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Old 12-08-2010, 10:24 AM   #43
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Mac the fire guy here, have been reading the posts. You need some additional information about the fridge fire with the extinguisher that didn't go off. I have been doing a little investigation and interviewing of my own. Here's what I found out. 99% of the fires were below the coils, which puts them at the door. This latest fire was above the coils and it is believed that the boiler tank or lines leaked gas into the flue pipe and caught fire at the top of the pipe. The top of the pipe is nearly 4 feet above the extinguisher. With the pictures provided by the owner and others, I saw a lot of heavy damage at the top of the pipe. So far, with all the interviews I've done with 4 different investigators and professional repair shops, this is one of a kind (we hope). I'm still waiting for the fire departments investigation to be completed. In figuring out where to put an automatic extinguisher you have to go where the most danger has been, and that's at the burner. This latest fire is really a puzzler, but we've figured out a way to cover both areas. We just want to wait and see what the investigation has to say.

Hope this helps
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:25 PM   #44
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[QUOTE=rvfiresafety;749328]. In figuring out where to put an automatic extinguisher you have to go where the most danger has been, and that's at the burner. This latest fire is really a puzzler, but we've figured out a way to cover both areas. We just want to wait and see what the investigation has to say.

I had the work done on my refrigerator today. While the Tech. was there, I asked him if I could mount the extinguisher at the top of the vent, just under the roof vent cover. I also told him that the extinguisher is set to discharge at 165 degrees F. He said that the extinguisher could possibly go off (prematurely), just from the heat of the burner, because the fan, placed at the top of the vent, is set to activate at 180 degrees F. So, I will wait until we get more information.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:15 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by "007" View Post
Let us know what they do on 2nd recall and if you can get a copy of their TSB its no secret we have the first TSB, now don't we.
Hopefully they check, inspection as in first recall, for any yellow residue around the heating elements, holder welded points.

"007"
I asked the tech if he was going to do a check for yellow residue. He said no, that typically, any residue would be evident, when he took off the outside cover. He also said that I or anyone else, would be aware of a strong ammonia smell, long before the yellow residue was evident.

I ask for a copy of the TSB he will use. He said that it was not a TSB, but a letter to the Associate Administrator for Safety Assurance, of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, explaining exactly (with pictures and diagrams) what the tech is to do, to comply with the recall. The letter consists of 8 pages of what is to be done. I don't know how to put these pages on this forum, but if you or someone want to do this, I would be glad to send them a copy. Just PM me.

In a nutshell, the work only took about 30 minutes. The tech, installed a "High Temperature Monitering Controller", which was clamped onto one of the tubes that run diagonly across the back of the refrigerator. He then cut a vertical wedge of about 6" or 7" long and about 3" wide, out of the insulation, around the boiler. He then removed the insulation, exposing the boiler and tube(s) inside. Then he placed a hose clamp arround the boiler & tubes, which were under the insulation. Attached to the hose clamp, was the "Thermocouple Sensing Wire". This wire was brought over to the "HTMC" and attached to it. Then he placed new insulation (with self-sticking tape) over the vertical cut, effectively covering the hole made earlier. Then he attached about 3 other wires, connecting the "HTMC" to the refrigerator circuit board, groundwire, etc.

That's it, other than plugging in the refrigerator and checking inside, to see if it was on. As I said, it only took about 30 minutes to do mine, but I was there, from 10:30 AM, until 2 PM, mostly waiting around for the tech. He said that they do from 18 to 22 RV's a day.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:00 PM   #46
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Thanks gripper for your description which is what the 2nd recall Tech Bulletin describes here.
If you notice in pictures they put a clamp around the burner tube and electric element rod holder to firm up the whole section of piping because that is the area they inspected on the first recall. They had hot welds for electric element holder during manufacture that weaken that area.
That section is where the yellow & ammonia will escape through stress cracks in burner tube.
Which makes for interest where to place a extinguisher if fire starts that high up the burner tube.
The Tech mentioned placement up above the fridge near roof vent may prematurely activate the fire extinguisher and if its below the fire on deck as pictured in picture:



May never activate as picture here.
Someone mentioned that most fires were when the fridge was in electric operation.
I'm not sure how it can be determined what type link you would need to adjust for the heat of normal operation of fridge which at times would not be that much on cool days and may increase more on hotter days.
I would think place as high as can be what heat from fridge would not trip extinguisher but a hot fire up through back vent of fridge is going to trip it for sure and extinguisher would be aimed downward to snuff out the fire.
Maybe Mac the fire guy has a answer?
Not to alarm you or anyone else the 2nd recall may have a problem, we have someone who had 2nd one done and his fridge works for a while than quits.
Norcold is involved with a tech and they are trying to figure out whats the problem.
I'll post here when I find it stay tuned.
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:31 AM   #47
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I have added this post in other thread of forum may help with placement of extinguisher.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:38 AM   #48
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Fridge fire

The fire talked about here was (we hope) one of a kind. It happend in the vent tube that transfers heat. 99.9% of the fires happen at the base. I have talked to several experts on this fire and they all agree this is one of a kind so far. We are still waithing for the fire departments report. Will post the results when they come in.
Macthefireguy
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:29 AM   #49
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Thanks for your input Mac fires on U-Tube show most I thought in upper areas of fridge vent.

If the fire is started by the electrical elements which are up higher than the LP burner wouldn't the fire be higher?

Not all fires are on the road but in camp grounds while on electric hook up.

The stress point for cracks in burner tube are up where the element area is.
The 2nd recall sees Norcold reinforcing this area with a stainless steel screw wrap.
Both recalls in my view are a cover up for a total recall of cooling units that fail because of manufacture faults.

Here is Nocold's theory of how their recall should work:
THEORY: The 12VDC that operates the gas solenoid (before the modification) is routed directly to the circuit board. If there is a fire in the burner tube area, there is nothing to shut-off the gas valve which keeps supplying fuel to the burner. The modification puts 2 (two) thermistors (heat fuses) on the tube and burner areas. If there is a fire now, the thermistors trip and the 12VDC to the circuit board is stopped and the gas valve closes. Before you call for a service/repair appointment......PHYSICALLY CHECK to see if this modification has been done...saves everyone alot of time!

What if fire is while operating on electric elements?

Nocold recalls
Notice in these recalls can use fridge with LP Gas mode but disconnect electric mode.

It really isn't how or where it will happen its when its going to happen, thats why the concern of proper placement of extinguisher for the quickest, lease damage of a high pressured hot fluid fire, to low end and higher end motor homes we are all in this together.

I have owned many TT's and motor homes and until recently have never had a concern for fires to happen with my refrigerator as in the past few years which I'm sure others feel the same.

Placement of fire extinguisher's
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:28 PM   #50
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Dr4Film--Richard, you mentioned in one of your posts that rusted cooling coils and not constant use of 1200 may cause the burner pipe to rust and cause the stress crack of tube.
I live in a area where all coach's I have owned the cooling coils will rust.
My 1200 right now is rusted have thought of sanding and repaint but Norcold tech at Newmar Repair Center said the rust will not cause the stress cracks, painting would not matter or help the problem and little use of fridge is not the cause.
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:51 AM   #51
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Dr4Film--Richard, you mentioned in one of your posts that rusted cooling coils and not constant use of 1200 may cause the burner pipe to rust and cause the stress crack of tube.
Here is a web site which describes why RV Absorption Refrigerators fail from rust.

http://www.gasrefrigeration.net/Why%20they%20fail.htm

I have also attached two PDF files related to RV Absorption Refrigerator Fires and Failures. Both are very interesting to read.

Dr4Film ----- Richard.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Invest-Absorpt-Refrig-Fires-Part1.pdf (493.3 KB, 92 views)
File Type: pdf RVRef-Fires.pdf (549.9 KB, 184 views)
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Old 12-18-2010, 08:32 PM   #52
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Thanks Richard interesting reading. Tech never mentioned internal rust which will be hidden from view until its a complete failure.
Wonder why older refrigerators seem to last allot longer than our new ones we have now?

While the rust that is hidden may play into the final demise of the refrigerator.
I think Norcold has found the problem is where item #4 in instructions 2nd recall is placed, is where their major fire problem is.
The sensor on the steel band is placed 1" below the weld point of the holder #5 for electric elements and tighten to 23" lb's toque to hold in place on heating burner tube.
This is the same area that the makers of the Amish cooling coils have reinforced the burner tube with double tubing. The makers claim they do not require the recalls for their cooling units.

NOTE! If you noticed the picture of the Amish built Norcold 1200 series cooling unit, the Amish RV Refrigeration Company have changed to a better cooling design, having 2 sets of loops on the back side to allow for better air flow and able to maintain colder during hotter weather than before and no recall kits needed, since the complete cooling unit coils have 50% thicker wall tubing.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:00 AM   #53
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007,

The rust that forms on the upper cooling tubes that are hidden within the insulation and is sealed against the rear of the frig is mainly from the inconsistent use of the unit. The heating and cooling of the tubes causes condensation to form which then causes rust to form on the outside of the tube. This rust will eventually eat through and rupture the tube.

The main reason for the older cooling units lasting longer and without the same failure rate is due to the poor design and manufacturing process with the newer units versus the older ones.

The 900F heat sensor that you refer to as Item #4 is placed in that specific location not because of the area being a high failure rate but specifically because if the cooling unit has been compromised with poor operation conditions and has internal problems, the system process will be working harder to achieve the cooling needed, therefore the internal temp of the solution that is heated from below will have gone up well over what it normally needs to be at. When that happens, and the solution temperature reaches 900F, it will tell the control module to shut all power off to the Norcold unit preventing any possible rupture and fire from the rupture.

Unfortunately, even though the sensor is in close proximity to the pair of 120 volt heaters, which they have been known on many occasions to short out and cause fires too, when this process starts, an arcing takes place which is similar to a high voltage welder cutting a hole into the tubing. Once the hole has been breach, the fire is ignited from the electrical short and arcing, but the temperature in the cooling stack area has not reached the 900F as yet to allow the control module to shut down the control board which then would shut down all low and high voltage to the unit.

Most fire suppression systems that are used for the Norcold cavity will have a "trip" temperature point of 165F when the Halon tank disperses its contents. When the fire starts from the shorted out 120 volt heaters, that's when your Halon fire suppression system needs to kick in and snuff out the fire.

This is why I believe that the latest Norcold recall is another of their lame attempts to address only one of their problems and not all. I still believe that the only right way to fix this problem is to redesign the structure of the cooling units like the Amish people have done making sure that they will last many years into the future like the older ones have in the past. Then do a recall of all of the four door model 12XX refrigerators to replace the entire cooling units with the upgraded ones.

This will not happen as it would be too cost prohibitive for them to replace hundreds of thousands of cooling units at an approximate cost of $2000 each. They would rather pay the settlement cost for the fires and loss of lives that have happen so far or will happen in the future.

Dr4Film ----- Richard.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:04 AM   #54
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I agree with all you have said Richard do not dispute it. I also agree with this statement:

This is why I believe that the latest Norcold recall is another of their lame attempts to address only one of their problems and not all. I still believe that the only right way to fix this problem is to redesign the structure of the cooling units like the Amish people have done making sure that they will last many years into the future like the older ones have in the past. Then do a recall of all of the four door model 12XX refrigerators to replace the entire cooling units with the upgraded ones.

A recall of Norcold for replacement of cooling units I wouldn't say the cost if $2000 per unit maybe cheaper than what may happen if people do not place a extinguisher and lose their motor homes or life will cost them in the long run.

Its like the brake problems of another MFG, that took five years, to get them to admit they Norcold has poor designed cooling coil units.
I think also all their units have this design flaw going back in older 2 door units to 87, the start of recalls.
Dometic I think I read someplace says what their problem is on their units but Norcold doesn't want to admit it.
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Old 12-19-2010, 06:31 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr4Film View Post
This is why I believe that the latest Norcold recall is another of their lame attempts to address only one of their problems and not all. I still believe that the only right way to fix this problem is to redesign the structure of the cooling units like the Amish people have done making sure that they will last many years into the future like the older ones have in the past.
So in other words, no matter what Norcold does re: their recall, and no matter what I do as far as fire suppression is concerned, there's still a chance that my Norcold could ignite a fire, burning my RV down to the ground, possibly taking my wife & I with it. Makes me feel real safe.

Another good argument for a residential refer conversion...
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:47 PM   #56
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Not to reassuring is it.
Hope everyone is at least getting the recalls done to maybe have a chance against this mess.
There are threads on extinguisher placement and have tried to make links through all of the 6 different threads on the board.
There have been many views by people so just hope they follow through and get things done.
Its left up to all of use to spend the money for new cooling coils or the fire extinguishers as it stands right now.
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