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All of a sudden our camper refrigerator just stopped

Hello, all of a...

Hello, all of a sudden our camper refrigerator just stopped working. We are hooked up to power, and neigher the power or the propane will work. Help!

Mechanic's Assistant: What's the brand and model of your fridge? How old is it?

Norcold N641L. We just bought the camper it is a 2009.

Mechanic's Assistant: How long has this been going on with your Norcold refrigerator? What have you tried so far?

It hasn't been right for about five days since we picked up the camper. I checked the fuse and it is good. LP source is good as the stove still lights. We are plugged into ground power, so it should run on electricity as the most efficient source. We are plugged into power with an extension cord to the camp site 30amp circuit.

Mechanic's Assistant: Is there anything else the Appliance Expert should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.

I think you have it all.

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
9/10/2021
RV Mechanic: Robert, RV Mechanic replied 1 year ago
Robert
Robert, RV Mechanic
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 24,133
Experience: 23 yrs. RV experience including Cummins North West, Country Coach, Monaco Coach - vendor certified.
Verified

Hi, I'm Robert. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm reviewing your question now and will post back with your reply momentarily.

Is the fridge actually turning on? Is the display panel turning ON and is the interior light inside the box ON?

OR the fridge appears to be working but is not getting cold at all?

Robert

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
On button on outside stays on now, but interior light not on.Not sure if it worked before as we just bought this camper, and this is our maiden voyage.
RV Mechanic: Robert, RV Mechanic replied 1 year ago

OK.

Just to be clear you are saying you DO have a indicator light on the display panel but the interior light inside the box is not coming ON?

Robert

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RV Mechanic: Robert, RV Mechanic replied 1 year ago

This throws a wrench into troubleshooting because if the light inside the box is not coming on then normally the display panel will not turn on.

Please allow me several mins to type a response.

Robert

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I just checked the bulb, and it's filiment seems intact. I do not see the button to toggle the light on and off.
RV Mechanic: Robert, RV Mechanic replied 1 year ago

I would check the bulb for the interior light, the interior light is a DC circuit and the display and light inside the box get voltage from the circuit board under the outside access panel. IF the bulb is not burned out and the display is turning on then the circuit board is suspect and may need to be replaced.

Since the display is turning on it is not going to be a fuse issue.

With the fridge running on AC power go to the outside access panel and locate the vertical flue canister, on the canister are two wires that go the the AC heating element which is inside the canister, this area should feel VERY hot to the touch after a few hours, if it is NOT hot and with the interior light not working then it would be a circuit board issue.

IF the area is very hot to the touch then the board is sending voltage to the element and the fridge should get cold after about 12 hours.

IF you have no cooling on both propane and electric then the cooling unit or thermistor is the most suspect problem.

Look inside the box on one of the back fins you should see a small pad that is the thermistor, it actually shares the connector with the interior light, make sure the connector is plugged in properly and the connector is not corroded. What you can do is also disconnect the connector and let the fridge run for several hours, with it disconnected, when you disconnect it the fridge should go into a FULL cooling cycle and the box should get very cold after a few hours. IF the box does get cold then I would replace it.

The cooling unit is also suspect, inside the cooling unit is an ammonia solution, when it stops circulating you loose cooling in the box, make sure the fridge is level. Might want to try tapping the cooling unit coils with a rubber mallet as well, sometimes that can help get the circulation going again.

So to recap with the fridge running on electric feel the area around the flue where the wires are going into it for the AC heating element, if the area is cold and not very hot I suspect the board has failed, it is not passing voltage to the interior light or the AC heating element.

IF the flue canister is hot I would disconnect the thermistor and let the fridge run several hours and then tap the cooling unit coils and give it another several hours.

Robert

Got your comment on the bulb.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
The canister is not warm at all.Unit indicator light is off again. I hear the unit make a click sound, then ding and turns off.
RV Mechanic: Robert, RV Mechanic replied 1 year ago

DO you have a volt meter?

Robert

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Actually click/dings 7-8 times then turns off.
RV Mechanic: Robert, RV Mechanic replied 1 year ago

Do you have a volt meter?

Robert

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
NoWould the size of extension chord effect this in any way?No volt meter unless it's built in somewhere.
RV Mechanic: Robert, RV Mechanic replied 1 year ago

Give me a few mins to type a response.

Robert

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
My AC works and microwave also, although I'm not running them both at the same time.
RV Mechanic: Robert, RV Mechanic replied 1 year ago

The fridge needs good DC battery voltage to turn on and work, it does not run off of just AC power, meaning if you unplug the cord from the outlet the fridge should still turn on and work on propane.

Back of the fridge under the access panel is a circuit board the DC supply plugs into the 12 VDC and GND you need to verify the board is getting over 12 volts DC. IF the fridge is getting over 12 VDC I would unplug the fridge from the outlet and remove the cover on the board, look for two terminals marked limit in and limit out, if you have wires connected to them then you have a thermal fuse on the flue canister, it is small round disc with a button in the center of it, if you see that gently push in on the button, if that has tripped the fridge would not turn on no interior light. Below is a link for a picture. Some Norcold's do NOT have this thermo disc, if the limit in and limit out are bridged together then you do not have one.

Without a volt meter hard to know what is going on, may want to do an online search RV mobile repair and the zip code you are at to see if any RV mobile techs can come to you, I used to do mobile repair and would cover a 100 mile radius.

Robert

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
All good info. Thank you.
Just curious, where is the button/ sensor to turn the fridge light on and off?
RV Mechanic: Robert, RV Mechanic replied 1 year ago

It is magnetic and part of the door so no switch you are going to see.

Robert

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RV Mechanic: Robert, RV Mechanic replied 1 year ago

Below is a service manual link see page 19 on troubleshooting the door lamp switch. Manual might be good for you to have as well.

Robert

http://techsupport.pdxrvwholesale.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Norcold-Refrigerator-NXXXXX-Service-Manual-Publication-Number-619394E.pdf

Robert
Robert, RV Mechanic
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 24,133
Experience: 23 yrs. RV experience including Cummins North West, Country Coach, Monaco Coach - vendor certified.
Verified
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