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Old 08-21-2014, 09:33 PM   #1
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Refrigerator/freezer temps fluctuating 20+ degrees

We've been having a new problem with our Dometic refrigerator. For the past month that we've been out, the temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer have been getting too warm. The refrigerator was up to 50 at one point, and the freezer is now at 23. Yesterday, everything was super cold...-1 for the freezer, 32 for the fridge. Before that it was running on the warm side, between 40-50, though the freezer stayed at around 8 or 9. This is on both a/c and gas. Also, it's set on auto, but it's not switching automatically form a/c to gas.
We have checked the outside panel and it all looks clean.
Thanks for your help.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4tfamily View Post
We've been having a new problem with our Dometic refrigerator. For the past month that we've been out, the temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer have been getting too warm. The refrigerator was up to 50 at one point, and the freezer is now at 23. Yesterday, everything was super cold...-1 for the freezer, 32 for the fridge. Before that it was running on the warm side, between 40-50, though the freezer stayed at around 8 or 9. This is on both a/c and gas. Also, it's set on auto, but it's not switching automatically form a/c to gas.
We have checked the outside panel and it all looks clean.
Thanks for your help.
That really sounds like a poor ventilation problem, a bad thermistor or possibly the control board. Check the back to make sure your fans are running (if it has fans) to pull air across the condenser coils and that you don't have a blockage in either the upper or lower vents. The cooling unit itself is obviously working, maybe just not getting enough air circulation during the heat of the day.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:54 PM   #3
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I just had this same problem on my Norcold. The cooling unit had a blockage and had been poorly installed.
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Old 08-22-2014, 12:01 AM   #4
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As lt. Dan says, if you have cooling fans and the control thermistor or fans fail you will have these symptoms. IF your refer is in a slide out you will have a side vent and indeed needs fans to cool properly. The fans are hard to see but remove the top cover and look down inside. I have had both a bad fan and a thermistor. When replacing the thermistor I installed a lower temp one. I have also installed two more computer fans.

One other thing that can cause issues is a broken drain tube. They will let warm air in the refer but your symptoms really seem to be the fans.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:26 AM   #5
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Has the fridge ever spent time running in an off level location?
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:13 AM   #6
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Thank you for your replies We have to borrow a ladder again to recheck the fans, but they were NOT running when we last checked. Do they run continually? Everything looked clear otherwise.
It has always been level when the refer is running.
Does the fact that it's not switching from gas to a/c ( and vice versa) seem related?
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Old 08-22-2014, 10:24 AM   #7
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You haven't said what model fridge you have, but if it's a larger Dometic, it should have fans on the back. If you have them, the fans should be running once the temperature of the condenser coils at the top rear of the fridge reaches approximately 130 degrees. If they are not running, then it could be a bad snap switch (small disk switch located on the condenser fins), no power to the fans, or the control board itself. With the control not switching over, it's sounding like it could be that.

Power for the fans should come from the control board. There should be two leads coming out of the control, possibly a white and black. Check to see if you have 12v on these two when the fridge is on. If you don't then it may be the control board.

If you have to order a replacement board, fans, or switch I highly recommend David Force at RVCoolingUnit.com
RV Cooling Unit Warehouse
He has helped me in the past get over some issues. I replaced my Norcold control board with the Dinosaur board and it works great.
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Old 08-22-2014, 10:25 AM   #8
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The fans are thermostatically controlled by a device. It is easy to bypass and let the fans run to test them.

Not switching is probably not related. A good power down by disconnecting from shoreline and disconnecting all batteries would not hurt.
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:14 PM   #9
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refrigerator/freezer temps fluctuating 20+ degrees

Quote:
Originally Posted by YC1 View Post

One other thing that can cause issues is a broken drain tube. They will let warm air in the refer but your symptoms really seem to be the fans.

We found that this small hose was almost completely broken and taped it with duct tape for the time being. Is this the drain tube you are speaking of?
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:34 PM   #10
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Yes, that could do it. Find some clear plastic hose that will just slide over that. Push it up as far as you can and then attach it to the tee using a bit of the old stuff as a spacer. Use some plumbers goop to seal it well. Unless of course you can get to the top and replace it all.
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