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Author Topic: Propane refrigerator  (Read 1101 times)

Nastones

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Propane refrigerator
« on: June 06, 2017, 10:05:28 AM »
Has anyone had a problem with their norcold N811RT lighting at night at high altitude. Now before anyone asks, yes the vent is clean as so are all the components that make it light and the bottles are full. So in the day time it light and runs perfectly not a problem but when it cools down it won't light. Suck because I don't need the propane in the day as it runs off the inverter/solar. Iv read that propane refrigerator have a hard time running when it's cool out and at high altitudes, then iv read that it should not have a problem. So looking for some real world advice.
P.W. Swallow
Federal LawEnforcement / USANG (Ret)

keith c

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2017, 10:14:08 AM »
What elevation are you camped at?  I've had problems at above 8500 feet in the past.
Keith C
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Michigan

Nastones

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2017, 10:38:04 AM »
There are a few places we camp at around 9000 feet and we live at 7200 not working at both altitudes. Did you find a remedy. I was told that I should put a warming blanket around the tank but that kinda defeats the whole purpose of not using my battries up for the frig at night. Might as well run it off the inverter
P.W. Swallow
Federal LawEnforcement / USANG (Ret)

keith c

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2017, 10:45:41 AM »
I limit the amount of time I go into the fridge at night, run my honda generator for couple of hours in the morning and couple of hours in the evening.  During the day, I too have solar and use the electric heating element.  But, below 8000 feet, the propane lights up without issues.
Keith C
2017 Ford F150 3.5L Ecoboost w/ Max Trailer Tow
2013 Jayco Eagle 304BHS
320 Watts of Solar
Michigan

Clay L

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2017, 12:40:52 PM »
I had a similar issue but it wasn't related to altitude. It was due to condensation on the igniter at night when it cooled down. There was a tiny crack in the ceramic and the spark followed that to ground rather than the igniter tip. 
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Settled down after full timing for eleven years and snowbirding for one year in a 2004 Winnebago 35N Sightseer, Workhorse W 20 Chassis. Honda toad

texaslime

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 08:26:15 PM »
I was told that when you are in higher elevation you sometimes have to put a larger orifice inor as some call it a jet.

NewmanRacing

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2017, 08:30:10 AM »
I was told that I should put a warming blanket around the tank

This assumes problem is related to the propane flowing through the regulator. How is your water heater and furnace running at altitude?
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2017, 09:25:23 AM »
The "warming blanket" is typically just insulation. As you say, there would be little point in using a powered heating blanket in your situation. I've heard of a few people who apply a bit of heat to get things started, though. If you have a generator, a few minutes with a hair dryer can warm things up enough that  the flow will be sustained afterwards.

Both the tank and the regulator can suffer at low temps. The LP in the tank ceases to vaporize rapidly enough to supply large demands (furnace & water heater) and the regulator can ice up because the venturi effect reduces its temperature further below ambient. Wrapping them helps retain heat, and it doesn't take much to make a difference.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 09:27:03 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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QZ

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2017, 09:43:40 AM »
If it's at night only is that when you turn the furnace on? If so it may be what Gary says about volume. If you are running the furnace could you leave it off to prove disprove?

8Muddypaws

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2017, 05:42:23 PM »
I was told that when you are in higher elevation you sometimes have to put a larger orifice inor as some call it a jet.

Quite the opposite.  At higher elevations there is less oxygen and in order to maintain the right mixture you would need a smaller jet/orifice.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2017, 11:53:52 AM »
I'm told that you can help high altitude fridge operation on propane by reducing the pressure at the LP regulator. It's normally 11" WC, but reducing it to 10" or even 9" reduces the gas flow to be more compatible with the available oxygen at high altitudes. Supposedly this tip originated with Dometic itself many years back, but they probably don't offer that sort of help anymore (because of liability risk). And of course you need to adjust the LP pressure back up again when you descend below 5500 ft, and that means you need a manometer to get it right again.

Dometic actually has a high altitude orifice kit for their Servel line of fridges.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 11:56:41 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Sun2Retire

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2017, 12:31:13 PM »
I'm told that you can help high altitude fridge operation on propane by reducing the pressure at the LP regulator. It's normally 11" WC, but reducing it to 10" or even 9" reduces the gas flow to be more compatible with the available oxygen at high altitudes. And of course you need to adjust the LP pressure back up again when you descend below 5500 ft, and that means you need a manometer to get it right again.

This may be of some value next summer for a CO trip as I noticed we were getting some lighting problems at 6200 feet on our last trip. I've never fussed with the regulator. Aside from buying a manometer (any suggestions here?) exactly what is the procedure?
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2017, 01:43:11 PM »
Most regulators have a screw adjustment for the pressure, but it is often sealed to reduce the temptation to tamper. Too many people fiddled with them without any knowledge, or they forget to reset them afterwards. Who needs a manometer - just turn the screw a couple turns, right?

A manometer is mostly used by gas professionals, so they tend to be quality but expensive instruments. Amazon has a selection, though, or you can make your own for occasional use. Since LP regulator output pressures are very low (about 0.5 psi), making your own specifically for that purpose alone is quite practical.


https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Industrial-Scientific-Manometers/zgbs/industrial/5006565011
https://sciencing.com/make-utube-manometer-7576481.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnlfQK-8qy4
http://www.hackneys.com/travel/docs/manometer.pdf
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 01:45:17 PM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Sun2Retire

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2017, 02:38:05 PM »
Most regulators have a screw adjustment for the pressure, but it is often sealed to reduce the temptation to tamper. Too many people fiddled with them without any knowledge, or they forget to reset them afterwards. Who needs a manometer - just turn the screw a couple turns, right?

A manometer is mostly used by gas professionals, so they tend to be quality but expensive instruments. Amazon has a selection, though, or you can make your own for occasional use. Since LP regulator output pressures are very low (about 0.5 psi), making your own specifically for that purpose alone is quite practical.


I wonder if temporarily changing orifices might be easier, and whether Norcold even offers a high altitude orifice? Doing a quick check I wasn't able to find a different orifice.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 03:00:46 PM by Sun2Retire »
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2017, 11:32:41 AM »
There are replacement orifices available, but none that I know of for high altitude operation.

That sort of thing used to be more available back in the 80's & early 90's, but most companies have gone away from enabling those kinds of DIY mods. Probably a combination of liability concerns and lack of financial return due to low sales. Same reason that individual parts are often no longer available, i.e. you have to buy an entire sub-assembly or unit.
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Sun2Retire

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2017, 12:19:43 PM »
There are replacement orifices available, but none that I know of for high altitude operation.

I guess someone (not me) could buy a burner/orifice assembly, measure the factory orifice, solder it shut, and drill a new orifice 20% smaller (or whatever percentage is deemed appropriate).
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

QZ

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2017, 01:30:22 PM »
I guess someone (not me) could buy a burner/orifice assembly, measure the factory orifice, solder it shut, and drill a new orifice 20% smaller (or whatever percentage is deemed appropriate).

You must be an old dirt biker  :)

Sun2Retire

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Re: Propane refrigerator
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2017, 03:25:09 PM »
You must be an old dirt biker  :)


Just old. Ish.  ;)
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

 

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