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Discussion Starter #1
This is my last piece of equipment. I want a front loader, AC/DC, about 3 cu ft. Lots of members use similar units but I can't find much regarding performance and noise levels other than GARYBis's test on his Norcold NR751(current mod #). I've searched here, Sprinter site, Amazon, vendors, and many RV sites with almost nothing. I'm Considering the Norcold DE-0788 with the Sawafuji swing arm compressor (only Norcold unit with this far as I can determine). At a listed 3.0A draw and 3.1 cu ft it is larger (appx 15%) and less draw (appx 20%) than the NR751. Pricy at $1073 but even the NR751 is well over $700 now (2.7 cu ft, 3.6A draw). Can anybody provide some direct experience or reference a site with info? Norcold will not/can not provide noise levels after 3 calls and an email request so far. Cabinet size and adding vents is not limiting for me. Will consider other brands but availability is important. Thanks, rob
 

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If you can get the Sawafuji for that price, go for it. I paid almost that much for my Engel and would do it again. "Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten."
 

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The Sawafuji has zero extra start draw. It has no cam. It starts slow and builds. My Engel chest is right next to the bed and not the least obnoxious.
 

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That Engle is only 2 cu ft and the Norcold NR 751 is 2.7 (3 with the freezer) and a quality product which I bought for $672 from:

http://www.my12voltstore.com/Norcold_NR751BB_2_7_Cubic_Feet_AC_DC_Marinie_p/nr751bb.htm

I got $40 refunded from Norcold. It is not as quiet as it could be as it has a cooling fan which if the refrigerator is open at the back looks unnecessary. I have purchased a thermo switch to prevent the fan coming on unless the condenser goes over 135 degrees. I will post up when I have installed it and let you know how quiet it becomes. If you want I can do an iPhone dB reading now.

Same unit? Seems too low a price to be:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-1-CU-FT-N...G-AVAILABLE-/181948303658?hash=item2a5cf6c92a
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everybody. The Truckfridge looks good for volume and price. They give 60W/5A draw for most units but no way to know if this is startup only. At spec of 24A/day it equals Gary's test, just no way to compare conditions. I will call for more specs n compressor type tomorrow. The Engle 60 qt looks good except volume is a little less than I wanted. Right now it's mostly down to price. About $300 more for the Norcold doesn't seem too bad considering how much all this stuff cost so far. Still looking for more comparisons/reviews
 

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If cabinet size and space is not a problem, think about adding 1-2" of rigid foam polyiso insulation around four and a half sides of the fridge. (top, bottom, sides, and as much of the back as possible without blocking the coils) Whichever fridge you end up getting, it'll definitely help with energy conservation.

I'm looking at going with a Vitrifrigo fridge. I like their style, size, and quality. Comes at a price though. Probably going big with a two-door 5cf fridge; for whatever reason, we both want to have a separate freezer compartment. They also seem to have plenty of insulation, and I'll be adding at least 1" of polyiso around it as well.
 

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I just looked on the Thetford/Norcold site and the Norcold DE0788B has a similar cooling fan to my NR751 so you will hear that fan running and it will be louder than the compressor unfortunately. We don't like it but it does not interfere with our falling asleep nor does it wake us up when it cycles. It just seems unnecessary as air could cool the condenser if they created a narrow chimney up the back to let air flow over it. Instead they have it vented below or above depending on the model and the fan forces air over the coils and back out the front. Given this the NR751 seems to be a much better bargain and nearly the same size which we find adequate. It is deep to fill and the freezer is back in it a bit but it works great.
 
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Good to know about the sound level. Cooling fan noise doesn't concern me so that's a comfort. I found some good info on Expedition Portal. Some credible posts. They show that Vitrifrigo is the same manufacturer as TruckFridge, but Vitrifridge has a higher trim level. Leaving for my first PM trip to Big Bend on Thur. I'll decide when I get back. Thanks again. I'm definitely adding insulation everywhere I can and not restrict air flow.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,
I also have the Norcold 751 and I'd agree with RD's assessment of the noise level. Its noticeable when its on, but not enough to be irritating and not enough to wake you up or keep you from falling asleep.

We have been happy with it over several trips now.

Seems like a good challenge for frugal van conversions would be a cheaper fridge that had about as good efficiency as the Danfoss or swing compressor models at a lower price -- but, have not seen anything yet.



Gary
 

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Chisos Basin is made for PM camping! Was there the week before MsNomer. Treat yourself to a diner and a brew up at the lodge too. No showers unless you get a room so take the baby wipes. The window is a few miles long hike right from the campsite. Our camping neighbors saw a Mountain Lion while we were hiking! That cool or what?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Good point Gary. The only price break I've seen is TruckFridge (made by Indel B, same as Vitrifrigo). One key point is the compressor and it's often hard to find what's used. The Canadian TF site says the front loaders use a Danfos/Secop compressor but don't say which one. Hope to get better info by phone tomorrow. TF's draw info is not unit specific but with a good seal and added insulation all brands should have a similar draw if they use the same compressor. I'm glad there is some fridge discussion; they are an under active topic. Especially as they are one of the biggest investments. The big 4 for me is fridge, awing, DC system, and windows. All have low or no cost options, but each can also be close to a grand or more.
 

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I'd add heat to the big 4. We settled on an Espar airtronic D2 diesel which was over $800 and my biggest single expense. In order for expense low to high: Awning (I have none), Windows, Refrigerator, Solar and batteries, Heater. With the solar and batteries just a bit more than the fridge. I published my costs in my build thread post 64, see my signature.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just talked to TruckFridge. They use Danfoss BD35 for all portables and single door front loaders. So all use the same wattage at full load. Total draw then determined by run time for each model and circumstances. They use the Danfoss BD 50 for the double door models.

Dane's attachment is new to me. Yes, some variables not consistent. 20 degree different ambient on draw test for instance as Dane said. The National Luna "looks" more efficient but maybe just better insulated? I don't know that brand. The Whynter seems to rank lowest. Jackson doesn't say what models were tested or the starting temp of the beers. Even so, Another great addition to the knowledge base

Are the Engel's using a Sawafuji swing arm? A comparison between Saw and Dan would be interesting. Norcold has the 3.6 foot DE0041 with Danfoss 50 using 5A and the 3.1 foot DE0788 with Sawafuji (Mod?) at 3A.
 

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Hi,
Here is an interesting test of several fridges including swing and danfoss compressors:
http://www.equipt1.com/Downloads/Indel-B/Indel B Travel Box Test and Comparison Report.pdf

It looks like on energy use, the similar size Engel using the swing compressor and the Indel using the danfoss bd35 both use just under 1 amp-hr per hour of use. So, maybe 20 amp-hrs a day ish?

Indel: http://www.equipt1.com/i/fridges/indel-b

The National Luna also looks interesting, but gives a new meaning to pricey.
The ARB and National Luna both used a bit less energy to keep things at a set temp in their test than the Engel and Indel models.
It would have been nice if they had run the keep things at the same temp test for a longer period.

They also test other things like noise, initial cool down, ...

Gary
 
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