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Old 07-20-2014, 09:09 PM   #1
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Changing Norcold refrigerator heater element

My norcold n821 refrigerator is blowing the shore power gfi. All the information I've read points to a bad heater element. I haven't measured the resistance of the element, but I will. If the element is bad, Is this a do it yourself job? I see where the heater is located can it be removed and replaced without removing the unit? The fridge works fine on gas.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomgagne View Post
My norcold n821 refrigerator is blowing the shore power gfi. All the information I've read points to a bad heater element. I haven't measured the resistance of the element, but I will. Disco th heater element from the board...then try it on electric. If it doesn't trip the shore breaker then replace the heater element. If the element is bad, Is this a do it yourself job? I see where the heater is located can it be removed and replaced without removing the unit? The fridge works fine on gas.
To replace the element you will need to raise the element upward from the "sleeve" it's in. If there's room to raise it then it will be easy. Worst case is you'll need to pull the reefer to access the element. It's just labor......not technical.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:22 PM   #3
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You will find above the burner a pair of wires going into insulation on the chimney portion of your cooling unit. Remove just enough insulation to expose the end of the heater element. Unplug wires as they go into the pc board then work the element out. If the chimney is really rusted it may be time for a new cooling unit as a lot of rust is a sign of an overheating chimney. If your heater comes out just install the new heater, replace insulation and plug wires into control board.
I would check for other things that might set off a gfci as the heater is protected by a fuse on the control board.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:34 PM   #4
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There are YouTube videos on replacing the element. Here's one:

They are pretty much the same.
Here's more on replacing the whole cooling unit:



There are others too.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:59 PM   #5
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Disconnect the heater and see if your problem goes away. If so then replace the heater, else keep looking.
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:55 AM   #6
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Thank you all for the information. Will let everyone know what I find
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:14 PM   #7
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I plugged the fridge directly to the house Gfci and it popped. I removed the element connectors from the board, plugged it in again and it didn't pop. I measured the resistance and it's around 44 ohms. I purchased a new element and it too measures 44ohms and infinite resistance to the case. New element goes in tomorrow after the unit cools off as I was running it on gas to ensure it actually functioned. Hopefully that fixes the problem.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:20 PM   #8
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According to the Norcold Service Manual a good working heater element should have a ohms reading of 58-68 ohms.

44 ohms would point to a defective heater based on their information.

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Old 07-23-2014, 11:24 AM   #9
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....................I purchased a new element and it too measures 44ohms and infinite resistance to the case. New element goes in tomorrow after the unit cools off as I was running it on gas to ensure it actually functioned. Hopefully that fixes the problem.
I would agree with Richard in that a new element should show about 65 ohms. 65 ohms has been my experience too.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:09 PM   #10
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I saw the 68 ohms mentioned in several posts, however this fridge calls for a resistance of 48 as documented in this manual http://bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/ncoldnnewnseries.pdf. I got the part number from theft fords site parts listing 621702. I removed and replaced the probe tonight and it no longer pops the Gfci and it is getting cooler. It did take some extra effort to wiggle it out. It had some surface rust which would have easily been cleaned with steel wool. The new probe slid right in. As mentioned above not difficult and I didn't need to move the fridge to get at it. So all appears to be well. Thanks for the help and guidance. As I said to my wife, the Declaration of Independence if written today would have a phrase, life liberty and the pursuit of fixing all the broken stuff
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:37 PM   #11
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Good catch - sorry about the mis-information. Yup the 58-68 is for the NotSoCold 1200 and other like models.

Glad you have resolved the problem.

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Old 09-19-2021, 01:19 PM   #12
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My Norcold N821 heating element is testing at 38.9 ohms. Is this an indication of a bad power board or bad AC heater? Error code is "H".
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Old 09-19-2021, 01:42 PM   #13
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Norcold N821 'H' code is AC Heater failed Open

2 causes;
Bad Element
Bad circuit board

Tests are check heater resistance....S/B 38-53 ohms
**Lower the ohms the more likely element is failing

Per Norcold
Refrigerators with serial number lower than 854647 heater is rated for 300 Watts/2.7 amps @ 110Vac and has a resistance of 41.25 ohms.

Refrigerators with serial number 854647 and higher heater is rated
for 300 Watts/2.5 amps @ 120 Vac and has a resistance is 48 ohms


With Fridge in AC MANUAL
Check the amp draw when heater element is energized
OR
Unplug the 2 element leads from circuit board
*AC HT Hi1 (Hot) and AC HT Lo1 (Neutral)
Measure AC Voltage at those terminals
*NO AC Voltage ....Bad K2 relay....replace the board (UNLESS 5A Fuse is bad)
*Got AC Voltage....replace element
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