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-   -   I just lost the food in my frig... (https://www.irv2.com/forums/f59/i-just-lost-the-food-in-my-frig-107440.html)

chofujohn 11-04-2011 07:12 PM

I just lost the food in my frig...
 
I'm loading up my 39 foot DSDP out on the street in front of my house and I guess because it is unlevel my frig quit working. I knew I should have left the generator on 24/7 while in this process, but I didn't and now I've lost ALL the food in the unit. Some stuff is safe in the basement freezer because it works on 12V as well as 110v. But, to say I'm dissatisfied with my frig would be an understatement.

So, guys, what's the answer? Is there a trick to keeping it running in an unlevel condition? Should I buy a newer generation frig that works on AC/DC/LP? Do any of you have one of those newer units? Are they more reliable?

I'm a new full-timer who is about to launch within days and I've worked hard to make this motorhome as suitable as possible to my needs as a full-timer. All I can see that is lacking is the frig. It's pitiful.

Best,

John

ahicks 11-04-2011 07:22 PM

The frig is designed to be run in motion, or nearly level. Todays aren't quite as bad as they used to be, but the fact remains they should be level. The energy soure powering them are of no consequence. It would have done the same thing on 110v.

Sammie 11-04-2011 08:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chofujohn (Post 1001393)
I'm loading up my 39 foot DSDP out on the street in front of my house and I guess because it is unlevel my frig quit working. I knew I should have left the generator on 24/7 while in this process, but I didn't and now I've lost ALL the food in the unit. Some stuff is safe in the basement freezer because it works on 12V as well as 110v. But, to say I'm dissatisfied with my frig would be an understatement.

So, guys, what's the answer? Is there a trick to keeping it running in an unlevel condition? Should I buy a newer generation frig that works on AC/DC/LP? Do any of you have one of those newer units? Are they more reliable?

I'm a new full-timer who is about to launch within days and I've worked hard to make this motorhome as suitable as possible to my needs as a full-timer. All I can see that is lacking is the frig. It's pitiful.

Best,

John

John, You don't say what brand (Norcold or Dometic) or what model refrigerator you have but if what you say that the refer is "kaput", then you have a couple of options. Some people are pulling out the old RV refrigerator and replacing it with a residential type that runs on 120 volt only. In doing this type of conversion you may need to upgrade your inverter and add more house batteries to supply the electrical needs of the new fridge.

The other option you might want to consider is more economical and is done by the replacement of your existing fridges cooling unit. Depending on your model this can be done for Approximatly $900 to $1500 depending on who you get to do the work.

If your handy with tools you can replace the cooling unit yourself and save $400 to $500 in labor like I did on my Norcold 1200. You can order a new Amish Built cooling unit from RV Cooling Unit Warehouse and get it shipped to you in a few days.

Here is a video I made while doing the installation of my cooling unit.

Good Luck,
Sammie
Norcold 1200 to Amish Cooling Unit Conversion.mpg - YouTube

Gary RVRoamer 11-04-2011 08:16 PM

Your fridge didn't fail because you did not run the generator. If it was enough out-of-level to fail, it would have done so even if plugged to shore power. Besides, it would have to be way out of level to cause an immediate and outright failure.

An absorption fridge needs to be in motion or fairly level to work right, and that applies regardless of the power source. AC, DC or LP makes no difference.

A 2002 model fridge is new enough to be ok with angle up to 3 degrees, which is actually quite a lot. If you have a 40 foot coach, 3 degrees means one end is about 2 feet higher than the other. You would be very uncomfortable walking around like that, but maybe you tolerated it while loading the coach? How far off was it?

Ed ke6bnl 11-04-2011 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer (Post 1001447)
Your fridge didn't fail because you did not run the generator. If it was enough out-of-level to fail, it would have done so even if plugged to shore power. Besides, it would have to be way out of level to cause an immediate and outright failure.

An absorption fridge needs to be in motion or fairly level to work right, and that applies regardless of the power source. AC, DC or LP makes no difference.

A 2002 model fridge is new enough to be ok with angle up to 3 degrees, which is actually quite a lot. If you have a 40 foot coach, 3 degrees means one end is about 2 feet higher than the other. You would be very uncomfortable walking around like that, but maybe you tolerated it while loading the coach? How far off was it?


I always get my refrigerator within a 1/2 bubble but it is a 2000 National Sea Breeze fifth wheel do you think the 2000 I have is more lenient with the leveling? thanks ED

bluepill 11-04-2011 08:37 PM

1. A friend who has had RV's since the 70's told me that he had luck with restoring an older LP fridge that had died. He removed it and turned it upside-down for a few days. After righting it, it worked. I would think that would be worth trying. Before you go to that trouble, make sure that your fridge doesn't have another problem, such as a blown 12 volt fuse that will shut down the controller board. (The never ASSUME rule).

2. Re your question about keeping the fridge cold when you cannot level it. I use very little of the freezer space for food. My Norcold has 2 dedicated freezer compartments. Before a trip, I fill "Tupperware" containers and old soda bottles to about 90% full, and freeze them in the home fridge.

I then take the frozen containers to the MH and put them in both the refer and freezer compartments. This cools down the fridge quickly, saving time and on-board energy. After the refer section gets down to temp., I move the containers to the freezer.

If I cannot run the fridge due to off-level, I just move the containers into the refer section, and it becomes one big "Ice Chest". If needed, I will purchase additional ice. For food safety, I keep a digital thermometer with min/max memory ($10 at WalMart) in both compartments to tell me how high the temp has gotten.

chofujohn 11-05-2011 09:49 AM

The Dutch Star was pretty level when I parked, but...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer (Post 1001447)
Your fridge didn't fail because you did not run the generator. If it was enough out-of-level to fail, it would have done so even if plugged to shore power. Besides, it would have to be way out of level to cause an immediate and outright failure.

An absorption fridge needs to be in motion or fairly level to work right, and that applies regardless of the power source. AC, DC or LP makes no difference.

A 2002 model fridge is new enough to be ok with angle up to 3 degrees, which is actually quite a lot. If you have a 40 foot coach, 3 degrees means one end is about 2 feet higher than the other. You would be very uncomfortable walking around like that, but maybe you tolerated it while loading the coach? How far off was it?

Hi Gary,

The coach was pretty level to begin with, but then the front bags deflated and it kneeled down on the front like a camel getting a drink of water. Even then I don't know how "tilted" it was. Living in the Ozark Mountains of NW Arkansas everything is out of level by half a bubble including my ex-wife. The frig is a Dometic. When I found the frig warm the next day I noticed the "Check" light was lit, which I think was the result of it being out of level for 24 hours. When I started the generator and recycled the power to off and then back to on it picked up right away on the gen power and started cooling again.

The frustration factor in this incident is huge. I can't live full-time in a motorhome that commits these kinds of crimes against my wallet. I'm thinking the newest generation 3-way power (110v/12v/LP) refrigerators might be more tolerant of running out of level. The basement frig/freezer is a Whynter Model: FM-85G that I put in the basement on a slide still works when the kitchen frig/freezer has stopped. That tells me it is possible to maintain a working compressor when out of level. The Whynter runs on 110v/12v with auto switching between the two.

My frig is definitely the weak link in this chain. Aren't there any that will run out of level? I've priced new Dometics and it would appear their 3 way power frigs in my size run about $1,500 at Camping World. But, it would be really worth it if I didn't have to endure these kinds of hassles in the future.

John

bldrbob 11-05-2011 12:28 PM

Unless you have a large battery bank it would not run too long on 12 volt unless the engine is running or on shore power.

ottffss 11-05-2011 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chofujohn (Post 1001748)
....then the front bags deflated and it kneeled down on the front like a camel getting a drink of water...

So that will put the front down at most 6-8inches. HARDLY enough to out-of-level a refer - which for a rig of 39ft makes you only 1 degree out of kilter - which is well within the typical 3 degree spec. (39ft * sin1deg = 6-8inches)

Sounds more like a pilot light failure on the LP side - thus causing the check light. Maybe it could also have been a bubble of air in the propane line? Was the propane valve opened? Is the burner clean?

Of course, "loading up" an absorption refer is a definite no-no unless everything you are loading up is pre-chilled. They do not have the heat capacity to cool a heavy load of warm food very fast.

TAZ 11-05-2011 01:20 PM

If the check light was on the lp may have been shut off or the battery could have been too weak to run the fridge. I have never seen the check light comeon due to level.

dsbike 11-05-2011 03:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TAZ (Post 1001863)
If the check light was on the lp may have been shut off or the battery could have been too weak to run the fridge. I have never seen the check light comeon due to level.

I must agree with TAZ, I have only seen the check light come on my refrig when I ran out of propane or forgot to turn on the propane & the 110 shore power failed or was not hooked up.

Wayne Pryor 11-05-2011 03:47 PM

Being out of level had nothing to due with the problem. As mentioned battery voltage could be low causing the board to shut down. When did you first notice the check light? Did you verify the flame was burning? I don't trust lights so I go out and listen for the fridge to light. I can also hear the flame burning with out pulling the vent cover.

Wayne Pryor 11-05-2011 03:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sammie (Post 1001432)
John, You don't say what brand (Norcold or Dometic) or what model refrigerator you have but if what you say that the refer is "kaput", then you have a couple of options. Some people are pulling out the old RV refrigerator and replacing it with a residential type that runs on 120 volt only. In doing this type of conversion you may need to upgrade your inverter and add more house batteries to supply the electrical needs of the new fridge.

The other option you might want to consider is more economical and is done by the replacement of your existing fridges cooling unit. Depending on your model this can be done for Approximatly $900 to $1500 depending on who you get to do the work.

If your handy with tools you can replace the cooling unit yourself and save $400 to $500 in labor like I did on my Norcold 1200. You can order a new Amish Built cooling unit from RV Cooling Unit Warehouse and get it shipped to you in a few days.

Here is a video I made while doing the installation of my cooling unit.

Good Luck,
Sammie
Norcold 1200 to Amish Cooling Unit Conversion.mpg - YouTube

Sammie, We just started using the Amish built cooling units and they are very well designed. These are new units and not rebuilt.

Mtnbiker1096 11-05-2011 04:22 PM

I agree with whats been said here. I have had and worked on a handful of old refers. I think it being out of level a little bit wasn't the problem. But rather a LP issue.


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