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Refrige question


HamRad

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While we were at Quartzsite this past January our refrigerator quit working. We were on propane and the propane was full and was working normally for the stove and HW heater. After leaving Q we headed south to Yuma. Plugged into electric shore power and set the fridge to use electric and it worked great!

 

So we know the fridge works on electric. We're hesitant to try the propane since we might not be able to get the electric to work if we tried propane and it didn't work. I know.... We're "chicken". Anyone had any similar experience and if so what was the problem? Appreciate any info. Dennis

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What make of fridge is it and the model and serial number.

With someone at the outside of the fridge with the outside access door off do you hear any clicking or a low tone thud. Then is there any spark happening on the igniter.

when the fridge starts to operate on gas the power board will send power to the gas solenoid, and that is where the low tone thud will come from. if you put tour finger on the gas valve solenoid you can feel the valve function as it gets power from the power board.

Then after that there should be a arcing sound coming from the igniter area on the burner tube. It will arc for a few seconds then stop then do it again for several attempts before it will stop until rest.

With this info we can give better diagnostics to your problem.

 

 

 

Safe travels, Vern

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A dirty burner area is the first thing that I would check also. But there is really no reason to avoid testing it on propane. The refrigerator works exactly the same on either propane or electricity, except for the heat source to boil the refrigerant, so we know that most parts of the refrigerator are working fine. That is a good thing!

 

I suggest applying a vacuum nozzle to the burner area to draw out any foreign materials that might have fallen into that area as rust from the flue or other materials can easily fall on to the burner for the propane and disrupt either the propane flow or the spark to ignite it. Frequently this is the cause of symptoms such as yours.

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When my buddys acted that way I inspected it and found carbon and soot had clogged up the burner so it wouldn't ignite. When you switch it to gas listen carefully for a clicking sparking which is necessary to ignite the flame. It starts sparking and the gas valve opens and she lights if alls well. If its NOT due to soot and carbon see if voltage is getting to the gas solenoid valve. The control boards can go bad but Id check connections first. Also those control boards are low voltage sensitive and if it gets much below 12 she doesnt operate correctly. At least twice a year I clean the burner area and tube which helps.

 

John T

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Also those control boards are low voltage sensitive and if it gets much below 12 she doesnt operate correctly.

All wet cell battery systems have a voltage which varies depending upon how near fully charged the batteries are. At full charge the normal voltage is about 13.5V and is considered to be discharged at 10.5V. RV appliances are designed to operate between 14V and 10.5V and should function properly down to at least 11V.

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Kirk, I had an ignitor board go bad once and had to call Dinosaur Electronics (after market board manufacturer) for troubleshooting. They had me get a digital voltmeter to make some readings and told me "some" boards for safety reasons didn't function properly if the voltage dropped too far below 12 volts. Low and behold I was at 11.6 (at the boards input) and sure enough once I found a bad corroded connection and repaired it which raised the voltage to 12+ SHE STARTED WORKING. Of course, that was for my particular ignitor board and isn't necessarily true on all out there, but mine sure failed below 12 volts grrrrrrrrrrrr lol I always consider a full charged flooded lead acid battery at rest and stabilized (after chargers or loads removed) should read around 12.6 to 12.7 volts (six 2.1 volt cells in series) depending somewhat on temperature. The float level my particular smart charger and others maintains battery voltage is around 13.2 volts.

 

Fun chattin with ya, safe travels

 

John T

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I have had soot problems on refrigerators that run for extended times on gas that will light but the flame doesn't burn like it should. Other times it wouldn't light at all. In nearly every situation the soot could be seen and easily removed. Our houseboat ran almost exclusively on gas and needed at least annual cleaning.

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Randy, I worked on one unit that didn't light and it was because there was so much soot it was shorting out the current arc that lit the burner. A simple soot clean and blow out cured it instantly.

 

ONE OTHER TIP when control or ignitor boards don't operate properly (perhaps furnaces don't light or hot water heaters or fridges) I have removed the small flat ribbon cable connector to the board and used a pencil eraser to clean/polish the flat copper connection strips which reduces voltage drop and resistance and that cured a non lighting problem. Similar the main 12 VDC connections to the unit may be loose or corroded causing voltage drops, check them also.

 

John T

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You can also get small or big flakes of rust in the flue, they may slide down and kill the flame or worse stick in the flue partially blocking it which can lead to overheating or a fire. More of a problem in wet salty places than the desert but something to watch for and a good reason to clean your flue every year or two.

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Our fridge also stopped working while at Quartzsite in January, had to do the ice chest routine. When we got to Las Vegas, it started working again, and yes, we were on electric here. Turned out to not be an electric or gas issue, but was the cooling unit was plugged and had to be replaced. The tech said the plug can break free and move while traveling, so you never know when it will plug again, but it just gets worse as time goes on. We had noticed that the fridge has been having issues, not cooling as well some times and working well other times. Ours is also a 2012 Montana with the Dometic 1210 fridge. We were lucky to have an ESP on our rig, so the $2500 cost was mostly picked up by insurance.

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