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Old 07-17-2017, 04:17 AM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Siesta
State: California
Posts: 88
THOR #3975
Short term fridge outage - cause?

We have a 2016 Siesta 24. We camped in the RV for 2 nights last week on the N Rim of Grand Canyon - TERRIFIC, by the way! - no hookups, and, on the second night, we discovered the fridge and freezer were not cold.

Here's the scenario:
We got in to the campground late afternoon on day 1. I tried to level it - first time, my little electronic level says it was 2.7 low in front, which probably would have been ok - but, I added some more pads, but maybe not in the same spot on the parking pad - ended up at 3.3. My fridge manual says no more than 3 in that direction - but I was tired, said to heck with it, maybe fix it in the morning...

Morning comes, we are off hiking - never got around to leveling it better. So that evening, or maybe the next morning - can't remember exactly - there is melted ice in the freezer, the fridge is just cool - bummer. I assumed it was the bad leveling - did I ruin the fridge? One other possibility occurred to me - some hours before the problem, I had put a big bag of ice in the freezer, on the bottom shelf - that's the part that gets cold in this freezer. I wondered - could that have confused the thermostat?

I moved the ice to the top shelf, turned the thermostat to a colder setting - and we moved, as scheduled, to a parking lot that turned out to be more level than the campground. (We were staying in the North Rim Lodge that night.) And, in a few hours, the fridge was happy - ice cube tray in freezer was frozen, food in fridge was cold.

So - was the problem the bad leveling? The bag of ice in the freezer? Did I do any lasting damage by not leveling better? I read up on these evaporative systems generally, but it's somewhat confusing, and it depends on what the manufacturer builds. It looks like newer ones can have a mechanism to shut off the fridge to prevent damage, if something like bad leveling, or something else, could cause damage. But I still like the idea that the bag of ice threw it off.

What do you think? Would love to hear from more experienced RV'ers on this.
Dan
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:16 AM   #2
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: outlaw 37ls
State: Europe
Posts: 230
THOR #6831
fridge reset

have had the fridge go bonkers, to reset, unplug from 110v, it is out side under cover ( at least on my outlaw) run on propane for about 30 min, the controls will reset, i assume the bag of ice confused the simple mind of the fridge,
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:31 AM   #3
gmc
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Hurricane 32A
State: Florida
Posts: 1,871
THOR #2829
For an RV style fridge (non-residential) - it was very likely the leveling...
If you opened the outside cover, you likely would have found parts quite hot - while nothing was cooling.

The newer models (in my case 2014 vs 2000) seem even more sensitive to leveling... Places my old fridge would run fine (my driveway at the time) - the new one said 'no way'...

From a single occurrence I wouldn't expect any lasting damage - but wouldn't make a habit of doing that regularly. It needs to be level when parked to run properly. Results if done regularly are not pretty.

While a good thought/hope that the bag of ice caused it - I doubt it... Certainly when the ice started melting, the freezer should have kicked in... Would have been at 32 degrees at the coldest part of the freezer (bottom) - and the freezer should be set lower than that.

And while there CAN be a mechanism to shut things off and protect the fridge - I haven't seen Thor included that on any yet (maybe others have and can comment.)
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:34 PM   #4
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THOR #6411
The Norcold N641 operations manual says that the absorption frig is unreliable when above 5,000 ft. Their suggestion is to operate it only on electricity when above 5,000 ft.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:28 PM   #5
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Model: Siesta
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THOR #3975
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beau388 View Post
The Norcold N641 operations manual says that the absorption frig is unreliable when above 5,000 ft. Their suggestion is to operate it only on electricity when above 5,000 ft.
Thanks - I had not seen that. Doesn't help when there is no electric hookup - other than to use the generator, which we try to avoid, particularly for extended periods - but good to know!

D
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:40 PM   #6
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Siesta
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THOR #3975
There is a Wikipedia article about rv fridges https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RV_Fridge?wprov=sfla1
It's pretty technical - I skipped a lot of that. But, in terms of damage protection, it mentions the invention of something called the Absorption Refrigeration Protective RV (ARPrv) Controller. "This discovery has solved most of the operator error issues such as off-level operation of the fridge." It doesn't mean you can operate at steep angles , just that it won't damage the fridge. But who knows what fridges have this!
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