Norcold 683 works on LP but not AC

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jglass

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I have an older Norcold 683 refrigerater in a 1989 Itasca motorhome.  It works fine on LP but will not shift over to AC when the camper is plugged into AC power.  It has worked perfectly for the 7 years we owned the camper.    When I move the selector switch from
LP to Auto the AC light blinks then goes to LP and remains there.

The same refrigerator also works on DC power but it has never cooled on DC power and I have never investigated any possibilities.

Where to I start looking for  the AC power problem?
Thanks,
Jim Glass
Genoa Illinois
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The most likely cause of that is lack of 120v power at the source, which is just a plug into a standard wall outlet. Open up the outside access panel and plug something else in place of the fridge, e.g. a table lamp. See if you have power at that outlet.

If that is ok, there is probably a fuse on the circuit board on the back of the fridge - check that too.

You can get a Norcold 6xx series service manual at http://bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/600.pdf
 

Alfa38User

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My first guess would be Gary's second. There is a small glass tube fuse mounted on the circuit board (+ - 5a). The circuit board may be skillfully disguised as a plastic box with a cover that comes off to reveal itself. (At least on my Dometic it is!!)
 

bigpemby

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If it is indeed the fuse that is mentioned in the previous post, you will have no interior light inside the fridge.  I have the same fridge and no light in the fridge when opening the door was the symptom that led me to this fuse.  It indeed was blown.  I am not sure the fridge would work at all, even on LP if it was this fuse.  I could be wrong.
 

jglass

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I may have figured it out.    I found the circuit board under the plastic cover and checked all the fuses and all are OK.

My original problem was hearing some relays chatter when switching from LP to AC then always going back to LP.    I should have known that when relays chatter the voltage (or should I say current) could be low.

I also discovered my two, 7 year old deep cycle auxiliary batteries are shot.  My theory is this.  Even when connected to AC power the DC converter was overloaded supplying the almost dead battery's with current thus starving the refrigerator with enough power to function properly.  Even though the refrigerator can run on AC, the controls run on 12VDC.  I hope replacing the batteries will resolve the refrigerator problem.    The batteries need to be replaced regardless.

Is my hunch good or bad?

I'll report back when I get new batteries.  Thanks  Jim
 

steved44

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Jim, you may have it.  It takes 12V to power the circuit board and if your batteries are shot that may just be the problem.  good luck
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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If it is indeed the fuse that is mentioned in the previous post, you will have no interior light inside the fridge.

Not necessarily - there are both 12v and 120v circuits, with fuses, on most fridge controller boards. The interior lights are on the 12v fuse, while the electric heater element is on the 120vac circuit.
 

jglass

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Been a while but I got the problem resolved.

I tried new batteries, then a set of controll switches on the front of the refrigerator and still a NO GO.

We were six weeks from leaving for our Florida trip.  I planned to take the motorhome to a repair shop for some suspension and exhaust work.  Told them to take a look at the frig.

Somehow they got the idea it was a bad AC heating coil, replaced it and still a NO GO.  I told them I would fix it myself while
in Florida.      I decided to replace the control circuit board, $85, behind the Frig.    Had it shipped to the campground in
Homosassa Fl.    My neighbor and I replaced the control  board and it was a "GO".      Works great on AC or LP.

We discovered the repair shop left the old AC heater installed.  They installed the new along side.      We compared ohm's between the old and new heater and both were the same???????    Old heater is fine but still running on the new one.

Great feeling having the frig working properly.    Temperature is 82 today.  Heading for the pool.
Best regard, Jim & Deanna
 

jglass

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Genoa Illinois
This has been an interesting project.  I had several people tell me my frig is old and not worth fixing and to continue using it on gas or buy a straight 120V refrigerator.    The refrigerator has always cooled very well and this has been out first trouble with it.

I explained this to my wife and told her if $85 would fix the refrigertor it would be worth the risk.    We use the refrigerator
on AC and LP both.  A straight 120V frig  will not always do what we need.

An RV parts store here in Florida said the 3-way refrigerators are engineered to last 7 years.    Our 23 year old Norcold refrigerator was to to old to fix.

Is this true.  Did we waste $85 fixing what we have?

We like our 1989 Itasca  motorhome.  It is payed for and fully depreciated.  I figure we are farther ahead repairing what we have than replacing the unit.

Thanks, Jim
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Older stuff was built to last. Newer stuff does not seem to be as rugged. Same problem with fridges in our Stix and brix. The old fridge lasted 12 years and was still working when we sold it. Replacement lasted 5 years and died. Replacement for that had a major failure in just one year (but warranty took care of that, fortunately).

And I'm skeptical of the RV shops estimate anyway. The Norcold 1200 in my coach is now 9 years old and still going strong.

Keep your old one as long as it works.
 
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