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Old 08-23-2017, 06:52 PM   #1
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Norcold fridge working, but not working

My 2018 Coleman Lite (that I've had for 6 weeks) has a Norcold refrigerator/freezer that suddenly won't keep anything cold in the fridge, but will freeze water in ice cube trays - has anyone had a similar problem with their Norcold?

Also, can some PLEASE explain to me how the refrigerator automatically switches between electric and propane? Is there something I should be doing once I plug in/unplug from shoreline power or is it really "automatic" like the fridge door states?

The green light goes on when plugged in and turns yellow when I unplug from shoreline power.

Also, what should I do when I disconnect from my tow vehicle (with regards to the fridge's power)?

I appreciate any information you can provide, as I am 6 weeks into the (semi-full time) RV lifestyle.

Thanks,
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:37 PM   #2
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You really need to read the manual for your refrigerator. You didn't provide a model number, so I can only talk in general terms. Most RV fridges can be set to gas, electric (120v) or Auto. Auto will use 120v when it detects it, LP gas when it doesn't.

The fridge uses 12v DC to control the refrigerator, light the gas, and light the interior. The nature of an evaporator refrigerator is they don't cool down real fast. If you keep opening the door to check, you're letting the cold out. I suggest you put a wireless remote thermometer in the freezer or refrigerator section to monitor temperatures.

When you aren't connected to shore power or your tow vehicle, the refrigerator should be working off your 12v house batteries. When plugged into shore power, the converter/charger will run all 12v items in the camper and recharge the batteries. When driving, I'd imagine you have a charge line between the Tow vehicle and the camper that should maintain and slowly charge the batteries.
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Old 08-27-2017, 07:20 PM   #3
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If you've ever read the Owners Manual for any RV appliance - or for the RV itself, you'd know that the manual explains HOW the appliance works, NOT what to do when __________.

I've read the Owner's Manual and it tells me how the appliance works (which I already know).

My questions are:

What do I need to do when I disconnect from my tow vehicle?
Why did my fridge not stay cold (why did it stop cooling when I unplugged from my tow vehicle overnight - unplugged for about 12 hours).

If the fridge automatically switches from shoreline to battery power, what do I need to do (if anything) when I unplug from shoreline power to ensure my food doesn't spoil when the RV is unplugged.

Could there be a wiring issue from the TT battery to the appliances?

I've had to throw away food twice when I my TT was unplugged from my tow vehicle overnight - the Owner's Manual says nothing about this.

If Owner's manuals had a "best practices " section, I'm sure RV owners would have fewer " stupid questions" on forums like this one.

Incidentally, my fridge is an N611V.
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Old 08-27-2017, 07:54 PM   #4
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I have read many owner's manuals and service manuals too. Here's a link to the service manual. If you have concerns about the thermistor, here's info on testing that component.

When your tow vehicle is disconnected, I assume you have a house battery or two to power the camper. If it has a disconnect switch, it should be on to maintain the refrigerator and use the RV. Clean and inspect all connections to the battery and grounds. Take voltage readings at the battery and other points of the 12v wiring to be sure you're getting full voltage to components of the camper. The refrigerator connections should be accessible in the outside refrigerator vent hatches.

When you plug the RV into shore power, it will automatically power the converter/charger which will charge the battery(ies) and supply 12v to all interior lights and 12v appliances. The refrigerator is a 12v appliance, it switches between LP gas and 120v to heat the boiler that provides the cooling. On Auto, it will go to 120v when it detects it in the power cord, LP gas when 120v isn't available.
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Old 08-27-2017, 08:06 PM   #5
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Is the LP valve open at the tank?
Is the salesman switch on?
Is it level, is it on auto?
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Old 08-27-2017, 08:13 PM   #6
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Yes, on the LP valve

Never heard of the "salesman switch"

Yes, TT is level and the Owners Manual says the fridge switches automatically between shoreline and tow vehicle, so I'm going to say Yes to auto.
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Old 08-27-2017, 08:26 PM   #7
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It may need to be on Auto at the fridge controller. Go to YouTube and put in your model number and see what come up.
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Old 08-27-2017, 08:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdNope View Post
Yes, on the LP valve

Never heard of the "salesman switch"

Yes, TT is level and the Owners Manual says the fridge switches automatically between shoreline and tow vehicle, so I'm going to say Yes to auto.
Salesman switch is a term often used for the battery disconnect switch, usually located near the main door. When showing an RV on the lot, the salesman would turn on the switch when entering the RV with a prospective buyer. Often lights would be left on, so with the switch activated, all lights would come on for dramatic impact.

Please check the manual again, the refrigerator can be set on LP gas only or Auto, not sure it selects between "shoreline and tow vehicle" those terms aren't generally used in an RV electrical system.

The tow vehicle has a cord that connects to the trailer, providing running lights, brake and turn signals, brake signal (if electric brakes) and a charge wire to keep the 12v battery for the electric brakes break-a-way system charged. It might also contribute a small charging power to the trailer house battery, but the size of the wire and length of run means it won't really provide a lot of amps to the battery.
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Old 08-27-2017, 09:08 PM   #9
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Right you are, Ed. Manuals don't give insight on how to use things.

Ok, repeating some things....

Fridge electronic controls work on 12V. You need that from battery or shore power through a charger-inverter. So it needs 12V from the get go. Coach Master Electric = ON.

If it is a three way "automatic switching" unit, it will auto select the most efficient energy source available: 12v DC, 120v AC or LP. (Assuming LP is ON)

In "Auto"...
Shore power - supplies the 120V heater element (and 12v DC for controls);
LP - 12v DC from battery or shore for the igniter (12v DC for controls); and last...
12v DC - supplies 12V heater element (12v DC for controls as above) ....here's the "tricky bit"... It will only run on 12v DC for cooling when it is plugged into your tow vehicle and the ENGINE is RUNNING. The alternator needs to provide the "juice" or the fridge's heating element will suck the TT battery dry in no time.

So, parked you cool on shore power. Unplug and it will switch to LP. Hooked up and fired up, it switches to alternator power. Kind of cool.

It may have safety time delay in switching to LP when shutting down your tow vehicle (like a fuel stop).
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Old 08-28-2017, 01:44 AM   #10
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On a 2018, IT WILL NOT COOL ON JUST 12volt. 12 volt is just needed for to run the control board. When disconnected from the tow vehicle, do you have 12 vdc at the control board, at the back of the fridge? ( use a test light) To trouble shoot, find the 120v plug at the back of the fridge and unplug it. Is the propane supplied to the fridge? ( crack the line nut and use soap to do a bubble test) With 12 volt and propane supplied, have someone turn the fridge control inside trailer off. wait 30sec and turn it back on. You being near the outside of fridge should hear some snapping noise and a flame should come on. There is a little slide door that you can see the flame. If it does not light ,you have a control problem. Post here for more info if you do not get a flame. I will give more info.
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Old 08-28-2017, 04:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Crows View Post
Right you are, Ed. Manuals don't give insight on how to use things.

Ok, repeating some things....

Fridge electronic controls work on 12V. You need that from battery or shore power through a charger-inverter. So it needs 12V from the get go. Coach Master Electric = ON.

If it is a three way "automatic switching" unit, it will auto select the most efficient energy source available: 12v DC, 120v AC or LP. (Assuming LP is ON)

In "Auto"...
Shore power - supplies the 120V heater element (and 12v DC for controls);
LP - 12v DC from battery or shore for the igniter (12v DC for controls); and last...
12v DC - supplies 12V heater element (12v DC for controls as above) ....here's the "tricky bit"... It will only run on 12v DC for cooling when it is plugged into your tow vehicle and the ENGINE is RUNNING. The alternator needs to provide the "juice" or the fridge's heating element will suck the TT battery dry in no time.

So, parked you cool on shore power. Unplug and it will switch to LP. Hooked up and fired up, it switches to alternator power. Kind of cool.

It may have safety time delay in switching to LP when shutting down your tow vehicle (like a fuel stop).


Thank you for information. It's very helpful.
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Old 08-28-2017, 04:14 AM   #12
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On a 2018, IT WILL NOT COOL ON JUST 12volt. 12 volt is just needed for to run the control board. When disconnected from the tow vehicle, do you have 12 vdc at the control board, at the back of the fridge? ( use a test light) To trouble shoot, find the 120v plug at the back of the fridge and unplug it. Is the propane supplied to the fridge? ( crack the line nut and use soap to do a bubble test) With 12 volt and propane supplied, have someone turn the fridge control inside trailer off. wait 30sec and turn it back on. You being near the outside of fridge should hear some snapping noise and a flame should come on. There is a little slide door that you can see the flame. If it does not light ,you have a control problem. Post here for more info if you do not get a flame. I will give more info.


Thanks oldbeek! Now, wouldn't be so helpful if the Owner's Manual said this on page 1 (that it will not cool on just 12V)?

I greatly appreciate this information - maybe I don't have a fridge problem at all? Maybe it was just a lack of knowledge on my part - and expecting the Owner's Manual to actually tell me something helpful.

You "Old guys" (Old Crows and oldbeek) are awesome!

Thanks again, to both of you.
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:26 AM   #13
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Speaking to Owner's Manuals and their complete uselessness -
(Sorry, slightly off-topic,

I am temporarily plugged into shoreline but still connected to my tow vehicle - should I unplug the trailer lights since I'm on shoreline power or can it stay plugged in until I am ready to unhook from tow vehicle (the next day)?

Thanks, once again.
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:51 AM   #14
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Shouldn't matter it's only power by the 12v side of your truck. But if you are planning to leave the trailer anyway why not do it.
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