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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > RV Refrigerators Cooling Issues

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Gdetrailer

PA

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Joined: 01/05/2007

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Posted: 08/23/21 08:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Surgtech94 wrote:

We’ve been having issues with our new TT Norcold refrigerator not keeping things cold, quit working and warming up.

What’s the best way to keep these cold, first off is making sure the TT is level?

Thank you in advance


You have been told multiple times in your other posts about this same issue.

YES, Level works best.

Absorbsion fridges use gravity to move the coolant inside the tubes, gravity only works best when the tubing is in the correct orientation.

Yes, it is possible to run a absorbsion fridge out of level, but by doing so you are not going to get full capacity operation.

Out of level operation can also starve the boiler tank which can lead to overheating of the solution inside the tubing.

Overheating the solution leads to the solution to break down, crystalize and block the smaller but important tubes leading to intermittent operation and finally a fully blocked system with no cooling at all.

Repeated out of level operation can and will damage your unit permanently.

Your goal is to setup your RV so the inside bottom or one of the shelving in the fridge indicates level. Measuring level anywhere else can be done but sometimes the fridge may not be plumb and level with the rest of the RV.

How to read a level?

Simple, the goal is to keep the little bubble inside the level between the center goal posts.

[image]

In the pix, you want the bubble to be in between the blue arrows.

If the bubble edge crosses outside of the blue arrows, you are now out of level.

Absorbsion fridges are also not very fast in cooling, may take up to 24 hrs to stabilize from start.

They are slow to recovery, open the door for a minute and may take several hrs to recover.

Load room temp items in it and it may take several hrs to recover.

Load entire fridge with room temp items and it may take 24 hrs to stabilize.

You also do not want to pack a RV fridge tight, doing so blocks the natural air flow inside the fridge resulting in uneven distribution of the cold air (remember, a RV fridge works on gravity and that includes the inside portion of the fridge).

Perhaps you might be better off switching to a compressor fridge and add a few batteries?

DrewE

Vermont

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Joined: 08/23/2014

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Posted: 08/23/21 09:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Being roughly level is important, as has been said. However, it's not essential to be precisely level within a quarter inch or anything; three degrees off level is a very noticeable amount, about a five percent grade or the wheels on one side several inches higher than the wheels on the other side. If the RV is level enough for you to be comfortable--for the eggs in the frypan to not make a beeline for one edge, for the shower to drain properly, for the coffee in your mug to not look slanted when you put it down on the table--it's plenty level for the fridge to work properly.

For a new RV, probably the most likely cause of inadequate performance is improper installation--doubly so if the fridge is in a slide and so the upper vent is in the side wall rather than the roof.

(It would be well to double-check that the door seals are tight and working well.)

People here complain about absorption refrigerators a lot. I can only say that the 23 year old one in my motorhome has yet to fail to work very nicely unless due to operator error (such as forgetting to turn it back on after turning it off for whatever reason). Ice cream stays appropriately firm, food in the fridge stays cool and fresh, and it just plain works.





Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 08/23/21 11:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DrewE wrote:



People here complain about absorption refrigerators a lot. I can only say that the 23 year old one in my motorhome has yet to fail to work very nicely unless due to operator error (such as forgetting to turn it back on after turning it off for whatever reason). Ice cream stays appropriately firm, food in the fridge stays cool and fresh, and it just plain works.


Some absorbsion fridges work fine, some not so much and some are just plain garbage.

I had one in a 1980s trailer that fell into the not so much category.

Worked OK when level and traveling but only between 70F-80F.

90F or higher daytime temps and the fridge temp was hovering around 55F-60F.

Nighttime temps 70F-80F would result in everything frozen in the fridge section. Nothing like having to break your milk apart in the morning for your cereal and have to chip the orange juice out of the bottle.

Could not take any lettuce, tomatoes, oranges, apples or anything else sensitive to being frozen. Beverages were always frozen in the morning and by late noon was warm to drink.

Couldn't take or buy ice cream which would turn mushy to fully melted during the day and freeze solid into a unappealing not so creamy block of frozen milk in the morning.

OP has been here before with complaints of their fridge working and not working, took it to dealer and it worked for the dealer but back at home doesn't work and now works/doesn't work while camping.

I suspect some of the issue may be how far out of level they are and the other part is their expectations of a RV fridge. If you have expectations that it works as fast and regulates as well as a compressor fridge, you will be sorely disappointed.

But, you do have to take a few variables out of the equation to determine exactly what is happening in order to troubleshoot..

First variable is making sure it IS level (bubble within the center lines) is a good first step to reducing variables.

By the way, most levels give a wide berth for where the bubble is for level, 1-2 degrees before the bubble wall is outside the center lines. Only when the bubble is completely equally distant from the center lines is it considered level.

Surgtech94

Midwest

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Joined: 02/17/2021

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Posted: 08/23/21 11:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gdetrailer wrote:

Surgtech94 wrote:

We’ve been having issues with our new TT Norcold refrigerator not keeping things cold, quit working and warming up.

What’s the best way to keep these cold, first off is making sure the TT is level?

Thank you in advance


You have been told multiple times in your other posts about this same issue.

YES, Level works best.

Absorbsion fridges use gravity to move the coolant inside the tubes, gravity only works best when the tubing is in the correct orientation.

Yes, it is possible to run a absorbsion fridge out of level, but by doing so you are not going to get full capacity operation.

Out of level operation can also starve the boiler tank which can lead to overheating of the solution inside the tubing.

Overheating the solution leads to the solution to break down, crystalize and block the smaller but important tubes leading to intermittent operation and finally a fully blocked system with no cooling at all.

Repeated out of level operation can and will damage your unit permanently.

Your goal is to setup your RV so the inside bottom or one of the shelving in the fridge indicates level. Measuring level anywhere else can be done but sometimes the fridge may not be plumb and level with the rest of the RV.

How to read a level?

Simple, the goal is to keep the little bubble inside the level between the center goal posts.

[image]

In the pix, you want the bubble to be in between the blue arrows.

If the bubble edge crosses outside of the blue arrows, you are now out of level.

Absorbsion fridges are also not very fast in cooling, may take up to 24 hrs to stabilize from start.

They are slow to recovery, open the door for a minute and may take several hrs to recover.

Load room temp items in it and it may take several hrs to recover.

Load entire fridge with room temp items and it may take 24 hrs to stabilize.

You also do not want to pack a RV fridge tight, doing so blocks the natural air flow inside the fridge resulting in uneven distribution of the cold air (remember, a RV fridge works on gravity and that includes the inside portion of the fridge).

Perhaps you might be better off switching to a compressor fridge and add a few

batteries?


TT Is Level! YES. I know how to read a level. Thanks but this isn’t the issue

Surgtech94

Midwest

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Joined: 02/17/2021

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Posted: 08/23/21 11:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the replies. Seems like an issue with the ‘board’ in the refrigerator. Dealer had us try on propane, not working here either.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Joined: 01/05/2007

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Posted: 08/23/21 11:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Surgtech94 wrote:

Thanks for the replies. Seems like an issue with the ‘board’ in the refrigerator. Dealer had us try on propane, not working here either.


Burner not lighting on propane?

If burner lights on propane, seriously doubt it is the board unless it intermittently is not lighting the burner.

But, hey, if the dealer is willing to replace board under warranty at no cost to you then go for it.. If they are just throwing parts at the problem at your expense then proceed with caution.

dougrainer

Carrolton, Texas

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Posted: 08/23/21 12:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

LP and 120 have the same BTU's for cooling. BOTH work equally the same. That said.
1. The operating AC voltage is 112 to 122 volts. BELOW 112 volts the 120 heat Element will not get hot enough to do the job correctly. ALWAYS monitor your Line voltage inside at a 120 receptacle with a DIGITAL multitester. IF below 112 volts switch to LP, until the Line voltage comes up
2. LP is affected by a dirty burner AND LP pressure. IF the LP pressure is below the 11.5 standard operating pressure, the performance on LP also will not be good.
Now, to your Norcold. Turn the refer OFF for 5 minutes. Turn back ON and let run 24 hours. IF the refer is not operating correctly and doing a normal correct cool down, you should get a fault light and alarm. This is called a NO CO fault(NO COOL). Only Norcolds have this feature. Doug

dougrainer

Carrolton, Texas

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Posted: 08/23/21 12:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A month ago you stated the refer was working correctly. What changed?
Is the refer in a Slide Room? Doug

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 08/23/21 01:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Surgtech94 wrote:

Most of the time we put a bunch of beverages in the refrigerator to get cold, Should we be putting beverages in the outside refrigerator to keep cold? Thank you in advance


Umm, yeah, that is a problem especially when you are putting a "bunch" of warm/room temp beverages into a absorbsion fridge.

As I have mentioned, absorbsion fridges are very slow to recover from being opened and/or warm non-prechilled items.

If you are filling your absorbsion fridge with a bunch of warm (60F-80F or higher) beverages it can take at a min of 24 hrs to chill those down to 40F. At the same time those warm beverages now will spread their heat through the fridge and pull the cold right out of everything in the fridge making everything in the fridge warm.

You can't treat a RV absorbsion fridge the same way like you do a home compressor fridge.

If you have a second fridge which sounds like you do, they are typically small dorm sized compressor fridges, load that fridge with your warm beverages to prechill them. Then once cold, you can transfer the prechilled beverages to your absorbsion fridge as needed.

RV absorbsion fridges typically just have enough cooling capacity to KEEP COLD items cold. Loading bunches of warm items at one time will take considerable time to chill at the expense of other items getting warm.

Thermoguy

Graham, WA

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Joined: 01/04/2017

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Posted: 08/23/21 01:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a friend with a 2 year old RV with a Norcold fridge. He is expressing the same problems you are. He had it in the shop, they had it working fine. Took it on a trip, we were there with him, same problem. He has a thermostat and it never got below 53 degrees. Has to bring an ice chest with him to keep food cold. He has had it out only a few times, but always the same problem. Turning it all the way down, he can get it to start to get cold, but then never gets cold enough. His freezer works fine, just not the fridge.

His solution is to remove the fridge and put in a Dimetic. I think there is just a problem with this Norcold fridge and it's not repairable.

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