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Norcold 1200 needs a stick of dynamite!


nana25k

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Please first of all don't tell us to get a residential frig. It won't be helpful in this situation

History: 6 months ago the door alarm kept going off. Bought new boards but found a plug on back that wasn't tight.

November: Refer stopped cooling properly over holiday. Mobile repair came out. The fan was not working but they did not have one on truck so they straight wired it so it ran constantly also replaced the thermistor.

December: Tired of listening to fan running and door alarm. Also by this time the light bukb had blown. Took it to be repaired and have new boards installed.They didn't have the fan thermostat. Apparently someone before us had work done and there is a wiring nightmare. The tech actually blew and had to replace wiring harness. Took 2 of them to figure out how to put that in but once they were done it ran fine and the light came back on as well.

Several days later the light went out again. We eventually replaceded the bulb which blew out in a couple days.

Fast forward to 1 week ago. We had now been hooked to shore since repairs done. In prep for travel I switched it yi propane. With in about 1 hour we got a "no co" alarm. Switched it back to shore power and still got the code

Arrived at new destination. Had mobile repair come out.

He reset the board and was stumped about the wiring. He did find a ground wire attached to a hot wire which he clipped off. He installed the fan thermostat. All working just fine until this morning. Now back to the "no co" alarm.

Everyone tells us the cooling unit us fine

It seems finding a competent refer repair person is impossible. We have spoken to the previous owner and they had no refer work done during their ownership so what ever wiring nightmare occurred was the first owner.

As a side note when we purchased the rig the dealership replaced the recall module just because they wanted to make sure it was correct.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

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Sounds almost like you have some obstructions in the chimney that are disrupting the upwards flow of the hot air.... or it has a gas "bubble" in the refrigerant system or you have a 12vdc power source/wiring problem.

 

I would also do some very specific 12V voltage checks at the power block in the refer. It should be solid and not vary more than a few tenths of a volt. If you have a battery going bad that can be enough of a load to pull the 12v down. If it is due to some sulfate flakes intermittently bridging some plates, the glitches can be quite bad but still look good on a VOM.

 

If you are seeing varying voltage at the refer, then see if that is also happening to some degree at the house battery. it may only vary when battery charging is active from the converter or when external shore power or a generator is not quite right. Lots of possibilities to check out if it is voltage related.

 

A bad ground can often mimic a bad battery, too. The fact that it has been "rewired" and in one case, even had ground tied to a hot 12v lead and nothing smoked or blew out, leads me to believe that you have some poor 12 electrical connections somewhere, whether within the Refer box or in the RV. Maybe even battery posts and terminals might need a good cleaning and retightening.

 

If the batteries are not too far from the refer, a heavy gauge bypass jumper could be used to straight wire the refer block to the battery (after cleaning and tightening the battery clamps) and see if it still is goofing up. Be sure to first disconnect the existing 12 volt supply to the refer (both hot and ground leads). If it works then the problem is external to the refer. If not and your house battery bank is solid then focus on the other things like exhaust air flow through the chimney and out of the space behind the refer. If it gets too hot in there, it won't cool, either.

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Ron has checked all the voltage except the heater element. AC and DC are fine. 12v stuff is fine. We have done the reset which didn't work.

All the funking wiring had to have been done at least 4 years ago so that part has been working okay for quite awhile

We feel like we are shooting in the dark. Nearest certified repair is 1hr away and he can't look at it for a week or more.

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At this point a residential isn't an option. We have a furnace under our refer which after measuring will require relocation. Not something Ron can do right now. Would require $$ not set aside or waiting until we get back into PA much later in the summer. Also we have multiple friends who have them from the factory and aren't happy withthem while boondocking. I assume we would need to add more battery since we have 4 6v deep cell and some solar now so again more $$.

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You could get a cold-plate marine type refrigeration unit. These can be built to fit your needs. One of the guys on the Foretravel forum replaced his refrigerator with one of these and is quite happy with it. These are compressor refrigeration units but the compressor unit itself can be located remotely from the "box" which is being refrigerated. An electric motor drives the compressor which cools a large metal plate in the "box". The plate gets very cold, the compressor stops, and doesn't start again until the temperature in the "box" drops.

 

About $3k I think... depending upon just what you need. Here is a link to one supplier with pricing for various configurations: http://www.seafreezeinc.com/marine_coldplates.shtml

 

As far as your present refrigerator goes, I'm not at all sure all those guys with the wiring were right. For one thing, wiring does not typically suddenly stop working and change itself over to a new (wrong) configuration. But your fridge worked - several times - so it's an intermittent problem Well, it was... after all the fiddling by incompetent techs it's probably now a wiring problem AND whatever the original intermittent issue was.

 

I would make sure it's back to OEM standards as far as wiring is concerned. This would mean getting an accurate wiring diagram (which might not be easy) showing how it *should have been* wired. The original issue reminds me of heat-related problems on circuit boards. Unfortunately only replacing them with new ones would do it. Who knows what boards those techs put in. Whatever they had in stock, I suspect.

 

Good luck...

 

WDR

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Lots of people boon dock with residential. Research it here and you can learn a lot. Your space is a problem I'll agree. I must stress how much better a residential is though. We never intend to own a unit without one. I'm confident someone on here can help you though.

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Frankly, I am suspicious of some of the things you have been told by the techs that you have used. As one who has been doing electrical repair & maintenance work for more than 40 years, I would have to see proof that there was a ground connected to a hot lead because that would either blow a fuse or melt wires and discharge the batteries, if not start a fire. I do not believe that he found any such thing and think that he may have just gotten lucky in that things started to work and to satisfy the customer, he made up some story that most likely even he knows is not possible.

 

If the wiring has actually been modified, that is one of the risks you take when you buy a used RV, but that too is questionable, in view of the fact that everything worked up until recently. I believe that you have just had a run of incompetent RV techs. I have found that there are a lot of them out there and most of the certification programs are far too short for the graduates to really know much in depth.

 

Any RV refrigerator should be capable of operating properly on any voltage between 11V & 14V-dc. If you check the specs you will find the manufacturers state that so small changes in voltage should not cause an serious problem. When an RV operates on batteries it is very normal for them to start out at about 13.5V or so and slowly taper off to about 11V before there is any problem from the appliances. Batteries voltage changes according to the level of charge as a normal part of their functioning.

 

Unfortunately, your story is not that rare and there are many RV refrigerators and air conditioners that are replaced because of incompetent techs. Norcold may not be the best product around, but the lack of knowledge of the RV techs is not their fault.

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At this point a residential isn't an option. We have a furnace under our refer which after measuring will require relocation. Not something Ron can do right now. Would require $$ not set aside or waiting until we get back into PA much later in the summer. Also we have multiple friends who have them from the factory and aren't happy withthem while boondocking. I assume we would need to add more battery since we have 4 6v deep cell and some solar now so again more $$.

Norcold, Nova Kool, and Vitrifrigo make compressor refrigerators that are pretty much direct replacements for the typical RV refrigerators and are pretty efficient. A while ago, someone on this forum replaced their RV frig with a Vitrifrigo unit. There were/are truck camper manufacturers that install/did install compressor frigs and I have read several reviews that were positive about the performance while boondocking. I doubt that a truck camper battery bank would be as big as yours. I believe they are about the same price as an RV frig so that does help solve the $ issue.

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We have had the No-Co alarm on ours. I removed the burner cover and gently blew the burner tip out. I used a can of the compressed air like you would use to clean your computer. No issue since.

On the Vitrofrigo fridges, yes they are nice, but they are expensive. I would have an Amish cooling unit installed first before swapping to one of the small compressor fridges.

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You need to find a tech that is a registered Norcold dealer. If they are registered they need there dealer number to talk to the real tech support. Norcold will talk that person through your problem and fix it.

If you call Norcold and give them your address they will find the registered dealers and registered mobile techs in your area. They should have record of what was happening to your refrigerator previously if a dealer worked on it and what the next registered tech is doing.

I am a norcold, Dometic and Auquahot registered dealer. If I do not understand what is happening I call for tech support asap. It saves me time and the customer money.

Through the years I have accumulated about 60 tech support phone numbers for a wide variety of manufacturers. From atwood to Marathon coach.

 

 

Safe Travels, Vern

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Unfortunately My experience was with large walk in commercial and industrial refrigeration and large building to residential air conditioners. I have repaired quite a few rV rooftop ACs and dash air but I have no experience repairing these RV absorbtion type refrigerators. I have a 4 door Norcold in my motorhome and reading all these stories makes me nervous...lol.

If mine were to give me trouble I would definitely dive onto it but I would have to educate myself on the idiosyncrazys ( new word) lol of these beasts. Actually my ice maker recently quit so we are presently buying ice...go figure.

That said, the wiring on these fridges is not very complicated and with a good wiring diagram any machine can be wired or rewired correctly. The op has stated that she was told that the actual refrigeration section is ok and I believe it if it cools ok periodically. A few components such as cooling fans and the flue and heat sources need to be checked thoroughly , after that it is the control circuit that is suspect.

The experiences that the op related as to what was done and found in some cases dont make much sense ( such as the wiring short that Kirk addressed) so it sounds like poor service by people that dont really know what they are doing.

Sorry I cant be more help.

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Sorry for the delay in responding. Ron was feeling really stumped (after all he kept the electrical systems of Navy jets up and running). He finally pulled out a new thermistor that came with our new boards and installed it. BINGO!!! Its currently working.

Now having done this we are still feeling like something isn't right. The mobile tech in FL put a new one in. Right after the next techs put in the new boards we lost the interior light. Remember they fried a wire harness during that installation.

We found a Norcold certified tech near us in Waycross,GA. If it keeps working we will take it to him in a week or so and he will give it a good going over.

Thanks for everyone's input

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Nina - We have a 1600. I added LED light strip to the interior off the old switch. Neg there for the light, switch +12 for the light. It gave us 12" above the switch, and 24" below the switch so we can see on every shelf. Bought the LED strips at Autozone at the time. Beat the heck out of the single festoon bulb that was there. Simple mod, world of difference.

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Our refers light would burn out in less than a week when we first got the couch. Finally figured that the door lever to control the light did not reach far enough to really turn off the light when the door was shut. Added a spacer to the door to cause the lever to work. What showed that that was the problem was touching the bulb after the door had been closed for a while. It was HOT.

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Just curious how old this refer is? Have you checked the condition of the bottom hinges? They are notorious for breaking, rusting out, etc. A sag in a hinge could cause door misalignments that could cause the light switch to not work correctly and air leaks that could prevent it from staying cold enough..?

 

Just a thought.

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Unfortunately My experience was with large walk in commercial and industrial refrigeration and large building to residential air conditioners. I have repaired quite a few rV rooftop ACs and dash air but I have no experience repairing these RV absorbtion type refrigerators. I have a 4 door Norcold in my motorhome and reading all these stories makes me nervous...lol.

If mine were to give me trouble I would definitely dive onto it but I would have to educate myself on the idiosyncrazys ( new word) lol of these beasts. Actually my ice maker recently quit so we are presently buying ice...go figure.

That said, the wiring on these fridges is not very complicated and with a good wiring diagram any machine can be wired or rewired correctly. The op has stated that she was told that the actual refrigeration section is ok and I believe it if it cools ok periodically. A few components such as cooling fans and the flue and heat sources need to be checked thoroughly , after that it is the control circuit that is suspect.

The experiences that the op related as to what was done and found in some cases dont make much sense ( such as the wiring short that Kirk addressed) so it sounds like poor service by people that dont really know what they are doing.

Sorry I cant be more help.

The icemaker is basicly a generic one, if you choose to go that route. If you prefer a Norcold, look here: http://www.theicemakerstore.com/norcold/

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