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Old 10-15-2019, 09:24 PM   #1
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Norcold Fridge Woes....The dreaded 'n' code. Kinda long

OK, first off this is a model N821, and not one of the recalls. This fridge works great on AC, but on gas it shuts down after a few minutes. I've reset the motherboard 3 times per the Norcold service manual, and cleared the codes using the diagnostic on the Optical Panel, but it still throws the 'n' code. So far no lockout has occurred.

9 months ago we were dry camping with a group up in the high desert, when the first 'n' code threw, and we pretty much lost everything. When we got home I pulled the cover off the motherboard and there was a HUGE mud dabber clump right in the middle of the board. I carefully broke all the crap off, bought and installed that doohickey that attaches to the cooling fins, and the fridge worked on gas after a reset, but not for very long.

When it was on, I looked into the peephole, and the blue flame was very low, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. I don't know if this is normal. I've extensively scoured the net, and simply can't find an answer.

Here's my thoughts. The wasp nest overheated those black modules on the motherboard and the board needs to be replaced ($175). OR, the gas solenoid is bad (probably $30-40). OR the optical panel is bad ( I haven't even price checked it!).

On our other MH, the tank ruptured and the ammonia leaked out (Phew!!!!!). That's not the problem here. Now this fridge is 18 years old. So the Ammonia is probably gonna leak out in the next few years. Should I start replacing stuff? I don't know. We're not getting rid of the MH anytime soon. Camping world has a sale on a fridge right now, and 50% off installation. I'm currently not real happy, and quite frustrated 'cause I don't know how to trouble shoot this thing. Should we just suck it up, or try and repair this one. I think I know the answer, but...……………………………..
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:06 PM   #2
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The gas flame height sounds ok to me.

If the fridge box is ok, e.g. no rust or broken hinges, you can replace the cooling unit and the board for much less than the price of a new one. A cooling unit is around $550 and it's simple DIY replace. However, if the box itself is in poor condition, it makes sense to replace the whole thing.


Is the "n code" noco or noFl? noco indicates poor cooling unit performance, but noFl simple means the flame is out. Entirely different problems.


Do you have any interest in replacing it with a residential type fridge? You could add an inverter and get an 10-12 cubic foot compressor-driven fridge for the price of repairing the Norcold.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:37 AM   #3
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Thanx Gary. Just an 'n' code. The fridge isn't rusty or in bad shape at all. Just the gas side, and there's no room for a bigger fridge. And since it cools on AC, I know the cooling unit works fine. I dunno………….
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:50 AM   #4
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The AC & GAS are just heat sources.......SAME Cooling Unit


'N' code on a N821 is 'no cooling ' detected code


AC works FINE.........so cooling unit is capable of cooling
GAS lights off but throws a 'N' code and doesn't cool


GAS FLame is small 1/2"-3/4"
Mud dabber on circuit board


Circuit board is functioning or you would not get gas to light off
Display board is functioning or you woud not be able to select gas
Gas vlave is functioning or you would not have a flame




Flame is TOO small and not generating enough heat to boil suffiecient quanity of ammonia into vapor for adequate cooling process.
NEED to clean the burner tube----remove and swab it out using small bottle brush
NEED to clean orifice....soak it in alcohol and then blow dry (NO POKING/AIR HIGH PRESSURE)
LP SYSTEM Pressure must be 11"WC



This is what a clean orifice/burner assembly with correct system pressure should look like





Here is the Service Manul for N6/N8 Series fridges.
Find the section for your N821
http://rvrefrigeratorrepair.com/wp-c...-N61x-N81x.pdf






I think with some routine burner maintenance/cleaning you can get the gas side to cool as good as the AC Function does.
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Old 10-17-2019, 12:38 PM   #5
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Thanx Old Biscuit. My flame is not that good. A cleaning we will go. Thanx again.
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Old 10-17-2019, 03:20 PM   #6
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And things just get worse. My orifice and burner are all one unit. I removed it, soaked in alcohol, dried it and reinstalled. As soon as We turn on the fridge, the motherboard hums, but there's no smell of gas and no spark from the igniter. At least B4 it would light B4 it threw the 'n' code. Wouldn't the igniter still spark even if no gas was coming thru the orifice? I can order a new orifice/burner, but I don't see how that's gonna make the igniter spark. I can't see where this is covered in the manual. Maybe I should run through all of the diagnostic, but I'll bet it just tells me no LP heat detected.
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:39 PM   #7
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So I've continued to futz around with this thing and NO GO. Grrrrrrrrrr…………….. Just ordered a new orifice/burn tube, because it's 19 years old / a new igniter because it's 19 years old / and even a new solenoid because, you guessed it, it's 19 years old. All parts will be here tomorrow, and after install I'll update this thread.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by B Dubya View Post
Thanx Gary. Just an 'n' code. The fridge isn't rusty or in bad shape at all. Just the gas side, and there's no room for a bigger fridge. And since it cools on AC, I know the cooling unit works fine. I dunno………….

I have a 2000 Suncruiser with same norcold. Just started with similar problem, but won't cool on either gas or ac Burner flame is fine.


Can actually fit a 10 cu.ft residential in same space as the n821 and depending on cost to repair, may go that route.
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Old 10-17-2019, 07:46 PM   #9
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Naw….I'm gonna get this one working. We do a lot of dry camping, and I can't imagine the logistical nightmare of trying to run an AC refer all the time.
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Old 10-18-2019, 05:25 PM   #10
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Thermister, orifice and burner, igniter, solenoid, all replaced. Board hums, no gas and no spark, and an immediate 'n' on the optical panel that we can't clear. All I can think of is something in the motherboard. Couldn't something burn out on the board and the board would still hum like normal??? Maybe something that overheated when the Mud Dabber nest was all over it? One of those plastic modules? Clutching at straws here.
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Old 10-20-2019, 07:17 PM   #11
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I have the same unit with the same no cooling but no N code I have an F code. I have pulled the burner and brushed, ran a .019 drill bit in the orifice. Re installed gas, flame and code F. I have replace the flame sensor 3-4 times and adjust 50 times. I am at my wits end also. I have pulled all the connections and cleaned, not sure other than a board where to go next.
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Old 10-20-2019, 10:08 PM   #12
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F code just means burner failed to ignite. Is there spark from your igniter? I replaced all the small stuff (less than $100 bucks) B4 I went large. They don't make the motherboard anymore, and the replacement has a few modules that are just a little different. I replaced the motherboard ($217 bucks), and after adjusting the igniter tip just a little, everything works. But still a few problems. The LEDs on the optical panel constantly flash. Nothing in the service manual shows this a fault code, and I can't clear them. Second, on setting #7 the fridge is now toooooooo cold. Like 23 degrees cold. So now it's on AC overnite on setting #4. Tomorrow, if the fridge is more correct in temp, we'll move it back to gas and see what happens.

The problem for me was that I haven't the knowledge to test all the modules and resisters to see if they were working. So it was just easier to replace the motherboard and see what happened. If we can get a grip on the correct temps, then the flashing LEDs will be what they will be.
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Old 10-20-2019, 10:17 PM   #13
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Hmmmmm...
Take a very close look at the propane regulator(s).. the daubers have been know to fill the little vent hole......
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