Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

RV Refrigerator Issues and Possible Solution

A couple of weeks ago, we were in Elk City, Oklahoma at Rolling Retreats to have Slade put in our new dinette set and perform the recall work on the wheels. Well, we’ve since encountered the “familiar-to-others” issues with our RV refrigerator.

While we were at Rolling Retreats, we did check to verify that the inverter we had installed did actually perform. In that test, we found that the refrigerator, being an RV style unit, was not on the inverter. That is because when electrical power is missing from the refrigerator, it automatically switches over to operation on LPG gas.

Since then, we have been dealing with a refrigerator that “works” but not very well. It does do some cooling but not enough to get things down to the proper temperatures. There is a digital readout at the top of the refrigerator that displays the temperature sensed inside the refrigerator part. While it used to be consistently down around 34 to 36, it is up to 51 as I write this posting.

It was that high for a while and eventually got down to about 44 on the display, but it has since gone back up some. However, any movement in the temperatures is very slow in being achieved. For instance, it may take two or three days for the temperature to come back down 2 or 3 degrees.

To a degree, we do have a dilemma. When we purchased our Mobile Suites, we purchased an extended warranty that cost us about $1500. That warranty will pay for the repair of the present refrigerator, or replace it with a like (or one better) model. With one fell swoop, should we decide to use that warranty, it would pay for itself with that repair or replacement.

However, do we really want to replace with another RV refrigerator that might only go another two or three years before it begins to have problems again. Let’s face it; a lot of the RV refrigerators, especially the side by side type are having problems. We’ve heard of these from various sources.

Even though we would have to pay for one out of our own pocket, we are considering a residential refrigerator as a replacement instead. Everyone knows that residential refrigerators have a tendency to last for years without issues. Even though we are leaning towards this option, certain things must come into play.

For one, the residential refrigerator has to fit in the space of the present refrigerator with no issue of the face or handles of the refrigerator hitting the counter when the kitchen slide is drawn back in for travel. Being a residential and no option of running on gas, the power outlet for the refrigerator would have to be wired to a circuit supplied by the inverter when it was operating.

Additionally, since we already have a Honda EU3000IS generator, it would not be much of a problem to fire that up during power outages to keep the refrigerator operating or to recharge the batteries for the inverter. So, in one sense, we are fortunate that we already have an inverter and generator. Those wouldn’t be things we would have to purchase right away. At some point, we will have to replace batteries, but that is always the case with an RV. It would just be 4 to replace because of the extra batteries for the operation of the inverter.

I do have some additional questions though. While our RV does have a form of surge protection, I don’t think it protects against low voltage. So, my guess is that we will need to upgrade to a power protection system that protects against both high and low voltages in campgrounds, RV parks, or mobile home parks. If I understand just a wee bit of these systems, they would help provide “cleaner” power and thus protect the refrigerator and other devices in the RV.

There may be other issues involved with converting from a RV style refrigerator to one that is designed for residential use. I’ll need to check with others, including some very knowledgeable folks on some of the RV forums to see if there is anything I haven’t considered.

We are looking at a Samsung RF197ACPN, which is a French-style door refrigerator with a bottom drawer freezer and two side by side doors on the top. That model is described as being in a Stainless Titanium finish instead of stainless steel. This one is technically just a bit less than 18 cubic feet in size, bur for the two of us, that is a very sufficient size.

We like it that the shelves have a way of “locking” into place, thus not being likely to move around when traveling. There is also a small drawer under one of the shelves that has the capability of sliding side to side under that shelf.

Here are some pictures, the first of which is of course with closed doors.

Samsung RF197ACPN Closed

Next is another photo from the internet that shows the top doors opened.

Samsung RF197ACPN Open1

We went to Sears and found a similar style Samsung. This one was a 20 cubic foot model, and I took a few photos of it with my cell phone. Since I couldn’t get back far enough because of other refrigerators behind us, I couldn’t get better pictures. Sorry about that.

Samsung Refer Top Part

The next two are of the freezer drawer.  That drawer is composed of the main (full) drawer with a smaller drawer on top that also includes the ice bin for the ice maker.  This picture is of that top drawer.

Samsung Refer Freezer Top Drawer

Lastly, this is an image of the bottom of that large freezer drawer.  We like the idea of the drawer style freezer as it mimics a chest type freezer, and those seem to do better with frozen foods.  Less heat is introduced to an open chest freezer than to a freezer that is an upright.

Samsung Refer Freezer Bottom

Now, if anyone reading has other questions that I should look into or other suggestions of what I should do, I will gladly welcome all input from others. I certainly want to make sure we make good choices with making such a conversion.


  1. The big question is - How do you get it in the RV? I doubt it will fit through the door.
    We are considering a similar solution to our poor refrigerator. Biggest problem we have is the island in our kitchen. Critical for us is the specification of depth with door(s) open.

  2. Final measurement decisions will be made by Slade at Rolling Retreats. However, one could remove the doors for the easiest way to come in through the door of the coach. Or, possibly, removing the handles only. In fact, I think the doors have to come off for the old one to go out through the door as well.

    We will also be dealing with a counter end, but if we are lucky, the curving handle on the freezer drawer will clear that. If not, the handle can come off. If necessary, we can grip the sides of the freezer drawer and pull it out.


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