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View Full Version : Norcold Frig problem lighting on Propane


AUPANNER
09-19-2020, 02:39 PM
Seeking advice from others that may have had s similar problem. 2017 Keystone RV Hideout 17'. Our Norcold frig works fine on shore power. Having terrible time starting and keeping lit the frig on propane.
This is a two person job - wife on inside holding in the propane valve, she can also hit the sparker to ignite the propane BUT I have found it easier if I am outside using a small propane torch held near the thermocouple. And here is where the problems begin. Wife presses in the propane switch and I hear the gas flow and then I light the portable gas torch and the burner lights and thermocouple starts to glow. when wife lets go of the propane switch the flame goes out. So after holding my portable gas torch to the thermocouple for about 10 + minutes wife lets go of the inside gas switch and the flame stay on.
So...
1. Is the thermocouple incorrect?
2. Is the thermocouple covered with soot?
3. Is the thermocouple set at the wrong distance from the flame orifices'?

Why can't the gas unit be placed so that you do not need one person inside holding the switch while another person is outside watching the flame to see if it stay ignited?

I have just watched 6 YouTube clips on trouble shooting the Norcold frig but none of them hits the problem we have.

Suggestions??:ermm:

Javi
09-19-2020, 03:39 PM
Been using and working on RV's since the early 80's and I've never seen an RV fridge that required someone to hold in a propane valve inside the trailer.
A 2017 fridge should be a DSI ignition.

chuckster57
09-19-2020, 03:52 PM
Been using and working on RV's since the early 80's and I've never seen an RV fridge that required someone to hold in a propane valve inside the trailer.
A 2017 fridge should be a DSI ignition.
Me too. There are a couple of Dometic models that still have sparker ignition, but not Norcold.

AUPANNER
09-19-2020, 06:28 PM
since early '80's and never have seen one where someone has to hold in a valve to let propane flow from the tank to the frig burner? Well if you lived closer to Nevada, Carson City specific I would be glad to show you what one looks like.

chuckster57
09-19-2020, 06:30 PM
What model Norcold do you have? Pics?

Javi
09-19-2020, 06:53 PM
since early '80's and never have seen one where someone has to hold in a valve to let propane flow from the tank to the frig burner? Well if you lived closer to Nevada, Carson City specific I would be glad to show you what one looks like.
Well, I'm definitely sorry that you have one; but I have no intention of getting that close to California without being paid a very large amount of money. I visited Carson City in the early 70's and enjoyed it a lot, but no longer have any desire to visit that part of the country.

Good luck

BTW, we used to have to light the pilot for both the fridge and water heater but we did it outside.

traceintime
09-20-2020, 07:39 AM
I have the same fridge and yes it's a pain to light, not as bad as yours sounds though. It does require a push in to feed gas then a click to spark it from the inside fridge controls despite others not knowing this. I just checked and the new models Norcold N305/306 now have piezo electric start and respond to changes in ambient temperature like their bigger brothers, but ours are old style and need a manual start and continuous adjustment when in use.

That said, how I start mine is I run the cooktop burner for a little to make sure gas is in the system. Then with the fridge gas knob on high, press it in and keep clicking the spark button until I get a response on the little gauge that shows it's lit and has moved into the green, it can take as long a 5 minutes of intermittently doing this (hand gets tired pressing in the buttons:)) Clearly don't keep the gas button in without pressing the spark button, don't want any accidents. Also don't stop pressing in the gas knob until the gauge is fully into the green or it will go out. So far I've managed to get it going eventually but it is a royal pain.

I hope you figure out a way to get it going for you. Mine is a 2017 model. I phoned Norcold with a cold weather running issue and they were very helpful so I'd not hesitate to phone them if your problems persist.

JRTJH
09-20-2020, 07:49 AM
Our "OLD" Dometic refrigerator (circa 1975) had a flint sparker and a pilot control button that needed to be pushed in to bypass the thermocouple safety. Our "OLDER THAN DIRT" Instamatic refrigerator (circa 1968) was similar. Both of them required access from outside the RV. There were no controls inside the RV that I remember. Our "newer design" Dometic (circa 1985) had automatic controls with electronic ignition. I haven't seen the older system in any "modern RV" (circa 1990 and newer)....

As for the "museum piece near Carson City"... What brand, model and production era is it????

chuckster57
09-20-2020, 07:59 AM
Our "OLD" Dometic refrigerator (circa 1975) had a flint sparker and a pilot control button that needed to be pushed in to bypass the thermocouple safety. Our "OLDER THAN DIRT" Instamatic refrigerator (circa 1968) was similar. Both of them required access from outside the RV. There were no controls inside the RV that I remember. Our "newer design" Dometic (circa 1985) had automatic controls with electronic ignition. I haven't seen the older system in any "modern RV" (circa 1990 and newer)....

As for the "museum piece near Carson City"... What brand, model and production era is it????

As I stated in an earlier post, I know Dometic still makes an RV refer that requires the manual lighting and the arrow in the gauge with the "green" area for lit. Its used in some of the Pleasure Way and smaller StarCraft units. I havent run into a Norcold unit that still requires manual lighting and I am curious what model this one is.

I wonder if the burner isnt just dirty and not creating the proper flame to heat the thermocoupler.

JRTJH
09-20-2020, 08:44 AM
As I stated in an earlier post, I know Dometic still makes an RV refer that requires the manual lighting and the arrow in the gauge with the "green" area for lit. Its used in some of the Pleasure Way and smaller StarCraft units. I havent run into a Norcold unit that still requires manual lighting and I am curious what model this one is.

I wonder if the burner isnt just dirty and not creating the proper flame to heat the thermocoupler.

That's my thought also... I know some of the 2.5-4 cuft Dometic models still use a "manual ignition system" but I haven't seen a Norcold reefer with manual ignition since around 1985 or so.... I'm very curious about brand/model and age of these "out of the ordinary" refrigerators.....

traceintime
09-20-2020, 08:59 AM
The model used in our smaller Hideout trailers are the Norcold N305/306 compact RV refrigerators, a smaller fridge that does use the old push on the knob and click the spark button to light it. I just went back into the Norcold page again and looked at the user manual and my comments above are incorrect on their now being more modern. They still require continuous adjusting to keep an even temperature and don't have heating on the refrigerant to work well in low temps. I added a stick on heater kit and thermostat to solve this problem, that Norcold makes. I dropped to -4.6C in the fridge the other night when it dropped to 3C outside as I'd forgot to turn it down before bed, so the kit works great as before it my fridge would have warmed up considerably over night instead. This fridge is more like the ones I used over 30 years ago.

Check out the Norcold website for this fridge if you're curious.

Javi
09-20-2020, 09:02 AM
I am aware of the fridge with a lighter that requires you to turn the knob to high and push the knob in while pushing a button to spark at the pilot, I've owned a couple. But I've never seen one that required someone inside to hold the knob in while someone outside lite the pilot.
'sides I thought those things went out with 3-way fridges on anything but popups.

AUPANNER
09-20-2020, 09:09 AM
Absolutely the best answer yet - this is exactly what we have been doing - the problem is one, my wife is hard of hearing and cant tell when the burner ignites and second it seems to take forever for the burner flame to stay on when letting go of the gas button. she has weak fingers as well -- I am convinced that the thermocouple that needs to reach a certain temperature is either dirty or place incorrectly so it is not getting the full intensity of the burner flame and takes forever to get hot enough. Again thanks for an excellent response. Ours is also a 2017 unit