Refrigerator not working on electric

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Nov 28, 2012
Hello to the group and I am glad I found this place.

Now my question.  I have a 5th wheel trailer and when I came home today, the lights on the refrigerator were not working, however all my other items were working.  The microwave, lights that plug into the 110.  The lights that run off the battery were not working. My over the head fan with the auto door in the kitchen was making a clicking sound but would not open.
The lights have been dimming in the past weeks but since I do not use the battery operated ones I was not sure.  Also, my inverter would come on several times during the evening causing the lights to dim.
I decided to hook up a battery charger to the battery and while lights on the refrigerator came back on..(lights related to the temptation level, on or off, and if the ac or gas was on) the panel.  The fan started working ( but the door to the fan would not open) and it seems my lights to the battery started working...since I started charging that made sense.

The question is what caused this and what is happening?  I have the trailer at my house plugged up to 50 amps and do not understand what is happening.  I am hoping someone can shed some light or direct me to a book or something to explain all that is happening.
Thanks for the time in helping me.

It sounds like you have a converter problem.  The converter charges your batteries and provides 12 volt power to the fixtures when you are plugged in to shore power.  What you describe as your inverter coming on and causing your lights to dim may actually be the sound of the converter fan running as the converter overheats.  Inverters generally don't come on by themselves.  If your converter doesn't work, anything that uses 12 volts will run off the battery(s) until they drain.  The fridge always needs 12 volts to the circuit board in order to operate, regardless of whether it is running on gas or AC.  The fact that the 12 volt fixtures started working after you started charging suggests that the battery had been drained.  The fan door will hopefully start working again when the batteries are fully charged.

A converter problem could be a tripped 120V breaker, check for that first.  If the breakers are all OK, check for 12+ volts at the converter output.  If the breakers are OK and there is no 12V output you will have to check the converter's internal fuses (refer to the manual), and that 120 volts is actually getting to the converter input.  If your converter is getting 120 volts input and the fuses are good, but there is still no 12 volt output, it is time to start shopping for a new converter.

Good luck.
Thank you for the reply,

I now understand the difference between convertor and investor....

Not sure where my convertor is located, but I think it is behind my fuse panel as my manual with the trailer does that speak to the convertor or its location.  As I stated, I noticed before that when the trailer is parked and plugged into power, I could hear the sound of a fan come on and off several times.  Also when the fan comes on the lights would dim.

I guess something happen today while I was gone,  because when I came home that is when I noticed no lights on the refig..the outside lights did not work.. and several of the lights inside did not work...and I really not sure how to test for voltage

Guess I will see tomorrow as I have charged for 5 hours...

Thanks again

Your fridge requires 12v power to operate, even when in 120AC mode. It's circuit board, controls and interior light are all 12v powered. The water heater and furnace also require 12v power for their control circuitry.

Your converter/charger produces 12v power from 120vac and charges the battery as well. It has a fan that cycles on/off as needed under thermostat control. If the converter gets hot, as it might while attempting to charge a bad battery, the fan will run often or even constantly.

You didn't mention the year/make/model of 5W, but chances are good the converter is integrated with the 1120v load center (breaker panel). If the load center is a Magnetec 63xx or 73xx, or similar one that has both 12v fuses and 120v breakers, that is definitely the case.  You can bypass the converter components and wire-in a standalone converter, or you can get a slide-in replacement if its a 63xx or 73xx model from Magnetec.
I feel really lost at this point...but I am going to go get all the information.  I have a Keystone, Montana, Limited Edition 2006 (I was told it was a 2007) but the plate states 2006.
I guess the convertor is behind the panel of fuses and switches, so do I need to take off the panel box to see what kind of convertor I have? Not sure where to find the model number of the convertor....sorry, I am new at this...cause I can hear the fan come on and off when the lights are on.
Also the battery was purchased in May of this year before I went to Colorado.
I really appreciate your help and guiding me through this process as I plan in May to go back to Colorado.

additional information:  on the door of fuse panel..the information is a World Friendship Co. LTD Model WF-8930150 a;so I am in the process of placing a charger on the battery (slow 12 volt charge)
after charging battery....if i put a battery tester to the battery what is a good reading I am looking for?

If your power center is the WF-8930/50, as shown in this link, it will have a separate converter.

The converter is most likely located behind the power center.  If you do have to remove the power center to get at the converter, please be sure to disconnect from shore power and disconnect the 5th wheel's battery before starting.

A fully charged 12V battery should read ~13.6V on a good multimeter.  After charging, and before testing the voltage, let the battery sit for an hour or so with no load.  This will dissipate the surface effect.
Hello... and what a bunch of great people here.... I am glad I found this site and I am glad someone set-up this to help us poor soles!!

Yes I mis-typed it is WF-8930/50 (put a 1 instead of the /) did not have the superman glasses on :)

The picture must be a newer model as mine you can not see the fuses.  I completed the charge and reads ~13.56.  So, how do I know if my converter is bad?  Do I just watch and see if the battery drains?

thanks for all the help from everyone

You can tell if your converter is working by metering if the battery drains (while connected to shore power).  If the battery does drain this does not necessarily mean the converter is bad.  There could be problems with the circuit breaker, the outlet that the converter is plugged into, the converter fuses, or any of the wiring connections along the way.

If the battery does drain while connected to shore power you will have to start checking the 120V power supply to the converter and the 12V output power from the converter.  If you're not comfortable working with both 120V AC and 12V DC power you'd be better off calling a reputable RV technician.

Good luck!  Please keep us informed on your progress and feel free to ask more questions.

Yes, the older versions of the 8930/50 do not have the window on the front - usually just a solid black cover. Yours may look more like this one on Ebay.

If they used a WFCO distribution box, chances are there is a WFCO deck-mount converter behind it, perhaps this model:

If so, it's an easy replacement once you can get at it. You don't need to use another WFCO converter (I wouldn't - they don't have a reputation for reliability); you can use a similar product from Progressive Dynamics or Iota and get better quality for similar price.

Check the voltage at the battery with the converter running - should be at 13.3-13.6v and stay there with a power load applied (lights, fridge, etc on).
Double WOW! Hello Gary and others,

I really appreciate all the help here and hopefully I can solve my here is and update and a couple of questions.

I charged the battery yesterday and after waiting about an hours, the voltage tested at ~13.45.  There is someone staying in my RV, so I have the refrigerator running and the outside lights are turned on sometimes during the day and night.
This morning I tested the battery and it tested ~13.55.  I still can not open the vent about the kitchen.  The fan works fine, but the door does not open so I have to open by hand.  This is where the noise was coming from when I noticed all the lights on the refrigerator and the lights were not working.  There was a clicking sound..but after placing the charge on the battery the noise left.

So, how to get to the convertor?  Can I take the panel off where the fuses are located?  I would think the convertor is behind the panel as that is where I heard the fan coming on and off as the lights dim durning the evening.

Again, thanks for guiding be through this process and solving my problem.

If the battery voltage went UP overnight, despite modest usage, I would say your converter is working. Or did you leave the external charger on overnight as well?
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