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Old 05-24-2010, 12:45 PM   #1
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Fridge at high Alt. wont work

My fridge did not work this weekend and I was at 5000 ft
I see there are 2 switches
1-ambient sw- what does this do ?
2-climate control switch ---?
I dont know if its low on refrigerant,
does the high alt. have any thing to do with it

does any one know where I can check it around San Francisco,ca

thanks
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Old 05-24-2010, 01:40 PM   #2
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You'll get better answers if you tell us what make & model the refrigerator is. When you say it wouldn't work do you mean on LP? ...or does that also include electric? Would it not come on at all, or would it just not get cold inspite of the fact that it was on? I can see altitude affecting Lp flow, but it shouldn't make any difference for electricity.

I don't know what "ambient sw" or "climate control" switches are ...haven't heard of those although climate control sounds like temp setting...
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Old 05-24-2010, 01:45 PM   #3
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Not sure what make I think its a dometic ndr 1200 2 way I'm at work now will give make later
The burner comes on
On ac the freezer sometimes gets a little cold and the fridge stays warm
I called Dometic and they said the ambient switch is for cold weather and the climate control is for humidity
thanks
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Old 05-24-2010, 02:06 PM   #4
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I'm not familiar with Dometic but sounds like the "ambient" switch adjust for different outdoor temp and perhaps humidity differences for the cooling unit, and "climate control" likely activates door heaters that eliminate condensation around the doors in very humid weather.

I noted your post of another area on the forum indicated the refrigerator did run on both LP and electric, but the refrigerator portion did not get cool. I will presume you are aware that it takes pretty much overnight for an RV refrigerator to cool down. When we turn ours on after the rig has been in storage, I can fee the walls of the freezer getting cold fairly soon, but the refrigerator portion is not cool enough for safe food storage for probably 24 hours.

If you left if running for longer than 24 hours and it still did not cool down, you may have a slow leak in the cooling unit. Rather than normal "refrigerant" like a household refrigerator, your RV refrigerator uses amonia in the cooling unit. The RV refrigerator cannot be "recharged". If/when the cooling unit springs a leak it will loose its cooling capacity as the amonia escapes. When this happens, normally you can see yellow residue inside the outside access panel area, AND you may be able to smell amonia in that area or even inside the rig. BEWARE ... if the cooling unit leaks and the amonia escapes, the cooling can then overheat AND CAN CAUSE A SERIOUS FIRE. If there is ANY suspected evidence of a leaking cooling unit, unplug the refrigerator and don't try to use it until you can get it checked out. Replacement cooling units are pretty costly, but that's the only cure (short of a new refrigerator) if that is the problem.
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Old 05-24-2010, 02:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aragu36 View Post
My fridge did not work this weekend and I was at 5000 ft
I see there are 2 switches
1-ambient sw- what does this do ?
2-climate control switch ---?
I dont know if its low on refrigerant, does the high alt. have any thing to do with it
Low Ambient switch - This switch turns on the interior light and it stays on when you close the door. It fools the refrigerator into running. If the ambient temperature is 38 degrees the refrigerator will be happy and does not run, and this means the freezer will also rise to the 38 degree level. The interior light warms the refrigerator section and makes it run keeping both the fridge and freezer sections happy.

Climate Control switch - This turns on a 12 volt heating element that runs around the perimeter of the doors. Turn the switch on during high humidity to prevent sweating and mildew around the door gaskets. Turn the switch off when drycamping because it is a drain on the batteries.

Camping at 5,000 feet should not have an effect on refrigerator operation. Only thing I can think of is if your LP pressure is too low it might not work at a higher elevation. But that would also effect cooking, water heater and furnace operations. If the LP pressure is low it still should work on electric.
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Old 05-24-2010, 03:27 PM   #6
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I could not see the color of the flame
but it stayed on as long as the power was on
the LP was at 1/4 but the Gen and stove worked fine ?
I dont see any yellow areas or smell amonia
when I started the fridge I was on a hill for about 30 mins
does this have anything to do with it or just be level to start the fridge
Thanks again
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Old 05-24-2010, 05:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aragu36 View Post
I could not see the color of the flame
but it stayed on as long as the power was on
the LP was at 1/4 but the Gen and stove worked fine ?
I dont see any yellow areas or smell amonia
Sounds like you've ruled out the propane system and ammonia leaks You can remove the cover around the burner to verify the color of the flame, a manual would help here, you may be able to find something similar to your model at www.gasrefrigeration.net or bryantrv.com/docs.html.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aragu36 View Post
when I started the fridge I was on a hill for about 30 mins
does this have anything to do with it or just be level to start the fridge
Thanks again
Gas absorption fridges do not work if they are at any kind of angle, the Norcold N1200 is spec'd at 6 degrees front to rear and 3 degrees side-to-side, Dometic did not have a spec last time I looked. I'd use the Norcold spec as a guideline. What happens is the refrigerant does not circulate at all and the fridge does not cool. Running it for 30 minutes should not have broken it, but it is best to turn it off while you are unlevel.

To recover from running unlevel, you should be able to turn off the fridge for a couple of hours and turn it back on when level. With really old fridges you had to remove them and "burp" them by turning them upside down, but your fridge is not old enough to have to do that.

I do know that running unlevel a lot will kill it, either with a leak like discussed above or by causing the rust inhibitor in the refrigerant to harden and clog the boiler tube (at the bottom of this page: http://www.gasrefrigeration.net/Why they fail.htm). Unfortunately, as discussed above, the only solution to either of these problems is a new cooling unit or fridge.

Good luck!
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:41 PM   #8
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Remember, front to rear and side to side specs are from the refrigerator's point of view. This makes the coach being level front to rear (coach front to coach rear) much more sensitive than the side to side level of the coach. Lastly, the refrigerator is going to take a least a day to cool down the refrigerator part of the unit. The freezer should cool down in 1/2 that time.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:51 PM   #9
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A few weeks back I spoke to the folks at Dometic regarding exactly WHERE in the fridge one should place one's level. I was told that the cold plate in the freezer was the recommended location. Just to add to your fridge info file.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:37 PM   #10
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I took it to the shop
It's a DOMETIC rm7732

Does anyone know how much a coil for these are
ballpark
or how much a replacement ,balpark figure
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