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Old 06-10-2014, 11:32 AM   #113
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Just curious. Seems like many of you have a good understanding of why the Norcold units are likely to catch fire. Please provide details of the why and what actually could be done to prevent the fire danger from your perspective. Is it the corrosion of the coils that eventually start leaking? Is it excessive heat that is generated in an attempt to cool the larger unit? A combination of the two?

If the problems are consistent then why is there not an absolute solution other than a complete replacement with a residential unit?
JayGee,

The link below explains the problem and also offers alternative solutions (from this particular company, of course.)

Learn why so many cooling units fail today and what we are doing about it

Both Norcold and Dometic absorption refrigerators can be at risk and both companies have issued various recalls over recent years. The latest one being discussed here is the Norcold 1200 series recall. As has been stated in this thread, these units seem to be more susceptible to the cooling unit fire issue. Norcold came out with a recall that monitors the heat in the boiler and shuts the refrigerator down if the boiler gets too hot. But the recall unit has always been a problem, often shutting down the refrigerator because the box gets wet from rain, etc. To reduce liability, Norcold makes these recall boxes very difficult or impossible to reset, which means you are supposed to wait for a new recall box to be shipped before you can use your refrigerator again.

Converting to a residential refrigerator is becoming the most popular solution because there are residential units available that will fit well in an RV with minor alterations, and they are so energy efficient today. They also have a larger inside capacity and they work very well. Some even work with modified sine wave inverters.

There are other alternatives, like replacing the cooling system with an "Amish made" one (containing heavier metal), and also the ARPrv control unit, which is much better than the Norcold recall box.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:30 PM   #114
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The other topic seldom discussed is the adaptation of the absorption units mounted in slide outs. The design of the refrigerator was for roof exhaust, not side vent exhaust. Installation of fans help with removing heat, but in reality it's a band-aid fix for something that was not designed for this type of application in the first place.


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Old 06-10-2014, 12:40 PM   #115
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Thanks Robin_M that link really helps explain a lot! Very educational. :-)
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Old 06-10-2014, 01:52 PM   #116
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The ARPrv control unit looks like a nice inexpensive safe guard.
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Old 06-10-2014, 02:32 PM   #117
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FWIW....there is a third option to the residential or hydrogen absorption fridges. In 2011 Atwood introduced their "helium" absorption models which are designed to function better in unlevelled situations ........and helium...unlike hydrogen....is not flammable. If the Dometic/Norcold fridges are such a "sure-thing" fire hazard....why is the Atwood helium solution not more widely used and adopted throughout the Industry? Why are the RV manufacturers not being held liable or included in the class action litigation as they continue to support hydrogen absorption technology .....despite what appears to be a viable alternative?
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Old 06-10-2014, 03:21 PM   #118
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FWIW....there is a third option to the residential or hydrogen absorption fridges. In 2011 Atwood introduced their "helium" absorption models which are designed to function better in unlevelled situations ........and helium...unlike hydrogen....is not flammable. If the Dometic/Norcold fridges are such a "sure-thing" fire hazard....why is the Atwood helium solution not more widely used and adopted throughout the Industry? Why are the RV manufacturers not being held liable or included in the class action litigation as they continue to support hydrogen absorption technology .....despite what appears to be a viable alternative?
Unfortunately, Atwood doesn't make these in sizes large enough to be competitors to the Norcold 1200 series.
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Old 06-10-2014, 03:25 PM   #119
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Having reached 67 yrs of age, I have learned a thing or two about my life. Probably the most important is avoiding problems when I can--keeping things simple. We changed out our 4 door Norcold for a Samsung 197 counter model, and I am very glad we did. Besides the fear of a fire (being a worrier is not a choice based in logic, but it can be a tremendous drain on precious energy and a positive outlook on life) there was also our Norcold's poor performance, and intermittent malfunctions. So it was an easy choice. Was it logical? Maybe not, but it does make sense to me to remove those distractions in my life that I can. I also felt a burden to protect my wife and other family members who from time to time visit us and stay for a few days. I ask myself how I would feel if a loved one was injured because I took no action that could have stopped the danger. However slight the impossible to know percentages might be, just how would I feel? My way is just that--my way--and I am not knocking any others' decisions. Good luck with whatever decision you make.
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Old 06-10-2014, 03:48 PM   #120
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The other topic seldom discussed is the adaptation of the absorption units mounted in slide outs. The design of the refrigerator was for roof exhaust, not side vent exhaust. Installation of fans help with removing heat, but in reality it's a band-aid fix for something that was not designed for this type of application in the first place.
Quite right. Mine was mounted in my large full-wall slide. I had always wondered about proper ventilation, but had not installed any fans up there. I don't remember seeing any charred wood up near the top of the stack when they removed the Norcold, but then I wasn't specifically looking for that. Another advantage of the RF197 for me is that it is much lighter than the Norcold 1210, which allows for that huge slide come in a little more easily.
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:27 PM   #121
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Thanks Robin_M that link really helps explain a lot! Very educational. :-)
You are welcome. Here is another link, from the same company, about troubleshooting your cooling unit which may be helpful in determining the integrity of the cooling unit in your own refrigerator.

In addition to the link in the previous post above, there are several more educational articles which you may find helpful under the "RV Refrigerator" drop down tap on the ARPrv web site. One of these is a detailed pictorial description of how an ammonia absorption refrigerator works. Another talks about troubleshooting various systems on absorption refrigerators including the troublesome Norcold recall box.
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:39 PM   #122
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Another Norcold story

Rob, thanks for the link. This sentence says it all for me:

Un-level operation can destroy a cooling unit faster than almost anything else and if extreme enough, can ruin the cooling unit in a matter of hours.

Forget the fires and the smaller size and the lower performance. These units, by their very design, are not intended for mobile operation. There were just too many reasons for me not to make the change.
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Old 06-10-2014, 05:30 PM   #123
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And that is why the Amish people have had such great luck using these absorption fridges for years upon years plus you don't see them driving around in RV's either. They much prefer their simple but effective horse and carriage to get from point A to point B.

Sometimes simple is easier to deal with in our now technology filled complicated lives.

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Old 06-10-2014, 06:54 PM   #124
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What is the (amp/watts)draw per hr on the Samsung 197?
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Old 06-10-2014, 06:57 PM   #125
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What is the (amp/watts)draw per hr on the Samsung 197?
1.81 - 1.83 KwH per day.

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Old 06-10-2014, 07:21 PM   #126
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Major Samsung crisis .....
5:00 cocktail hour and Vodka is frozen. Forgot that we went shopping earlier and hit the power freeze button for the freezer. Now in a holding pattern!


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