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norcold Refrigerator has stopped working...electrical..cooling…

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Norcold Refrigerator has stopped working...
Norcold Refrigerator has stopped working. Neither the electrical or the gas function product cooling. It started with the light working sometimes and has now proceeded to full failure. The Mdl # XXXXX XXXXX AND IT IS IN A 5TH WHEEL
Submitted: 11 years ago.Category: RV
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
6/28/2011
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Randall
Randall, RVIA Certification
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 28,697
Experience: RVDA/RVIA Master Certified Technician with many years experience.
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Hi: Thank you for coming to Just Answer with your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX perhaps I can assist you with this issue.

Is this installation in a slide out or not? Is the unit level to within 3 degrees? Please get back to me with this and I can help you track this down. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

The light would delay coming on when the door was opened and sometimes would not come on at all. I also detected a drip type sound in the fridge are but found no leaks.

RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.............Internet problems this morning.

Did you see my questions? Is the fridge in a slide out and is it level to within 3 degrees?
I need to assess the situation better. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
Yes we are level
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Is the fridge installed in a slide out? Do you have a multimeter and know how to used it?
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
The Fridge is in a slide. I have no multimeter but do have a probe with a light indicator...
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
When the fridge is on..........does the cooling fan come on or not? If you remove the top vent can you see any of the condenser coils? Go HERE for a copy of the Service Manual and you can go to that section and see what the condenser looks like on page 22. And is there any fault code on the display in front? If so, which one is it or please describe it.
R.j.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
The N811Lt does not have a display for fault codes.The Fan does not come on...it is like the unit is asleep.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Well, in the strict sense yes..........but, they use flashing lights to do this. Any at all or is the fridge off and nothing lighted up?
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
The green light is on and not flashing when in ac or gas position but the fridge is off...no light inside no fan and the gas mode does not work. It has in fact completely defrosted.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Did you check the fuse in the service panel? Try that first...........if that is good then we can check the fuses on the control board. I am wondering if calling a mobile tech out might not be a better idea here? Without a meter we can't test anything. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
Fuses are good...there is power at the AC outlet. What is your best guess. Calling a mobile tech isn't a 38 dollar answer...I could figure that out myself.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
And I never suggested that...............some people don't feel comfortable with working with electrical testing. And without a multimeter to actually test some components we can't go much further. I do need to know the actual voltage on both the AC and DC feeds to the control board. That would be the next step. You can see the trouble shooting steps outlined in the manual. Part of the problem is that apparently there is no flashing lights which indicate a fault. If the control board or the optical control have failed there is no tester for this. Those parts are not cheap. Once I know what the input voltage is on the board I might be able to tell more. And when I get to a tight spot I give Norcold a call and discuss this with them. Much cheaper than a service call. If you want to get ahold of a multimeter we can keep going. Let me know. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

We got a mobile tech to come and have a look, he checked the voltages with a multi meter and they were all good so he changed the power board. The fridge light came on and it started working in gas mode so left it in gas mode all night. I switched it to ac this morning, it seemed to be working but the light inside has gone out the green light on the door is flashing five times every 3 seconds. I put it over to gas mode and the green light is still flashing the gas light is solid. What do you suggest?

RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Go HERE again for the manual..............see page 8. This shows that the controls have determined that no matter what they do this fridge won't cool. That is most often when it is out of level or has a leak in the cooling unit. Evidence of this is some yellowish deposit around the burner area of some ammonia smell. It can be from a blockage in the cooling unit which is usually from operation in an out of level condition. If the cooling fan has failed. Most slide out installs have a fan for moving the air. He should have looked at the installation to see if it was in spec or not. If you can see any of the condenser when you take the top vent out it needs some work. Or if there is over 1/4" space between the coils and the wall of the coach. Some installs are very sloppy and this adds to the problem. If you can check these things and get back to me I can tell you more. A photo of the top area inside the vent would be good. The condenser is shown in the photo drawing on page 22. None of that should be visible when you take the top vent cover off. Let me know what you find. R.J.
Randall
Randall, RVIA Certification
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
When you are dealing with this in the future good advice might be to diconnect the DC power from the Power Board and see if the fridge will reset itself. I eventually did this and eliminated the fridge as the problem totally only after I changed the board out. Turns out the problem was being caused by a pinched wire in the 12 volt DC part of the converter which in turn was setting up harmonics that where disrupting the power board functioning.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
This is true............and I am surprised that the mobile tech who came out didn't do that first.
The problem with resetting the board is it doesn't tell you what the cause of the problem was. And sometimes it is caused by some quirky thing you wouldn't see often. I have never seen that sort of problem cause a "no co" code...........others many times. I made a note of this and thanks for letting me know. Have a safe 4th.........R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

It"s me again...Fridge is asleep. I got my multimeter and measured the current on the dc lead to the board and it is holding at 13.62 volts dc. I switched the meter to ac and have a consistent reading of 26-29 volts ac on this same lead. Is this normal to have the ac current on the dc leads. I unhooked the shore power and still got the same readings for ac and dc currents.

RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Is the fridge where it can work on an inverter? That is the only way you can have an AC reading with the AC off. You can have an "AC ripple" reading when the shore cord is plugged in sometimes when the converter is going bad. I am wondering if when this wire was pinched it damaged it? I suspect that is the first place to check. In the meantime if you can hook up a separate DC feed to the fridge you should be able to reset the board and get it working. That manual link I gave you has the reset in there. Get back to me once you do that. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
OK...I have reset the board and eliminated the ac induction as an issue. What has been happening to me is it will run for 10 to 12 hours sometimes and then shut down again. The optical panel on the door will indicate a cooling unit problem...is it possible that the cooling unit is faulty? The fridge will run thru a complete cycle without shutting down and then just quit.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
It might be, but more likely this is a problem in the venting and air flow that is causing it to overheat and so the board shuts it down. Installations in slide outs are very susceptible to this sort of problem. They need the cooling fan to be working and the specs on the install to be near perfect. The distance from the cooling unit to the back wall needs to be less than 1/4" even though it says you can have up to 1" and you don't want to see any of the condenser when you remove the top vent. And there can't be any air pocket above the vent and the insulation has to be correct. Look in that manual link on page 22. If this is corrected this problem should resolve itself. A photo of the top vent area would be helpful for me to give you some information on how to correct this. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

 

This is a fridge in a slide attached are pictures...

Customer reply replied 11 years ago
These condensers are on a angle when installed. The drawing says for the baffle to be installed 14" below the condenser, which it is on the high side of the angle...on the lower side it is about 3/8" above the bottom of the condenser.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I was called out and it lasted longer than I thought. No photos showed up. I can tell you that you don't want to see any of the condenser when you take the top vent cover out. If you do then you need to take some wall paneling and make a baffle to install so that the air has to go all the way up through the condenser before it comes out. I use some 3/4" x 1.5" wood blocks or whatever the distance is on the sides to attach the panelling to and then glue it in using HD Liquid nails. This keeps the air moving right up through the fins on the condenser. Then you have to be sure that this air is turned and comes out the vent and doesn't go up into a void or dead air space above the vent. Be sure that the fridge is well insulated on the top. I like to make a deflector out of aluminum sheet or galvanized tin like AC ducts are made of. You can curve it so the air is gently deflected out the vent. I usually attach it to the top side of the vent with some self taping screws. You can silicone it to the rear of the fridge and that way it can be removed if you have to take the fridge out.
Insulate behind it with some house insulation with the backing removed. These modifications and a cooling fan below should resolve this is the cooling unit isn't bad. The fan can be purchased online at PPL rv parts or many dealers will stock these. I am surprised you don't have one. They come in a kit with the thermostat and are easy to install. Please get back to me if this isn't clear. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
The fridge has been running now for 36 hours and seems to be fine...the only thing different that I have done is leave it in the gas mode. Other times it has been running in electrical.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
If this acts up in the AC mode then the heating element is suspect. Let me know if you need more on this. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
Is this an easy fix, if it is the heating element?
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Yes...........see the manual for the testing and it just pulls out of the holder once you take the leads of the circuit board. You need to do this to test it. Unplug the fridge when you do this for safety. The specs for the ohms reading are in the manual in the front. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
Any chance this could be the thermistor?
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