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Old 08-03-2019, 08:55 AM   #1
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really basic norcold refrigerator question - jayco 154bh

I have a few basic questions around the norcold refrigerator i'm hoping someone can take a few minutes and help me understand... I attached a couple pictures:

The dial shows Electric - then gas - then a circle...what is the circle?

If i'm parked at home and getting ready to go out, it takes me about 2 days to have this thing cool down. In the past I used propane. Can i put this on electric since i keep this plugged in at home (i'm guessing it needs to be plugged in not battery?) and have the refrigerator work and then when i'm getting ready to leave, move it over to gas and light the propane? What are best/recommended practices?

Reason this confuses me is when its on electric, i don't actually know if its working unless i come back 12 hours later and feel some cool air. It doesn't seem real obvious. The gas i know its working because the red line move when its lit? Let me know if i'm missing something here?

Thank you!!
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Old 08-03-2019, 10:50 AM   #2
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Yes it has to be plugged in( wont work off battery in your case it seems).. the circle is off.. We keep the red line on the circle when its at home even though its plugged in.. We don' t need it cold then..
Unless its Thanksgiving and the horde arrives

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Old 08-03-2019, 11:26 AM   #3
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We have a Norcold. Although our display is different, the operation should be the same. The circle is off. We plug ours in at home and Leave it off until a day or two before we are going camping. Then we select the electric side and cool it down. Just before we head out, we select gas and run that while traveling to our destination and then back to electric after we plug in at the campsite. We bought remote thermometers so we can monitor the temperatures in the frig and freezer.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:05 AM   #4
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It does take a day or 2 to cool down to food temp. The freezer reaches its goal sooner. And it's not frost free. Watch your fins inside the fridge.
I bought the simple trailer so it has the simple fridge, I work around that and I have done ok.

Here's my routine.
I have a little refrigerator air circulating fan -
https://www.campingworld.com/camco-r...or-109170.html
Keeps the cool circulating. Keep the thermometer on the bottom.

Couple days to cool in prep to leave. Sometimes takes less. Add food. monitor temp. Scattered ice packs in fridge for travel helps maintain temp. When I had to travel 2 days without electricity I did pack a small dry ice chunk. (I don't travel with the propane on, and forgot about it that night )
Once on high, It's usually cool by next AM or sooner, depending on icepacks and time off. Then dial the temp as needed. It will freeze in fridge area also. Only the lettuce suffers too cool. I put it on the bottom with a little towel over it.
Then temp maintains well.
About once a week or 2 the fins will start to ice up & sometimes ice in freezer if I wait too long. Plus you will have noticed the temp has been creeping up. I put the food in the cooler and desk fan onto fins (with fridge off). Melt the ice. (hair dryer got it too hot and took longer to recool) Turn back on and let it cool back down. It's back down in a few hours depending how long you had it off. I definitely defrost and recool the day before "big" grocery shopping.

I'm full timing in my tiny camper with my tiny keurig, my tiny sewing machine, my tiny iron, my tiny grill and my tiny dog. Got my tiny fridge routine down now.

Enjoy your camper!
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:30 PM   #5
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Whenever you get tired of that Norcold absorption fridge, replace it with a Norcold DC compressor version. Will be ready to rock in a couple of hours as opposed to a couple of days. Only uses about 3-5 amps, and then only when it cycles which is about 30% of the time, maybe up to 50% of the time on a hot day and less at night. And there are none of that cooling fin nonsense to take up space in the fridge and sometimes requires a circulating fan. A full capacity available just like any other compressor fridge.

And more space! The Norcold DE0061 is a direct fit for the Norcold 6cu absorption fridge, but you now have 7 cu of space. The new Norcold 10DC is a direct fit for the 8cu absorption fridge but gives you 9.7cu of capacity.

And each of these fridges are self venting. And they will function fine clear up to 30 degrees off of level. But then, they were initially developed for boat use. Try that with one of the absorption fridges based on 19th century technology.
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:07 PM   #6
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Our 145RB is in storage yard as we live in a condo. When we pick ours up we get the fridge down to temperature by putting in 2 large frozen freezer ice packs and a fridge fan. By the time we arrive at a park, the fridge is well on it's way to correct operating temperature. Plugging the fridge in, it's ready within 2 or 3 hours.
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Old 09-01-2019, 08:08 PM   #7
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I may have the next step up Norcold fridge! Still quite basic. I put a frozen 1/2 gallon milk jug (with water in it) in the freezer and fridge when I first plug mine up. Gets cold over night. Sitting out in the heat, inside of my camper get to 90+ and that makes it even harder on the fridge.
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Old 11-23-2019, 11:34 PM   #8
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I use one of these and it helps ALOT in managing the fridge.
https://www.amazon.com/AcuRite-Refri.../dp/B004QJVU78

I put one sensor in the fridge, one outside it. Now I can see how hot/cold it is inside and out. Many RV fridges have primitive thermostats - just more cold / less cold. If you are staying somewhere with high temperature swings this is a challenge. Say you set your fridge to medium so it does -30' F off the surrounding air. At night, it gets down into the 40s, and it tries to freeze your food. Then during the day it gets up to the 80's and starts to creep up into the 50s in there - spoilage danger zone. You can only do your best and turn it higher in the day, and lower at night and realize this dynamic exists. The thermometer though records max and min temperature, so at least you can see what it might have done when you weren't watching it.

My solution - keep delicate perishables to a minimum, or keep an external cooler with ice to hold them. If you take a cold beer out, put a warm beer in. Develop a sorting cycle, and avoid the dynamic where you load a bunch up in the morning to replenish for last night. It's much easier to maintain temp than to change it.

I've never done it, but I've thought about sacrificing the bottom rack of the fridge for an ice bin (with trickle drain) so I can augment cooling by adding ice.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:12 PM   #9
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Crris71 sez "If you take a cold beer out, put a warm beer in. " Chris, that makes good damn sense man!
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:18 PM   #10
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An additional item to check on when using gas or electric with the Norcold is on the outside of the TT. When in operation the Norcold units generate a noticeable amount of heat. The covers/vents/louvers on the exterior of the TT behind the Norcold allow this operational heat to dissipate to the exterior of the TT. This heat source on the Norcold units is sometimes referred to as a chimney. If there is no heat noticable at this chimney, then the unit may not be working...
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Old 12-10-2019, 04:04 PM   #11
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My personal tip is to leave the fridge on gas for one day stops or overnights. Very little propane is used but mine is like a lot of them and is bear to get lighted. So just easier to keep it on propane for short periods.
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Old 12-10-2019, 04:33 PM   #12
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I see that you live in Scottsdale. One thing that people who do not live in this part of the country do not understand is it gets really hot. Because of that these fridges do not work well. Trying to get them to food temps is a problem. During the night, if it is not August since our temps don't go below 90 then, they will not cool at all. You might make it to 50 F. It does not matter, electricity or gas. During the rest of the year it is not a problem. Summer is difficult.

Generally I turn the fridge on a couple of days before leaving. You can find dual temp systems as mention above that can be placed inside so that you do not have to keep opening the doors to check temps. We then load the morning that we are leaving if the fridge temp has gotten to the 40s. The freezer will not be a problem. It gets into the teens but the lower half of the unit will not cool down that well. You just have to adjust to and work with it.

And I might add that while putting frozen water bottles in to cool it down might work in some places all you will have is melted ice in the container here during the summer. Trust me, this is our fourth RV. They are all the same unless you go to residential and if you dry camp, you then do not have a fridge unless you have another power source.
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Old 12-10-2019, 05:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arizona_traveler View Post
I have a few basic questions around the norcold refrigerator i'm hoping someone can take a few minutes and help me understand... I attached a couple pictures:

The dial shows Electric - then gas - then a circle...what is the circle?

If i'm parked at home and getting ready to go out, it takes me about 2 days to have this thing cool down. In the past I used propane. Can i put this on electric since i keep this plugged in at home (i'm guessing it needs to be plugged in not battery?) and have the refrigerator work and then when i'm getting ready to leave, move it over to gas and light the propane? What are best/recommended practices?

Reason this confuses me is when its on electric, i don't actually know if its working unless i come back 12 hours later and feel some cool air. It doesn't seem real obvious. The gas i know its working because the red line move when its lit? Let me know if i'm missing something here?

Thank you!!
arizona_traveler, I believe the circle is the OFF position. My Norcold fridge has a different display. If my fridge is off, it is normal for it to take a day or two to get down to operating temperature. However, since I have my TT plugged in at home, I leave it on Electric all the time. That way, when we are ready to go camping, we just transfer the cold & frozen foods directly from the grocery bags to the fridge/freezer and we are ready to go. My nephew is a HVAC technician and he tells me that it does not harm the unit if you leave it running all the time, so mine has been in continuous operation for 5 years with the only interruptions when we are in transit or when we defrost the freezer.

Good Camping ........... Swampy
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Old 12-10-2019, 05:36 PM   #14
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The circle is the OFF position. How I found out is a sad story.
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