Secondary Fridge Option

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Moderator Emeritus
Feb 9, 2013
Minneapolis, Minnesota
We have a Norcold 4 door fridge with icemaker which is functioning properly, however it takes approx 1.5 days to get the temp down to proper refrigeration. (My understanding is this is normal).
This waiting period doesn't work for us as we are parked on an incline and cannot start it up on propane in advance of our departures.
I'm thinking of getting an electric cooler/freezer (12V / 120V) that we can use 1) to store food when rolling until the fridge gets to the correct temperature, and 2) that will fit in the storage compartment for campsite beverages.
I've searched this and many people (particularly boaters) swear by the Engel. Quite Pricy.
Has anyone had any experience with electric cooler/freezers and can provide some other recommendations?
Last year we bought one of the Dometic CF series refer/freezers.  I keep it in the basement storage box and it works perfectly.  One downside, the total freezer section is not as big as I had oped for.  There is a divider that only allows cool not frozen.  I installed a 12 volt receptacle to power it when traveling.
Thanks Donn.
I'm looking at the CF50. About half the cost of Engel. Doesn't seem to be much price reduction for a smaller quart capacity.
I purchased an Engel a few years ago. I do not remember the cu ft and it was not obvious when I just looked. It was as large as I could fit into the compartment space. It is made by a company in Japan. It appears to me that most of the similar freezer/cooler units available from other suppliers look the same and are made by the same Japanese company. It has been working ever since it was installed, 24/7. installed a 12V socket and it uses that supply all of the time. I have a 120VAC socket also but do not use it.

Its performance is better than the Norcold frig inside.
I'm surprised your 1200 takes that long to cool - 8 hours should get it fairly decent. And it will actually chill quicker with cold stuff in it, so once it gets moderately cool you could try loading in frozen stuff, pre-chilled beverages and such. Or pre-freeze some jugs of water and put them in the fridge to help it along. The idea is to displace warm air with chilled items that don't have to cooled off by the fridge itself.

Or sell the Norcold for parts and install a residential fridge!

How bad is that incline? The fridge only requires about 3 degrees in the fore & aft direction and that's actually pretty steep. On a 37 foot coach, that means one end is over a 1.5 feet higher than the other.
BinaryBob said:
Thanks Donn.
I'm looking at the CF50. About half the cost of Engel. Doesn't seem to be much price reduction for a smaller quart capacity.

If you have the space get as big as you can.  You can always use it as a beer refer when your inside refer cools down.  Or like we do, it is a secondary freezer for long trips.  Helps eliminate buying a lot of meat on the road.
Good to know. CW has the bigun' on sale. 85 qt. dometic  for 765.00. Internet only. More than I want to spend but that will hold a lot of groceries AND a lot of home brew.
Gary, thanks for the 1.5'  rule of thumb. I'm still inclined (pun intended) to get the extra cooling space for the convenience. When I get home this week I'll measure the incline. It sure would be nice to fire it up on propane prior to leaving.
Another thought is a 12v fan inside the fridge to speed things up. I'm actually surprised it doesn't come with one.

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