Penguin refrigeration is second to none. Chat to the technico's because $400 seems very expensive for a replacement. Shop around online outside the states.
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Old 09-17-2017, 04:23 PM   #5
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Is there any reason, to even worry, about running on AC? Unless there is no charger running when boat is plugged in. I have never run mine on AC, since owning boat.
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:14 PM   #6
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I read it recommended to run on AC since: a storm, vandals disconnect shore power, broken charger, etc could cause the power to the batteries to cease and the fridge would draw them all the way down quite rapidly, maybe damaging the batteries or leaving them dead when they might be needed for bilge pump. The reasoning was better to risk losing some food in the fridge than damage an expensive set of batteries, etc.
When I talk to the Tech Rep. I'll ask him about effect of long term running on AC vs DC. I'll post his comments here.
In any case I want to have both AC and DC options available and working, as mentioned in post #2 the DC side can fail also.
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:50 PM   #7
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Steve......Hope you get off with just replacing a 10 cent fuse!
My 2 month old Vitrifrigo DP2600 is sitting in the middle of my salon right now. ....the $4 Chinese CPU fan on the condenser coil shorted out last week. Couldn't get anyone to drive the 1.5hr trip to the boat to do warranty work, so I pulled it out and did my own troubleshooting. Found the little fan was dragging down the voltage on circuit board enough that it would cut power to compressor after about 4 seconds. Did get the supplier to send another fan under warranty. ....tried for a bottle of Maker's Mark as a good will gesture, but no joy!
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:58 PM   #8
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Our Vitrifrigo has been running 24/7 for several six month seasons now on DC with solar panels supplying the juice. Trouble free so far (knock on wood). Very quiet. Very satisfied.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebel112r View Post
Is there any reason, to even worry, about running on AC? Unless there is no charger running when boat is plugged in. I have never run mine on AC, since owning boat.
One reason is your battery charger - if connected to shore power.

If there is a ~5-10A 12V draw continuously on your batteries, your battery charger may not ever go into float mode - it assumes the batteries still need charging.

Most DC-only fridges connected to 12V house banks cause this effect in a lot of typical setups.
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:16 PM   #10
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Your fridge should have an automatic shutoff if the DC voltage drops below its set point. Likely in the 11v range. If your charger failed or you weren't plugged in, you shouldn't have to worry about the fridge taking the batteries down below that set point.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Your fridge should have an automatic shutoff if the DC voltage drops below its set point. Likely in the 11v range. If your charger failed or you weren't plugged in, you shouldn't have to worry about the fridge taking the batteries down below that set point.
Yes, I think it does have an auto shut off to protect batteries I'll have to check that, thanks.
I don't see why any downside to running in AC mode when shore power is available?
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:33 PM   #12
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I asked this question when our boat was built. Tomco wires the fridge only from the 12 volt dc side. It was my understanding that the compressors utilize dc motors. The circuit that converts ac voltage to dc for the compressor is apparently a known weak link in these and wiring it to dc only eliminates this issue...
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:51 PM   #13
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I did speak to a Vitrifrigo Tech this morning I explained my problem, he said I'd need a new Electronic Control Module. I asked what could have caused the failure after 3 years he said maybe an electric spike in the shore power supply. Possibly, I guess, anyway I ordered a new ECM from a 3rd party supplier. Danfoss have an upgraded (hopefully improved) one 101N0510 to replace the original 101N0500 we'll see how that goes. $294.00 including shipping.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:09 AM   #14
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Mine have run almost 24/7 for the last 3 and a half years.
For most of that time, it's been on 12V, but it's connected to both the 120V circuit and 12V circuit and until the last 8 months, I had no way to easily disconnect them from the batteries.
Now I do have switches and breaker for 12v, so I keep the 12V circuit on all the time (as before) and turn on the 120V breakers only when directly on shore power.
I did go for more than a year with no 120v power available.

I have both the fridge and a freezer. Not only are they extremely consistent in maintaining the temperature they are set at, they only draw slightly less than 5 amps for hour for both of them combined, so all in all, I could not be happier.

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Old 09-19-2017, 08:59 AM   #15
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Had one on our last boat. Same problem, would not run on AC. Replaced the control module with a DC only because it was cheaper. As other have mentioned, if I have AC, I also have DC.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:21 AM   #16
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As mentioned, dock power spikes can create issues in these less than robust 12V - 120V fridge systems. Add to it ship grounding issues, bad power cords, corroded exterior plug ins and having open breakers when connecting to shore power.

The above are some of the reasons running on 12V may not be a bad idea. For others, a top flight inverter charger can act as a buffer when running on 120V. Steve, since you had an AC failure, maybe consider the potential for AC issues in front of the fridge.
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:04 PM   #17
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Funny to see such varied opinions of Vitrifrigo. I had 6 year old freezer and fridge drawers, and it was the worst ever in hot/humid Florida. Utterly useless. They been used in Leopard/Moorings boats for years so they must be generally happy with them in most situations. I was not. I have a new, larger NovaKool unit since June.
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Old 09-20-2017, 12:36 PM   #18
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I'm on my 2nd Vitrifrigo DP2600- AC/DC. 1st one installed in 2010, it started not cooling in Feb. of 2015 the day before we were heading to the Bahamas. Rather than repair given the hassle of a potential 2nd repair in the Bahamas, I replaced it. Had I been dockside for an extended time, perhaps a repair, but that seemed the least optimal at the time.

The replacement has not been rock solid, now 2-1/2 yrs out, it's not keeping consistent temps, the thermostat had to be recalibrated, and the time between defrosts has grown progressively shorter. It would typically go 6 wks or better, now the last defrost was 15 days, and the temps are climbing, and it's not cycling as frequently, cycling longer.

Temps are inconsistent in the box, even with the addition of an RV fridge fan. At $1500+, twice in the 10 yrs I've owned the boat, I'm not a happy owner! I'd certainly never get another one.

I'm about to start into trying to DX the reason for the performance dropoff. Of course, this thing is jammed into a very tight space, although I had initially provided for additional ventilation for the enclosure, complete with an auxiliary fan, specifically to do everything possible to insure the optimum operating environment. Figures!
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:49 AM   #19
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"this thing is jammed into a very tight space, although I had initially provided for additional ventilation for the enclosure, complete with an auxiliary fan, specifically to do everything possible to insure the optimum operating environment. Figures!"

Some fridges are built to vent out the front , into the cabin.

Solves much of the stuffed in a tight hole problem.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:33 AM   #20
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I don't know if it possible in your installation but when I fitted our Vitrifrigo larder fridge I was able to drill a row of 1'' holes in the floor below the refrigeration unit at the rear of the fridge. As the hot air rises from the refrigeration unit it draws cool air in from the keel to create a thermal current. Seems to work very well for us.
We remove the fridge at the start and end of each season to clean the fins on the cooling pipes at the rear with vacuum hose brush attachment.
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