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Old 09-07-2015, 08:49 AM   #1
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High altitude Dometic fridge problems

I am out elk hunting in Colorado at 9,000 elevation.
Dometic fridge (about 3 years old) is trying to run on propane but is struggling particularly at night when temps are near freezing.
It tries to light multiple times--click poof, click proof, ect. about half the time it checks out. When it does run the flame sound is loud and irregular.
I recently replaced my regulator and the new one probably needs adjusting to 11 lbs as the fridge ran barely with my old regulator. Next week, I will borrow a gage from the propane company and adjust it.
The flue and burner was recently serviced.
Another rig in the same campground with a newer Dometic fridge is worse off than I am as their fridge doesn't run at all.
My question is, has Dometic come up with a fix for this? Their product is obviously defective
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:53 AM   #2
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High altitude Dometic fridge problems

I remember reading something about adjusting the burner - the tube slides to achieve optimal flame.
We live at 9,000 feet and our Dometic works great.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:04 AM   #3
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From the Dometic manual,

"OPERATING REFRIGERATOR AT HIGH
ALTITUDE
All gas appliances experience lowered efficiency (or rat- ing) at high altitude This is a direct result of lower atmos- pheric pressure and oxygen levels, and is not a defect of the refrigerator.
Reduced cooling performance and burner outage may occur at altitudes higher than 5500 feet above sea level (while operating on LP gas). Always operate refrigerator on electric power at altitudes higher than 5500 feet."

Contact info,

DOMETIC CORPORATION 2320 Industrial Parkway Elkhart, IN 46516 Phone: 574-294-2511
Fax: 574-389-3975 25
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:23 AM   #4
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We have boondocked above 10,000' without a problem. Heating and refrigerator cooling are less efficient but not unworkable.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:28 AM   #5
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Operate on electric above 5,500 feet--great what a useful appliance! I guess I can get by running the fridge on generator power for 4 or 5 hours a day but it won't keep ice frozen. Warm cocktails for us.
My old Dometic had an adjustment for altitude but it burned out after 9 years. Current one is the new and improved model?
Newer motorhomes have a residential all electric refrigerators.
I guess products are not designed for boondocking. I had to modify my Airstream to be comfortable for being off the grid.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:48 AM   #6
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Sorry to pile on, but it's just another reason to dump the 100 ear old technology of a gas/absorption fridge for a marine unit with a Danfoss compressor.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:45 AM   #7
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Lewster, how difficult is the fridge change-out to a marine unit? I have burned through 2 Dometic control boards in 2 years and have no confidence in this product.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:52 AM   #8
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Fridge on propane at altitude.

My suggestion would be to crank the regulator up a full turn or two, and watch/listen to your flame until you get it right.

According to my trailer guru, they are having serious problems with all the newer refrigerators not working at higher altitudes and so far there is not a new orifice or burner with orifice manufactured for high altitude to fix the problem. He stated that all that can be done at present is to adjust the propane regulator.

I was having this problem with my water heater at 7,200 feet, but they do make a high altitude burner with orifice for it. I replaced the old with the new and it works fine. My fridge has worked, although a time or two it took a bit of restarting. I cranked up the propane regulator 1 full turn and this past weekend, at altitude, it didn't have any problem lighting or running.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:15 PM   #9
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I live in the Rockies at 8,000'. Most gas cooktops won't run at this altitude. We have a Wolf cooktop that's specifically made to run up here, and sometimes even it struggles to light. I assume anything running off gas would struggle.
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seecue View Post
Lewster, how difficult is the fridge change-out to a marine unit? I have burned through 2 Dometic control boards in 2 years and have no confidence in this product.

Not difficult at all. You need to find a unit that will closely fit your existing fridge opening. Your existing 12VDC power line is usually quite adequate for the 4-5 amp load from the compressor. 3/8" flair plug on the LP line and you're ready to go.

The big question is the size of your battery bank. If you have solar, it's usually a great fit. These units quote maximum amp draw with most single compressor units in the 4-5 amp range. But this is at 100% duty cycle.

With good rear ventilation, you typically see 40-50% of the quoted draw over a day, so you can expect to see a daily draw of 50-60 amp/hours from your batteries over a 24 hour period.


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Old 09-07-2015, 12:32 PM   #11
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Lew,

Your first post got me interested, at least for when, not if, I have to replace my 2001 Dometic 2652. Looking at a Marine unit I came up with about the same numbers you did, i.e. 46-50 Ah/day. When I throw that into my solar electric budget, it doubles my consumption. So I'm thinking I would need 400-500 watts of panels to allow for a couple days of poor solar. Is that a reasonable estimate? The rest of my budget for furnace, lighting, etc was about the same, 45 Ah or so per day.

Thanks,

Al
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:56 PM   #12
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I don't operate at full efficiency at 9000 ft either. Sometimes I sputter and wheeze.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:09 PM   #13
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At 9,000 ft, why not dig a hole and set refrigerator contents inside and not use the fridge at all?? It's cold enough. LOL

Tom
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handn View Post
I am out elk hunting in Colorado at 9,000 elevation.
Dometic fridge (about 3 years old) is trying to run on propane but is struggling particularly at night when temps are near freezing.
It tries to light multiple times--click poof, click proof, ect. about half the time it checks out. When it does run the flame sound is loud and irregular.
I recently replaced my regulator and the new one probably needs adjusting to 11 lbs as the fridge ran barely with my old regulator. Next week, I will borrow a gage from the propane company and adjust it.
The flue and burner was recently serviced.
Another rig in the same campground with a newer Dometic fridge is worse off than I am as their fridge doesn't run at all.
My question is, has Dometic come up with a fix for this? Their product is obviously defective
The higher altitude, the less the oxygen.

You can sqafely increase the LPG to 13 PSI.

You may also need to clean the reefer burner orifice, just make sure there is no restriction.

DO NOT attempt to increase the burner orifice size.

Andy
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