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PostPosted: June 25th, 2015, 8:45 pm 
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It is rather boat like, isn't it Skillet? :mrgreen: Good way to think about it.

"Finalized" the refrigerator-area mockup tonight. Although you can't really tell from the photo, 1-1/8" in depth was pared off the upper cabinet (which puts it in right at the edge of the indent for the refrigerator roof vent). I also added two adjustable shelves below that. Maybe just one would be better, but I'll see.

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I'm actually thinking I may use that upper area (where the cupboard door is) as a "command central" for the battery monitor, solar panel display, generator start, tank monitors, and etc. Perhaps angling it down somewhat like the other overhead cabinets (for easier viewing). The mockup upper cabinets are easily removable so I can play around with them, and also because I want to get in there to do some wiring work (and eventually the compressor will go there, which will no doubt call for some mods once I have it in hand). I think I may use one of the shelves for a "charging center" of sorts so that that sort of thing is not always cluttering up the table (I can't even remember, but we must have had so much more clear space in our lives before gadgets that need charging!)

Just before knocking off for the night, I mocked up (what else :mrgreen: ) a simple table. My rig came with the club chairs and little table/wine cabinet thingie in between them, but the chairs were not super comfortable for me (too high off the floor, no headrest, etc.), and the table was a little bit small. I also left the table up all the time, which meant the storage cupboards in the wall/base unit were hard to get to without crawling under the table, and were also somewhat in the way of my legs. So I took that out some time ago (carefully stowing it away, natch) and for a while had a desk along that whole wall. That was handy - and clean looking - but I missed a table/chair. So this evening we made a simple table that comes right out from the wall (with no "wall cabinet" involved). The center extends 33" from the wall, although the corners are angled so it doesn't seem so much in the aisle. I'll see how that seems in use.

I also (a while back) traded the forward club chair for a small seat from a mini van. I find it much more comfortable and supportive, and it has a headrest and arms, plus of course (as car seats do) the back reclines, and it slides forward and back (which the club seats did too). I fitted it to the swivel base of the original club chair, on the original box platform. Instead of the rear club chair (which is - what else - stored away), I just have the Chinook box platform and use it as a place to toss my backpack and etc. when I come in. With a cushion, it can serve as a seat in a pinch, with the stove half wall as a sort of back.

In a couple of days I'll give this all a whirl with some camping, and then .... let the tweaks begin :lol:

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PostPosted: June 26th, 2015, 12:51 pm 
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Since I don't have the new fridge yet, I shaved a quarter inch off a strip of the MDF closet wall (which will be replaced) and got my cooler to fit. Now at least the refrigeration is where it should be. I was getting tired of the extra "coffee table" right in the middle of everything and always in the way.

I also cut down the "beluga" into more of a puppy :D (The end bit of septum up at the overhead.)

Pardon the glare.

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A set of seven (!) stacking Sterilite drawers (they rock for testing various configurations) fit perfectly under the stove counter (with a little bit of tweaking the plastic on a couple of them). Whoah, that's a lot of storage. Would be a bit hard to go back to the oven and lose it all again. I'll have to try a Coleman camping oven, just for fun.

Speaking of which, getting ready to head out and do a little camping (aka mockup testing) in the next few days.

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PostPosted: June 26th, 2015, 4:57 pm 
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So how do you move the control (sensor) panel? I assume it's labeling and relocating wires, but do you use the same display?

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PostPosted: June 26th, 2015, 5:05 pm 
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Location: Indiana
my 2 cents...
The Jensen vent hood/panel wire harness in the Chinook is fairly long, and can reach over to the adjoining cabinet area (as in Blue-Go's remodel). The "monitor panel" itself pops out of the metal hood and could be "re-mounted" to any facia.

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PostPosted: June 26th, 2015, 5:16 pm 
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That's exactly it. That thin black panel that runs across the front of the hood just (easily) pops out of the hood. You can see on the back that there are "blanks" where other things could go (for example, a friend's rig has the generator start in that panel - although I think ours are nicer with the hour meter, etc.).

The wires for the panel come out of the wall and run under the microwave oven and terminate in one of those big white "clips" (that have ten or so wires going into them), and then there is a matching clip on the end of the monitor panel wires. There are also a couple of wires (just normal black/white) for the fan and the light in the hood.

There are actually mounting frames sold for the monitor panels (for rigs that don't combine it with the range hood).

I may not keep all the functions exactly the same anyway. For example, I may not have the water pump switch in that area - just depends though.

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PostPosted: June 26th, 2015, 7:17 pm 
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Location: Indiana
Time for Plan B…

Having issues with distribution/dealer/shipping costs for the ‘Frigo C75 AC/DC fridge I was planning to use on my remodel project.

Anyway…
An engineer friend suggested this alternative: Use any internal compressor style AC/DC fridge that fits in the desired location (for my layout, under the microwave cab). Create a tightly sealed cold air intake box to the fridge… in this case using the existing outside access vent/door area. Then make an exhaust path that exists to the existing roof vent. With the assist of a 12v exhaust fan at the roof vent… you have basic convection air flow to ventilate the fridge.
Added bonus… I can shop for a more popular, larger size fridge and still maintain the desired 36”+- straight-across countertop design. The Nova Kool R3800 (3.5 cuf) would fit nicely.

Blue-Go, please offer up your thoughts on this approach.

Something like this idea:


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PostPosted: June 26th, 2015, 8:17 pm 
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A few thoughts:

1) If you still want a Vitrifrigo, you might try Sure Marine Service. They are a real and good outfit who work with boaters and pro boat workers. I have found them to be very helpful and knowledgeable, and their prices are very competitive for the things I've compared on. (I've been there in person - not just online.) www.suremarineservice.com

2) I'm not sure that outside air is necessary at all for a compressor refrigerator, and even less so for the intake. Also, I don't think there is a need to seal anything off like there is with an absorption refrigerator (although granted, if you are using outside vents, you want them to be water tight and to be able to control the air flow into your cabin space). A certain amount of airflow is necessary and good, of course, but RV's (and boats) that never had absorption refrigerators do not have huge outside-connected vent areas.

I decided that making a water-tight, yet effective use of both of the vents on my rig would be too complicated, plus unneccesary. I think I am still going to use the roof vent because it is less problematic than the side vent (leak-wise), won't require a large/sealed plenum (as a path from lower to upper vent would), and will exhaust heat to the outdoors. But I don't believe I'm going to use the original lower/outside vent. I think it will be relatively easy to supply plenty of air from the interior (and then exhaust it outside from the roof vent. In the installation appendix, Vitrifrigo shows a number of options for venting and airflow, not all of which involve outside air. The "gaps" needed (specified in mm) are not that large.

I figure if there seems to be any reason to change it, then I can always call the lower vent back into service; but I'm not expecting to have to. I'm also not really thinking I'll need an additional exhaust fan, but I suppose it is a possibility.

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PostPosted: June 27th, 2015, 8:09 am 
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Blue-Go,
You may be right on my design "overkill", or overthink :) .

My concerns are having good proper ventilation, insulating the new construction from the outside environment (the old Dometic enclosure had a lot of insulation from the cabin), least amount of appliance cabin noise, and the largest, new fridge possible for my layout which must be efficient, have a decent freezer box, Danfoss compressor, and not "explode"... oh, and less footprint than before with a clean, straight-across countertop area. Asking for too much? :shock:

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PostPosted: June 27th, 2015, 11:37 am 
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HoosierB wrote:
Asking for too much? :shock:


Not at all! :mrgreen:

Seriously though, I think a lot of the reason the absorption refrigerator was so sealed off is that one, they are required to be; two they have flames/combustion going on; three, the burner requires much more air flow than a compressor does (I mean, think about the compressors in home refrigerators); four, neither that upper or lower vent had any air flow control (so in winter, say, you'd have had two giant freezing windy drafts inside if it were not sealed off); and five, neither of those vents are really at "in your living room" level of weather-tightness in regard to water.

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PostPosted: June 27th, 2015, 2:39 pm 
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The more I look at that lower refrigerator vent, the more I think I'm going to close it off permanently (without even leaving the plastic grille/frame in place). Reasons I'm thinking that:

1) Not needed for compressor refrigerator.

2) Has always been problematic (see all the posts on leaks coming from it). Sure, one can re-bed the frame, but there are other issues.

3) I closed off the grilles such that any water that does go in via them will drain back out. BUT, I can still see light (quite a bit of light) all the way around the gap between door and frame. I have a newer grille (same model) and it is similar, so it's not like I just got a bad one. Also, I re-epoxied the cleats to the wall, plus re-bedded the frame less than a year ago (so it's not just that it's in need of that).

4) I suppose I could configure the interior such that any water that got in would not do any damage, but by the time I go to that trouble, I might as well just close it off, and be rid of a grille that was never really that attractive in the first place (but it was a necessary evil with the absorption refrigerator).

I feel that the upper vent is less problematic, because even with the "RV type" top, I can't see any evidence of water getting in, and haven't read the volume of threads on that that I have on water getting in the lower vent. Also, it won't be very hard to close it off with fiberglass and then put a better vent on top of the "flat spot" if I want to (the roof vent).

My current thoughts anyway.

PS: I used to have a camper van with a compressor refrigerator, and it used cabin air for both intake and exhaust. I did feel that a little fan boost helped that one, but then it had a really bad setup for intake air (basically no provision for it, so it just had to "suck" air in through various gaps as well as it could), and not a great one for exhaust air either. Certainly not anywhere near as good as what Vitrifrigo specifies for the use of "inside venting." And yet it still worked pretty well, and the company has made many, many rigs with compressor refrigerators. So there is that. I still think exhausting the heat out through the roof, plus the much better chimney effect that will provide (vis-a-vis intake air from the cabin) will be a big plus.

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