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Old 01-29-2020, 11:18 AM   #1
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Norcold vs Tundra

Hey all, I am trying to find a decent 12V used refrigerator. They don't seem very common and for the most part are very expensive. I've been struggling to find good info on two fridges due to their age.

Does any have any experience with the Norcold 6052 or the Tundra T22?

The Norcold is being sold for 75 and the Tundra is being sold for 100. Both are around 12-15 years old and both are in decent shape.

Do these seem like decent deals as long as they are running correctly. Does anyone think one is better then the other?
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Old 01-29-2020, 12:44 PM   #2
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Norcold is (was?) same as Engel, killer strong & long lived.

Indel-B makes Tundra, good stuff too.

I would buy whichever parts are available, or even a repair guy within 200miles (unlikely).
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Old 01-29-2020, 01:25 PM   #3
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You want to power it by solely by 12v?

If so, I don't think that norcold unit is a true 12v fridge. It requires 12vdc to run, but it's supposed to be a 120vac/propane style absorption fridge, and those types of fridges aren't very efficient. If it is a true 3 way fridge, usually they can maintain a temp in dc mode, but aren't really supposed to be ran that way because of the amount of electric they use to do so.

If you're looking for a fridge that runs on 12vdc, look for a 12v compressor style fridge. Those would be better suited for 12v use vs an absorption style fridge. Or you can buy and install a power inverter on your batteries and use an standard 120v fridge available.

I'm not familiar enough with the tundra brand to know if it's a compressor or absorption type fridge.
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:11 PM   #4
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Wow didn't even know Norcold made 3-way fridges, yes avoid and get the Tundra for sure!
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Old 01-31-2020, 02:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. The tundra is a compressor so I am definitely more interested in that one now. I also found a norcold dc340 mini fridge which is solely 12V. I haven't been able to find a lot of info for these fridges either.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:05 PM   #6
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Buying a used RV refrigerator that is 10~12 years old is asking for trouble.
They normally don't run that long, and have likely had repairs along the way to get to the age they are.
If $$ is a concern, go for the Tundra with compressor...
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peteg59 View Post
Buying a used RV refrigerator that is 10~12 years old is asking for trouble.
They normally don't run that long, and have likely had repairs along the way to get to the age they are.
If $$ is a concern, go for the Tundra with compressor...
RV absorption refrigerators are horribly inefficient.

I bought a used 3 way Norcold for my first bus. It worked well on propane, worked decent on 110v but 12v operation was pretty much useless.

Then I woke up one morning gagging and coughing. My eyes were burning and I was overwhelmed with the smell of ammonia. Turns out that my "good deal" wasn't....

I looked around for a replacement and couldn't find one locally. Then someone told me that they make residential refrigerators that are very close in dimensions to my failed fridge. Turns out that Home Depot that fit in the existing opening perfectly. I ran it with a Trace MSW inverter and two 8D batteries when I didn't have shore power. The batteries charged from the bus charging system or shore power. I was on the road quickly a bit and this arrangement served me well. No solar made boondocking a challenge.

My current RV has a similar setup plus 300watts of solar on the roof.

My current bus will follow suit. A 10.8cu.ft. residential refrigerator with plenty of solar and batteries to keep it happy.

Just my $0.02
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Old 02-03-2020, 07:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
RV absorption refrigerators are horribly inefficient.

I bought a used 3 way Norcold for my first bus. It worked well on propane, worked decent on 110v but 12v operation was pretty much useless.
My experience as well. If you want a fridge to operate off of 12v, get a true 12v compressor fridge. If not one of those, a close 2nd would be a house fridge with an appropriately sized inverter.

The absorption fridges are if you plan on 110v/propane primarily.
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Old 02-04-2020, 07:33 PM   #9
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Just throwing this out there for discussion, but there are 12 volt thermoelectric coolers, though they only cool something like 36 degrees below ambient temperature.

I've got a 110 volt ac dorm fridge with a separate freezer, and that works really well and sips the juice. I might buy a thermoelectric cooler just for it's utility.

Someday I'll buy a 12 volt compressor cooler but they cost about 5 times + more.
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Old 02-04-2020, 08:38 PM   #10
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These Peltier effect "chip coolers" are usually both very inefficient, and ineffective.

Waeco / Dometic 's TCX Tropicool line, e.g. TCX35L is an exception.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:38 PM   #11
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To my mind... old propane refrigerators are fire bombs.
Norcold and Dometic have run countless recalls and even recalls of the recalls. And the bleepin' things keep blowing up.

Vibration and heat-cycles eventually crack a pipe and the ammonium mixes with the propane-flame and up she goes.

I spent a couple millions miles on the highway driving trucks, and I noticed all the burned RVs sitting along the road.
In the cases where the fire had been put out quickly, I could often see where it had begun -- at the fridge, as this
random interweb-photo illustrates.




(A photo of the inside showed it to be a solid black charcoal chamber.)

Let's be safe out there (and all that jazz . )

In related news... to confirm something that was mentioned earlier....

I once tested a three-way (propane) fridge on a 12 volt battery overnight, and then I had to give the battery a nice funeral,
because it refused to recover from 0.000 Volts.
The 12 volt mode is for driving, assuming you have an adequate alternator.
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Old 02-13-2020, 02:49 PM   #12
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Great idea. I read a post a while back about someone wiring a dedicated 12v inverter to the on off switch on their 120v fridge, thereby avoiding having to run the inverter all of the time....
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:22 PM   #13
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A household fridge draws a handful amps at 120 volts, plus a big surge every time it starts. So, make sure you have the numbers figured out. Then enjoy!
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