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Old 05-08-2014, 02:08 PM   #1
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1966 30' Sovereign
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Fridge!!

Hello fellow Pilgrims!
I am not sure if this posting is in the right section so apologies if not.
I am having trouble with my Fridge. Forgive my stupidity but all I know is that it is an Electrolux one. It looks in amazing condition, but there is something wrong with it i can't identify!!
I can get the pilot light working, but when I try to ignite the burner (i changed the flint in the stick thing you turn and there are sparks but that is all) nothing happens. I wait for a "poof" but sadly no "poof"
When I plug it into the gennie, the gennie surges but the fridge still doesn't work.
Please don't tell me to get another one because I can't afford it and I will put my fingers in my ears and go "la la la la"
Any suggestions?
Thanks so much.
Emma
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:15 PM   #2
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If the generator shows some load ("surges" as you put it) when you turn the refrigerator to electric operation, it may work in electric mode. Ammonia absorption fridges take hours to cool down, and are essentially silent in operation so you may need to be patient to determine whether it works or not.

I'm only familiar with Dometic fridges from a hands-on point of view, but there is only 1 flame in an old Dometic... so the "pilot" may be the only flame you get, and if the fridge is warm to start with, it should light in the "high" flame mode so you wouldn't see any difference until the fridge got as cold as it thought it should be (assuming the chiller section is working.)

You should definitely test it over a longer period before you think of replacing it... the 39-year-old Dometic in my Argosy works as well as it ever did.

By the way: I've moved your thread to the Refrigerators sub-forum.
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:32 PM   #3
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Well, I don't have any experience with your particular fridge, but it should work like other RV models.

The electrical system causes a little heating element to heat up. You should be able to follow the wires in the back of your fridge to see where the heating element is. Turn it on in electrical mode, and wait for an hour or so. Check the area where the heating element is installed and see if it is getting hot. If it is, then your electric heater is doing its job. If it is not getting hot, then your heating element is probably shot. These are replaceable for around $50 or so. If it is getting hot, then make sure the fridge is level, and let it go for a good 12 hours or so. Put a thermometer inside so that you can really see if it is getting colder. IF it isn't getting cold, then you may have a leaking coil--see below.

Now to troubleshoot the gas system. You say that you have the pilot light lit, but you are trying to ignite some gas using the little flint striker, right? Well, my guess is that the flint striker is there to get the pilot light lit. Once the pilot light is lit, the thermostat in the fridge ought to be opening up the valve to make the fire that heats the system up. If this isn't happening, then either your thermostat is not doing its job, or perhaps there is some safety feature keeping it from happening. You might be able to "jump" the thermostat to get the gas to flow to the burner--this would at least allow you to test the fridge's ability to get cold.

The safety feature I am thinking of may be a pressure switch that only allows the system to fire up only if there is the right pressure of ammonia gas in the system. If your gas has all leaked out, then neither your electrical nor gas mechanisms are going to do anything. You may need a new coil. You ought to be able, again by following the wires in the back of the unit, to determine if such a pressure switch is present.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:25 PM   #4
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If your refer is a 2 way. Meaning electric and gas. There should be a knob or switch to set it to one or the other.
There is no pilot. Only a modulating burner. Controlled by a thermostat (temperature setting device) which usually has numbers to indicate the temp setting. Higher numbers mean colder temps. There are separate thermostats for gas and electric. Obviously you must be connected to shore power or generator for it to work on electric.
The refer must be level or very close. Check it by putting a level on the floor of the freezer.
Depending on the ambient temp, it could take hours 8 to 24 for the unit to cool. Longer if it is empty.
If you have not lost the ammonia charge and it still won't cool with the burner on. It may need to be burped. Turned upside down.
Post some pics of the controls on the refer.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:46 PM   #5
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My history lesson for the day

I just found out from a search that pointed me to a company history webpage at Dometic that Electrolux established the Dometic Corporation of the US in 1968... so you really are dealing with the same kind of critter.
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:34 PM   #6
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1966 30' Sovereign
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OH MY GOSH!!
Thank you so much everyone that is really so incredibly helpful.
Yes I definitely see now that the flint/stick thing (the technical term for it lol) is just to light the pilot.
I now have hope that the fridge is fixable!
The oven isn't because I managed to drop it when I was getting it out of Lucy Diamonds (my Airstream) which serves me right for biting off more than i can chew!
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