Norcold 1200

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hes4all

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 12, 2011
Posts
588
Location
Hagerman, Idaho
No, this isn't another thread about the infamous 1200 Norcold refrigerator.  I had the recall done a while ago but I just changed my cooling unit to the Amish one. So if anyone out there would like the little BLACK box that is installed with the latest recall then let me know. I'll give it to you. If not, then I will chuck it.
 
I take it that the Amish cooling units use their own High Temperature Sensing units, and, if so, is it simply a resettable Thermal Sensor?

Not that it matters, but how does No-Cold react to this modification of their product????
 
I'd like to have it, "just in case". I'll PM you about it.


Re the Amish unit, the standard Norcold controller circuit board already has a high temperature cut-out built in, but apparently it wasn't always detecting the cooling unit failures that Norcold has been experiencing. The recall box is an extra layer of protection and I see no reason why it could not be used with another brand of cooling unit. It's just a thermocouple and a relay, which shuts off the power to the controller if it senses a high heat condition at the boiler tube.. 

Plus, I suspect the folks at the Amish cooling unit factory believe their unit couldn't possibly fail like that. Of course, the Norcold engineers no doubt thought the same thing...
 
Gary RV Roamer said:
I'd like to have it, "just in case". I'll PM you about it.
SOLD, well kind of!
I also have to whole cooling unit if anyone wants it!
It didn't fail. I just didn't want to mess with it when it did>
 
Gary,

If they did think that, they were wrong. Wish I had taken a picture of the one I saw that caught fire.
 
I am confused in that I thought the Recall removed the overheat Thermal Sensor (newer units resettable, older units nonresettable) and replaced it with a Thermocouple mounted higher in the unit in order to sense the heat of both the Electric heating as well as the Gas heating.

I know there are other heat sensor(s) mounted in the upper part of the cooling unit but I thought they were to controll the Cooling Fans.  The Heat Sensor for the Heating devices for the cooling unit was replaced by the Recall, hence my question as to whether the Amish installation included an overheat Thermal Sensor.

I would not be comfortable without such device even if it was the old resettable Thermal Sensor. 
 
I would hang onto it. You could be a real hero when you run into a desperate person needing it. I have been in that situation twice once with the fridge full in Las Vegas at Xmas.  The plugs between the black box and thermal coupler aren't all the same either so save both pieces. Norcold will not ship to the customer nor will they give dealers stock. They only ship one at a time as requested by dealer. All it takes to take one of these out of service is a splash of cold water such as washing unit. Stay well away with hose or pressure washer. New trailers now come with the large clip removed and black box mounted on back wall of fridge. I did that wth mine as it looks less hoakie but still protect from water.
 
Gary RV Roamer said:
I'd like to have it, "just in case". I'll PM you about it.

Re the Amish unit, the standard Norcold controller circuit board already has a high temperature cut-out built in, but apparently it wasn't always detecting the cooling unit failures that Norcold has been experiencing. The recall box is an extra layer of protection and I see no reason why it could not be used with another brand of cooling unit. It's just a thermocouple and a relay, which shuts off the power to the controller if it senses a high heat condition at the boiler tube.. 
Darn Gary, just reread your post and I never thought of putting the box on the Amish unit. Now you got me thinking. Easy to do for sure.
 
GIB said:
... All it takes to take one of these out of service is a splash of cold water such as washing unit. Stay well away with hose or pressure washer.

Moments after having gone through a truck wash on the way to Florida last January my fridge shut off. When I removed the access panel on the outside there was a little red light glowing on that newly installed little black box. Preferring to wait and have my installing dealer remedy it when I returned, I bypassed it and made all the original connections. Upon return, dealer contacted Norcold and they promptly sent a replacement, but required me to surrender the bad one. I have a nice relationship with the service department so they handed me the replacement rather than make me drive the MH to them. What I don't understand is why hasn't Norcold simply embedded the circuit board in Lucite, or some such, then none of this would be an issue.
To prevent the same thing from happening again, I simply remove the outside access panel, place a plastic trash bag against the backside of it, reinstall it, and knife off the excess leaving about an 1" all the way around. I did this before going through a truck wash this year while coming south... no problems at all.
 
I am confused in that I thought the Recall removed the overheat Thermal Sensor (newer units resettable, older units nonresettable) and replaced it with a Thermocouple mounted higher in the unit in order to sense the heat of both the Electric heating as well as the Gas heating.

Not so. The last recall ADDED a sensor that is independent of the one in some (not all) 1200 circuit boards. Norcold has upgraded the board a couple times and improved the NoCO sensing, but it was still not catching all problems. The new add-on sensor goes direct to  the boiler area and shuts off all power to the circuit board if an overheat is detected. This presumably works no matter what level of circuit board is in the fridge.

Problem is, none of these will help if the cooling unit springs a sudden leak and sprays ammonia and/or hydrogen gas on something hot. It will burst into flames. The same thing would happen if an Amish unit leaked suddenly. It may be made better so a leak is less likely, but a leak is still dangerously flammable. The only way around that in an absorption fridge is to change the chemicals used in the process, but the alternative are not as good at chilling.
 
The Amish unit claims to have much thicker and/or better protected metal in the cooling unit, so less likely to develop pin hole leaks that have plagued the Norcold components.  That remains to be proved, in my opinion. Once there are a thousand or so in use and they have a couple years of track record in Rvs, we will know better. Meanwhile, Jim has seen at least one Amish unit that failed and resulted in a fire.

Note that Norcold's problem did not become apparent until a couple years ago, but they have been producing 1200 family fridges for a dozen years or more. The 1200's got very popular around 2002, both because of their large size and the fact that Dometic had numerous problems in the late 90's, and it wasn't until there were lots of 1200's installed that we began to realize they have a higher incidence of fires than other models of absorption fridges. Then Norcold fumbled the response to the problem multiple times, losing all credibility along the way.
 
The last Recall removed the OverHeat Sensor mounted above the gas flame unit and replaced it with a Thermocouple and a Black Box.  The Thermocouple replaced the Overheat Sensor.

The Tech gave me the Thermal sensor when he finished the Recall on my MH 2 years ago and my neighbor's 2010 Winnebago Express was done this week and he has the original resettable Thermal Sensor in his hand.  So, unless the Amish Cooling Unit replaced the Overheat Sensor and the Recall Hardware was removed, The Frig is without overheat protection.
 
I checked the Norcold recall install instructions to verify this. The installation procedure varies with the specific circuit board used in the fridge and there are . Some have an existing thermal Sensor on the boiler tube and some do not, depending on the date of manufacture. Weewun is correct - if the fridge had a thermal sensor, it is removed when the new sensor is installed.  Older models detected an overheat condition indirectly using the thermocouple in the fridge itself to measure the change (or lack of change) while the cooling unit was running.

Good catch!
 
hes4all, the reason for my original posting was to find out if the Amish Cooling Unit installation included the installation of an Overheat Sensor since you had the Recall Black Box as a giveaway.

Would not want the exposure of no overheat protection, meager as it is.
 
Terry,

I would not go so far as to call it junk but it is not 100% flawless. The dealership, where I used to work part time, had one that caught fire like the Norcold units. I would be sure to add the latest modification by Norcold. Not sure how you would get one if they knew you had an Amish unit.
 
Our fridge quit working the other night also. After hours of checking everything I could discovered the little red light lit on the black box (recall part) called norcold which was useless, called local camping connection here in Orlando and learned that the black box could be reset with a magnet. Sure enough place magnet against black box and within minute the box reset the light went out and the fridge has been working fine for days now. Another local rv service was willing to come out at a cost of $95.00 and no doubt reset the box. Thanks Camping Connection. Turns out the day the fridge quits was also the day we had the coach washed.
Hope this little bit of information may help someone else done the road and like us safe a fridge full of food.
 
ocsnbjs: That is great bit of info. I wonder if that includes if it gets a splash of water or would it be strictly from an averheating situation?
 
Jim Dick said:
Terry,

I would not go so far as to call it junk but it is not 100% flawless. The dealership, where I used to work part time, had one that caught fire like the Norcold units. I would be sure to add the latest modification by Norcold. Not sure how you would get one if they knew you had an Amish unit.

Thanks Jim. I think I will install the box and sensor that I have. It was the so called lastest fix from Norcold? And I do believe that some form of protection for over heating is needed. Sorry Gary, I won't be sending you the box!
 
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