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Old 03-17-2006, 07:12 AM   #15
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Basecamp,

This doesn't sound right. If your furnace is working, it is drawing the propane from the same regulator as the fridge....no? In that case, there should be nothing wrong with the regulator. I'll bet your stove works fine also . It should be checked for proper output (11"water guage) with a manometer. There is a little hex plug that is there as a test port. If it doesn't have one, the manometer can be connected directly to the regulator output. If the regulator checks out OK (and I have a feeling that it will), then the same test should be done at the fridge gas valve (has a test port also) to see if the proper pressure is available there also.

If both are good (11" water guage) then the prblem is downstream of the fridge gas valve, like a blocked burner tube, clogged burner orifice, or improper fuel/air mix in the burner tube. PM me if you need more info on this.
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Old 03-17-2006, 07:46 AM   #16
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No ammonia, heating unit hot

The exasperating thing about my Dometic's failure to cool is that there is no telltale ammonia smell, the heating unit above the flame is warm/hot to the touch, and the flame at the orifice appears to be vigorous. A bubble level resting on the freezer shelf shows the bubble dead inside the circle.

I turned the whole thing off for a week and fired it up again yesterday afternoon. I'll be checking it today--maybe things are better now.
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Old 03-17-2006, 01:01 PM   #17
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Dometic flue problem?

The unit was not cooling this morning when I checked it. The trailer was full of exhaust fumes, though. Could a blocked flue be the problem? How in the world do you clean it?
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Old 03-17-2006, 06:40 PM   #18
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Blocked Flue

You could have an animal building a nest for example in the top of the vent flue. A blower will clear the top of debris. Clearly if the vent is not open, good air flow won't happen.

Steve
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Old 03-17-2006, 06:58 PM   #19
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Blocked flue

Vince,

A blocked flue would most definitely contribute to your situation, as a rusty spiral baffle found in the flue tube. You might have to remove the unit from it's place in the T/T (depending whether the top of the tube is accessible) and remove the blockage and scrub it out with a flue brush. Remove the baffle first. It hangs on the end of a precisely measured wire attached at the top of the tube.

Remove all rust (remove or cover your burner assembly to keep it clean) and then re-assemble. That should do it!
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Brach
The exasperating thing about my Dometic's failure to cool is that there is no telltale ammonia smell, the heating unit above the flame is warm/hot to the touch, and the flame at the orifice appears to be vigorous. A bubble level resting on the freezer shelf shows the bubble dead inside the circle.

I turned the whole thing off for a week and fired it up again yesterday afternoon. I'll be checking it today--maybe things are better now.
My flame looked good too, even had a mobile rv tech tell me my flame looked fine and that since it worked on AC power that I needed to replace the fridge. But after checking prices I just had to find another solution before I was going to part with $800.
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Old 03-17-2006, 09:55 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by 65glbtrotter
My flame looked good too, even had a mobile rv tech tell me my flame looked fine and that since it worked on AC power that I needed to replace the fridge. But after checking prices I just had to find another solution before I was going to part with $800.
It's amazing,

After looking at so many absorptive cooling units, aside from the 'magic' that goes on inside the tubes (I can explain it in detail if anyone is interested ), the heating system is really a lot simpler than a water heater or furnace. Either you are using a 120VAC heating element to warm the coolant, or you put a flame to it to do the same. If the unit works on one, there isn't a whole lot of stuff in between to get it to work on the other mode. The most complex part (coolant and tubing) is the part you never touch!

If the electric is working AND cooling, there are only a few pieces to the propane puzzle (now I'm a poet!). Pilot or igniter board, gas valve, maybe a thermocouple (depends on the age of the unit) burner tube, burner orifice, burner, flue tube and baffle. Oh, spark electrode if it's a DSI model. That's about it. (Did I forget anything???)

Check all of these things starting at one end of the supply chain and ending at the other. If everything is within spec......it should work! If you find something is not clean (burner, burner tube, flue, orifice), operating reliably (gas valve, thermocouple, igniter board), then you have probably found the source of the problem.

Hope this helps. It's the method I use to trouble shoot problems like these.
OH, and don't forget a reliable 12VDC source and the proper working pressure for the propane measured AT the gas valve (11" water guage).

I'lll get off the soap box now .
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Old 03-21-2006, 08:47 PM   #22
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Trying the propane fridge again

Andy from Midland RV said something on another thread that got me thinking--the flame should be making a roaring noise. Mine wasn't, so I took the whole burner apart, cleaned it, ran an orifice-cleaning wire through the orifice, blew it out, and reassembled it. The propane flame now roars and has a better color--bright blue! The box above the flame is also getting much hotter. I couldn't stick around to see whether this does the trick, but I'll check tomorrow.

I think the gassy smell inside my trailer may have been the range pilot. I turned off the gas at the little cutoff valve under the range top--let's see if this helps with the exhaust/gassy smell.
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Old 03-22-2006, 07:43 PM   #23
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Success! It works again!

Cleaning the burner and especially its orifice did the trick! My Dometic is now nicely cooled down. I sure hope all my "fixes" are this cheap.

Next stop: trying to get the cussed step light switch to work.
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Old 03-22-2006, 09:48 PM   #24
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Vince, does the refer cool when you turn off the gas flame and revert to the electric heater? If so, that would indicate the refrigeration cycle is OK, and the problem is in the burner/heater area.
If it doesn't work, you may have suffered an ammonia leak, and this is serious stuff, as we all know.
(This may not set well with the webmaster)
I once owned a VW westfalia camper with a combination 12V/220V/gas refrig. It quit working on all three sources of heat. I remember that the manufacturer's advice was to remove the fridge from the camper, and carefully rotate it upside down, because it had formed a bubble of gas somewhere in the piping. I tried this and by golly, it worked. That fridge was still cooling five years later when I sold the camper. I don't think this would be practical with a large fridge.
Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Oh, and the bubble level on the freezer shelf is a cool idea. It works.
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Old 03-23-2006, 03:06 AM   #25
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Well all -

Seems to me that on my admitedly limited trips that if the fridge is within, say 5% or max 8.5 or 9% level - the fridge functions. My experience. Your mileage may vary!!!!

Just keep that baby as level as you can (realisticially) and then go get those 'tiny' levels that Sears makes ( line levels (2)) and use them as your final say so or say NO.

Getting that 'just so' setting can become quite a challenge. All hats off to you forgetting a spot to produce a level trailer - quite a chore at some praticular parks. Patience is required - there is NO doubt about that.

With these Sears levels you can determain the level within a degree or two - BOTH ways so there can be NO quibble about if it is or it isn't. How's that for definative! They can and are a HUGE help when setting up the trailer for habitiation. They , in fact, can make all the difference of the world...

There are so many elements that go into a positive camping experience. WE just hope that they all come together for you and yours!

Ciao

Axel
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Old 03-23-2006, 06:03 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herrgirdner
Vince, does the refer cool when you turn off the gas flame and revert to the electric heater? If so, that would indicate the refrigeration cycle is OK, and the problem is in the burner/heater area.
If it doesn't work, you may have suffered an ammonia leak, and this is serious stuff, as we all know.
(This may not set well with the webmaster)
I once owned a VW westfalia camper with a combination 12V/220V/gas refrig. It quit working on all three sources of heat. I remember that the manufacturer's advice was to remove the fridge from the camper, and carefully rotate it upside down, because it had formed a bubble of gas somewhere in the piping. I tried this and by golly, it worked. That fridge was still cooling five years later when I sold the camper. I don't think this would be practical with a large fridge.
Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Oh, and the bubble level on the freezer shelf is a cool idea. It works.
I would be surprised if there were an ammonia leak in my Dometic--ammonia has a pretty distinctive smell. Besides, the unit is 15 years old--don't you think it would have leaked out by now?

Unfortunately, I can't test the electric option on my fridge at the moment, because where I have it parked has no electricity available (but it's only $25/mo.!). I plan to rent a construction-site "bad boy" 4k generator as soon as it warms up a little so that I can test the electric stuff, including the Armstrong A/C.
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Old 03-23-2006, 07:42 AM   #27
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Success

WAY TO GO VINCE!!!!!
We'rs proud of ya! We'll make an RV tech out of you yet !

PS: An ammonia leak is very noticeable. The smell for one, but it is usually associated with a distinctive yellow powder that can be found at the leak source. That is the zinc chromate used as an anti corrosive mixed in with the coolant.
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Old 04-20-2006, 05:52 PM   #28
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More Dometic problems

Well, I thought I had everything under control, but . . . poor cooling below the freezer! I can't get the refrigerator portion below 60F on propane, no matter how low I set the thermostat. The right-hand evaporator pipe leading in to the cooling fins inside the refrigerator has ice on it, but the other side is no cooler than 60F. The freezer works fine. What could the problem be NOW?
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