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Understanding RV refrigerators...........

Kirk W

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I just finished reading the articles in the two most recent issues of Escapees Magazine on how refrigerators work a second time and was wondering if readers have taken advantage of these two articles written by Paul Unmac? I have always thought of myself as being pretty knowledgeable of how absorption refrigeration works, but I have found a number of things in this article that I was not aware of. If you have not read them, take a look at the Sept/Oct issue on page 25 and the Nov/Dec issue starting on page 24. Paul gives some of the best information for a layman that I have ever found on such refrigerators.


Thus far he has covered the basic operation of the cooling cycle in the first one and the propane heat source in the second. The second also gets into how to adjust your propane regulator, which can apply to any propane appliance. Be sure that you do not miss these articles and be watching for the next one in Jan/Feb as it is going to address the electric heat side of things.

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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Kirk, I also read and enjoyed both those articles in our Escapees magazine. I was well aware of the potential damage if a fridge was operated off level, but he explains why which may help newbies. I didn't realize just how short a time off level could cause damage, so on our most recent extended road trip if we had to be parked off level for much time at all I TURNED THE FRIDGE OFF, better safe then sorry. If the water and ammonia doesn't properly gravity flow back to the boiler yet heat is still applied it can burn and damage it in short order. Unlike some, I have operated LP Gas operated Absorption fridges for 40 years over a gazillion miles and allow them to operate while driving with never a problem. Of course, still off when fueling or LP Gas or in a tunnel etc.


I look forward to our Escapees Magazine, as its a good slick fun informative read each issue.


PS remember my recent postings on Tranny trouble and a noisy furnace fan?? WELL its nothing money didn't fix, a new fan blower motor plus a Jasper rebuilt tranny, a new 10,000# tow rated cooler along with a new electric fuel pump and filter plus a general ignition 50K mile tune up (double platinum plugs, wires, cap and rotor) just all finished this morning took a chunk out of my pocketbook BUT IM READY FOR FLORIDA AND BACK TO CALIFORNIA ROCK N ROLL...........


John T Happy Wife, Happy (in excellent shape) Camper = Happy John T even I f a bit lighter in the pocketbook today lol

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A few years ago I installed on of Mac The Fire Guy's automatic fire extinguishers in the refrigerator compartment and last year I put in an ARPrv controller. Figure it's cheap insurance.


I also try to make sure we are level whenever the fridge is running.

Dennis & Nancy
Tucson, AZ in winter, on the road in summer.

1999 Volvo 610 "Bud" 425 HP Volvo, Super 10 spd.
2005 Mountain Aire 35 BLKS
2013 smart fortwo CityFlame riding on Bud
(Replaced '05 smart first loaded in '06

and '11 smart that gave it's life to save me!)
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  • 2 weeks later...

The article mentions a manometer to check the propane pressure. That is fine to use but one can also use a simple pressure gauge that reads in Inches of Water. I have one and it works just fine, a lot easier to handle than a manometer.


John in Joplin kb0ou

Southwind 35P


EX Submarine driver

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Thanks for the heads up: I'll read it. I have a Norcold Model 1210LR. In July 2014, it quit over about 2 weeks time. The repair guy checked it over thoroughly (e.g., board, etc.) said that the chemicals had likely "crystalized". It was a large repair shop with 10+ trucks and they wanted $2,300 to replace the damaged parts. He did say I could turn it back on, and if it worked, that it may continue working for 2 days or 20 years; crap shoot. His shop had no problem taking the $2,300 though, so this was frustrating. I turned it back on and it's worked great since then and is now December 2014. I guess I have a time bomb waiting.


When I first got this unit used in 5/13, I got the trailer so out-of-level that the refer quit working. Because the "bigfoot" system caused the problem due to poor calibration and my incompetence to operate it, the refer remained out-of-level for 2 weeks and just shut down. I think I damaged it, which "may" result in a painful lesson.


These things cost like $3,500 - $4,000 by the time it's all in and the old one disposed of. It's worth taking the time to learn about them before an incident.

2011 F350 Lariat, 6.7L, 3.73, CC, DRW, 8' Bed, Reese Elite 25K, TST 507
2011 Carri Lite 36XTRM5, MORryde IS/ Pin Box, Hydraulic Jacks/ Brakes, 17.5" Wheels/ G114 Tires

Solar 960 watts, (2) 50amp controllers, 3,000 watt hybrid inverter/charger, 830 AH batt bank

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