Norcold fridge stopped working even after replacing power board

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LDov

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Our Norcold N841 fridge crapped out on us. I did some troubleshooting and decided we needed to replace the power board. The whole system was dead, no lights on the control panel or anything. There was power going into the power board from the outlet, but not coming out of the power board, so I ordered a new power board. I just replaced it, and it's still not working.

I'm at my wits end here- we are living in this RV all summer and need a fridge. If we can't fix it we're going to have to buy a mini fridge and just stick it in the hole where the old fridge was because we can't afford a Norcold replacement. What else can I do to try to fix this? I don't know what would be wrong if it wasn't the power board.
 

LDov

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Thanks for the response. How would I do that? I've seen this mentioned but I'm not sure how it is different from checking the power coming into the board.
 

DonTom

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LDov said:
Our Norcold N841 fridge crapped out on us. I did some troubleshooting and decided we needed to replace the power board. The whole system was dead, no lights on the control panel or anything. There was power going into the power board from the outlet, but not coming out of the power board, so I ordered a new power board. I just replaced it, and it's still not working.


I'm at my wits end here- we are living in this RV all summer and need a fridge. If we can't fix it we're going to have to buy a mini fridge and just stick it in the hole where the old fridge was because we can't afford a Norcold replacement. What else can I do to try to fix this? I don't know what would be wrong if it wasn't the power board.
Here is your Service Manual.

When you say "power" please say which type. 12 VDC or 120 VAC?  The 120 VAC can be present on the PC board even  when there is no DC to operate the control board for AC operation.  The 120 VAC could be for the 120 VAC element only. You need 12 VDC when in ANY mode, including propane or 120 VAC operation.  So did you check for DC on the power control board? The power control board uses DC to select propane, AC or 12VDC only operation (if yours is a 3-way). Most are two way, 120 VAC or propane.

It could be as simple as a tripped 12 VDC circuit breaker and sometimes  refrigerator DC DOES NOT come from the converter. It could be on its own circuit breaker so mention the type of RV as well.

I recently worked on a Nocold that was powered (the 12 VDC)  by a circuit breaker that was under a cover left of the steering column. When tripped, that means no 12 VDC on the power board and that means nothing works, but the 120 VAC is still present on the power board, but that does nothing as that is only for the 120 VAC element from the power board that has no 12VDC  power to switch on the 120 VAC element.

-Don-  Reno, NV
 

LDov

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Thanks for the info, I guess I didn't realize that there were two things I should be looking for, I'm not super experienced with this stuff... This is 1999 Ford Jayco Eagle. I've checked all the circuit breakers listed in the manual, but it would be great news if there is a special one for the fridge that I missed.
 

Gizmo100

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Welcome to the RV Forum LDov

The fridge does use 12 volts DC to run the circuit board.It will always need the 12 volts DC to run on gas or 120 volts AC.
 

DonTom

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LDov said:
Thanks for the info, I guess I didn't realize that there were two things I should be looking for, I'm not super experienced with this stuff... This is 1999 Ford Jayco Eagle. I've checked all the circuit breakers listed in the manual, but it would be great news if there is a special one for the fridge that I missed.
Listed in which manual? The CBs I am mentioning are part of the RV, not the refrigerator-- but power the refrigerator. So it will only be mentioned in the RV manual, not the refrigerator manual.

Your refrigerator could be powered (12 VDC) from your converter or elsewhere. Check every 12 volt fuse and circuit breaker you can find. The fact that nothing lights up shows that your 12 VDC is missing at least there, but perhaps to the entire unit.

Even if you replace the entire refrigerator, it probably still won't work. So be sure of the 12 VDC supply.

-Don-  Reno, NV
 

Kirk

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Did you see any trace of yellow power or residue of any kind in the back of your refrigerator? If this is the original refrigerator it is now 20 years old and there is a good chance that the cooling unit has leaked and lost all of the refrigerant. If that is the case, no amount of throwing parts is going to help but it will need a new cooling unit. https://www.ebay.com/i/390070671390?chn=ps
 

John From Detroit

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Normally on a unit that old the 12 volt side is protected not by a circuit breaker but by a fuse.. Check all your fuses.

Also. there is a control panel inside.. I'm not sure what it's called on a norcold but dometic calls it the "Eyebrow" at the top of the fridge... There is a cable from the "mother board" outside to the control board inside.. I had to unplug and re-plug a few times due to a bad connection.
 

LDov

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Okay, so I went over the RV user manual to make sure I had tried the 12VDC fuses. It appears I already checked these, and even tried replacing them, just to be safe. As far as I can tell they are located on the load center and have fuses rated 15. Does that sound right? I do think DonTom is right about this being a 12 VDC issue though, because I just noticed that the Propane Gas Alarm has been turned off. It's located near the fridge, so it would make sense that it was powered by the same 12 VDC.

Kirk, there was no yellow residue.
 

mypursuit

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My 2 cents.  I would start at the coach battery.  Do you have 12v coming from the
battery.  Easy to check.  Do the lights inside work?  Most or all are 12v. If they don't
work then you have a 12v problem.
 

Lou Schneider

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Does your fridge have the Norcold safety recall kit from a couple of years ago?  It's a small box located behind the fridge that shuts off the 12 VDC to the control board if it detects signs of overheating.

They're know to nuisance trip and they can be reset when the boiler is cool by passing a strong magnet over the box.  If it continues to trip, you have another problem that should be investigated.

https://www.arprv.com/troubleshoot-norcold-recall.php
 

LDov

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We tested the battery, and it's dead! So it seems like that could be our problem. Thanks mypursuit! We're going to buy a charger and I'll post an update if that works.

Lou, our fridge was not included in the recall, so we don't have that box.
 

DonTom

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LDov said:
We tested the battery, and it's dead! So it seems like that could be our problem. Thanks mypursuit! We're going to buy a charger and I'll post an update if that works.
Is your converter not working? Or are you boondocked?
-Don-  Reno, NV
 

LDov

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We are plugged in. Should the battery not have died then? The converter is working as far as I can tell.
 

LDov

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We also haven't had the battery switch turned on, so I wonder if that prevents charging.
 

DonTom

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LDov said:
We also haven't had the battery switch turned on, so I wonder if that prevents charging.
It should always be on except for when the RV is in storage with no AC available.  Was that why your refrigerator wasn't working?  Were your "house"  lights working normally?

If any doubts check the house battery voltage when plugged and as well as when not plugged in. Plugged in should be above 13.3 VDC. Should slowly drop down when not plugged in. If fully discharged, it could take some time to get up to 13.X volts depending on your converter charge rate.

Running your RV engine for a while should put some charge on your house batteries if you don't have enough power to crank your generator or don't have a working generator.


-Don-  Reno, NV
 

LDov

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May 16, 2019
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Fixed! The truck wasn't starting so we bought a battery charger and charged the house battery for a bit. Once I reinstalled it, the truck started and the fridge works! I think the problem was just leaving the battery switch off! Thank you guys so much!
 

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