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Old 09-07-2019, 06:54 PM   #1
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THOR #14721
Refrigerator not working unless propane is on

Hello Everyone,

I bought a new 2019 Thor Four Winds (28z) in the spring and have already put over 6k miles on it this summer. I'm new to the RV world and would appreciate some help / insight regarding the refrigerator. The fridge works great when I have the propane turned on but if I turn off the propane while hooked up to shoreline power it doesn't work.....just the interior light on fridge comes on. I have to keep the propane on regardless to get the fridge to operate properly. I have tried turning the fridge back on/off again along with making sure the button for propane only is in the correct position numerous times while just plugged in but the "check fridge" light comes on unless I have the propane turned on. I'm assuming if you are plugged into shoreline you wouldn't need the propane turned on. Any suggestions / recommendations?

As a side note.....I had an electrician install a 30 Amp shoreline outlet from my house to the RV. Unfortunately the electrician used the incorrect fuse (240 instead of 120) and fried my converter which I replaced. Not sure if this did something to the fridge or not but all electronics, air, lights, etc work fine since I replaced the converter.

Thanks so much for your help!

Jeff O from TX
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:11 PM   #2
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THOR #14543
First - Welcome to the Forum !

Now...this is important....do NOT plug your RV into that 240 volt outlet until it has been corrected to a 120 volt circuit ! It's not the "fuse" that was the mistake; it's the fact that the electrician wired it as a 240 volt circuit instead of a 120 volt circuit.

If the 240 volts fried your converter, the chances are good that also caused the problem with the fridge. What about your other AC items such as microwave, TVs, air conditioner, water heater, etc ?
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:31 PM   #3
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THOR #14721
Refrigerator not working unless propane is on

Thanks for the welcome Ed!

Unfortunately it's too late regarding plugging in the RV to the 240 circuit. It has since been corrected to 120 circuit. I tried to tell the electrician from everything I read it needed to be a 120 circuit but he insisted it was a 240. At least he paid to replace my converter and we both learned it's a 120 circuit.

The only thing that it fried was the converter which I replaced myself. The air conditioner, lights, TVs, water heater, etc all work fine. Just having issue with the fridge needing to have propane turned on in order for it to get cold. The fridge light works fine without propane turned on, it just won't cool.

Thanks again,

Jeff
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:00 PM   #4
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THOR #14543
I'm glad the electrician stepped up and rectified his error. And I'm also glad your other appliances weren't damaged.

What make/model refrigerator is it ?

The refrigerator light operates on 12 volts DC from the battery, so the fact that it comes on really is no indicator of the health of the fridge. Have you been able to verify that the 120 volt AC outlet that the fridge is plugged in to is live ? And that the control is set to either Auto or AC ?
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:22 PM   #5
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The RV fridge 120 volt heater is usually wired to a bedroom 120 volt duplex receptacle. It will not be on the GFCI circuit unless it is near the kitchen sink. If it is on a slide it will be in parallel with the other 120 volt receptacles.
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Old 09-07-2019, 10:59 PM   #6
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I'm guessing he is going to be paying to fix your fridge too.

The only way for him to have 240V running through the 3-prong receptacle was for him to put one of the 120V hot leads or the Neutral on the ground post.

If you have an Inverter, you better check it as well.
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:53 PM   #7
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THOR #14721
Hey Ed,

Thanks again for your help!

You message prompted me to remove the outside panel of the RV that is in the back of the fridge. As soon as I took off that panel I noticed a black cover over some wires that had the word "fuse" on it so I took off the cover and low and behold there was a 5 amp fuse that was totally black and blown. I'm now on the hunt to find a replacement fuse and see if that does the trick. I'll update again once I find and replace the fuse.

Thanks again!! Really appreciate your help!

Best,
Jeff
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:56 PM   #8
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Thanks for the information and educating me! I really appreciate it.

Found out that it was a blow fuse I found behind the fridge. I removed the outside panel on the RV and found there was a fuse that had been blown. Now off to find a replacement and hoping it will fix the issue.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:57 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for you insight / advice and wisdom! I really appreciate it.

Off to find a 5 amp fuse that will hopefully fix the problem. Will post after it's replaced.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffTX View Post
Thanks everyone for you insight / advice and wisdom! I really appreciate it.

Off to find a 5 amp fuse that will hopefully fix the problem. Will post after it's replaced.

Thanks again!
What brand of FRIDGE do you have? If you could post a picture or post the "part number" of the 5 AMP fuse, I know I would appreciate it...

I try to keep a "spare" of fuses, breakers on board, but wasn't aware of that one...
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:44 PM   #11
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Although I hope the fuse fixes your problem I think the actual issue may be the heating VAC heating element burned open when 240 VAC was applied to it. That's what you need to check next.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:49 AM   #12
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THOR #14721
Well I replaced the 5 amp fuse and that fixed the "check" light from coming on but didn't fix the problem of the fridge not getting cold.

16ACE27 recommends I check the heating VAC heating element burned open when 240 VAC was applied to it. That's what you need to check next. Any ideas / suggestions on how I do this?

The make of the fridge is Dometic. I uploaded several pics along with the 5 amp fuse that was burned and a new replacement 5 amp fuse.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:59 AM   #13
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THOR #7035
Find the two wires going to the heating element in the chimney. Trace them back to where they connect to either the circuit board or junction point.

With the fridge running in AC mode measure the voltage going to the heating element (from one wire to the other). It should be 120 VAC. If so:

Turn your fridge off and flip the 120 volt breaker to the fridge to OFF.
Lift one lead from where it attaches.
Measure resistance from the lifted wire to the other wire. If the element is goos you will have a low resistance. If burned open, it will be infinite resistance.


If you did not get 120 VAC on the first test you have a 120 VAC supply problem which MAY be the circuit board or a relay, or another problem.
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:06 AM   #14
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THOR #14721
I also wanted to note that when I open the propane (LP Gas), the fridge cools down and runs great. It's when I turn off the propane but plugged into 30 amp shoreline the fridge doesn't cool.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
Find the two wires going to the heating element in the chimney. Trace them back to where they connect to either the circuit board or junction point.

With the fridge running in AC mode measure the voltage going to the heating element (from one wire to the other). It should be 120 VAC. If so:

Turn your fridge off and flip the 120 volt breaker to the fridge to OFF.
Lift one lead from where it attaches.
Measure resistance from the lifted wire to the other wire. If the element is goos you will have a low resistance. If burned open, it will be infinite resistance.


If you did not get 120 VAC on the first test you have a 120 VAC supply problem which MAY be the circuit board or a relay, or another problem.
Gas and electric both work the same way. They just use different sources of energy to create 'heat' (yes 'heat') to effect the evaporative cooling process (fancy way of saying removing humidity). It has to do with ammonia and circulation through the cooling element. At least, that's what I was taught.

You have an electrical problem and should troubleshoot the way 16ACE27 suggested. Let us know what you find.

The fuse you replaced simply belongs to an indicator light.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:11 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by JeffTX View Post
Well I replaced the 5 amp fuse and that fixed the "check" light from coming on but didn't fix the problem of the fridge not getting cold.

16ACE27 recommends I check the heating VAC heating element burned open when 240 VAC was applied to it. That's what you need to check next. Any ideas / suggestions on how I do this?

The make of the fridge is Dometic. I uploaded several pics along with the 5 amp fuse that was burned and a new replacement 5 amp fuse.
You can place your hand on the chimney several inches above the burner. It the electric heater is working the chimney will get quite hot long before the fridge starts to cool. I check this every time, I turn on the fridge before a trip. (I have 50 amp pedestal where the coach is stored). I seldom use propane as the fridge woks fine on the inverter or shoreline.
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:52 AM   #17
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All your electrician had to do was read the voltage information on the new 30 amp outlet! He is not an electrician. Very much a newbie apprentice. I was there once.

FYI. Fuses are rated in Amperage not voltage. (Just leave it there you guys). Just trying to keep it simple.

Your electrician probably hooked your outlet to a 30 amp 2 pole breaker unless you house has an old fuse system..
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:28 PM   #18
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THOR #14721
Good news!! 16ACE27 was correct, the problem was the heating element. I followed his instructions to confirm it was bad. I ordered a new heating element and replaced the old one with the new one last night. I went outside this morning to check and the fridge was cold along with the freezer.

Thank you 16ACE27 and everyone else who provided insights / suggestions! This forum saved me a lot of $'s by being able to trouble shoot and fix the problem with your help vs taking it in for service. THANK YOU!!!
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:01 PM   #19
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Glad you figured it out and got it fixed. Now you're just a little more educated for the next time you have an issue. Happy Camping!
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:23 PM   #20
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffTX View Post
I went outside this morning to check and the fridge was cold along with the freezer.
Don't ya love it when a plan comes together ? And you didn't even have to leave your rig at the shop for 6~8 weeks for a relatively simple repair.

Now, stock that fridge with some adult beverages and Happy Camping !
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