Norcold 180.3 Out and Vitrifrigo C62IXD4-F In

I purchased a Vitrifrigo  C62IXD4-F (2.2 cu ft) 120V/12V refrigerator to replace the Norcold 180.3 refrigerator in my Tab 320S.  Although the compressor is made in China, the unit is made in Italy.  Most people are using an Isotherm as replacement, but I wanted to avoid China products as much as possible.  The quality of the Vitrifrigo is really nice. 

My installation is unique in that it uses the existing side vents to cool the unit with the option of switching the cooling to the inside of the Tab 320s in cold weather to help heat the interior or if needed in hot weather when running the AC unit but after a couple days of 100+ degree temps, the unit is staying in the low to mid 30’s empty.

The installation is essentially complete with the exception of wood doors on the air inlet and outlet on the inside the trailer (two grey insulation boards seen in the picture below):


The grey insulation boards isolate the air inlet and outlet from the side vents.  If removed and the side vents blocked, the cooling air is then from and to the inside of the trailer.  The upper grey insulation board exposes the cooling air inlet from the existing upper side vent.  The lower grey insulation board exposes the hot air exhaust from the refrigerator through the lower existing side vent.  The opening in the middle is storage which I think will be used to hold shoes which always are in the way on the floor of the trailer.  

Below are a few pictures showing the installation to achieve routing of the cooling air as described.

Norcold removed and hole cut in bottom of existing board:



Note the insulation board installed to isolate the cabinets under the sink from the refrigerator:



Vertical plywood partition (before insulation and painting underneath the refrigerator):


You can see the plywood shelf bottom and ceiling positioned to isolate the incoming and outgoing refrigerator cooling air via the existing vents:



Seal board to seal back of refrigerator to front wall of trailer and refrigerator compressor and condenser with unit setting in the opening:



Cover over the compressor and condenser so cooling air enters the existing upper side vent, flows across the top of the refrigerator and is pulled in across the condenser by the condenser fan which is located below the edge of the aluminum plate nearest the sink:



The above shows the basic components and installation but not the detail seals required to isolate the incoming air from the outgoing air.

Although I have some details to finish up, the installation if complete and functions very good so far. It was a lot of detail work and a lot of thinking to pull this off.


2019 T@B 320S

Comments

  • YanniLazarusYanniLazarus Member Posts: 343
    Very nice- sez the guy with an identical 3-way norcold. After a lot of effort my norcold is working fine, but I'm always interested in seeing what the inevitable next step options are. What convinced you to go to the effort/ give up the space to use the side vents? Now that you've worked thru that- any regrets? 
    Yanni Lazarus 2020 T@B320S, 2018 RAV4 Adventure, Central CT
  • grassgdgrassgd Member Posts: 119
    Very nice- sez the guy with an identical 3-way norcold. After a lot of effort my norcold is working fine, but I'm always interested in seeing what the inevitable next step options are. What convinced you to go to the effort/ give up the space to use the side vents? Now that you've worked thru that- any regrets? 
    I finally gave up on the Norcold 3-way although I tried experimenting a number of times.  Once I decided to change, I wanted to avoid the problems many have reported with the 2-way units venting inside the trailer, especially while towing all closed up.  My primary objective was to have the unit vent outside via the original side vents.  The space between the new refrigerator and the side wall was freed up after removing the Norcold unit - that's basically where the ammonia refrigeration on the Norcold was located. Any space not used up to set up the venting is just a bonus in my mind.

    No regrets at all.  I am very pleased with the results and flexibility to have the unit vent inside when boondocking in cold weather to recover the refrigerator heat.  

    I always am concerned with sleeping with the trailer closed up.  This set up will allow pulling air from inside the trailer and venting it outside there by providing some air change while sleeping too.  
    2019 T@B 320S
  • SLJSLJ Member Posts: 448
    edited June 2023
    Nice installation. I like the choice of inside or outside venting. I haven't had a problem with heat build up when towing or closed up though though as I always leave the roof vent part way open (it has an additional cover). It's nice to be able to have the propane shut off when towing. I will never go back to a 3-way after using an Isotherm 2 way for a couple of years now. It cools faster and pretty much stays at 35 degrees where I set it even when it's in the 90s. I just wish it had a digital thermostat I could set instead of the little dial.
    2021 T@B 320 S Boondock
    2023 Ford Maverick XLT
    The Finger Lakes of New York
  • grassgdgrassgd Member Posts: 119
    Finally getting around to posting finished picture:



    The top compartment on the right is the air inlet, The middle compartment is for storage and the bottom compartment is the hot air exhaust.  There is a plug used to block off the outside vents from the inside to change the air from outside to inside when the compartment door is removed.  Have only used it in very hot weather (100 degree temperature) and it had no trouble keeping in the teens and low 20's in the freezer.
    2019 T@B 320S
  • TrailpixieTrailpixie Member Posts: 161
    I'm sorry for resurrecting this old thread. I have read around a bit, and this seems to be my favorite solution.

    So the three way Norcold crapped out on me last fall. I like the propane option for boondocking, but it looks like the marketplace has spoken and I won't be able to find a great replacement option. More solar and another 100 AH of battery will be in my future.

    Onto my question:

    I want to get a quality installation for this spring's travel without a months-long project.  Your energy recapture design is really fantastic. But, if I don't try to replicate that part of your installation, is it difficult to fit this frig in?

    Can I plan for:
    *Some quality hardwood blocking to secure it in place
    *a nice panel to cover the gap on the right
    *keeping the vents as they exist in the original plan
    *wiring using the existing wiring

    What is your advice?

    thanks

  • grassgdgrassgd Member Posts: 119
    I'm sorry for resurrecting this old thread. I have read around a bit, and this seems to be my favorite solution.

    So the three way Norcold crapped out on me last fall. I like the propane option for boondocking, but it looks like the marketplace has spoken and I won't be able to find a great replacement option. More solar and another 100 AH of battery will be in my future.

    Onto my question:

    I want to get a quality installation for this spring's travel without a months-long project.  Your energy recapture design is really fantastic. But, if I don't try to replicate that part of your installation, is it difficult to fit this frig in?

    Can I plan for:
    *Some quality hardwood blocking to secure it in place
    *a nice panel to cover the gap on the right
    *keeping the vents as they exist in the original plan
    *wiring using the existing wiring

    What is your advice?

    thanks

    It's not difficult to secure the unit in place- slides in and sets on the plywood that the original unit sat on.  Since the unit is slightly lower in height and somewhat narrower, you have to frame across the top and on the side with wood that matches the original cabinet woodwork.  Then there is a metal flange that secures the refrigerator to the wood across the top, bottom and both sides (you can see the flange on the refrigerator in pictures I posted above).  

    The refrigerator has a fan to force air over the condenser coil located across the back of the unit. Without installing baffling (like I did) to isolate the incoming air from the warm air from the fan/condenser and the two vents on the trailer, the heat would build up behind the unit.  In this case you would have to install a fan to force air into or out of the trailer side vents. I think I would install a fan in the upper trailer side vent to pull warm air out which would let outside air enter in the lower side vent. To prevent this fan from running all the time I would connect it to the 12-volt wire on the refrigerator that powers the compressor, so it only runs when the compressor is running. This may sound complicated, but it really is not.  In fact, I connected a wire like this and ran it to install a fan if needed on the trailer side vent in case I found the setup I used needed additional air flow - but it did not need it.

    I found the wood at Lowes and only had to use a semigloss clear to match the trailer woodwork.  It was not hardwood (oak) but I don't remember what it's called.  It's very light in color with no finish on it and not much noticeable grain.

    The wiring is not an issue. There is a 120 volt plug which plugs in where the original unit plugged in, and the 12-volt DC wires also are re-used to attach to the new refrigerator.

    I hope my response makes sense.  Let me know if it doesn't and I'll try to explain again.
    2019 T@B 320S
  • TrailpixieTrailpixie Member Posts: 161
    So you're just relying on convection current to draw air in through the lower vent and carry the air out through the top vent?

    Do you think the same be accomplished with flexi duct hose? I assume the top vent chamber and bottom one would probably need to be isolated. 
  • grassgdgrassgd Member Posts: 119
    edited April 5
    So you're just relying on convection current to draw air in through the lower vent and carry the air out through the top vent?

    Do you think the same be accomplished with flexi duct hose? I assume the top vent chamber and bottom one would probably need to be isolated. 
    In my installation I have isolated the top side vent and lower side vent so the refrigerator fan on the condenser pulls air in from the upper side trailer vent and forces the warm air out the lower trailer side vent.

    Without the complexity of the baffling I installed to accomplish this, you would need to rely on the warm air being pulled out by a fan installed in the upper trailer side vent as I tried to describe in my response last night.

    With the baffling I installed this ensures the air pushed over the refrigerator condenser has to exit out the lower side trailer vent and at the same time pulls air in from the lower trailer side vent (when not blocking the side vent to reclaim the warm air to help heat the trailer interior).

    I guess you could use a flex vent to pull air from one of the side vents (top or bottom) to the inlet side of the refrigerator condenser fan and that should work also.

    Hope this clarifies my response.
    2019 T@B 320S
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