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Author Topic: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?  (Read 2744 times)

abideejay

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Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« on: September 02, 2014, 08:52:14 PM »
It appears as though my Dometic fridge is on the blink. I went out to the trailer to get ready for a trip, only to discover that the fridge internal temp was over 80 degrees. The trailer sits in my driveway, leveled, plugged in to shore power when it is not on the road or in a campground. I switched to propane, and it started to cool...somewhat. I can't seem to get the refrigerator compartment to stay below 41 and the freezer...well, the Freezer pops are more like slushy pops.

When this trip is over, I will be taking the entire thing apart and making sure there aren't any blockages, etc.

I'm sort of mentally preparing myself for this to get rather expensive. My parents have a '14 TT with a Norcold fridge. It works amazingly well. We are currently across from each other in the campground, so both fridges are in comparable settings, and even on the same side of the TT's so the sun exposure is the same as well. Plus, theirs is the one that everyone is constantly opening and closing the door. All mine has in it are spare drinks and the freezer pops.

If I am unable to fix mine with no more than simple repairs, cleaning, etc...I am seriously considering replacing it. It's somewhat been a hassle since I bought the trailer almost a year ago. (2004 Aljo). I suspect it was not maintained, and since I have found all sorts of other "surprises" on the trailer, I'm not holding much hope for a simple fix.

With all of that being said, I see my options as this:
1) Replace with new Dometic fridge
2) Replace with new Norcold fridge
3) Replace cooling 'module' and keep existing fridge cabinet
4) Screw it all and go full electric with a compressor model from Lowes, etc.

I'd like to have the ability to run on propane, but the reality is that I'm plugged in just about everywhere. Just about.  Obviously, I'd like to keep the fridge running when going down the road.  Plus, I'd like to sell the trailer eventually.  I've heard that going full electric can seriously hurt resale.   


Thoughts?
Just me, the SigOther, and four lunatic Boston Terriers.

Typed with an overuse of ducking autocorset.

boatbuilder

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 09:00:10 PM »
Dometic and Norcold also make dual voltage compressor type refrigerators. 12/24 VDC and 120VAC.  I have used both brands in boats. Did not have much trouble with either brand. 
Charlie

8Muddypaws

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 09:13:36 PM »
Before you spend a fortune replacing it for what might be a simple inexpensive problem go through the troubleshooting steps.  You'll find the troubleshooting guide on Norcold's website or about a thousand other places on the net.  If it didn't work on A/C it could be a simple fuse or one or both of the heating elements.  Inexpensive and very easy to replace.  It could be a simple corroded connector!

If your refer has one of the black thermistors mounted on the fins inside the box move it up to lower the set temprature.  If that doesn't work search for "Muddypaws Mod" on this site, or try an adjustible thermistor from http://www.snip-the-tip.com.

My refer was like yours, it would barely maintain 40F in the best of times, and the freezer was a joke!  I developed the Muddypaws mod after months of beta testing all sorts of things.  It's free.  The snip the tip device is $26.  My refer now stays around 34F and the freezer is at an amazing -18F.  No slushy pops in my freezer!

Months later I added 4 computer fans to draw air through the system and while that did not change how cold it got it did change how long it takes to get there and how it recovers when my DW leaves the door open for 15 minutes while she cooks.
Retired computer professional
Musician, songwriter,  mediocre guitar player.
2006 Bounder 34H, 2008 CR-V Toad

abideejay

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 09:32:18 PM »
At this point, the thermistor is clipped to the condensate drip tray. 

I don't doubt that I've got an issue with the electric heating element.  That's on the list of things to check.  My main issue is that even on propane the unit would not cool effectively.  My campsite was shady, but it was warm during the day.  (95+)  I have fans in the fridge compartment to keep the air moving.  Coldest I ever saw was about 38 degrees, but it would be gone as soon as the door was opened.  It would take hours for it to get below 41 again. 

Just me, the SigOther, and four lunatic Boston Terriers.

Typed with an overuse of ducking autocorset.

8Muddypaws

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2014, 10:18:46 PM »
Removing the thermistor from the fin may give unpredictable results.  When I did that to mine it actually got warmer.  Probably because it went onto BOS mode.  I.e. A simple timer program for cooling.  Eventually it shut down completely.

Where are your fans? 

BTW, what model Dometic it is?

If the thermistor is flat on the side that contacts the fin I'm fairly certain the mod will work for you.  If it's not that type then the snip the tip adjustable may be a better choice. 

« Last Edit: September 02, 2014, 10:40:14 PM by 8Muddypaws »
Retired computer professional
Musician, songwriter,  mediocre guitar player.
2006 Bounder 34H, 2008 CR-V Toad

abideejay

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 10:48:09 PM »
Ah, "Borked".  I'm familiar with the term.  I've applied it several times to my transmitters. 

I've never noticed any sort of a defrost cycle on this fridge.  (Dometic RM2652)  As a matter of fact, before I changed the cooling fins, the old plate (missing over half of its fins) used to frost up all the time. 
Just me, the SigOther, and four lunatic Boston Terriers.

Typed with an overuse of ducking autocorset.

abideejay

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2014, 10:50:04 PM »
The fans are currently on the top shelf of the refrigerator, blowing air towards the fins. 
Just me, the SigOther, and four lunatic Boston Terriers.

Typed with an overuse of ducking autocorset.

8Muddypaws

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2014, 10:59:21 PM »
Ah!  That's why you don't get frost on the fins!  I tried interior fans too, not much difference IMHO.

I added 4 120mm muffin fans to draw air through the heat exchanger coils on the backside of the refrigerator and out the upper vent.  They are controlled by a thermostatic switch simply screwed to one of the fins.  I thinks it's trigger temp is 133F.

It's actually easier to do on refers mounted in slides, good thing as they're the ones with the most airflow problems.

Some manufacturers do a rather poor job of installation.  If there's too much room between the fins and the exterior wall the airflow skips over the fins, if there's incorrect baffling above the hot air pools up there.  Both do bad things to cooling.
Retired computer professional
Musician, songwriter,  mediocre guitar player.
2006 Bounder 34H, 2008 CR-V Toad

abideejay

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2014, 11:17:51 PM »
Yeah, I'm going to take it all apart and see what's what as soon as I can convince the SigOther it needs to be done. (and to help!)  At the very least, I'm going to take it apart, tighten all the loose stuff, and loosen all the tight stuff and give it a thorough cleaning.  I need to take an ohm meter to the element and see if it's open, etc. 

I've also thought about adding fans to the heat exchanger.  It really all depends on what I find when I finally get to tear into it.  What I am trying to avoid is a situation where  the element tests open, so I get a new element, then the board has a problem, so I have to get a new board, then the propane burner needs to be replaced, so I get a new burner, then the Mr. Fusion can't generate the 1.21 gigawatts, and ultimately I've spent a ton of money and time when I should have just replaced the stupid thing to begin with. 

If I'm going to replace it, then I'm back to my original question:  Dometic, Norcold, or Electric?  Obviously I'd rather not spend the money, but I also have no issues whatsoever with buying what I need to properly fix the problem and stop having it hang over my head.  I fix things for a living, but sometimes they just aren't cost-effective to fix and it's time to replace.
Just me, the SigOther, and four lunatic Boston Terriers.

Typed with an overuse of ducking autocorset.

8Muddypaws

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2014, 11:42:02 PM »
IMHO it's not very likely that you need a whole new refer or even much in the way of parts.

Check the resistance of the thermistor while you're at it.  They go bad too.
Retired computer professional
Musician, songwriter,  mediocre guitar player.
2006 Bounder 34H, 2008 CR-V Toad

abideejay

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2014, 11:59:02 PM »
You're probably right.  I'm just pessimistic when it comes to this trailer.  I bought it used and it has been one "surprise" after another.   
Just me, the SigOther, and four lunatic Boston Terriers.

Typed with an overuse of ducking autocorset.

Lou Schneider

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2014, 01:14:48 AM »
Simplify your troubleshooting by concentrating on making it work in gas mode first.   See if you have to add fans to the rear, move the thermistor, whatever.

If you can make it cool effectively on gas, that will confirm the soundness of the cooling unit.  Then you can switch to electric and see if the heating element is producing enough heat.

John From Detroit

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Re: Dometic, Norcold, Electric?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2014, 09:14:44 AM »
Adding fans improves effiency

Cleaning and routine maintenance.. Likewise

If it is not workign on electric,, First make sure it is getting electricity (Plug test lamp into outlet, use at least a 100-350 watt lamp)

Then check the heat element (Follow the wires to the flue, you may test at either end of the wires)

Then fuses on the connections and control boards

Then the control board, if bad replace with a dinosaur board replacement.

As to 41 degrees.. Folks tell me it can take 24 hours.. Finally

Inside the fridge there is a white plastic clip on one of the fins.. Move it UP to the top of the fin (Or as high as the lead will allow)... And come back in 12 hours (Assuming it is already cold) .

HOpefully, this will fix it.

IF the cooling unit itself is bad.. Consider an Amish Built unit..  Folks tell me they are better (Just like Dinosaur boards are better than OEM but the difference is I have personal experience with Dino Boards)
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 09:16:16 AM by John From Detroit »
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