Dometic refrigerator problems

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artlp

Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2016
Posts
16
I have a Dometic refrigerator, model NDR1292 and ser.# 34800082 in my 2001 Pace Arrow.

It stopped working twice during our last trip. The propane and the electric “heaters” were both working fine but the fridge started to defrost. Both times, I turned it off and let it completely defrost and re-started it and it worked OK. Both times it stopped working while travelling. The dealers I have talked to, tell me that the cooling unit is defective and needs to be replaced or replace the whole unit. Since it is a fairly big fridge, either option is VERY expensive.

Has anyone had similar problems and were able to repair it without replacing either units?

I think there is some kind of valve on the absorber canister at the bottom of the coils. Can the system be drained, flushed and re-filled with ammonia and other compounds that are needed? The system has not leaked since when it works , it works great???. Could anything else cause this beside the coils getting plugged by solids that have formed over the years?. I have tried “tapping“ on the coils with a stick to dislodge solids from plugging the coils and that didn’t work.

Any suggestions anyone?

Also, I have heard that there are strictly 12V refrigerator available for RV now. Anyone familiar with them?

Thank you

Art P.
 

Henry J Fate

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 14, 2018
Posts
1,183
First thing I would suggest to do is set it up at home nice and level and test it there. Test it on gas then test it on electric. If both of those systems fail to correctly keep the fridge cool and you have a flame/electric heat, it is likely you have a bad cooling unit. The cooling unit requires replacement if it fails to work correctly. They cannot be serviced.

12 volt compressor fridges are out there. They do not offer the flexibility of what you have now but it may be something you could use. You would need daily charging using your generator, chassis engine or pedistal power.

I will also suggest that you stay with a propane/ electric fridge. Power is always an issue and it's good to shed as many systems as possible from the power grid of the motorhome. If you choose to go with a 12 volt fridge, be sure to calculate your power needs for the 12 volt fridge.
 

CharlesinGA

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Posts
231
Location
50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
I have a Dometic refrigerator, model NDR1292 and ser.# 34800082 in my 2001 Pace Arrow.

It stopped working twice during our last trip. The propane and the electric “heaters” were both working fine but the fridge started to defrost. Both times, I turned it off and let it completely defrost and re-started it and it worked OK. Both times it stopped working while travelling.

Art P.
The flame may not be what it should be, and coupled with traveling, it may be going out. If you haven't I would look at completely disassembling and cleaning the burner. And no, the systems are sealed and cannot be opened and flushed out, though there are companies that can rebuild the cooling system or possibly sell you a rebuilt unit, which, if the rest of the fridge is in good condition, is cost effective.

Cooling unit, $1179 (should it come down to that) Installation is not for the faint of heart but if you have good mechanical skills and can read the instructions, it can be done.

Brand new Amish cooling unit

Here is a post where the owner DIY the cooling unit replacement and details the issues with doing the job correctly. He got GOOD results.

Fridge questions post #17

This is the thread............

Fridge questions

Charles
 

regval

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 4, 2015
Posts
381
Location
Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA
Absorbsion refrigerators like your Dometic are closed liquid systems and are not servicable. The first diagnostic you need to do is isolate the control system from the cooling unit to determine if the cooling unit is able to function without being controlled by the electronics. The best way is to direct connect the electrical heating element to a 120 vac power source and check the temperature inside the freezer compartment and refrigerator compartment after 12 hours of constant power. The freezer should be well below 0 degrees (F), and the refrigerator should be below 32 degrees, usually in the teens. If the cooling unit is able to achieve these temperatures, the cooling unit is not faulty.
The problem would then lie in the control system ( DC power, thermistor, control board, etc) and troubleshooting that system would be needed to isolate the fault.
 

John From Detroit

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Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,338
Location
Davison Michigan
Also, I have heard that there are strictly 12V refrigerator available for RV now. Anyone familiar with them?

I have a 12/120 volt Compressor type freezer.. Small chest freezer pulls a great whomping 36 watts (In short flea power compared to about 100 for a treaditional freezer of that size)

Both Dometic and Norcold made RV fridges that operated with the same technology but I'm told the compressors, what I call the "Danfoss class" were not as reliable as the one on my Engel.


I think the best option is to fix the one you have... Why pay over a thousand dollars when odds are you can fix it professionally for 100 or less (Depending on labor rate. I'm telling you how much Rachael the RV GIRL (her service vehicle license plate) would charge to come to site in my favorite campground and fix it)

It's a very simple fix.. assuming it's the heat element.

Bit more if it's the control board. .
 

Ex-Calif

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Joined
May 15, 2020
Posts
1,036
I am learning the "value add" ($$$) of RV specific systems. If my fridge blows up I will likely look at a non-RV residential AC fridge. I can run the generator when in transit if needed.

I would be careful to consider a 12V fridge. I think you will find the power consumption on DC is untenable. However 12V should run on the RV alternator in transit and if plugged in to shore power the battery consumption is not an issue as long as the charger can handle the load.
 

larryr

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 20, 2016
Posts
49
My Class C rig came with a dometic that works on AC but not on propane. I have a Magnum MS2000 inverter charger with a 450AH golf cart bank and decided to run it on inverter power. It draws 27amps @ 12 V with a terrible duty cycle of about 80% on. I moved out west in another class C with a non working RV fridge. I replaced it with an apartment sized household fridge that drew the same current when running but had a duty cycle of less than 50%. I'm going to remove the dometic and lower the floor by one set of drawers and move the same household fridge to the new RV. Much more interior space, velcro tabs keep the doors from opening. another sizable project which I've started by removing the forward dinette seat from the old RV. (I'd had to tumble the fridge upside down over this seat to get it in).
 
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