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Old 09-17-2016, 12:03 AM   #1
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Help! Domestic refrigerator not cooling.

We are getting ready for a 16 day trip and after plugging in the AS and starting the refrigerator it stopped cooling after the first 24 hours. The first morning after starting the refrigerator it showed 32 deg so I dropped the setting from 5 to 3. All the while this is going on I installed a fan at the top of the vent with a 130 deg thermostat switch on the second tube. I also installed an internal circulation fan clipped to the refrigerator condenser fins. This morning the refrigerator temp was 40 and it climed during the day to 55. The freezer is minus 2 deg. The ambient temp was 73. Late this afternoon I switched to propane and the temp started to drop about one deg an hour. We are scheduled to leave in the AM. Is there anything that I can do if the temp isn't 40 or lower in the morning?
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Old 09-17-2016, 06:47 AM   #2
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I'm assuming priorities in this order:
1. Save the trip.
2. Fix the fridge.

If the fridge runs properly on propane, run on propane for your upcoming trip. If it does not, you can always use an ice chest and pretend you're tent camping.

When you have a day or so to troubleshoot the problem, see if the fridge will run on electric. A heating element failure would explain the symptoms you described. If you have access to the wires at the back of the fridge, disconnect the heating element and measure ohms across the two wires. There should be some resistance, but not a lot, if the element is good and infinity if it has burned out.

If the heating element checks good, there are thermostat issues possible that are beyond my knowledge and experience.

Best of luck.
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Old 09-17-2016, 07:33 AM   #3
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What happens when you put the setting back to 5 and using electricity?

Adding the fans which are 12v shouldn't have caused the 110v issue but its always advisable to turn of the power when performing any electrical work behind the fridge. I'm assuming you ran and power lead from the internal fan through the fridge's thermistor access hole and connected both fans power to the plastic 12v block at the base of the fridge accessible from the lower vent.

How long ago did you run the fridge on 110v and was it working correctly? My fridge when set to 3 seems to top out at 40 deg F and if the day is warm it will climb but not to over 50F.

Here is a youTube video showing replacement of the heating element. There is a fuse in the motherboard that may be blown too.

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Old 09-17-2016, 07:38 AM   #4
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You were doing some work in that area recently, right?

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It's Always Connectors.
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Old 09-17-2016, 08:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
What happens when you put the setting back to 5 and using electricity?

Adding the fans which are 12v shouldn't have caused the 110v issue but its always advisable to turn of the power when performing any electrical work behind the fridge. I'm assuming you ran and power lead from the internal fan through the fridge's thermistor access hole and connected both fans power to the plastic 12v block at the base of the fridge accessible from the lower vent.

How long ago did you run the fridge on 110v and was it working correctly? My fridge when set to 3 seems to top out at 40 deg F and if the day is warm it will climb but not to over 50F.

Here is a youTube video showing replacement of the heating element. There is a fuse in the motherboard that may be blown too.

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Old 09-17-2016, 08:06 AM   #6
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Does it make any difference where the internal fans are located? I have mine on the right side near where the thermostat is clipped to the fins thinking (thinking is where I probably went wrong) that the fans would draw the cold air from near the thermostat where it would be reading the average temp of the whole refrigerator.
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Old 09-17-2016, 09:05 AM   #7
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I think the fridge's temperature sensor is clipped onto the fins somewhere. Did that get disturbed in any way? Probably would affect the fridge the same on AC and propane, but thought I'd ask.

If the freezer is below 0, the system would seem to be working correctly. I wonder if the internal fan on the (you said condenser, but isn't that the evaporator?) hasn't thrown everything out of whack. Try taking that off.


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Old 09-17-2016, 03:12 PM   #8
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I'd check to see if the fans are somehow back feeding the light bulb or the bulb is stuck on and adding heat to the fridge. It sounds like the freezer compartment is OK but the food box has too much heat. Also is the fridge level? Could the new inside fan motor be adding heat to the box? Door gasket not sealing? The cooling unit is partially working and it's hard to track down the thing that's a little out of wack. Something is not quite right and if the problem started right after you made some change odds are good that what you did threw the system out of balance.
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Old 09-17-2016, 03:15 PM   #9
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This worked for us...

Assuming your fan is not coming on in the back of the fridge, like ours didn't, you can prop open the exterior vent doors. We initially used a stick then upgraded to a piece of PVC pipe. May not be high tech ultimate fix but does lower the temperature.
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Old 09-17-2016, 05:56 PM   #10
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From other discussion threads related to refrigerator problems, the most likely causes (not already addressed in this thread) are:
  • Light stays on when refrigerator door is closed, due to door misalignment. (Light puts out a lot of heat.)

  • Door gaskets do not seal properly, due to door misalignment or damaged gasket.

  • Clogged propane-burner/electric-heater flue.

  • Clogged burner orifice.

  • Low propane regulator pressure.
Also, as others have questioned, did you wire the new fan that you added, in parallel to the refrigerator compartment light, and wire the light and fan to run continuously? If the light is on all the time, that would heat up the refrigerator compartment.
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Old 09-17-2016, 06:16 PM   #11
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The thermistor sensor should be on the last fin closest to the wall. The higher up on the fin the longer the cooling will take place. I've got one of those evaporator fans and I have it located in the middle of the evaporator fins. Since the fridge seems to work OK on propane the heating element may not be getting hot enough. The flue should be hot to touch, not enough to burn you. Unplug shore power, turn battery disconnect to Store. Pop the circuit board cover, inspect the fuse, pull the leads for the heating element and test the Ohms.

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Old 09-17-2016, 08:35 PM   #12
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Ok, from all suggestions: We are on the road and camped for the night. Refrigerator at 42 deg. Light turns off when door closes, turned internal fan off, but back to 110 with auto function on. My thermostat is on the last fin to the left at the highest point so we shall see in the morning if we have a box of spoiled food or a functioning refrigerator.
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
From other discussion threads related to refrigerator problems, the most likely causes (not already addressed in this thread) are:
  • Light stays on when refrigerator door is closed, due to door misalignment. (Light puts out a lot of heat.)

  • Door gaskets do not seal properly, due to door misalignment or damaged gasket.

  • Clogged propane-burner/electric-heater flue.

  • Clogged burner orifice.

  • Low propane regulator pressure.
Also, as others have questioned, did you wire the new fan that you added, in parallel to the refrigerator compartment light, and wire the light and fan to run continuously? If the light is on all the time, that would heat up the refrigerator compartment.
Light goes off according to door switch.
All other points appear to be negative.
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:54 AM   #14
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This morning temp display shows 42 degrees, but using the infrared temp probe it is reading international temperature of 37 degrees so all is well. Panic over, thank you all for responding and helping.
Steve & Patsy
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