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Appliance Guru
Appliance Guru, Owner and Technician
Category: Appliance
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Experience:  Over 15 yrs. experience with 10,000+ in home repairs.
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I have a 2006 Thor fifth wheel trailer with a N811R Norcold

Customer Question

Hello. I have a 2006 Thor fifth wheel trailer with a N811R Norcold refrigerator (S/N(###) ###-####. The unit frequent begins giving a random number of flashes, which the manual says it is not user serviceable. I replaced the control board, but it still flashes a random number of flashes, UNLESS: If I leave a light, even a small one, on the unit doesn't flash and works like a charm. What is the problem if it isn't the control board?
JA: What's the make and model of the fridge? And can you guesstimate how old is it?
Customer: Make is Norcold
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: Yes, if possible. I replaced the control board myself, but anything more involved I will probably have done by a service.
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: The manual gives the fault that corresponds to the number of flashes, but the number of flashes varies. The strange thing is since I started leaving a LED light on the fridge hasn't given the fault code a single time. So my guess was that there was a issue with the power. Do you know what it may be?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  Appliance Guru replied 2 months ago.

One moment while I get some information for you!

Expert:  Appliance Guru replied 2 months ago.

Hello and thanks for using this service! If you are a JA Member I would like to personally thank you and welcome you back! I am Appliance Guru an extremely experienced tech on the site and I try to get to as many customers as I can. NOTE it takes time for me to type research and add links so please wait for me to respond back I can only do this so fast. Secondly, I do not know your skill level so please try and let me know if I am going beyond your knowledge or comfort zone thanks! I strive for a 5 star rating from everyone especially our JA members.

So you have a new control board in it and it gives you random error codes?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
My Norcold N811R refrigerator (S/N(###) ###-####began giving random codes and would quit cooling. I replaced the control board (#628971), but the fault codes with a random number of flashes continued. I found that by leaving on a single LED light that the faults have quit occurring and the unit cools properly. Any idea what is causing it? It occurs regardless of whether we are plugged into 30 amp power, running on the two 6v golf cart batteries in series, on electric or gas.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I must step away for a few minutes. Will be right back.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I am back.
Expert:  Appliance Guru replied 2 months ago.

This sounds like a wiring issue to the board. Possibly in the door switch circuit or it could be a bad LED light causing an issue I have never heard of that for that issue though. Did it just start happening?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
It began occurring about two years ago. The LED light actually fixes the issue. If I leave nothing on other than the fridge it will start throwing fault codes and quit cooling. Since leaving the LED light on (because of the low power draw) the fridge has not thrown any fault codes nor has it quit cooling.
Expert:  Appliance Guru replied 2 months ago.

I would replace the LED light. If the board in the light goes bad that could be the whole cause and is really the only thing that makes sense.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I'm sorry I didn't explain this very well regarding the LED light. I replaced several of my incandescent fixtures with LED fixtures to reduce the load on the batteries. I installed the LED light after the fault code issue with the fridge. If I leave any item on, incandescent light, radio, etc., the fridge does not give the fault codes and cools properly. I don't think the LED light has a bearing on the issue; I only noted that it was an LED light to show how little of a power draw seems to fix (if you can call it fixed) the issue.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Must step away again. Be back in about 30 minutes.
Expert:  Appliance Guru replied 2 months ago.

Can you put the regular bulbs back in the unit?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I can, but the issue began before the incandescent fixtures were replaced.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Since the issue existed before the incandescent lights were replaced with LED lights how could the LED light fixtures be the problem? I suspected it was a power supply issue since putting a small load on the system seems to resolve the fault code issue.
Expert:  Appliance Guru replied 2 months ago.

ok can you try the incandescent lights and see if it works normally though?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I get the feeling you do not understand what I am trying to relate to you. The issue existed before I changed some of my lights to LED so I don't think replacing them with incandescent fixtures will resolve the issue. I was looking for a more informed response than "try this", which I can do, and have been doing, myself. Please disregard on this issue as I will look elsewhere for the information I seek.