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Old 08-24-2003, 04:56 AM   #1
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Unhappy reefer repair

I just scored an old dometic reefer that I can get to run on electricity just great. Reefer and freezer temps are perfect. Running the thing on gas just doesn't get it.

Problem #1 - I can't get the darn thing to stay lit. Every time I let off the red button, the flame goes out. So I guess I need a thermo coupler. I made a few calls and found out that that particular model uses a no longer available 18" thermocoupler, but I can use a 24" one that I have a PN for. I can solve that problem.

Problem #2 - I can use a screwdriver to bypass the thermocoupler and keep the thing lit. I know its dangerous bypassing the built in safety, but I wanted to find out if it'll cool with the propane lit before I buy a thermocoupler. It doesn't.

Any ideas? They would be much appreciated.
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Old 08-24-2003, 05:12 AM   #2
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Stan I learned of this trick years ago ,take the thermocoupler off inspect it for damage ie cracked ,end off ect....., if it looks fine ,clean it,then take the ends of it and rub it on your nose.......now I know what your thinking ........is this guy nuts ......NO im not. Then reassemble it and give it try.I have had this work for me more than once ,I think it has something do with the small amount of oil on your nose .If it does not work I dont think the diff between an 18" and 24" will effect its performance .I hope this helps Tom
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Old 08-24-2003, 05:18 AM   #3
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Yeah, you are nuts. However, since I have been known to listen to the voices, as soon as I get back from church I'll give it a try. Should my nose be runny or dry?

BTW, the difference in the 18" and 24" thermocoupler had nothing to with performance. The salesman said that it could be used in place of the 18", which is no longer available.
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Old 08-24-2003, 05:31 AM   #4
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ummmmm ......dry ..... works best for me
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Old 08-24-2003, 07:27 AM   #5
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thermocouple

Wait till your up in the mountians anf have to change one and find oit that it does not fit the pilot burner end and you have to use copper wire to hold it in place.
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Old 08-24-2003, 08:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Problem #2 - I can use a screwdriver to bypass the thermocoupler and keep the thing lit. I know its dangerous bypassing the built in safety, but I wanted to find out if it'll cool with the propane lit before I buy a thermocoupler. It doesn't.
I don't know how you can "bypass" a thermocouple with a screwdriver. A thermocouple, when hot, generates a very small electrical current that keeps the gas valve open inside the control. Shorting with a screwdriver will not accomplish a thing. Do you perhaps mean that you can use the screwdriver to jam the button on the controller in the depressed state? That is the only use for a screwdriver I can imagine.

Simply put. If it cools on 120v, it will cool on gas if you can keep the burner lit. The effect of the gas flame and the 120v heating element are identical. A new thermocouple of any length that will reach the pilot flame is the fix in 99% of cases. Very seldom does a gas control fail.
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Old 08-24-2003, 11:52 AM   #7
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John, you are right. The screwdriver, properly placed, will exert pressure on the red button to keep it held in. Bypass was the wrong word to use. I have the box cold right now, as it has been running on electidity overnight. I feel kinda silly, but I'm going to see if my nose will fix the problem. I'm out to remove the thermocoupler. Later.......
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Old 08-24-2003, 02:17 PM   #8
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OK, I'll try a picture. Notice above the red button covered up by the screwdriver, there is a wheel that you spin that is shafted to the rear of the reefer that turns a wheel against a flint to light the reefer off. I thought is was kinda neat!
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Old 08-24-2003, 02:21 PM   #9
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Yea! It worked. Now for the flame and thermocoupler. BTW, Tom, My neighbor saw me scratching my nose with the thermocoupler. I think he's still laughing at me and that was over an hour ago.

Question. Should I attempt to bend the coupler lower so that it will be in a hotter point of the flame? When I remove the screwdriver the flame goes out. Still don't know if this will cool on LPG.
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Old 08-24-2003, 02:42 PM   #10
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I hope this one comes out better. Now I know why my wife thinks I'm a lousy photographer!
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Old 08-24-2003, 06:13 PM   #11
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From the in focus picture it looks like the thermo couple is in the right spot. Be glad you unit is new enough to have a thermocouple. Older ones have a klixon valve and bimetal disk, their parts are NLA, so when the gas valve goes it is time for a new refer.

Even with the nose scratching it may be a worn out thermocouple. The nose scratching works if there is a lack of currnet that is being produced flowing to the safety valve. If the replacement thermocouple does not do the trick then the saftey valve is next. Hope it is not the saftey valve because on a newer unit thay run close to 60 bucks, I cannot imagine what one will run for yours.
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Old 08-25-2003, 04:01 AM   #12
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Last night I bent down the couple so the tip was in the hottest part of the flame. After that, I was able to remove the screwdriver and the flame stayed lit. So Tom, maybe there is something to be said for nose scratchin' after all. This morning I had 36F in the box and 15F in the freezer. I don't know why I had the original problem of it not cooling on gas. Oh well, as long as it works, I'm not going to complain. Thanks for all you help.
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Old 08-25-2003, 04:11 AM   #13
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My guess on why it would not cool on gas with the safety valve bypassed is that the thremostat was not part of the loop.

The size of flame or heat output is reglated by the thermostat, the flame will get bigger, or hotter when the demand for cooling is made. Once the temp is reached then it will dial back the gas to a lower pilot level. This pilot level is not a sufficent amount of heat to actually cool the refer. The pilot level is also normally the mode the unit is in with the saftey valve bypassed or the red button pushed in to light.
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Old 08-28-2003, 07:59 PM   #14
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Brett, let me get this right. If I run the gas thermostat to max, I should get a higher flame than if I were to set it at say, 4. If I run the thermostat up and down, I should see the flame respond accordingly? I'll try that over the weekend. I'm going to try to use it on propane over the holiday. I'll let you know what happens. C-ya on Tuesday!!
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