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Old 01-02-2014, 12:43 PM   #1
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Question Coleman AC, HydroFire Heat, and Norcold Refridge??

I am not certain which way to turn on this one. I am about to take it to the shop, but really think that there is something I can do to correct this myself.

Recently we were out camping in the great Pacific Northwest and it was pretty cold. We were turning on the heater which would kick on and heat to the specific temp one time. The heater would turn off and then not continue. If I turned off the furnace using the wall controller in the camper (original Coleman thermostat), and turned it back on, the heater would come back on. I took the thermostat off the wall to get part numbers to order new one, and while off the wall the heater worked perfect. So, I left it alone for the camping trip. The last day we were packing up, I noticed the heater wasn't coming on. A few minutes later, I noticed the refrigerator wasn't working in either gas or electric mode. It was just not working. So, started looking around the camper for other stuff and determined that the AC Unit wasn't working. All of these devices had been working fine until I started monkeying around with the thermostat.

All three of them stopped, at my guess, the same time.

I do believe I need to replace the thermostat with a new Coleman Mach, but how would that relate to the refrigerator.

I have checked all the breakers under the sink, I have checked that there is enough AMPS to run the AC Unit.

Anyone have any suggestions where to look next?
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:00 PM   #2
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Was the fridge running on propane originally? Did it still have display lights or lights when you opened the door? Is the fridge 2 way (110VAC and propane) or 3 way (110VAC, propane, 12VDC)?

Did the stove/oven still operate?

Did you smell propane at any time?

How cold was it outside?

When the heater went out, did it try to start 3 times before you had no heat?

Here are a few options as to what may have happened, depending on how these are answered...

Heater started, ran fine.. cycled out (as they are supposed to).. Tried to re-fire, did not start (due to second line.. hold on) and "locked" itself out in safety mode. When you un-hooked the thermostat, it removed the 12VDC interlock, and re-set it, allowing it to function normally.

With monkeying with the thermostat, it is possible, you may have blown a DC fuse. Unless there was a good light show, I cant see you blowing the fuse in the regulator.. but it is possible.

And... Possible reason you may have had no heat.. the propane regulator froze up/became clogged, not allowing propane to flow.. or it was damaged at some point.

You did not mention the type/age of the camper either. Might help a bit in to try to diagnose..

It is also possible that the regulator just went bad.

John
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:21 PM   #3
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Hi John, THANK YOU very much for the quick response. I will answer your great questions inline with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John LLRV View Post
Was the fridge running on propane originally? Did it still have display lights or lights when you opened the door? Is the fridge 2 way (110VAC and propane) or 3 way (110VAC, propane, 12VDC)?

The Fridge was originally running on AC 110VAC. It does have a 2 way Propane of 110VAC. It was set to electric. After it wasn't working, I tried to switch it to Propane and it didn't work. NONE of the lights on the fridge even illuminate.


Did the stove/oven still operate? Yes, the oven stove, microwave and it appears everything else in the trailer still operate except those specific three devices.

Did you smell propane at any time? No, no smell of propane

How cold was it outside? Probably around 35-40 ish. well above freezing

When the heater went out, did it try to start 3 times before you had no heat? I am not certain how many times it tried to start. It seems the unit is pretty darn quiet. I was trying to listen to see if it was trying to start but not able to and couldn't tell. Might be cuz I don't hear that great too

Here are a few options as to what may have happened, depending on how these are answered...

Heater started, ran fine.. cycled out (as they are supposed to).. Tried to re-fire, did not start (due to second line.. hold on) and "locked" itself out in safety mode. When you un-hooked the thermostat, it removed the 12VDC interlock, and re-set it, allowing it to function normally.

With monkeying with the thermostat, it is possible, you may have blown a DC fuse. Unless there was a good light show, I cant see you blowing the fuse in the regulator.. but it is possible. No Light show and was very careful not to touch any wires together etc.

And... Possible reason you may have had no heat.. the propane regulator froze up/became clogged, not allowing propane to flow.. or it was damaged at some point. Checked the propane to make sure, but the entire time, I had no issues with the stove or oven working on Propane. Just for giggles, I even filled BOTH propane tanks to make sure there was enough and the pressure was good. This made no difference.

You did not mention the type/age of the camper either. Might help a bit in to try to diagnose.. Opps, sorry. its a 95 5th Wheel Jayco Anniversary Eagle Edition.

It is also possible that the regulator just went bad. By Regulator, are you talking the (get this) thingy majig at the propane tanks or would that be the coil spring in the thermostat? I am assuming you are talking the regulator that sits between the two propane tanks as I don't think the fridge has ANYTHING to do with the thermostat.

Also, the fridge still DOES NOT have any lights and does not function even when plugged in and selected to Electric.


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Old 01-02-2014, 01:46 PM   #4
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Well.. ok then...

"It is also possible that the regulator just went bad. By Regulator, are you talking the (get this) thingy majig at the propane tanks or would that be the coil spring in the thermostat? I am assuming you are talking the regulator that sits between the two propane tanks as I don't think the fridge has ANYTHING to do with the thermostat." Yes.. that.. but since you were well above freezing.. probably not the culprit.

The only other thing these items have in common.. they run off 12VDC for control voltage.

Did you still have lights inside the trailer? Does your 12VDC pump work? If yes.. then..

Check your DC fuses. You should have separate ones going to the fridge and heater. BUT.. since the camper is a bit old, they may have been tied together.

If fuses check good...

Since the fridge has no lights.. I believe are not getting 12VDC to the fridge.. how handy are you? and do you own a multi-meter? If you are comfy with poking around.. open up the access door on the outside of the fridge. Look for (+) on the fridge control board. Should be either a black or red wire going to it. Place the lead on the (+) and the other to ground or (-) and test for DC voltage. It should read between 12VDC and 13.5 (ish) VDC. If you have voltage to the board, but nothing is working, remove the black cover and check the fuses on the board... the older Norcold fridges should have at least 1 fuse on the control board. Glass tube if memory serves..

Um.. all for now? Check and get back.. K???
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:41 AM   #5
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Thanks John. It may be a few days as the trailer is now about 70 miles away in storage . I am okay poking around and know when I have hit my limits.

I do still have lights in the trailer. I haven't checked the DC water pump, I will do that.

Where / what would the "DC Fuses" look like? I have checked a box under the stove which looks like the standard houshould breaker box, and those breakers all appear to be good.

I will also check the voltage in the fridge.

I am assuming the logic behind something being bad on with the DC, is that all of these devices have some type of main control board which needs some type of power to let it work. Being a trailer, the only constant available power would be 12 VDC from the batteries. If there is no 12 VDC from the batteries, then the main boards wouldn't know to work. Is this a correct assu
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:05 AM   #6
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Since you still have lights, your converter is good.

Are you 100% sure that your fridge is a 2 way? Does your 5th wheel have an inverter? Some older and bigger 5th wheels today have regular house fridges. This requires the use of an inverter for while you are traveling.

Could I get a bit more info on your trailer? Jayco, 1995 5th wheel... um.. kinda need a model. I can pull prints and see if I can direct you to the location of the DC panel.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:38 PM   #7
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High John!

Your help in here has been excellent. I did find the problem. After searching through a few of the wires and deciding, instead of starting at the devices and tracing back to the battery, I am going to start at the battery and go in. As I was tracing the wires, I found where the batteries connect to a fuse box, which was in a crazy obscure place I might add, and it had about 10 15 AMP fuses in there. I started at the top and of course, it was the one on the bottom that was blown. So, after putting in a 15 AMP fuse, all is working as normal - well, except the heater and I really think that is the thermostat. I have a Coleman Mach manual thermostat on order and we will see if that does it.

So, your second to last post was spot on - the DC FUSES. Pretty typical for a car type fuse. I guess I need to stop overthinking this huge thing and just remember, electrical is electrical and DC is DC. They all have the same characteristics, just maybe mounted in side a cabinet, from the bottom and placed backwards so you have to get halfway into the cabinet before you can even see it. Crazy spot I tell ya

Thank you so much John.

Les
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Old 01-07-2014, 04:27 PM   #8
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Glad I was able to help!
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Old 01-07-2014, 07:42 PM   #9
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Glad to hear most of your issues are cleared up. Make sure to carry a bunch of spare fuses. I have gone through probably 5 fuses once trying to determine what was wrong with my 12 power points in our bunks.

As for the thermostat, have a question, does it have two wires on the back or multiple? The thermostat is just a switch, kinda like a light switch. It can be very fancy and use multiple wires if it controls the AC and the heater. If it is only two wires, you could disconnect the two wires and cross the leads, basically you are eliminating the thermostat switch. If the furnace turns on with no issues then most likely the issue is the thermostat. What concerns me thou is you stated it will turn on for one cycle and then not turn back on. This does indicate that there may be a control board issue, not allowing the system to reset. If your new thermostat does not fix the issue then I would start looking at the furnace’s owner’s manual for a solution in the FAQ section.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:10 AM   #10
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Jagivin, thanks for jumping in.

The thermostat has 6 wires. It controls hi/low, heat/ac, on/of. If I take the stat of the wall and let it dangle, the furnace seemed to work properly, but the second I move it around or attempt to connect it back to the wall, the furnace is sporadic at working. Sometimes it cycles normal and works for a day or two, sometimes it doesn't runs and turns off, then won't come back on, unless I "fiddle" with the stat. I could simply wiggle the on/off switch and it could start working. I too am concerned it could be the control board as I have heard they go pretty easy. But, a 40 stat is a lot cheaper than a 150.00 control board

I probably won't be doing that until this summer as we are done with outings until then. What confuses me, is the AC unit works totally fine, it doesn't have any issues with the stat at all.
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