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Old 01-30-2020, 11:02 AM   #1
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ARP Control Saves the day!

Just wanted to share our recent experience with the ARP Control (ours is ver. 3 with fan control).

Last week our Norcold 1200 developed the dreaded ammonia leak. I found the yellow stuff when I pulled the outside vent cover to see why we lost power to the fridge.

The ARP Control stopped the potential disaster by shutting down the AC to the fridge, just like it was supposed to. And as I understand it, at a much lower temp that the Norcold recall switch would have done.

I'm in the process of getting the cooling unit replaced (should be done tomorrow), and not going to complain about Norcold. Before this problem, the only other trouble I've had with it was a failing power control board. I solved that problem by replacing it with a Dinosaur board. Overall, our 1200 worked well, with a 14 year life and the last 2 1/2 running full time!

In my opinion, anyone with an RV fridge should consider installing an ARP Control. You can actually install it in conjunction with the Norcold recall switch if you wanted to do that.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:19 PM   #2
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Totally agree! The ARP protection device is great insurance!
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:04 AM   #3
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This post made my think about my set up. I am trying to learn all about our new-to-us Fleetwood Bounder to be prepared for "situations" on the road. My dometic refrigerator seems to work as designed. I see a thermostatic disc on the boiler. I assume it is a safety in the event of what recently happened to you. My question is if I were to have a similar situation where the ammonia leaked out and the boiler overheated, I'm assuming the thermostatic disc would eventually trigger a shut down of the heating element. However, a few minutes later when the unit cooled wouldn't it restart and begin the cycle over and over? Seems rather dangerous. Wouldn't the ARP restart over and over as well?
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fugitive861 View Post
This post made my think about my set up. I am trying to learn all about our new-to-us Fleetwood Bounder to be prepared for "situations" on the road. My dometic refrigerator seems to work as designed. I see a thermostatic disc on the boiler. I assume it is a safety in the event of what recently happened to you. My question is if I were to have a similar situation where the ammonia leaked out and the boiler overheated, I'm assuming the thermostatic disc would eventually trigger a shut down of the heating element. However, a few minutes later when the unit cooled wouldn't it restart and begin the cycle over and over? Seems rather dangerous. Wouldn't the ARP restart over and over as well?
My ARP Control shut down the AC to the fridge and did not try to restart. There was an error code displayed that related to the over heating problem and it did what it was supposed to do in that event. For more info I'd suggest going to the ARP website and doing some research.
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:17 PM   #5
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THANKS kf6ybl am picking up our new momentum 381m and this is one item i am for sure installing was also thinking fire suppression in fridge generator electrical area just cant be to safe imho thoughts?
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:24 PM   #6
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Another vote here for the ARP device. After researching a few years back I had one installed when my control board died (also replaced with a Dinosaur board.) Both still working great, and the specs on the ARP unit (lower temp cutoff than the factory patch, easy to reset etc) gives me a lot of peace-of-mind. Norcold 1201 going on 15 years old and still running like a champ.
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fugitive861 View Post
This post made my think about my set up. I am trying to learn all about our new-to-us Fleetwood Bounder to be prepared for "situations" on the road. My dometic refrigerator seems to work as designed. I see a thermostatic disc on the boiler. I assume it is a safety in the event of what recently happened to you. My question is if I were to have a similar situation where the ammonia leaked out and the boiler overheated, I'm assuming the thermostatic disc would eventually trigger a shut down of the heating element. However, a few minutes later when the unit cooled wouldn't it restart and begin the cycle over and over? Seems rather dangerous. Wouldn't the ARP restart over and over as well?
Both Norcold and Dometic had to do a recall for those problems and the resultant fires. For Norcold, they set the high temp limit at 800 degrees, which is way too high for my comfort. When the Norcold overtemp protection trips it locks out the power and it does not automatically reset. There is a way for a user to reset it using a magnet but it's not documented.

I would imagine that Dometic's recall works the same way but I have no idea.

The ARP is set a lot lower and is not simply a "trip at this temperature" device. If it sees the temp go high it will cut the power off and automatically reset when the temp drops. The reason is that the ARP device says it can protect your fridge on protracted hills, shutting the fridge down when off-level too far and restoring power when it's level again.

There is a limit, I think it was five but do not have the manual handy, where it will then lockout and stay locked out until a user action is taken.

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Old 01-31-2020, 05:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
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THANKS kf6ybl am picking up our new momentum 381m and this is one item i am for sure installing was also thinking fire suppression in fridge generator electrical area just cant be to safe imho thoughts?
I used to be a firefighter and you need to think of those systems as a one-use automatic fire extinguisher. They may give you more time to get out.

Unless the ignition source is removed then the fire can rekindle. So if the fridge overheats and goes to a thousand degrees and catches the plywood on fire, the extinguisher can kill the flames but can extinguish no more. But if the plywood (the fuel) and heat source (the overtemp'd fridge) are still present the fire may rekindle.

Is your Momentum really "new" or just "new to you" with an old fridge?

For Norcold the recall covered from roughly 1997 to 2010. My 2019 Norcold still has the same temp sensor and recall box as was retrofitted to older units. I've never seen anything definitive but apparently there were two causes for the fires: tubing that was too thin and less tolerance to the fridge being off-level.

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Old 02-01-2020, 08:08 AM   #9
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Update - after living out of ice chests for a little over 1 week, our Norcold 1200 is back up and running. The new cooling unit has been installed and after the fridge has been running for approx. 12 hours it appears ready to use (temp shows 20 deg).

The Tech that installed the new cooling unit said there was no visible burn marks or damage inside the fridge cabinet!

My next little project is to reinstall the ARP Control.

By the way, here what my 14+ year old cooling unit looked like after it failed.Click image for larger version

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Old 02-01-2020, 10:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf6ybl View Post
Update - after living out of ice chests for a little over 1 week, our Norcold 1200 is back up and running. The new cooling unit has been installed and after the fridge has been running for approx. 12 hours it appears ready to use (temp shows 20 deg).

The Tech that installed the new cooling unit said there was no visible burn marks or damage inside the fridge cabinet!

My next little project is to reinstall the ARP Control.

By the way, here what my 14+ year old cooling unit looked like after it failed.Attachment 273894Attachment 273895
Did you get the absorption-type cooling unit or the compressor type?
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Old 02-03-2020, 07:45 AM   #11
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Did you get the absorption-type cooling unit or the compressor type?
We stayed with the absorption type. Having the option of running on propane still works for us.
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Old 02-03-2020, 11:51 AM   #12
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The area where your 1200 series failed, where the electric heaters are brazed to the boiler tube, is the failure point that Norcold got sued for in a class action lawsuit, that they settled.

If the closed system over-pressures due to boiler overheating, this seems to be the weakest point that fails and leaks in a Norcold 1200. Flammable hydrogen gas and ammonia gas escape. You were fortunate that nothing ignited it before pressure equalized and the flammable gas stopped excaping into the space behind your refrigerator.

The ARP reduces the risk because it prevents the boiler from overheating, and that eliminates the overpressure that triggers the failure/leak. Wish Norcold and Dometic would license the ARP patent and build this right into their refrigerators!

Good stuff !
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Old 02-03-2020, 09:33 PM   #13
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powercat, as I understand the situation, the ARP/Fridge Defend unit was offered to both Norcold and Dometic, and was declined.
The ARP unit has another feature intertwined with the over-temperatuare shut-down. When you are parked out-of-level, it will turn off and on the heat supply as needed to prevent the boiler and tubing from over-heating and causing damage to the fridge.
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Old 02-04-2020, 09:09 AM   #14
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I think this is a good read.


https://www.arprv.com/boiler-damage-patents.php

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