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    Adding inverter to run Norcold 12 cubic ft. Refrigerator

    Hello all I would like to install an inverter to run my Norcold on 120 volts while traveling! Not sure what size would be needed or how to set it up. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you Michael
    2021 Reflection 337rls Ford f350 4x4 6.7 Powerstroke 6.75 ft bed Pullrite Superlite 20k

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    Site Team Second Chance's Avatar
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    You'll need one heck of a battery bank. The Norcold absorption refrigerators have resistive heating elements that draw about 420 watts. Converting from DC, that would mean about 35 amps plus the loss of the inverter. It's much more efficient to run it on propane when not connected to shore power. If you use the search function, there are many threads on using propane for the fridge while under way.

    Rob
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    I have two Battleborn batteries and I run my refrigerator with an inverter/converter (IC-2000) and a Renogy DC-DC charger. Runs like a champ. After traveling all day my batteries are completely charged and my refrigerator is nice and cold.

    *I also have 200 watts of solar, but I don't think they add much while driving. I use it mainly for maintaining the batteries while boondocking or storing.

    How to set it up is a whole other ballgame. Mine was simple because I replaced the existing converter with the GoPower IC-2000. There was quite a bit of cable running, making and connecting, but the instructions that came with it were extremely helpful. I can help with that type of installation, but a straight inverter is a little bit different. As I haven't done one before I'll let others that have done one answer.
    Last edited by DaTraveler; 05-24-2021 at 12:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaTraveler View Post
    I have two Battleborn batteries and I run my refrigerator with an inverter/converter (IC-2000) and a Renogy DC-DC charger. Runs like a champ. After traveling all day my batteries are completely charged and my refrigerator is nice and cold.

    *I also have 200 watts of solar, but I don't think they add much while driving. I use it mainly for maintaining the batteries while boondocking or storing.

    How to set it up is a whole other ballgame. Mine was simple because I replaced the existing converter with the GoPower IC-2000. There was quite a bit of cable running, making and connecting, but the instructions that came with it were extremely helpful. I can help with that type of installation, but a straight inverter is a little bit different. As I haven't done one before I'll let others that have done one answer.
    Your panels probably do well on the road since they are cooled constantly and rarely shaded.
    John & Kathy
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    Correct, they probably do. However, I was referring to the fact that the DC-DC charger is pumping enough amps to power the refrigerator. So the solar panels are not doing much while the DC-DC charger is in use.
    2011Chevy Silverado 6.0 2500HD
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    Fireside Member Skilletface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaTraveler View Post
    Correct, they probably do. However, I was referring to the fact that the DC-DC charger is pumping enough amps to power the refrigerator. So the solar panels are not doing much while the DC-DC charger is in use.
    In my my current set up I have only the converter in play for charging the two GC 6 volt batteries. I love simplicity and have no plans to upgrade to an inverter/converter ( so done with automatic stuff).
    I was told at purchase when the light cord is plugged into the TV it was charging the trailer batteries, does that mean a DC to DC charger is already installed or is the standard wiring just going directly to the batteries? Or, will a DC to DC charger improve the charging process?
    I ask this because this thread came up at a time where I have been thinking of installing a converter on the 8 cu ft refrigerator only.
    Retired Tanker Yanker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skilletface View Post
    In my my current set up I have only the converter in play for charging the two GC 6 volt batteries. I love simplicity and have no plans to upgrade to an inverter/converter ( so done with automatic stuff).
    I was told at purchase when the light cord is plugged into the TV it was charging the trailer batteries, does that mean a DC to DC charger is already installed or is the standard wiring just going directly to the batteries? Or, will a DC to DC charger improve the charging process?
    I ask this because this thread came up at a time where I have been thinking of installing a converter on the 8 cu ft refrigerator only.
    Your tow vehicle will charge your trailer battery through the 7 pin umbilical cord, with lots of caveats.
    1) There is no DC-DC converter in the trailer from the factory. The wiring goes (more or less) directly from the TV to the trailer
    2) Your TV (same brand and year as mine - this will vary) will only charge at a max of about 10A through the umbilical cord. I typically see 5~8A when I start and then tapers off. Remember, that your trailer will have some draw as it is running. This will decrease the amount of current available to charge your trailer battery.
    3) TV will only charge the trailer when it is running and after the TV "recognizes" there is a trailer their (this is a Ford "feature". Other brands may have similar function).
    4) The TV is set up for lead acid batteries and will output voltage for the same. If your are running a different chemistry (like Lithium) you will not fully charge the battery as they require higher voltage (this is where/why some people are running a DC-DC converter to get higher voltage).

    A DC-DC converter MAY give you higher voltage (for Lithium batteries), a better charge profile, and/or more charge current depending on which unit/features and how you have it wired into the system. To take advantage of the higher current capabilities you will have to run dedicated wiring from the truck to the DC-DC converter and (if greater then 15~20A) to the trailer battery.

    Do you mean converter (120v AC to 12V DC) or an inverter (12V DC to 120v AC) for your refrigerator?

    Chris
    Chris & Karen
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    Fireside Member Skilletface's Avatar
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    Do you mean converter (120v AC to 12V DC) or an inverter (12V DC to 120v AC) for your refrigerator?

    Chris[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for the Outstanding explanation, based on some of the DC-DC wiring diagrams I figured it had to be something as you have described, just needed to see it spelled out.
    I do stand corrected, I meant to say inverter for use on the refrigerator only. What would be thoughts on using one of the 40 amp up-fitter switches to power the charger.
    Retired Tanker Yanker
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skilletface View Post
    Thanks for the Outstanding explanation, based on some of the DC-DC wiring diagrams I figured it had to be something as you have described, just needed to see it spelled out.
    I do stand corrected, I meant to say inverter for use on the refrigerator only. What would be thoughts on using one of the 40 amp up-fitter switches to power the charger.
    That would work fine as long as the DC-DC converter input did not exceed 40A. You would need to run a dedicated wire from the engine compartment (where the upfitter connections are terminated), to the rear of the truck, through a dedicated connector and all the way to your trailer battery. Also, the high current (40A) upfitter switches (#5 & 6) in the Ford can be configured as "always hot" or "on with ignition". I believe the latter is the default, but I would suggest you confirm it. 30~40A draw on your trucks batteries will drain them fairly quickly if the engine is not running.

    Chris
    Chris & Karen
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    2017 F-350 SRW 6.7 Lariat Value CC LB 4x4
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