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Old 03-01-2015, 09:42 PM   #1
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AC/DC refrigerator amp draw

I am experiencing excessive amp draw from our old Norcold DE541. I suspect the compressor because I can hear the fan come on and the amp draw is normal. When the compressor come on, the amp hour meter on my Battery monitor counts down like a stop watch.

Is it time to replace the compressor or ditch the whole fridge?
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:24 PM   #2
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You might start by cleaning the ouside coils and see if it needs to be defrosted. When the external coils get caked with dust or air passage ways get blocked, gas temperatures and pressures can go way up in the system increasing the load and amp draw on the compressor. Not saying that's your problem, but easy to check and maybe a cheap solution.

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Old 03-01-2015, 10:58 PM   #3
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The back is clean and unrestricted. I checked on a previous project.
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:29 PM   #4
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Check controller first

Might want to look through this thread to see if you can test the controller first. If there is ANY coolness to the exit tube from the compressor and it's not making some kind of bad noise, then it is probably working well enough to get some cold into the box. Look at the power supply / controller as a first step, then move to the compressor. Good luck.
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:32 PM   #5
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Power control unit makes sense. I am wondering if it is time to buy a new refer. This one is from '98.
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Old 03-02-2015, 02:32 AM   #6
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Just dumped a 12 volt unit in favor of a 110 unit. Replacement marine fridge runs between 600-800 bucks plus freight (26"x18"x18"). Inverter-$200.00 (1500 Watt) fridge as measured here from Wal-mart on sale $114.00. No brainer. and the inverter available for other needs. Yes, we have a gen set. Would have done this earlier had I been aware.
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Old 03-02-2015, 04:57 AM   #7
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We went the other way from 110 v (two SubZero) undercounter 4 cubic ft units to two Isotherm equivalent ac/dc units. Amp draw dropped from 430 amp hrs per day to 140 amp hours. Large drop in generator use. Important to us as we are at anchor for months at a time.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
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We went the other way from 110 v (two SubZero) undercounter 4 cubic ft units to two Isotherm equivalent ac/dc units. Amp draw dropped from 430 amp hrs per day to 140 amp hours. Large drop in generator use. Important to us as we are at anchor for months at a time.
And I'm a copy cat.

Did exactly the same and with the addition of the 4 solar panels it has transformed the electrictrical situation.

I expect this summer to never have to use the Gen.
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Old 03-02-2015, 07:24 AM   #9
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The most efficient (uses east electric) are the modern computerized DC units.

They will operate slower and slower as the box requires , and slower is less energy used.

The most efficient of the DC units will vent the cooling air at the units front , into the cabin.

Much energy can be lost fighting the hot air in a cabinet.

It places the fridge in a higher ambient air zone , as well as make the compressor work harder.

IF there is room, any added insulation you can glue to the outside of the new unit will also help greatly .
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:34 AM   #10
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Who makes these DC units? Are we talking about any DC unit? What is the verdict on the Vitrifrigo fridges?
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:40 AM   #11
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Ours is NovaKool. Nominally dual-voltage, but the compressor always runs on DC even when AC is present. Reckon there are others.


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Old 03-02-2015, 11:36 AM   #12
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We purchased a Isotherm CR 219 at the boat show for $1400. We have the original NorCold DE-829 (?) which has two compressors on it with a huge battery draw when on the hook.
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Old 03-02-2015, 12:02 PM   #13
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Two important things with the DC units, insulation and Danfoss compressors.
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Old 03-02-2015, 04:13 PM   #14
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Guys at Sure Marine in Seattle say virtually all the marine refrigerators have Danfoss compressors.

I am leaning toward the Vitrifrigo mostly because they have a model that will fit in the hole.
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Old 03-02-2015, 04:30 PM   #15
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I am leaning toward the Vitrifrigo mostly because they have a model that will fit in the hole.
That's one reason we chose Vitrifrigo over Isotherm or others as it fit (with just a small amount of heightening of the cutout) in the hole formerly occupied by its late, unlamented, Norcold predecessor. We love having pull out drawers. The unit is very quiet and uses much less juice than the Norcold.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:35 PM   #16
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I know 2 people that have had very bad experiences with Norcold (Notcold) units since 2012. Is this unsual. I put multiple Engles in but I wish I had gone with a high end Isotherm or similar.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:46 PM   #17
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I know 2 people that have had very bad experiences with Norcold (Notcold) units since 2012. .
Maybe the newer ones?? My original has been going strong since 1988 and still works great. I know, at some point, it will need to be replaced though..It'll get a lot more use under my ownership. Time will tell I suppose.
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Old 03-02-2015, 06:09 PM   #18
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I started with a Norcold AC/DC when I bought my boat in 1994. The amp draw was huge, so the PO had doubled the no of batteries. I didn't have an inverter then, so the only thing the batteries had to run was the fridge, and they weren't enough. Within a few years, I went to "Freddy Freezer" at North Shore Refrigeration for advice and ended up with the AC/DC units in the garbage and a Danfoss DC only compressor that has worked flawlessly ever since. Amp draw reduction from over 10 to under 3, and less run time. I now have 1/2 as many batteries and an inverter and I have lots of excess battery capacity. The Norcold Box has had updated front panels a couple of times, and I never had to adjust the space.
Just sayin.
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:00 AM   #19
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It may be time to find a replacement however, if like me , you are loathe to give up to soon then take a look at this thread about a Norcold i had.

Norcold DE-704C AC/DC Refridgerator


Yours may simply need an adjustment to bring the frequency back up to 60hz as mine did. Over time the frequency falls off which causes the motor to draw more current at the same time producing poor cooling from a slow running motor, pumps less refridgerant.


Just be carefull as the motor will need to be running on the 12vdc while you adjust, the resistor will get hot, and there will be 120V on the transformer terminals even though not connected to a 120V supply. The transformer will make it.
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Old 03-03-2015, 01:09 AM   #20
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AC/DC refrigerator amp draw

I have two 12vDC keel cooled Frigoboat units which use Danfoss compressors, a smart speed controller and a Carel digital thermostat to control things. I was excited about these units when I first got the boat, but I'm having trouble getting the temp set right on one, and on the other unit I can't get the compressor to turn on at all, so I'm less excited now.

Each unit can allegedly be set to run as a freezer or a refrigerator, but the thermostat is confusing to me so far. I think once I get these units sorted out they are supposed to be pretty efficient without much draw-- 2.9 amps I think.

http://www.veco-na.com/images/Fridge...eb_reprint.pdf

Does anyone have any troubleshooting experience with Frigoboat systems?
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