Another Norcold Fire

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Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
I don't usually post links to other forum sites, but this one is too important to pass over.

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f84/recall-done-phaeton-burned-177590.html

A Norcold 1210 with the recall box installed still caught fire and burned out the coach despite efforts from an experienced firefighter. Scary!

The fires typically start when a cooling unit leak develops and happens to spray the refrigerent onto a nearby surface that is hot enough to ignite it, which usually means the boiler tube near the bottom right of a Norcold 12xx.  The Norcold box still lets the boiler get extremely hot before cutting power to the fridge, so it is possible that was the cause of this fire.

As some of you are aware, I'm working with Paul Unmac, a consulting process control engineer who has developed a fridge control add-on that manages the boiler tube to lower temperatures while still (he believes) providing effective cooling. A few people here are, or soon will be, involved in the testing of this new deice, which is called ARP (Absorption Refrigerator Protection). Hopefully this will reduce or eliminate this sort of disaster, while also increasing the usable life of RV absorption fridges.

You can learn more about ARP here:
https://sites.google.com/site/arprvsafer/home
 

Jeff

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Every time I read about another NoCold Fire I feel good about replacing ours last winter with a residential model.


I'm just glad no one was hurt.
 

Jim Godward

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Mar 6, 2005
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Hillsboro, Oregon
Gary,

Paul and his wife were here this afternoon and installed the ARP unit.  Right now it is monitoring the refer and auto tuning while my W8 laptop is recording the information.  I am impressed with the unit so far and believe it will be a great add on to the refer.  It is a *#%* to run the extra wire to the display inside so we can record data.  The installation in his camper with the unit on the refer control box outside is much easier to install!  :)
 

Mopar1973Man

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Jul 4, 2011
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New Meadows, Idaho
I'm also a Norcold owner and experienced fire fighter as well. But mine is 13 years old now and still working just fine. Matter of fact I just got back from Fire Fighting School this las weekend and camp out in the RV for the weekend for my class.  8)
 

Jim Dick

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Feb 11, 2005
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Titusville, FL
I'm with Jeff! I'm so glad we had our NoCold replaced last spring on our way to Yellowstone! The new Samsung domestic refer has been humming along just fine and I have fewer worries of fire. I am just amazed that NoCold is still in business after all the fires they have caused.

A couple of years ago, I was talking with a friend in Florida about his new coach. I asked what refer he had and it was a NoCold 1200. We checked and he did not have the latest update for fire. I told him to send for the parts immediately. He did but, two days later, the refer caught fire and destroyed the rig. Fortunately, both he and his wife got out without any harm.

For those that are confused, I use the term NoCold because that is what these refers really are. They never get really cold and they are infamous for fires. I do not understand why they are still in business!
 

camperAL

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Indiana
Scary subject. Has anyone been hurt or killed because of these units? Hope not.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
Actually, my Norcold cools very well and can actually go below freezing in the fridge part and keeps ice cream well in the freezer. But the mediocre quality of the boiler tubes and inadequate boiler temperature control is a travesty.  And they steadfastly refuse to admit it or re-design in any meaningful way. Of course, admitting to the problem would lay them open to a huge liability, one that would indeed bankrupt the company, so they aren't about to do that until forced by legal action.
 

buckstand

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Nov 28, 2012
Posts
80
Are these 1200's catching on fire while in propane mode or electric mode?

Yep, I've got one, 12 years old, it's still working good and freezer will freeze anything. I've installed a fan inside and two vent fans (They help some but not a great difference). My DW and I have discussed the residential route but I really like running the fridge on propane while traveling plus we dry camp about 50% of the time. Not having to run the generator due to the fridge is a plus for us and thus we still have a ammonia fridge. I guess our only route would be a Amish unit upgrade. To tell you the truth I like the residential fridge the best but I just don't think it would fit in my lifestyle of RVing (running that dang generator).

Glad no one got hurt, it would be a sick sick feeling to see your RV in a blaze. I really feel bad for these folks!

   
 

codgerbill

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Mar 10, 2009
Posts
518
Location
Ann Arbor Michigan
I have the 2 door Norcold and I do believe that particular model has no history of problems that the 4 door has. I do have many friends that have the 4 door model and I am wondering if there is anything they can do ahead of time to determining if they may have a potential problem?
 
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