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Old 04-12-2024, 04:55 AM   #1
Stangfire
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Norcold Frig not working.

Hi, this issue is with my father inlaws trailer. Iím trying to help him out. So not a Keystone. Please delete or move if this is not allowed.

His Norcold frig all of a sudden stopped working. We have propane and 12V battery supply. Off grid setup so no shoreline. I did however try powering it with my inverter genny and still wonít work.

The propane burner is clean and not plugged.

It will try to start/light for a minute and then all lights on the front panel (inside the trailer) start flashing. Where it says COLD to COLDEST. Thereís 6 or 7 dot type lights. According to the manual this indicates a "Fault within refrigerator controls" See your dealer.

Seems to indicate some type of error. From what I read people say the board goes bad. They are very hard to find and expensive so I hate to just buy one. Especially if I donít know itís the root cause of the problem.

Any tips, tricks, suggestions are welcome.

Thanks.
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Old 04-12-2024, 06:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stangfire View Post
Hi, this issue is with my father inlaws trailer. Iím trying to help him out. So not a Keystone. Please delete or move if this is not allowed.

His Norcold frig all of a sudden stopped working. We have propane and 12V battery supply. Off grid setup so no shoreline. I did however try powering it with my inverter genny and still wonít work.

The propane burner is clean and not plugged.

It will try to start/light for a minute and then all lights on the front panel (inside the trailer) start flashing. Where it says COLD to COLDEST. Thereís 6 or 7 dot type lights. According to the manual this indicates a "Fault within refrigerator controls" See your dealer.

Seems to indicate some type of error. From what I read people say the board goes bad. They are very hard to find and expensive so I hate to just buy one. Especially if I donít know itís the root cause of the problem.

Any tips, tricks, suggestions are welcome.

Thanks.
Go outside and remove the lower vent cover and look inside by the control board area and see if there is a small red LED lit up. If there is, you need a strong magnet to put close to that small black box by the light and slowly move the magnet around. If you are successful, the red light will go out and that indicates that the high temperature has reset. If that has happened, there is a possibility that one or more of the fans on the rear of the fridge have failed. On my Norcold 2118 model, there were two fans up high on the the heat exchager area, and a small one down low that you can see when looking through the outside lower vent......the one that you previously removed. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-12-2024, 06:45 AM   #3
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Here's a link to a YouTube video about how to reset that safety switch with a magnet. The actual "reset" is shown at about the 6 minute mark in the video.
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Old 04-12-2024, 06:58 AM   #4
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Thanks guys will give it a shot next time I can get to camp.
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Old 04-12-2024, 07:01 AM   #5
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Here's a link to a YouTube video about how to reset that safety switch with a magnet. The actual "reset" is shown at about the 6 minute mark in the video.
I had that same video "bookmarked" until I had the JC Refrigeration mod done two years ago. I must have deleted the bookmark figuring I'd not need it again. Thanks for posting it up, it would definitely come in handy if you've never had to do the reset already.
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Old 04-12-2024, 07:10 AM   #6
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This fridge looks alot different then the video. It's an older unit.
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Old 04-12-2024, 07:40 AM   #7
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This fridge looks alot different then the video. It's an older unit.
Yep, you're right.....I'm not sure I would know where to tell you to start on that one other than checking the fans to make sure they are working when the fridge is on or trying to come on. And maybe look for any sign of something that could be manually reset with a push of the button so to speak.
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Old 04-12-2024, 08:00 AM   #8
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Chuck might confirm this, but I believe there was a NORCOLD recall to replace or to check the "thermal safety switch" on some models. I'm not sure if the 9162 was included in that recall or not.

Anyway, SOME older Norcold refrigerators had the thermal safety switch mounted on the "burner tube chimney". Find your control board and you "should" see two wires that go from connectors on the control board up to the galvanized burner chimney. Mounted on the chimney will be a "quarter sized round device" with two connectors on it. That is the thermal safety cutoff. It's designed to shut down the refrigerator gas supply if the temperature goes above 250F (not exactly sure if that is the precise temp cutoff, but close). Its purpose is to prevent "runaway heat from causing a fire".

It's a "bi-metal switch" and is supposed to reset, but over time, it fails.

It is a "normally closed switch" and 12VDC passes through the switch if the chimney is not "too hot".... So, you can use a multimeter with the refrigerator turned on and you should read 12VDC on BOTH sides of the switch with the NEG probe on a ground. If you don't read 12VDC on both sides, then remove the bi-metal switch (2 screws) and measure (without power) for continuity across the terminals. Then, you should have 12VDC on only ONE of those two wires.

You can buy a replacement thermal switch on Amazon for about $13. https://www.amazon.com/SRL250-Thermo...SABEgIEb_D_BwE

I would not buy the switch unless you're sure the old one is bad. But, on Amazon, you can usually return items if you're a PRIME member.

Here's what the switch looks like.
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Old 04-12-2024, 10:05 AM   #9
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Chuck might confirm this, but I believe there was a NORCOLD recall to replace or to check the "thermal safety switch" on some models. I'm not sure if the 9162 was included in that recall or not.

Anyway, SOME older Norcold refrigerators had the thermal safety switch mounted on the "burner tube chimney". Find your control board and you "should" see two wires that go from connectors on the control board up to the galvanized burner chimney. Mounted on the chimney will be a "quarter sized round device" with two connectors on it. That is the thermal safety cutoff. It's designed to shut down the refrigerator gas supply if the temperature goes above 250F (not exactly sure if that is the precise temp cutoff, but close). Its purpose is to prevent "runaway heat from causing a fire".

It's a "bi-metal switch" and is supposed to reset, but over time, it fails.

It is a "normally closed switch" and 12VDC passes through the switch if the chimney is not "too hot".... So, you can use a multimeter with the refrigerator turned on and you should read 12VDC on BOTH sides of the switch with the NEG probe on a ground. If you don't read 12VDC on both sides, then remove the bi-metal switch (2 screws) and measure (without power) for continuity across the terminals. Then, you should have 12VDC on only ONE of those two wires.

You can buy a replacement thermal switch on Amazon for about $13. https://www.amazon.com/SRL250-Thermo...SABEgIEb_D_BwE

I would not buy the switch unless you're sure the old one is bad. But, on Amazon, you can usually return items if you're a PRIME member.

Here's what the switch looks like.
Thanks, I will check that out.

I just want to mention again that I tried unplugging the fridge from the trailer and plugged it directly into my generator. I then set the mode to AC and I was still getting the fault code. My thoughts were that this would eliminate any issues with LP gas source. So even on 120V power source the error was still occurring.
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Old 04-12-2024, 10:20 AM   #10
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Thanks, I will check that out.

I just want to mention again that I tried unplugging the fridge from the trailer and plugged it directly into my generator. I then set the mode to AC and I was still getting the fault code. My thoughts were that this would eliminate any issues with LP gas source. So even on 120V power source the error was still occurring.
Keep in mind that the refrigerator requires BOTH 12VDC and 120VAC to operate on AC. Even though the "heating source" when AC is chosen as the power source, all of the control systems still require 12VDC to operate or the AC side will not work.

There "could be" a catastrophic failure, like a leaking coolant system or a gas valve failure, but chances are that it's one of the safety devices or the control board. For years now, the "china built" circuit boards have been prone to corrosion both on the printed circuit board metal runs as well as inferior solder joints. So, if it ain't the cooling system (ammonia smell or yellow powder visible on the cooling unit) or a simple safety switch that's bad, there's a very good chance that it's the control board. But I'd follow through with all the regular troubleshooting steps to rule out the simple things like a loose connector, a bad connection at a plug, and simple things like a bird's nest inside the chimney.
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Old 04-12-2024, 10:55 AM   #11
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Keep in mind that the refrigerator requires BOTH 12VDC and 120VAC to operate on AC. Even though the "heating source" when AC is chosen as the power source, all of the control systems still require 12VDC to operate or the AC side will not work.

There "could be" a catastrophic failure, like a leaking coolant system or a gas valve failure, but chances are that it's one of the safety devices or the control board. For years now, the "china built" circuit boards have been prone to corrosion both on the printed circuit board metal runs as well as inferior solder joints. So, if it ain't the cooling system (ammonia smell or yellow powder visible on the cooling unit) or a simple safety switch that's bad, there's a very good chance that it's the control board. But I'd follow through with all the regular troubleshooting steps to rule out the simple things like a loose connector, a bad connection at a plug, and simple things like a bird's nest inside the chimney.
Got it! Gives me stuff to check.

speaking of birds nest, How to I inspect/clean the flue? does the flue run all the way to the roof? Can it be cleaned from the top down?
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Old 04-12-2024, 02:34 PM   #12
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It's difficult to lean the actual "chimney combustion/heat chamber" with the refrigerator in the RV cabinet. The upper vent area and the rooftop vent cover are where you need to verify there is no "bird nest". They can't get into the refrigerator heat stack/combustion flue. But, the gas burner can "soot up" or rust and corrode to cause the wrong temperature and that could be what shuts down your refrigerator safety thermal device.

In order to check the combustion stack/heat chamber, you need to remove the burner assembly. Once it's out of the way, on a dimly lit day (don't even try in bright sunlight) use an inspection mirror and a bright flash light to "angle the light beam up the chamber and you can see the reflection in the mirror. Think like a "dentist checking your upper rear teeth"... Make sure the "heat diffuser" (the swirley thing hanging in the top of the combustion chamber) is in place.

Once you get the burner assembly out, if you haven't cleaned the burner, I'd check it and clean if needed. Alcohol and an acid brush make the job much easier. Then reassemble and make sure the burner flame is "blue and even" before you reinstall the metal shield around the burner base.

Here's a link to a video that is a pretty good demonstration of how to remove and inspect/clean the burner.

As a caution: Make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands and fingers. There are LOTS OF SHARP EDGES that can cut and blood is hard to clean out of the burner after it dries while you spend the rest of the day in the ER getting sewn up.... Gloves help prevent those cuts !!!!!

Here's the video link:
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Old 05-13-2024, 10:18 AM   #13
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Update. We ordered a replacement board from Dinosaur electronics. It fixed the issue and fired right up.
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Old 05-13-2024, 10:26 AM   #14
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Update. We ordered a replacement board from Dinosaur electronics. It fixed the issue and fired right up.
Thanks for the follow up on the issue. Not everyone does that then it leaves the folks that contributed, just hanging and wondering what the results were.
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