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Old 06-30-2020, 02:22 AM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds
State: Colorado
Posts: 14
THOR #17966
Norcold Refrigerator AC issue

I have a perplexing Norcold N611RT issue.

We have had this 2006 model 4 months. The fridge has worked fine until the last trip when it went to fault code while plugged in at the house. The code displayed 3 flashes meaning that the AC heater failed. I replaced the heating element, which was a fairly easy job.

It works fine on LP gas so we have been using the RV that way. We never seem to end up anywhere that has electric anyway.

The issue is that when it is plugged in to 110V (I am on a 20 amp circuit. The RV is a 30 amp, if that matters) at home it looks fine for 30 minutes, no issues. I have it set to auto mode. I check the inside with an infrared thermometer and it is definitely cooling. Then after 30 minutes it starts to light LP but then turns LP off immediately after it lights. It stays in electric mode for 20 seconds then tries to light LP again. After several cycles of lighting and not burning the “on” light flashes the 3 times every 5 seconds indicating a failed AC heater. I’ve checked the AC heating element with an ohm meter and I get the 46.1 ohms. This is the same ohm reading I get on the element I replaced. (Ignorance costs money). I don’t believe that the AC heater element has failed.

I have checked everything I can find online and in the manuals. I do not find any reference to this kind of behavior.

The street I park on at home is not level but I would think that the cooling performance would be hampered and not cause this issue. Please let me know if there is a flaw in my thinking there.

The outside temps are 90+ degrees.

The age of the unit may be something to consider but this rig was a storage queen with 13,000 miles.

So perhaps there is someone out there that has had a similar experience or is good at diagnosing these refrigerator problems???
Any input would be appreciated.

By the way I have read that folks see degraded performance at altitude with these units. We have been at 9000+ ASL for a few weeks and it works great on LP.

Bruce
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Old 06-30-2020, 03:16 AM   #2
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chateau 24FS
State: New Mexico
Posts: 97
THOR #12181
I am not a refrigerator expert, Can it be overheating? higher elevation, high ambient temperature is very tuff on these rv refers. Does the sun beat on the frig side of your rv where your parked? If so maybe you can turn it around to put that side in the shade.
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Old 06-30-2020, 03:27 AM   #3
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds
State: Colorado
Posts: 14
THOR #17966
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Originally Posted by sanjaun2 View Post
I am not a refrigerator expert, Can it be overheating? higher elevation, high ambient temperature is very tuff on these rv refers. Does the sun beat on the frig side of your rv where your parked? If so maybe you can turn it around to put that side in the shade.
I am in the shade at 5200 feet when plugged in so I'm guessing it's not overheating. Anything is possible I suppose.
Thanks for the suggestion.
Bruce
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Old 06-30-2020, 03:43 AM   #4
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2013 ACE 30.1
State: Alberta
Posts: 1,103
THOR #2631
Well, good descriptive info in your posting.

It almost sounds like the AC voltage dips and the fridge temporarily flips to propane and then the AC voltage comes back on/up causing it to take control again (being in Auto mode).

Normally a 20 amp feed to the coach should not be a problem (with some load control), unless maybe the 120vac is dipping out of spec briefly for some reason (Air conditioning compressor start up perhaps?).

One way to check if the AC issue is coach related somehow, is to use another extension cord from the house (different outlet if possible ; 15amp is fine) and connect only the fridge AC control board plug (in the outside fridge compartment) directly into the second extension cord. Assuming the house is not doing any brown out voltage dips, this should at least provide a known good power source to the fridge to see if it still has the flip flop problem. If it does, I would “guess” the control board may be flaky. Check all electrical connections on the control board for any loose or corroded connections first though.
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Old 06-30-2020, 04:07 AM   #5
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds
State: Colorado
Posts: 14
THOR #17966
Quote:
Originally Posted by javelin View Post
Well, good descriptive info in your posting.

It almost sounds like the AC voltage dips and the fridge temporarily flips to propane and then the AC voltage comes back on/up causing it to take control again (being in Auto mode).

Normally a 20 amp feed to the coach should not be a problem (with some load control), unless maybe the 120vac is dipping out of spec briefly for some reason (Air conditioning compressor start up perhaps?).

One way to check if the AC issue is coach related somehow, is to use another extension cord from the house (different outlet if possible ; 15amp is fine) and connect only the fridge AC control board plug (in the outside fridge compartment) directly into the second extension cord. Assuming the house is not doing any brown out voltage dips, this should at least provide a known good power source to the fridge to see if it still has the flip flop problem. If it does, I would “guess” the control board may be flaky. Check all electrical connections on the control board for any loose or corroded connections first though.
Good idea on the separate cord. That would isolate the fridge from anything else. I'll try that thank you.
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Old 06-30-2020, 11:36 AM   #6
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Maryland
Posts: 258
THOR #5837
I'm also getting the 3 green flashes on my Norcold N611, and it won't run on AC at all, just propane. Mine is in a 2018 Chateau, so a lot newer than yours. I checked the resistance of the AC heater and it showed an open circuit, so that's probably what my problem is. However, I was using a very old Radio Shack multimeter that I don't trust 100%. I ordered a new AC heater, waiting for it to arrive. Your AC heater showed the proper resistance, so it sounds as if you have a different problem.


The first thing I would check is the fuses on the circuit board. There will be both DC and AC fuses there. Also just a visual check for any corrosion, burning, etc.


If your fuses are good and your AC heater is good, I think the problem is likely the circuit board.
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:39 PM   #7
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds
State: Colorado
Posts: 14
THOR #17966
Thanks Jabrabu, I’m going to search for a new board.
Bruce
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