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Old 06-08-2023, 03:16 PM   #1
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Refrigerator not powering up

I'm helping a friend who just bought a 2005 Winnie Journey. There are some electrical issues I can't figure out.
Background: He replaced his old batteries (I don't know if they were AGM or flooded) with lithium ones but did not replace the converter/charger. It is plugged into a 120 V, 15 amp circuit and all the 12 volt things are working (lights, fans) but the refrigerator has no power either with it the coach plugged in or not. It was working yesterday but quit and would not turn back on. When it was plugged in he had the inverter on and it drained the batteries. I think he had the Aux. Battery switch in the off position. When the Aux. Batt. switch was turned back to on the fridge wouldn't turn on. As an aside, when the Aux. Batt. switch was turned back on, the outside radio would turn on. Very strange.
I called Winnebago but couldn't tell me much other than there is a relay that controls the fridge, among other things, has quit working and may be related to the converter/charger is not designed to use with lithium batteries.
Hopefully, one of you might have some insight into this.
Thanks.
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Old 06-08-2023, 03:37 PM   #2
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Need to know:
  • Is it a AC or DC powered fridge
  • With a multimeter, is there voltage at the fridge input
  • Is the inverter working (use a multimeter...) SP "on" and "off"
I do not have lithium, so cannot guess as to their 'qwarkiness', but they are a "12VDC" battery.
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Old 06-08-2023, 03:38 PM   #3
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Ok going to need some more info .

You mention converter/charger and an inverter related to the fridge power .

Is this a residential fridge with a stand alone ( dedicated ) inverter ?

Have you checked the inverter's 12 volt power supply ?
As supply voltage goes down amp draw goes up and the inverter 12 volt supply may have blown a fuse or tripped a 12 volt circuit breaker .
The inverter may have an internal circuit breaker or fuse related to it's 120 volt output . Or even a low volt shut down that needs to be reset.
Do you have a manual for the inverter ?
Can you post the make and model info ?

EDIT: I see OldWEB posted while I was typing sorry about the duplication , but we're going to need all the info you can give us to be of any real help.
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Old 06-08-2023, 06:31 PM   #4
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You might want to check the back of the refer for 12-volt power. It may not be your issue, but you may have triggered the shutdown of a safety recall device. In 2005 most DP's came with a Norcold 1200 refer. They became notorious for catching fire and a multimillion-dollar lawsuit ensued. Their fix was to add a small black box (approximately 1"x 1" x 3") to the 12-volt power source. It's basically a switch. It uses a temperature probe that goes into the flue and senses heat. The boxes had about six or more generations as they were constantly failing. They did however shutdown power to the refer when there was excessive heat and SHOULDN'T be bypassed without ensuring that there was not an overheat issue.

It's been a while, but if I recall, it was a brown wire at the rear of the fridge that provided 12-volt power. The power wire was cut, and the box installed in between. It has a red light that comes on when there is a failure.

When they shut down the power, people used a strong magnet to reset the box. Here is a link.....

https://www.arprv.com/troubleshoot-norcold-recall.php
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Old 06-09-2023, 07:21 AM   #5
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Hidden Fuses

Quote:
Originally Posted by grouchotoo View Post
I'm helping a friend who just bought a 2005 Winnie Journey. There are some electrical issues I can't figure out.
Background: He replaced his old batteries (I don't know if they were AGM or flooded) with lithium ones but did not replace the converter/charger. It is plugged into a 120 V, 15 amp circuit and all the 12 volt things are working (lights, fans) but the refrigerator has no power either with it the coach plugged in or not. It was working yesterday but quit and would not turn back on. When it was plugged in he had the inverter on and it drained the batteries. I think he had the Aux. Battery switch in the off position. When the Aux. Batt. switch was turned back to on the fridge wouldn't turn on. As an aside, when the Aux. Batt. switch was turned back on, the outside radio would turn on. Very strange.
I called Winnebago but couldn't tell me much other than there is a relay that controls the fridge, among other things, has quit working and may be related to the converter/charger is not designed to use with lithium batteries.
Hopefully, one of you might have some insight into this.
Thanks.
At a rally, we had a customer install our product, and he blew the fuse in the process. It took us about 2 hours to find the fuse for the fridge, this was years ago, I think it was in the battery compartment.

As advised, check the Norcold recall, see if LED is on. They trip for no apparent reason, and they do not prevent fires as is evident by their track record.

Please get the battery charging system sorted out for the proper battery type.

Hope this helps, Paul and Mao
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Old 06-09-2023, 10:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for replying.
It's a Norcold fridge that runs on either propane or AC. Unfortunately, electrical issues are beyond my knowledge so I don't know how to check what you suggest.
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Old 06-09-2023, 11:04 AM   #7
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It's a Norcold fridge, so not a residential type. I don't know the model of it, offhand. It's in a 2005 Winnebago Journey, 34H.
Thank you for your reply but the things you suggest are far beyond my expertise. I don't think he has a manual for the inverter. None of the 12V breakers in the coach have been tripped.
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Old 06-09-2023, 11:12 AM   #8
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Thanks. I'll check the things you suggest.

I know the original owner of the coach and he was anal about maintenance so I would suspect he got the notice for fixing the heat issue in the flue and took care of it. Sadly, he passed away so I can't confirm that.
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Old 06-09-2023, 11:17 AM   #9
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Thanks for replying.

I didn't see the LED light you referred to at the back of the fridge.
When he put in the lithium batteries I suggested that he replace the converter/charger but he hasn't done it yet.
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Old 06-09-2023, 11:21 AM   #10
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The black box I discussed is typically right in your face when you take the outside cover off of the refer. It doesn't take any electrical knowledge to check it. Here is a link to the box installation and a photo of what it looks like.

The BIRD operates in conjunction with a continuous duty solenoid to provide the isolator/battery chargingfunctions of a motor home. It senses voltage on the coach and chassis batteries. If the voltage on either one isabove 13.1 volts, indicating the battery is being charged, it closes the isolator relay, paralleling the batteries,charging both.

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Old 06-09-2023, 01:29 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the suggestions.
It turns out that the fridge shut itself down due to heat. The coach was sitting outside on a hot, sunny day with the sun shining on the side with the refrigerator. Inside the coach it was 99 degrees. An RV tech diagnosed this.
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Old 06-09-2023, 02:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouchotoo View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions.
It turns out that the fridge shut itself down due to heat. The coach was sitting outside on a hot, sunny day with the sun shining on the side with the refrigerator. Inside the coach it was 99 degrees. An RV tech diagnosed this.
Were you getting a 'No Co' error????

The Cooling Unit Monitoring Control monitors the fin assembly temperature through the thermistor.
This control activates when the refrigerator is turned on or if the fin temperature rises above 50 F (40 F on earlier power board).
When the temperature is above 50 F (40 F on earlier power board) and a change in cooling is not detected in a specific amount of time, the refrigeration heat sources are turned off.

First "no co" Fault Occurrence
The first time the no co fault code appears on the optical control assembly, it can be cleared by the user by turning the refrigerator OFF and then back ON.

Second "no co" Fault Ocurrence
If the refrigerator does not complete a full cooling cycle
after the user turns the refrigerator back on and the "no"
"co" fault displays, the control lock the heat sources
and a "hardwire" power board reset is required.
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Old 06-09-2023, 11:19 PM   #13
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IMO, you should not spend a dime on that NEVER COLD. Instead, look at this as an opportunity to upgrade to a GE residential refrigerator (16Cu-Ft).

IMO, I would yank that BIRD out, because one day soon it will fail. Then install a KeyLine VSR to combine your house battery with your engine battery. It's easy to do and more reliable. Amazon sell these for $90 or slightly more if the cables in their "kit" are work for you installation. (Just one positive battery terminal to each battery bank and that's it!
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