Norcold N611V

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pappi49

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Lexington Ky.
Just found this problem a couple of weeks ago and just getting around to trouble shooting. My fridge works great on shore power but I found that it will not light when trying to run on propane. Sinice I am not certain what the problem may be, I have been searching you tube for some help.

I have found a ton of videos on the Dometic fridge but very few that are of any help for the Norcold. My question for you guys is, are the 2 fridges enough alike that I can you the videos for the Dometic to try and diagnose the Norcold. What I seem to be running into is that I can hear it clicking as if trying to liight but that is as far as it gets. Would it be beneficial to try and clean the orifice and the tube or is it possible that the problem is much more complicated than that?

Any help you guys can give me is greatly appreciated and thank you in advance.
 

Kirk

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Have you used propane in your water heater and stove in the past day or so? That should mean that there isn't air in the lines as does happen when propane is turned off for an extended period of time. If you have not used propane then light the stove top with a butane barbeque lighter so that you can keep the flame until the air is vented and then allow it to burn for a few minutes before trying the refrigerator again.

There us a lot that is common to Dometic and Norcold refrigerators since both are absorption units, but in both cases they have a wide range of models and there are many differences even from one model to the next of the same brand. The ignition parts are probably similar but the locations of parts would probably be quite different. I suggest that you start by downloading a copy of this N611 service manual and use that to troubleshoot.
 

pappi49

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Lexington Ky.
Have you used propane in your water heater and stove in the past day or so? That should mean that there isn't air in the lines as does happen when propane is turned off for an extended period of time. If you have not used propane then light the stove top with a butane barbeque lighter so that you can keep the flame until the air is vented and then allow it to burn for a few minutes before trying the refrigerator again.

There us a lot that is common to Dometic and Norcold refrigerators since both are absorption units, but in both cases they have a wide range of models and there are many differences even from one model to the next of the same brand. The ignition parts are probably similar but the locations of parts would probably be quite different. I suggest that you start by downloading a copy of this N611 service manual and use that to troubleshoot.
Actually, I used both the stove and the water heater the last time we were out. This was after finding out that the fridge was not working on propane.

Also, I do have a hard copy of the manual that came with the trailer when I purchased it. I will check your link to be sure this is what I have. Thanks
 
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Kirk

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Did you leave the propane on after using the stove and water heater and then try the refrigerator on propane again?

I suspect that what you have is an owner's manual and the link is to the service manual that is used by RV techs and was shared by the owner of an RV service company.
 

pappi49

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Lexington Ky.
Did you leave the propane on after using the stove and water heater and then try the refrigerator on propane again?

I suspect that what you have is an owner's manual and the link is to the service manual that is used by RV techs and was shared by the owner of an RV service company.
Kirk, I did leave the propane on but we were hooked up to shore power and I did not try the fridge on propane.

And yes, you are correct. I do have the owners manual. I have downloaded the service manual you supplied. Thank you.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Yes they are very much alike and the Dometic videos can serve as a model for diagnosing your Norcold.

You need to do some basic problem isolation first. Does it attempt to light, i.e. spark the igniter? If yes, does it light but quickly go out? If you can't hear the sparker and ignition, you may have to go outside and remove the outer access door to verify that (while somebody else pushes buttons on the fridge).

Don't start throwing parts at it - too many internet pseudo-experts want to change thermisters or repalce control boards before narrowing down the nature of the problem. Most such problems are fairly simple .
 

RVfixer

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Although there can be a lot of other problems I have been very successful in helping many people at campgrounds that have fridges that won't light on propane but work fine on 120 VAC. I have done a lot of fixes by just doing the maintenance items that they should have been doing. Don't just do one maintenance task, like clean the gas orifice, do all the maintenance items per your manual. If you don't have a manual download one. The maintenance items are pretty easy...do the required removals (just a few screws) clean the carbon off the probe or probes and the burner, set the igniter probe gap (usually 1/8 "...even the ones that give a gap range in the manual 1/8" will put you in the range, the probe should be positioned so that it will be in the flame. To reposition the probe you usually have to bend the bracket, be careful not to crack the ceramic on the probe. Clean out the air inlet tube, look for bug nests in the inlet tube and inside the burner tube, remove and clean the gas orifice, clean all wire connections. Don't push any hard objects like wire through the gas orifice. Many of them use a plastic orifice insert in the brass fitting and this is a critical orifice. Use alcohol to clean the gas orifice, stronger solvents can melt the plastic orifice. Sometimes I find a hard blockage in the gas orifice. If needed I soak the orifice in alcohol then gently push a paint brush bristle through the orifice.

My fridges have been Dometic and I do the maintenance at least a couple times a year. When I helped a camper with a Norcold fridge there was no manual available so I just jumped in and had no problem doing all the above maintenance items. It worked fine on gas after doing the pretty simple maintenance items.

If doing the maintenance does't fix it you may need to seek professional troubleshooting.
 

Kirk

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Don't start throwing parts at it - too many internet pseudo-experts want to change thermisters or repalce control boards before narrowing down the nature of the problem.

I have done a lot of fixes by just doing the maintenance items that they should have been doing.
As a former electrical/mechanical field service tech, I must agree with both of those comments. Since the refrigerator is working in electric mode that means that your problem has to be something unique to the propane heat source. It could be simple maintenance in the burner area. Bugs tend to be attracted to the lingering odor of propane and often build webs or nests in the burner area. If you haven't done so, use a shop vacuum to suck out things from the burner area. Another possible is that rust could fall down from the flue into that area as well
 

pappi49

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Lexington Ky.
Thanks for all the replies and sorry I did not reply sooner but the wife and I went out of town for the weekend.

Yes the fridge does try to light as I can hear the clicking but it does not light. The reason for my initial post was that I did want to clean everything in the hope that is was just an accummilation of dirt and/or rust that could be easily cleaned out but I was having a very hard time trying to find anything on the Norcold.

I have about 4 weeks before our next trip so I will try cleaning/routine maintenance and hope that works. If not I will be back with more questions asking for your help.

Than you.
 
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pappi49

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Lexington Ky.
Just a quick up-date to myfridge problem. "It now works".

Went over to the storage location to get a few items out of the trailer and check the fridge as to what I might need in the way of tools to clean everything and do the routine maintenance . Turned on the battery and propane just to double check and it worked.

We are leaving on the 22nd of Oct. to see the grand daughter at college so we will see if it works then. Hopefully all is good.

Really appreciate all of the help in trying to track down the problem.
 

Kirk

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Turned on the battery and propane just to double check and it worked.
Which makes me believe even more that the problem is/was lack of maintenance. If we are right about that, there is very strong possibility that sooner or later it will do it again. Why not just take a few minutes to at least use your shop vacuum on the burner area before your next trip?
 

CharlesinGA

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Poor connection at the gas solenoid valve? Its good to unplug and re-plug every connection, to clean the connections. Certainly blow out the tubes and flame area of cobwebs, etc.

Charles
 
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