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Old 01-12-2021, 10:39 AM   #1
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Norcold Refrigerator issues

Hello All,

Did a search, but couldn't find an answer so sorry if this has been covered.

I have a 2017 21 foot Jayflight with a Norcold refrigerator and it has worked flawlessly until now. All indicator lights working showing no issues on LP or Shore power, but colling has all but stopped. Would this likely be the sensor on the fins (it is on the third fin from the left) or something else. Gas is running and I can feel heat on the tubes outside when on as well.

Any advice would be much appreciated.
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Old 01-12-2021, 10:50 AM   #2
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One question, is the unit good and level. That has an effect on RV fridges and no cooling. There are some real good videos if you care to watch on YouTube. Check out Darren’s videos at My RV Works. Like to watch them in my spare time, that way I have a jump when something does happen. Norcold did have a problem with some cooling units going bad, not to say that is your issue.
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Old 01-12-2021, 10:58 AM   #3
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Here is an excerpt from a document I am putting together to help RVers troubleshoot their rigs...

Fridge Troubleshooting Hints

These hints pertain to electric/propane fridges only and not residential versions.

When troubleshooting fridge operation it is very helpful to observe what is working and what is not. The propane section operates differently from the electric side so if only one side is not working, some components can be eliminated as the source of the problem. Try to download a service manual for your model fridge as it will definitely help. It may have a flowchart to follow for troubleshooting.

The fridge uses 12 volts for control in both modes of operation. When in electric mode 120 volts MUST be available for operation. Verify that the fridge circuit breaker is not tripped. Odds are the fridge would not even attempt to go into electric mode if 120 volts is missing. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to verify that you have a good 12 volts at the power connection to the fridge.

Propane side OK, electric side fails – The electric side uses a 120 volt heating element to heat the ammonia mixture that results in cooling. The heating element should probably be the first thing checked. This can be done with your test meter in one of 2 ways – voltage measurement or resistance measurement.

Once you have located the heating element’s wiring, you can set your meter for resistance and place the leads across the wiring (might have to get creative on how to get to the wire inside conductor). Very important – do not try taking a resistance measurement with any power applied to the fridge as you would probably destroy your test meter. If the heating element reads open (infinite ohms), replace it.

The other test would be to check for 120 volts across the heating element when in the electric cooling mode. If 120 volts is measured across the heating element but yet it is not heating up, the heating element is bad.

If the heating element measures OK or the 120 volts is missing when in electric cooling mode, this could point to a board failure or, if present, a relay that the board controls that passes the 120 volts to the heating element.

Electric side OK, propane side fails – Verify that propane is available. This can be done by firing up a burner on your stove. Some items in the propane operation: spark ignition, gas valve, burner, chimney. Follow the troubleshooting flowchart in your download service manual to narrow things down. You may be able to measure voltages at the various components. Also, the burner needs to be clean and any gas orifice jets open.

Poor cooling propane and electric – This may be a common complaint. First off, these fridges need to be level to operate. If you are trying to operate it on a slope, it won’t cool properly and you could damage the cooling system.

You need to determine if it is trying to cool, meaning the burner is on or the electric element is receiving voltage. This is important because it will point you in the right direction. The easiest way to see if it is trying to cool is to operate in propane mode and look for a flame. If the flame is present, it is trying to cool. No flame may mean the fridge thinks it has reached the desired temperature and has cycled off.

Trying to cool – If your fridge is trying to cool but not working very well you may have a buildup of heat in the rear of the fridge. Many fridges have built-in exhaust fan(s) at the top that come on when excess heat is detected. These fan(s) pull are in from the bottom and exhaust it out the top and are typically controlled by a thermocouple which is a thermal switch. There have been a number of instances where these fans have failed. If you have downloaded a service manual for your model it should indicate whether you have these fan(s) or not. It also may have a troubleshooting flowchart for poor cooling.

When cooling on gas the flame should look clean and stable. Problems can result if the burner or flue is clogged/dirty. When cooling on AC some fridges may have 2 heating elements and one may be bad. The service manual will give information on this.

Not trying to cool – If your fridge has cycled off, meaning it thinks it has reached the temp you have set, you may have a problem with a thermistor. This is the electronic device, often attached to the fins inside the fridge, that senses the inside temperature. The control board reads the thermistor and turns off at a certain reading. If the thermistor is bad it may cause the board to shut off cooling before it should.
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:59 AM   #4
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Because of environmental inside and outside the fridge compartments corrosion of electrical connections is the first thing, be sure to check power source or continuity with multi meter. Have seen to many electronic boards replaced by mechanics, while I tested these boards while they where good. Learn how to test the electrical system!
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Old 01-12-2021, 12:53 PM   #5
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If your model is the 1210, which is the 4 door model, I can upload the service manual for it. It has a lot of troubleshooting tips.
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Old 01-12-2021, 02:00 PM   #6
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Thumbs up Testing....

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimD View Post
If your model is the 1210, which is the 4 door model, I can upload the service manual for it. It has a lot of troubleshooting tips.
it is a 2 door and I am watching the suggested video and following testing steps currently.

Made sure everything level (was a tad off from settling into the dirt a bit)

Cleaned out condenser area and coils and made sure there is good venting going on

Unhooked Thermister from fins and just hanging in ambient air. (supposed to be in center on this model) and have it full cold setting and running for 6 or 8 hours as suggested on AC power

Seems to be getting more heat in the coils than before so fingers crossed.

Will go next to testing electrical system as suggested if there are still issues.

You guys have been a big help so far!
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Old 01-13-2021, 12:08 PM   #7
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Update

OK still not working correctly and not cooling down so I have installed a new thermistor and crossing finger I do not need a new circuit board. Electric started heating the boiler as soon as I turned it on and now just need to wait and see if the coils heat up.
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:07 PM   #8
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OK guess the next step is a new Circut board right? It lights, the boiler and lower part of coil heats up, but no cooling.... Electrical right?
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:18 PM   #9
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I’ve had lots of experience with this norcold, I had two of them.
First make sure the condensor is cooling, add an extra fan back there and get the air moving. Make sure exhaust vent is direct and clear. There are other things you can do but it’s too long to list it here. You can try to “burp the fridge too” but you should email to get the specifics. Norcold are junk. Sorry
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:44 PM   #10
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Have you visually inspected the cooling unit from the outside vent to see if there is any yellow powder indicating a leak? Bad sign if so.
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I’ve had lots of experience with this norcold, I had two of them.
First make sure the condensor is cooling, add an extra fan back there and get the air moving. Make sure exhaust vent is direct and clear. There are other things you can do but it’s too long to list it here. You can try to “burp the fridge too” but you should email to get the specifics. Norcold are junk. Sorry
Email who? and thanks for your reply.
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:46 PM   #12
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Have you visually inspected the cooling unit from the outside vent to see if there is any yellow powder indicating a leak? Bad sign if so.
Yes, I have and clean as a whistle....
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:48 PM   #13
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Not the board!!!

It appears that the board is controlling the cooling by having it activate. That is the board's function. If the cooling stays on but it doesn't cool properly, the board is doing what it is suppose to and has nothing else that it can do.

I have attached the troubleshooting info from my Norcold's manual. For poor cooling it does not mention the board at all.
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Not the board!!!

It appears that the board is controlling the cooling by having it activate. That is the board's function. If the cooling stays on but it doesn't cool properly, the board is doing what it is suppose to and has nothing else that it can do.

I have attached the troubleshooting info from my Norcold's manual. For poor cooling it does not mention the board at all.
One heater AC open mean Jim
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:59 PM   #15
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Give it some time to cool - put a water-bottle in the Freezer compartment or temp-meter

Slide the Fridge Thermistor up = colder down = warmer
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Old 01-13-2021, 06:01 PM   #16
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One heater AC open mean Jim
Some fridges have 2 electric heating elements instead of one. If your problem happens on both gas AND electric, I would look for things that are common to both. The electric heating element is only used on 120 volts and not on propane.

What is the fridge model number?
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Old 01-13-2021, 06:14 PM   #17
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Norcold Refrigerator Issues

I had a similar issue last summer. My freezer cooled down correctly, but my refrigerator did not. I looked online and found a youtube video on troubleshooting that suggested that I clear any errors and reset the refer and that was all that it took to get the refrigerator cooling properly again.
Here is the name of the video on youtube: Norcold 1210 warm RV refrigerator fix
I hope that it is as simple as this.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-13-2021, 06:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Some fridges have 2 electric heating elements instead of one. If your problem happens on both gas AND electric, I would look for things that are common to both. The electric heating element is only used on 120 volts and not on propane.

What is the fridge model number?
It is a N611A Jim
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Old 01-13-2021, 06:45 PM   #19
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There could be a blockage or a charge migration issue. Look up burping the fridge on the internet and tapping the condensor with a block of wood. In both my fridge issues this fixed the problem. It’s a little more involved but will cost you nothing but your own labour.
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Old 01-13-2021, 07:28 PM   #20
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There could be a blockage or a charge migration issue. Look up burping the fridge on the internet and tapping the condensor with a block of wood. In both my fridge issues this fixed the problem. It’s a little more involved but will cost you nothing but your own labour.
Wow, never heard of this. I looked it up and indeed it is a real thing. Good thing, apparently, to try as a last resort. I would try it if everything else fails.
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