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Old 11-08-2015, 12:19 PM   #1
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gas/electric fridge operation

I hope I'm posting in the right place. I tried searching but I really don't even know what to search for. We just got a 1984 International 34'. It has the original fridge. We haven't filled the tanks and checked to see if it works off the gas but we cant get it to do anything when its all plugged in. The light comes on when you open it but it doesn't seem to be kicking on. I'm assuming it works since the po lived in it on and off through the year. Wed ask him but the reason we have it is he died and his family knows nothing about it. Any idea on what to check? Our 66 is all electric with new appliances so this switching system is all new to us. Thanks for any links or suggestions yall can throw at me.


Tiffany
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Old 11-08-2015, 12:51 PM   #2
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Look for a fuse issue that keeps the electric heating element from heating. Either at the fuse panel or (my current rig) outside hatch access.
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Old 11-08-2015, 12:59 PM   #3
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Thanks. I know all the breakers are good but I'll get him to check the fuses too. Its so different and so much bigger than our old one its overwhelming.
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Old 11-08-2015, 02:39 PM   #4
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All fuses also good. Power to the compressor but nothing is happening. Also the hot water heater isn't switching/working on electric mode. Is there a switch or relay for that switching system? I'm not having much luck finding info on that system.
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Old 11-08-2015, 02:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DandTPerez View Post
All fuses also good. Power to the compressor but nothing is happening. Also the hot water heater isn't switching/working on electric mode. Is there a switch or relay for that switching system? I'm not having much luck finding info on that system.
Your "power to the compressor" comment may be part of the problem... the wrong sort of expectation. It doesn't have a compressor, won't make ANY sound and it'll take hours for an absorption fridge to start to cool much on electricity. The first place you'll feel if it's actually working will be in the the floor of the freezer compartment, that should get cold first but it might take an hour in operation before you'd feel a big difference.

One trouble-shooting step is to check to see if the heating element is working... the refrigerant line coming out of the heating chamber will be HOT (as in burn-your-fingers hot) when it's in operation.

Is your 12v system working right? Newer fridges require 12v all the time for the control board. The heating element would be energized through one of your 120v breakers, but the control board would need 12v through your fuse or 12v breaker panel (depending on which your system uses.)
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Old 11-08-2015, 03:30 PM   #6
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Yea I've been doing a lot of reading since posting. Some Sunday edumacation (intentionally misspelt). Considering I'm not the one actually fooling with it I'm slowing figuring out what is going on. I have all the specs to check the dc and the ac heating elements. But what he is saying is that it keeps kicking it to gas mode on the inside operation thing. And when the gas isn't there to ignite and start the gas system it throws a red light. If the heating element is bad would it kick it to gas mode? All the rest of the 12v system works. Its the kicking it back to gas mode that makes him think the electric isn't working. That and it was plugged in since yesterday at noon and isn't cool now.

And I'm guessing its the original fridge. Nothing looks to be new or changed out. I could be wrong. So its a 1984 as far as I know. I just sent him out to get the model and info.

Its also plugged into an extension cord, the whole camper. Like a 50 ft one. We cant get it closer to our house because its too big.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:40 PM   #7
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For just operating the fridge, the extension cord shouldn't be a problem as long as it's good. In general when it's in Auto mode and has 120v power, the fridge shouldn't try to light the gas. I don't know if the control board can detect an open heating element or not, someone with more technical experience with newer ones may be able to answer that question... mine's old-school, no control board.

Make certain the fridge's 120v cord is plugged in and that outlet has power... often the outlet is inconveniently located but you should be able to see or at least feel it from the exterior refrigerator compartment door. What you describe sounds like it's not getting 120v to the fridge to me, but again I don't know whether or not it can detect an open circuit on the heating element, though I suspect it cannot.
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:51 PM   #8
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Thanks I'll try to find something on testing the control board. The outlet is good and its plugged in. Waiting for the misting rain to stop and we are gonna go out and check some more on it. It keeps wanting us to go through the steps to light the gas system because its not detecting electricity I guess. But you can hear the igniter click when you try it. So at least 12v power is getting to it ( I guess from the converter).


This is all new to us. We have only ever had a 66 that's all electric and a shore power only type deal.
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Old 11-09-2015, 10:03 PM   #9
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What type of Frig? My guess is you are having the same problem I had a few weeks ago. Bad heating element and a blown 5amp fuse in the Black box on the back of the Frig. That wasn't my only problem my cooling unit is bad. Check for yellow powdery substance around your vent pipe on the right side when your looking at the back of the frig from the outside. It's my understanding that is a sign that the gases have leaked out of the cooling unit.

Good luck

Rick
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:29 AM   #10
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It's a domestic model rm-1303. We found the manual for it and he's gonna start checking stuff. I'll be sure to look for that powder. The camper had no smell when we got it but it's been empty for over a year. I'm hoping it's a fuse on that control panel stopping it from working right. Or even a heating element. All of those are cheap to fix. Thanks for the advice. I'll update with any progress.
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Old 11-10-2015, 07:11 AM   #11
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You probably already know this but it hasnt been mentioned. on your contols on the front of the fridge there is a button that has two positions. One position is for "auto" and the other is for "gas". It needs to be set to auto for it to run on electric. When set on auto, if it detects 120v (plugged in to shore power) it wil automatically run on electric. When set on the gas mode it will run on propane regardless if you are plugged in to shore power or not. There should be a label on the bottom of the inside of the fridge that tellls you which position for the two different settings. It will not run on electric unless you you have the switch in the auto setting.
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