Vitrifrigo and Secop controller

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Arickosmo, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Arickosmo

    Arickosmo Member

    284
    Apr 10, 2012
    Middle Coast
    2003 400DB
    Mercruiser 8.1L
    Ok, I don't blast a company unless they deserve it. These guys DESERVE it!

    I bought a vitrifrigo (vf) DP2600i fridge to replace the norcold on our new to us 400 Sedan Bridge. It fit well, worked well and was a full 1 cu. ft. bigger. Two years later it bit the dust. I decided to just replace it figuring that I couldn't possibly get another lemon. (leave the judgement about buying another for another day, it's boating season.) I did get another lemon. Here's where it gets good.

    Today I called vf to raise holy hell as I'm now sitting on $3400 worth of crap refrigerators and a few pounds of rotten meat and shrimp. They offered to replace the parts that were bad immediately. I thought it was interesting that they already knew which parts I would need.

    After many phone calls to a few distributors and vf I learned that vf had a HUGE quality control issue. Basically the supplier of the AC/DC controller, SECOP, made a huge batch of faulty controllers. Secop won't step up and replace them, vf won't let you know that they're basically ALL a time bomb and they're hoping you make it past the two year warranty. My first fridge made it BARELY past two years. The second one only two months. Here's the rub, they never bothered to recall or let distributors know that they were selling a giant POS!

    These fridge's are about $1200 plus shipping. The controller retails for $300. The mounting flange that was bent in shipping from defender marine and can't be replaced under warranty retails for $300. The fan is another $50. I can't help but wonder what the hell am I paying for?!

    Rant over! Be sure you don't buy anything from secop if possible. The fridge on my yacht is broken! (first world problems)
     
  2. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    That's too bad. Vitrifrigo used to be the go-to replacement for the Norcold. In all fairness, Norcold gets a bad wrap, but the one on my boat is has been humming along (loudly) for 17 years. I may have to reconsider them.
     
    JVM225 likes this.
  3. Blueone

    Blueone Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2007
    Lake Erie, Ohio
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    Typically when a supplier like secop gets blamed its because the OEM VF in this case won't take responsibility but VF would have designed the part or signed off on the design. So secop doesn't feel they have any responsibility for the problem. That's where regardless of blame VF should stand up for the customer.... And deal with the problem in the background... I would blame VF first... You mentioned they offered to replace the parts... So sounds like they are trying.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
    JVM225 likes this.
  4. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    I’m just curious here on what you think the outcome should be? If they are offering to replace the parts wouldn’t that be sufficient? Even if they had an issue with a supplied part from a vendor, if it’s not safety related, I wouldn’t expect a recall. I would expect them to replace the part when you called in to make a claim.
     
  5. stephens013

    stephens013 Active Member

    250
    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    2001 510 Sundancer
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    3196 Cat; 660 PHP
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
    I'm sure the replacement of my 20 year old frig is just around the corner. Next time you chat with them make sure they know you are relating their wonderful customer service practices to anyone that will lesson. I sure am.

    Not sure how getting your frig is to get in and out of the boat. Did it on a 400DA; man what a job. I'ld be as pissed about that aspect of the deal as the bummer frig components. I'm not all that thrilled with the Norcool but at least they keep chugging along.
     
    JVM225 likes this.
  6. Arickosmo

    Arickosmo Member

    284
    Apr 10, 2012
    Middle Coast
    2003 400DB
    Mercruiser 8.1L
    vf should have stepped up years ago when they realized there was a huge problem. All they needed to do was supply an upgraded replacement controller. Now, due to the faulty controller, they have to replace a fan as well. They were literally HOPING that some of the units would make it past the warranty and they would have people paying to replace their negligence.
     
  7. Arickosmo

    Arickosmo Member

    284
    Apr 10, 2012
    Middle Coast
    2003 400DB
    Mercruiser 8.1L
    We're lucky on bridge boats. I just bear hug it and carry it in.
     
  8. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    So they won’t cover the failed components of the unit is out of warranty? I do see that point. They should cover the failed components for an extended period just for goodwill of their brand.
     
  9. stephens013

    stephens013 Active Member

    250
    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    2001 510 Sundancer
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    3196 Cat; 660 PHP
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
    Especially knowing there is a faulty component in their system. Be one thing if it was just the one in a thousand thing, that happens, but sounds like this is a systemic failure they are trying to pass on to the customer.
     
  10. firecadet613

    firecadet613 Active Member

    May 10, 2007
    Indiana
    '07 V358
    T- VP 5.7GXi
    I just replaced the Secop on my 13 year old Nova Kool. Would only run on DC and they suggested I do that until it dies vs replacing the controller for $400. I found a new controller on Ebay for $250.
     
  11. ZZ13

    ZZ13 Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2009
    Lady's Island, SC
    2001 400 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 450 Diamond
    I am at 16 months on my new Vitrigro. I showed my guy this thread and he sent me this text:

    It is true that they did have a batch of defective Secop compressor modules, if you remove the compressor module and look inside the module it has a label that shows it to version 1 which is the ones that were defective. If yours has a version 2 then you are okay.
     
    Blueone likes this.
  12. Boat Guy

    Boat Guy Well-Known Member

    For others that might find this post while searching I will add some info re VF and my replacement. I had the Norcold and when it failed I did a search and checked the options, repair / replace, etc...I saw so many jokes about the Norcold / NeverCold and such praise on the VF that it seemed logical simply to upgrade and be done with it...

    Since I now have experience with both, I'm not a fan of the VF, the noise is about the same, the room is a bit smaller, the door shelves are not deep enough for much, and the bottom two bins are poor. The Norcold had deeper shelves on the door and a nice big usable bin on the bottom.

    Further, I have documented in other threads regarding the 1" think blocks of ice that form on the top to the refrigerator section. An area that actually covers the temp probe and I think doesn't allow it to sense the proper temp.

    So, in light of these issues and the one you've just pointed out, I hope people carefully review their choice.

    @Arickosmo , could you describe your failure? Was it both on the AC and DC side? Did they come out and diagnose it or have an installer come fix it? Also, if it was just two years old, why didn't you fix the first one instead of replacing it?
     
  13. PlayDate

    PlayDate Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    Washington DC
    1994 370 Express Cruiser
    454 Mercruisers
    I find it interesting that both VF and Isotherm are part of different holding companies in Italy. Allegedly they do some assembly in Italy for both companies but the parts come from.......wait for it.......China, Singapore or Taiwan.
     
  14. ZZ13

    ZZ13 Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2009
    Lady's Island, SC
    2001 400 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 450 Diamond
    My factory installed Norcold was great. When it died it was explained to me by a reputable poster here that the new ones aren't made the same as the old one. I think he said the compressor is different now and not as good, or something like that. So I got the Vitrifigro. Other than the useless bins you pointed out it's been just fine. Door shelves are fine for me. I do like It takes much much longer to frost up that the Norcold. I guess the Norcold might have been leaking in outside more humid air.
     
  15. Windjammer

    Windjammer Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    423
    Nov 10, 2007
    Marietta, GA
    340 Sundancer 2006
    8.1 Mercruiser V-Drives
    I've heard that Secop got a hold of a bad batch of controller/boards a while back are are still working their way outta this mess. Have also heard that Norcold has purchased or is in the process of purchasing Nova Kool?
     
  16. PMC

    PMC Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    2001 40 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 6CTA
    Thanks Bill.....now I want to remove the fridge just to read a frigin label. I dont have any problems that warrant the check, but the OCD in me now NEEDS to......
     
  17. mquiet

    mquiet Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2009
    North carolina
    1999 480 Sedan Bridge
    Caterpillar 3196
    My admiral wants to upgrade our fridge/freezer. Now I don't know what to do. Dang! I do like great look of stainless and drawers. Any suggestions?
     
  18. my3sons

    my3sons Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Feb 24, 2009
    Summers- NY (Lake Erie), Winters- Somewhere Warm
    2004 400DB, Onan 9 kw Gen, Highfield RIB,
    Cummins 6CTA
    Our Norcold worked OK for 12 years. It was loud and it required defrosting often, but worked.
    The Norcolds in the 15 to 18 year old boats at the marina were dropping like flies and we were getting ready to go on the loop. We made the decision to replace it with the VF based on good reviews here and other places and one of our dock neighbors had replaced his totally dead NC with one and liked it.
    Our experience has been that it is quieter, it requires less defrosting, about every 6 weeks when we are living on the boat full time where the doors are opening and closing a lot.
    My wife does not like the 2 small drawers at the bottom. Our boat neighbors new VF had a single large drawer at the bottom so she called VF and asked if there was a one drawer option and could we buy the drawer. She was told they made the change based on customer input but they did have large drawers and they were $50 bucks. I guess she didn't dislike the 2 drawers that much. I don't know if those drawers are still available for those who might want them, that was almost 4 years ago.
    In our boat, a 400 DB, I think the problem with the fridge is the cabinet. It is not vented well and gets hot in there, especially when that side of the boat is facing the sun. I would recommend that anyone replacing a fridge take advantage of the opportunity to vent the cabinet better if their model doesn't already have decent venting. The fridge fan can't move air in a closed space. Overall I am pleased with the VF and based on my experience, would buy another if alternative models or better were still priced as high as they were when we bought ours.
     
  19. stephens013

    stephens013 Active Member

    250
    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    2001 510 Sundancer
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    3196 Cat; 660 PHP
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
    When i replaced my unit I addressed the residual heat issue via a fan and an auto thermostat switch all located under the stairs. Intent was to evacuate hot air from the frig inclosure. It was only powered when on shore power.

    Probably way over thinking the issue. At the time I thought I was doing something nifty
     
  20. Handsome Transom

    Handsome Transom Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    462
    Jan 26, 2018
    Penetanguishene Ontario Canada
    1989 SeaRay Sundancer 268 454 Bravo
    454 Mercruiser bravo drive
    My 30 year old Norcold is still humming along like a champ. Saw one listed for sale recently and thought about buying it for spareparts but the seller wanted too much in my opinion for an old fridge at 400 so I walked from it.. I'm hopeful this old frig keeps going .
     
    JVM225 likes this.

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