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Replace, Upgrade, or Repair Norcold Fridge/Freezer?

Refrigerator Six-Pac T100S Tacoma Advice

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#11 Lighthawk

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 04:29 AM

Our 2008 Norcold stopped working.  I had learned to clean the jets to keep it running.

But, temp control was irregular and we lost veggies when they got frozen which isn't great in the middle of a desert trip.

 

I did my research to find a compatible match, to fit the previous unit and went with a Dometic compressor 'fridge.

I was able to plug in the bayonet 12v FWC wiring harness without issues.  It works for us, with our 120A solar and 100AH battery. 


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#12 Old Crow

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 02:55 PM

If the camper is wired to safely support the monster !12 VDC amperage draw of a 3-Way fridge then it is over-wired to support the amperage draw of a compressor fridge.

 

Agreed.  I shouldn't have said 'your Six Pac's electrical system' when what I meant was the overall design of the battery charging system of both truck and camper. Sorry about that!

 

Since Fred doesn't mention solar, I assume he doesn't have it.  According to this Six Pac manual, the standard setup is to charge the house battery via a connection between the truck's seven-pin trailer plug and a corresponding seven-pin plug on the front of the camper. Given the Tacoma alternator's relatively low charging voltage (probably mid-13's), the relatively small wiring between truck and camper, and the long wiring run, I'd think the house battery wouldn't be recharging very quickly .... perhaps not quickly enough to support furnace, (compressor) fridge, lights, etc.  And therefore he'd be forced into some overnights at shore-power-equipped campsites to recharge (or carry a generator).

 

I guess the question is what else Fred might need to consider when he's thinking of swapping out his three-way for a compressor fridge given his current battery-charging setup.

 

.


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#13 Smokecreek1

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 03:16 PM

2x-same sort of story as Lighthawk!  Kept my 3-way alive for years including living thru it shutting  down a couple of times out in the boonies , when I one time I was camping with Steve P up at  the Virgin Springs CG on the Sheldon NWR in Nevada, when "boom" it shut down again. I did a TR on what happened next several year ago called  "when things almost when boom" or something like that (put ref in here later), anyway lost a bunch of lamb chops but made it back to my RV place in Susanville.   To make long story short-I had been planning to convert over to solar anyway -and this gave me the physical reason to do so. Yep, a second house battery, an another 100w solar panel,, new comptroller  and a $1700 dometic CR compression frig/freezer  later I was solar :wacko: .  Have not looked back since, so use your experience to improve your WTWing experience!

 

Smoke

 

Update: "When things almost went boom!" posted 19 May, 2014! (sorry still don't know how to put ref in here to make it easy to post :blink:!


Edited by Smokecreek1, 27 March 2019 - 03:29 PM.

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#14 foakes

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 03:57 PM

Thanks again, everyone —

Here is where we are as of today:

New same model Norcold 3-Way costs about $850, shipped.

Took everyone’s advice — pulled out the current Norcold N300.3 fridge (easy, as you said).

Found a couple of pounds of mud wasp and paper wasp nests hanging from the interior cabinet, above the controls, and wiring.

Some of the mud was fused tightly around the dial controls where the wires attach.

Cleaned out cabinet and wiring and top of fridge.

Also, the tiny gauge blue insulated wire that goes to the flame indicator on the front top of the fridge control array — was broken in two.

The flame chimney is rusty, as well as the flame tube inside the pilot box.

So — I will purchase a new fridge, if no reasonable fix makes sense.

However, if I was able to diagnose the various issues as to voltage, LP, etc. — I would like to try and repair this one.

My only hesitations would be — going over $300. Since at that point, I would likely be better off with paying the extra for a new unit.

I do have a 100W solar panel that is on the unit — but it is basic, and has never worked since it was installed.

Would just like to get back to a factory operating unit, or better — without any complex fixes.

Can someone help me post pics?

Best,

Fred
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#15 foakes

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 06:38 PM

I think what I will do now —

Is clean the fridge of all exterior debris —

Check all wires — replace any broken — strip back ends — solder new connectors on — clean the bayonet connectors with a Dremel — spray electrical contact cleaner on the ends —

Remove the flame chimney — burn tube — clean them outside and inside with a wire brush chucked in a drill —

Adjust the igniter to proper depth —

Install new insulation on the chimney —

Reinstall the fridge — connect 12V, LP, plug in 120VAC —

See if there’s any improvement in LP operation —

If back to 100% —good.

If there are still issues — address those and/or decide what to do next...

Best,

Fred
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#16 ntsqd

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 03:48 AM

Agreed. ......

 

.

Ah! I see what you were driving at. Yes I agree, given those conditions & constraints the system probably can't recover what is used by a compressor fridge very easily.

 

Solar: It would be worthwhile to get that working regardless of what fridge you opt for. There's lots of info posted here and folks with experience who can help.


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#17 foakes

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 05:35 AM

Just got some great help from Old Crow on posting pics —

So will do that tomorrow —

In the meantime, I think I posted this thread in the wrong category, unknowingly — should likely be under 4 wheel campers, or?

Could a Mod or Admin please move it to a proper category?

Thanks!

Best,

Fred
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#18 foakes

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 03:08 PM

Just a heads up, for anyone interested...

Being a Moderator on another outdoor sports equipment site — it is disappointing when folks come on a site just to get info — then never give the folks who helped a report...

I will post results on the fridge in a few days, or less.

Took advice on here from some of you experts — since a new fridge is about $850 shipped, best price — I decided to attempt a repair.

The top of the fridge was impacted with wasp and yellow jacket nests, and one small wire to the flame indicator gauge was separated.

Removed fridge, cleaned up everything, cleaned with a wire wheel the burner, and chimney. Ultrasonically cleaned the orifice and supply fittings. Cleaned up the thermocouple. Reinsulated the chimney stack. Replaced the two stage gas regulator.

Starts well immediately — runs for maybe 10 minutes with a great blue flame — then cuts off.

Ordered a wire set that is supposed to help or eliminate this issue, from the Norcold Guy, for $19 plus shipping — supposed to arrive today. Should be a simple pull out the fridge maybe 8” — install the wires, clean the bayonet connector tabs — then see what works.

Still may need to replace the fridge — but I am thinking we are much closer than we were a couple of weeks ago.

I do have photos of the processes so far, and will post them when the solution is completed — however it turns out.

Thanks again for all the help...Stay tuned!

Best,

Fred
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#19 foakes

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 04:55 PM

The (2) wires ordered from the Norcold guy — did not solve the problem of the fridge staying lit while on LP.

Ordered a new thermocouple, along with an interrupter.

Hopefully they will get here soon. The wires took 6 days to get here from the same state I live in, California.

Wires — $25 shipped
Regulator — $30
Interrupter & Thermocouple $80 shipped

Question:

How is the voltage measured with a volt meter set to Millivolts — when there is no access to the top of the fridge when the fridge is installed? The fridge cannot be pulled out of the cabinet when the LP line is connected since it is copper and not flexible.

Do I need to rig up a separate LP tank, connections, 12V connections to bench test the volts? Or??

Hopefully, with these 4 items replaced that run about $135 — the fridge will work on LP.

Best,

Fred
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#20 foakes

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 12:11 AM

Here is where we are so far — a FYI to all who have helped, Thank You!

Pulled out fridge, have it on the bench with an LP tank connected.

All gas parts have been cleaned to shiny, inside and out.

All electrical wire ends have been cleaned or replaced.

Chimney cleaned, Burner tube, orifice, cleaned ultrasonically.

Replaced regulator at LP tank.

Replaced the wires recommended by Norcold Guy.

Replaced the thermocouple.

Replaced the interrupter.

Replaced the selector switch.

All parts are Norcold — except regulator, which is an exact to the original, however.

Starts immediately, runs for 3-4 minutes, good blue flame, thermocouple in the flame, starts to cool, then flame just goes out. Starts again on first snap of piezo — goes for 1 minute — then flame goes out.

No sign of Ammonia leak in cooling unit — runs perfectly on A/C or D/C — just not LP gas. Switched to another full 5 gallon LP tank — same exact result — no good.

Gone through troubleshooting steps in factory service manual, not owners manual — multiple times.

Can’t figure this out...

Call & Email into “Norcold Guy” — no response yet, been 2 days. Called and left another message today.

Any ideas?

Frustrated as to the next steps.

Best Always,

Fred

Edited by foakes, 25 April 2019 - 12:12 AM.

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