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Old 04-19-2021, 11:05 PM   #1
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Absorption Fridge. Time to act?

Norcold N611running on 120v. Fridge temp hovers around 52. Freezer foods frozen. Heat tank seems cool instead of hot. Fired up the propane. Fridge temp came down to 50 and heat tank warmed up. They do turn south after time.

In N. Central FL. Ambient temps in the mid 80's.

Time to consider replacement?

Thanks.

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Old 04-19-2021, 11:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by The_Breeze View Post
Norcold N611running on 120v. Fridge temp hovers around 52. Freezer foods frozen. Heat tank seems cool instead of hot. Fired up the propane. Fridge temp came down to 50 and heat tank warmed up. They do turn south after time.

In N. Central FL. Ambient temps in the mid 80's.

Time to consider replacement?

Thanks.
Have you tried putting a small fan inside the fridge. Worked wonders in our SunSeeker a number of years ago.

https://www.amazon.com/Valterra-A10-.../dp/B0006MRQYU
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by EA37TS View Post
Have you tried putting a small fan inside the fridge. Worked wonders in our SunSeeker a number of years ago.

https://www.amazon.com/Valterra-A10-.../dp/B0006MRQYU
No and thanks for the reminder.
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:54 PM   #4
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The fan works great!
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:59 PM   #5
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The fan works great!
Bears mentioning the fridge is exposed on sun all day on a clear day. A deployed awning provides shade most of the day.

Doesn't explain the propane's cooling over 120v (to me).
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Old 04-20-2021, 12:12 AM   #6
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My Norcold N512 was doing the same thing. Made no difference if on shore power or gas. Cooling fins never got below 50 degrees on the coldest setting, so a fan would not have helped. Dealer checked the venting and replaced the cooling unit to no avail. Finally Norcold agreed there was an issue with the unit and had it replaced this spring with new and all seems to work well now. Was just a long road to get it replaced. Wish I knew what ailed the defective unit so I could help you out.
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Old 04-20-2021, 12:38 AM   #7
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My Norcold N512 was doing the same thing. Made no difference if on shore power or gas. Cooling fins never got below 50 degrees on the coldest setting, so a fan would not have helped. Dealer checked the venting and replaced the cooling unit to no avail. Finally Norcold agreed there was an issue with the unit and had it replaced this spring with new and all seems to work well now. Was just a long road to get it replaced. Wish I knew what ailed the defective unit so I could help you out.
Long roads, when you full-time, are not easy. Rig is a 2016, 2017 build. Commonalty suggests the unit may be on it's way out. Propane is cooling it so not all is lost - yet.

I can't identify if the fridge is covered by warranty. Likely not. There's more tests to perform to ferret out the issue.

If it works well under propane, and not 120v, it would suggest something in between. Fuse is good and fridge never warms above 52.
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Old 04-20-2021, 12:53 AM   #8
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Not a solution to your absorption fridge problem but when we were staying in place for an extended period we picked up one of those 3-4 cubic foot fridges at a big box store so we could have extra fridge space. When we left we sold it to the host.
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:03 AM   #9
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Have you by any chance checked out the thermister?
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by The_Breeze View Post
Norcold N611running on 120v. Fridge temp hovers around 52. Freezer foods frozen. Heat tank seems cool instead of hot. Fired up the propane. Fridge temp came down to 50 and heat tank warmed up. They do turn south after time.

In N. Central FL. Ambient temps in the mid 80's.

Time to consider replacement?

Thanks.
The most common problem with RV fridges not keeping things cool is leakage around the doors. Try the dollar bill test. Put a dollar bill in the door seal so that enough short edge sticks-out, so you can get a two finger (and thumb) grip on it. The door seal in all places should hold the bill tight enough to almost tear the bill before you and finally remove it. Try the test all around the doors. My N611 is 5 years old as the freezer stays at 20 to 22 degrees (on 4 with ambient temps up to 90 F; above thatwe use 5) and the fridge will freeze soft drink can in about 20 hours (beer stays liquid). Make sure the sun never shines directly on the fridge vents.
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:36 AM   #11
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Other problem is if the fridge is over full. DW tends to pack it like it was a sandbag and it cools poorly until later in the trip when there is less stuff. Try it.
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Old 04-20-2021, 10:18 AM   #12
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You received some good ideas and information

One other item we noticed years back was the camp ground voltage. When the pedestal voltage dropped as the camp ground filled the fridge heater performance suffered
Usually had to switch to propane. Also added exhaust fans to remove the heat

Unless you boondock a lot electric fridges are the only way to go, AC or DC
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:00 PM   #13
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Absorption fridges do not like to be not level when on. The tubing you see in the rear flows both liquid and gas first to the freezer and then the fridge. Unlevel can cause the anti-corrosive powder present in the liquid to cake at the tight turns and transitions. Driving them down the road is helpful as it causes mixing of the liquid.
Typically when the freezer is good and the fridge is not then it is the beginning of the end. As long as you have good air flow across the back, propane flame or electrical heating elements working it should cool to 32 degrees when you don't open the door for say a day.
Door leaks and thermistor position can cause problems but are easily remedied but the age of yours I would believe the seals should be good.
There is a place in Arkansas that supplied rebuilt units (with trade) and he is very helpful on these unit. Can't remember his name.... replaced one about 10 years ago in a unit that I had.
Good luck.
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by The_Breeze View Post
Long roads, when you full-time, are not easy. Rig is a 2016, 2017 build. Commonalty suggests the unit may be on it's way out. Propane is cooling it so not all is lost - yet.

I can't identify if the fridge is covered by warranty. Likely not. There's more tests to perform to ferret out the issue.

If it works well under propane, and not 120v, it would suggest something in between. Fuse is good and fridge never warms above 52.
If that's the issue then you may have a bad electric heater, or power to it, or a bad control board.
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:11 PM   #15
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i had one in another camper and tech installed an exhaust fan to remove the heat.
It only kicked on when temp in the back hit 80 degrees
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:55 PM   #16
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Update and Replies

I kicked it up to '5' last night and it's down to 40d this morning. It was upper 50's, low 60's overnight and I'll keep a close watch on it today.

Thanks to everyone for their input/feedback, even if I didn't respond below.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd View Post
Have you by any chance checked out the thermister?
I went to pull it off and it won't budge. I think it may be rusted' on there. I pulled the drain tray and there was a big rust spot below the thermistor. I went to order a new one in case the old one breaks but they don't seem to include the clip and that may be the issue (rusted clip).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beau388 View Post
The most common problem with RV fridges not keeping things cool is leakage around the doors. Try the dollar bill test. Put a dollar bill in the door seal so that enough short edge sticks-out, so you can get a two finger (and thumb) grip on it. The door seal in all places should hold the bill tight enough to almost tear the bill before you and finally remove it. Try the test all around the doors. My N611 is 5 years old as the freezer stays at 20 to 22 degrees (on 4 with ambient temps up to 90 F; above thatwe use 5) and the fridge will freeze soft drink can in about 20 hours (beer stays liquid). Make sure the sun never shines directly on the fridge vents.
The dollar test worked well so I have to look elsewhere. I can usually run it on '3' and it will keep stay in the 40's. It went into the 50's, I pushed it to '4' and progress was slow so, I bumped it to '5'. It's down to 40d this morning. If it drops below 40, I'll drop it to '4' and watch close. The performance change has me a little on edge.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lwmcguire View Post
...cut...
One other item we noticed years back was the camp ground voltage. When the pedestal voltage dropped as the camp ground filled the fridge heater performance suffered
Unless you boondock a lot electric fridges are the only way to go, AC or DC
I boondock a lot so will stay with propane until some other things are in place (solar&batts). The campground is empty. Snowbirds are gone, for the most part. This just started happening yesterday. It seems sudden. I would expect a slow degradation before complete failure, except if that's what I'm witnessing now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pneumatics View Post
...cut... Driving them down the road is helpful as it causes mixing of the liquid...cut...
Door leaks and thermistor position can cause problems but are easily remedied but the age of yours I would believe the seals should be good...cut...
The rig is dead level. Asphalt pad and jacks are only extended enough to compensate for a forward slope to accommodate run-off. Funny you should mention driving. I have been stationary for 4 months in FL. The same behavior occurred this same time last year in Tucson with similar temps. After some travel, the fridge worked as it used to.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
If that's the issue then you may have a bad electric heater, or power to it, or a bad control board.
I'm beginning to suspect a temp change and thermistor problem. I won't fool with the one that's on there until a replacement arrives - just in case. I also found some info in this forum and out there on how to reposition it for better performance. If I can't get the old one off, I'll install the new and snip the wires to the old. I'm not going to break something and shell out 2k for a $13 part.
Thanks again to everyone for chiming in. This place is the best, as usual.

p.s. fans are on the list to be ordered.
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Old 04-20-2021, 03:58 PM   #17
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The thermistor affects both 120 volt and propane cooling. It tells the control board what the temperature is in the fridge so the control board knows when to turn on the 120 VAC heater or ignite the gas. If it works fine on propane, the thermistor is not the problem.
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Old 04-20-2021, 05:22 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
The thermistor affects both 120 volt and propane cooling. It tells the control board what the temperature is in the fridge so the control board knows when to turn on the 120 VAC heater or ignite the gas. If it works fine on propane, the thermistor is not the problem.
That makes sense. Thank you.

It's been running on 120 since last night on its max setting(5). It's 81 and overcast. I made myself some lunch and the fridge went from 42-50 just that quick
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Old 04-25-2021, 03:30 AM   #19
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Do the JC refrigeration upgrade.

https://jc-refrigeration.com
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Old 04-26-2021, 07:37 PM   #20
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Problem - Replacing the Thermistor

I can't seem to move the thermistor. Was wondering if anyone has had this problem and what their solution might have been. I have a new one on the way as well as some fans to help with ventilation. In the mean time...

Background:
I tried moving the original one and it won't budge. I even tried to use a screwdriver to get it to move. Nada. I should probably put the new one where the old one was since the fridge worked like a champ until recently.

The fins frost up but the fridge remains at 42 on the second shelf and approaches 35 on the first with the door closed all night. The food does not freeze. I'm in FL and it's been getting a little toasty. Open the door like you do trying to prepare a meal and the second shelf rises to 50*

I wish I could point to the temperature change here but it's performed flawlessly until recent. The only thing I had to deal with in the past was defrosting the freezer once or twice a year.

I have looked at the JC option and it's seriously on the radar, just not right now. Other upgrades have me busy and my wallet's priority.
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