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 > Dometic Fridge stopped working in cold weather? Ideas?

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imq707s

Springfield, MO

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Posted: 12/28/20 02:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We took our 2011 Zinger camper out this weekend. We've never really used it much in cold weather before. We had the camper plugged in at home the night before we left, and had the fridge set to run off of propane to cool it down faster. When we got to the camp site we switched it over to AUTO so it would run on the AC power from the camp site. It worked fine the first night and the next day...but on the second night it got down to around 31 deg at night....and when we woke up in the morning the fridge and freezer were both warm!

It was set to "AUTO", but I switched it over to "GAS" in order to see if that would get it cooling again. A few hours later.....things were starting to cool off again.

Would the cold weather at night cause issues when it was running on AC power? I haven't done any troubleshooting on it yet....but I thought I would at least ask and see if anyone had any ideas as far as wear to start. One strange thing I did notice is that the fan that I can usually hear cycling in and off every few minutes when things were working normally.....was constantly on in the morning when the fridge wasn't cooling.

Any ideas?

Dutch_12078

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Posted: 12/28/20 04:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your fridge needs heat to circulate the fluid/gas that extracts the heat from the fridge and freezer areas. If the area in back of the fridge is too cold, the fluid/gas can't circulate. Sometimes all that's needed in colder weather is to temporarily cover the most of the vents in the outside access panel to slow the flow of cold outside air up through the roof/upper vent. In even colder weather, a 60 watt incandescent light bulb (if you can still find one) may help warm up the area. Make sure it's in a safe holder of course, such as a mechanics lead light.


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BFL13

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Posted: 12/28/20 05:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

" One strange thing I did notice is that the fan that I can usually hear cycling on and off every few minutes when things were working normally.....was constantly on in the morning when the fridge wasn't cooling."

If that was the converter acting up and you were actually getting your 12v from the battery, it could be that the battery was too low in the cold by then to run the fridge and it came back up a little when it got warmer so the fridge worked again.

You must have had some 12v to be able to use the fridge controls though.

31F should not bother the fridge itself in either AC or Gas--both need 12v though.

The converter fan should not be cycling every few minutes when "normal" or be constantly on either. It could be the battery making the converter do that. Need to check out your 12v system.


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Flute Man

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Posted: 12/28/20 06:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Did you accidentally tripped the GFI That feeds 120 V to the fridge?


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imq707s

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Posted: 12/28/20 06:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I will do some more troublshooting tomorrow.

I don't think that the GFI outlet tripped......I still had power to the control panel, and the door light inside the fridge worked when I opened the door. As soon as I hit the "GAS" button, it started cooling again.

I'm going to plug it into 120v power tomorrow and see if the fridge starts to cool again. I have noticed lately that the yellow light that's supposed to light up with you hit the AUTO button is kind of iffy.....depending on how you wiggle the button around, it will sometimes not turn the light on...even though the fridge is working.

Could the control panel just be flaking out?

Bobbo

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Posted: 12/28/20 08:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

imq707s wrote:

I don't think that the GFI outlet tripped......I still had power to the control panel, and the door light inside the fridge worked when I opened the door.

The control panel and door light are both 12v. They will work without 120v power.

imq707s wrote:

As soon as I hit the "GAS" button, it started cooling again.

If it cools on gas but not electric, you have a 120v problem. The GFCI would be the first thing I checked.


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JimR 1

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Posted: 12/28/20 10:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If it gets cold enough the refer will not work.

I put a trouble light in the compartment to help keep it warm and that worked, use a real light bulb and at 60 watts or one not to exceed the recommended wattage. Outside temp was hitting 4 degrees.

JimR

dougrainer

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Posted: 12/29/20 07:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

31 degrees ambient will not cause a problem with cooling operation. BELOW 25 degrees, then the rear of the refer outside cooling coils need a 60 watt light bulb installed to help keep the rear warmer and not slow down the Ammonia process. BELOW 10 degrees the refer will not function at all. Doug

imq707s

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Posted: 01/03/21 04:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

****UPDATE****

Well, I did a little more troubleshooting. After the camper set for a few days, I went ahead and hooked it back up to 120v power and turned the fridge to AUTO (gas was off)..it was around 5pm. Later that night I checked the fridge, and it was cool and the freezer felt really cold...everything was working like it was supposed to.

I checked it in the morning...and it was NOT cold. The AUTO light was still lit, and everything had power. I turned the fridge off, opened the fridge, and let everything air out.

A few days later, I did the same thing. This time, after being on all night long it was still cold in the morning. The temps at night were in the 30's....nothing below that.

So at this point I know it's not a fuse and it's not the GFI outlet.

It's definitely an intermittent issue that happens when it's running on 120v power, but doesn't happen with it's running on propane.

Could this be a control board issue? What kind of troubleshooting can I do not in order to narrow things down and find the issue?

Flute Man

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Posted: 01/05/21 06:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You could try reseating all of the connections on the board. Taking each one off one at
A time and put it back on. See what that does.

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