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Old 03-06-2006, 08:45 PM   #1
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Replacing Dometic with 110V

I've had issues with my Dometic for the last year. It randomly cuts off and does not respond to the "On" button, the coldest the temperature has gotten was 55F, and cycles between slightly colder and warmer, and I hear this "click-click-click" coming from under it.

Now it has completely died over a few days ago, even the freezer has assumed room temperature, with no sign of improvement. All my food is ruined again. <sigh>

I've read every post here on the subject and don't even know where to start troubleshooting this evil thing - is it the circuit control board? The cooling unit? The thermostat? The heating rod? Cleaning the gas burner? Nor do I know how to access any of this stuff since none of the posts described how to. It's not obvious to me at all.
I know that if I get someone to look at it, it will probably end up costing 1/2 of what a new one will cost... so .... not cost-effective.

Anyway, judging by the posts here Dometic is an expensive, troublesome, high maintenance item and that, in conjuction with the fact that I won't keep my unit much longer, and that I don't really need a 2-way unit, makes me wonder what normal household type fridge I can get that will fit neatly into same space. Suggestions? I have to make a decision, soon.

Or, are there any real alternatives, such as Norcold which won't be troublesome? I see they go on ebay for around $600, new. That's not a bad deal, it seems, if I can pick it up. FWIW, I am not concerned about depreciating the value of the A/S.
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Old 03-06-2006, 08:55 PM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
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A couple of things to consider:
A "dorm fridge" is about the same size as a small Dometic, or you could find an apartment-sized fridge roughly the same size as your current fridge for around $300-500 new. Another choice would be a used one from a salvage yard, it would cost 1/3-1/2 of the price of a new one, and aren't that hard to install.
The other thing to consider is if you are going to get rid of your coach, a 110v only unit will seriously detract from the resale value, unless you luck into finding a buyer that is planning to buy it and park it.
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Old 03-06-2006, 08:59 PM   #3
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If you want to find the things that are discussed in the posts that you found you will need to look from the back of the fridge.
If you are planning on selling the trailer soon I would not sell it with a residential fridge.
I have passed on trailers with ill-fitting resid. fridges in them. They are not designed to be bumped down the road all the time like an RV fridge.
These fridges last for a long time with the proper preventive maintenance. The biggest enemy of them is that the main components of operation are exposed to drastic changes in temp and humidity their entire lives. In the fall, when I winterize my trailer, I cover the outside vent with a plastic garbage bag and I plug up the top vent. This cuts WAY down in the elements getting to the, uh, elements.
I also use the shop vac in the back of the fridge each time I clean the trailer. I make sure it does not get all sorts of weird crap.
There is also a good depiction of how to maintain the components on and in your fridge on a website I found. I saved the info but I do not have it on my laptop. I will dig it out for anyone who would like to have it. It gives a step-by-step procedure on cleaning your fridge and its components.
I would suggest you smoke over Ebay and any of the RV salvage places, like Colaw RV Salvage in MO. You can "google" that and find their website. It may even be posted on a thread here. I bought a used fridge from them back a long time ago.
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Old 03-06-2006, 09:12 PM   #4
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It's true. If I can get a nice used household unit for a few hundred, paying $400 more for a 2-way unit is a good idea. I don't anticipate using it but kind of neat to know that you can .
Depreciation though is a moot point, as it's not that bad with this 20 year old unit. It has already depreciated very steeply.

Anyway.... What are some alternatives to Dometic, other than Norcold? It seems a bit cheaper than Dometic. Quality issues?

Fixing this one would be best, but I don't know where to begin. Furthermore, I heard from the PO that they replaced the original Dometic with this one in 1995. So this further ups my level of skepticism...
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Old 03-06-2006, 09:20 PM   #5
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Hmm... Ours is a 1977, and still works well on LP and electric. You could go backwards a few years, and find a fridge without all the fancy electronics, as ours is, and it may be less money, too. I am a firm believer in the KISS principle. If it ain't there, it can't break. It's too bad you are so far away from us, as I have a perfectly serviceable unit in our garage, it is just fairly small.
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Old 03-06-2006, 09:52 PM   #6
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Ipso,

Too bad that you don't need a 1200LM Norcold, That's the big 4-door units that they use on the big MoHo's! I just got a great deal on one with a brand new cooling unit that has only been run on the test bench for a couple of hours. It's in perfect shape too.....complete with real oak paneled doors!

Anyway, back to reality and your bad unit. There are several things you can do to isolate the problem. If you send me the model and serial # of your unit I'll check on the manuals to see what components you have and where you should look. If you don't smell any heavy ammonia odors, chances are that the cooling unit is OK (barring a blockage of some sort in the cooler). The situation you described sounds like an electrical control problem....as in the 12VDC control voltage. If you have a meter, check at the back to be sure that you have 12VDC entering the control board. Then trace the 2 wires coming from the heating element and see what ohm reading you get (you have to unplug it from the control board for this test). Most good heating elements will read under 100 ohms.

The problem could be a combination of several things happening at once, but if the cooling unit is OK and the control features need work, you can save it without too much time and expense!

Get back to me after that and we can go several other places from there.
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Old 03-06-2006, 10:08 PM   #7
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My 1982 MH has a three way Dometic that purrs along on all three ways. When we went to the RV show a few weeks back a sure way to tell the quality and price of a specific brand trailer or motor home was the type of Refer they had. The cheap units all had Norcold and the better units all had Dometic.
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Old 03-06-2006, 11:15 PM   #8
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Ipso facto:

How much could having an easy to understand 110v fridge depreciate your trailer?

It would depreciate it only in the eyes of someone who really thought they needed LP and then, realistically, only by the cost of a replacement.

Seems like yours is shot now anyway.

I’m remodeling a 1976 Argosy and I’ve chosen to have a 110v fridge. My options might be more than yours are, size wise, because I’m starting anew.

A 110v fridge has the advantage of lower initial cost, lower replacement cost, not having to be level and not taking all night to build up cold.

The 9 cubic foot LG model GR302 is well designed, light enough for me to pick up in a bear hug and about $500 Canadian dollars. It’ll be less in your country.

A contemporary fridge like an LG is just plug and play. You don’t have to worry about evaporators and chipboards and whether the flame is out.

Sergei
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Old 03-07-2006, 06:06 AM   #9
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Sergei, in his first post he mentioned not keeping his coach that much longer, implying he would be selling or trading it fairly soon.
Just throwing numbers up in the air, if he was going to look for, say $10,000 for his coach, he would probably be offered $6,000-$7,000 for it with the 110v fridge. This is because the potential purchaser doesn't know what other systems may have been cobbled together that they can't see, so he gets "lowballed". Obviously, if he is planning to keep his coach for many more years, or the new owner is going to permanently moor the coach somewhere, the LP part isn't that big of a deal.
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:09 AM   #10
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I agree that if resale value is a question, you need to go with a gas-capable model. I have looked at MANY A/S's, and there's no doubt that the electric fridge makes me wince. Maybe not quite 40%, but it makes me wince.

And FWIW, the original Norcold in my 1962 Avion T-20 works perfectly. I have no idea if their quality has changed in the past 44 years, though.

-Chuck
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:43 AM   #11
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Most everyone here is talking about supposed resale value despite ipso facto’s opening statement that

“I am not concerned about depreciating the value of the A/S”.

Ipso is also inumerating many of the experiences that are easy to have with a LP fridge:

“don’t even know where to start trouble shooting this evil thing”

“getting someone to look at it will probably end up costing 1/2 of what a new one will cost. … not cost effective”

“expensive, troublesome, high maintenance item”

In the real world a buyer will try to discount the purchase price of a trailer by the amount he/she will have to put into it.

In the alternative world, an electric only fridge can be a long lasting, low maintenance, trouble free option.


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Old 03-07-2006, 09:55 PM   #12
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lewster

It's Dometic RM2807. You got mail.

Last night I set it to gas and cold setting #4. Today when I got in (24 hours later), it was set on auto and on #3. So sometime it must have reset itself. The temp is 48F and that's the coldest it has gotten in the last few months, although it's beginning to form ice in the freezer. All that will probably last until tomorrow when it will assume room temperate. This device , coupled with my ignorance, is an exercise in frustration. I will dig out my voltmeter and see what I can troubleshoot in the back, although I have no idea where the contacts are.
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Old 10-15-2006, 10:09 PM   #13
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1986 32' Excella
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1986 Excella, 32' - FOR SALE ON EBAY, AUCTION # 160034864277

I bought the 32 foot Excella on Ebay Ipso has been posting about. I got it at a smoking price. The unit was as desribed though it needs some rehab. The seller even delievered it to Birmingham, Alabama. I would like Lewster's info on the fridge. I have all the manuals etc, but was suprised they were so primative. So Lewster if you catch this post send the fridge info on. The biggest immediate problem seems to be mold. The unit appears to have had the cold weather condensation problems mentioned in Ipso's other posts as well. I've been in the trailer this afternoon and will have the mold removed this week. That is my major concern now. I'm having some professional maids come in this week and take the curtains down for cleaning and sending the sofa and dinette out to be recovered as well. New Vinyl flooring and carpet will go in after that. I figure the mold is mostly due to the fact that it was closed up in Pennsylvannia during winter and brought to Maryland for the summer. It was put in upstate Virginia and never really dried out. I've opened the windows to air it out and let the dry southern air in to get at the mold. I'm hopeful that it is not in the walls. There remains a soft spot beneath the rear window. I haven't gotten to the bottom of that problem. I expect to put new subflooring down in the rear if there is no substantial leak in the rear. Could this be a leak from somewhere in the rear cap or from the rear window seals? If it is from the end cap do you seal it from the outside or inside? The Excella seems to be in good condition other than from being closed up and neglected. The wood cabinets seem to need oiling, as the wood looks really dry. I will keep you guys posted on my progress. I'm new to this forum and Airstreams so I'm still learning. I don't have a tow vehicle so I'm considering that issue too! Thanks for all the great info on my new purchase.
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:51 AM   #14
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We're in the process of replacing our Dometic two way with a 110 unit. I found one that will fit right in (no cutting of oak) and will be a joy to my wife who is not a Happy Camper with the Dometic. Have raised oak doors that have been a problem before and I made repairs. Now it does't seal good and the defrost problem is there all the time. Have talked to several buds who said when their's go it will be replaced with a 110 in a heart beat. Do the numbers $1400 vs $400? With no wood trimming if and when we sell the new owner has options. Why live with UnHappy Camper? We're fulltimers and have been for nine years. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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