Bigfoot B17CB issues...help!!! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-20-2009, 10:44 PM   #1
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I need to solve a couple of issues on my 98 Bigfoot B17CB. Any helpful feedback welcome.

1.) The Dometic RM3663 fridge has worked fine in my driveway on AC power for the last few weeks, but now keeps shutting down on propane. Over a couple of days camping it worked anywhere from several hours to several minutes before faulting with the check light coming on & the flame going out. The thermo-coupling tests ok 33mV. After a bit of a search I see that these Dinosaur circuit boards are a a likely fix. Anybody have any experience with this?

2.)Actually everything worked just fine plugged in to 110v in the driveway, but it wasn't long till the battery was too dead to even run the fridge even on propane(it takes a constant draw of about .4 amp to keep the gas solenoid open). I knew the battery might be a little scetchy as it is a couple of years old. Once back home I've found that the charger/inverter has a continuous draw of about .15 amp on the 12v system(not charging), AC energized or not. Not too familiar with these things but after a quick search I found this modification that seems pretty good. Any feedback on this Inverter Mod?
Thanks for any help......dwayner
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:14 AM   #2
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I've just checked the Dometic Recall Website and found my unit is under safety recall. I'll call them monday and get the dope on that. Does anybody know about this recall? It seems fairly widespread. What does it involve. A new cooling unit possibly?
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:03 AM   #3
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I think the first thing to do is get a battery that will hold a charge. I'm not sure what you mean by a couple years old, as batteries are labelled with the date of manufacture, telling exactly how old they are. If it is really only 2 years old, the battery can be load tested before replacement. I haven't found it necessary to upgrade the converter in either our 1998 Casita or our Bigfoot. If you need to charge the battery quickly, a Charge Wizard is a good choice. The downside of quicker battery charging is shortened battery life. A charge wire from the tow vehicle is a handy thing, if you don't have one already.

The refrigerator in our Bigfoot RM 2652 is not the same as yours. Once you have done a little housekeeping like removing spider webs from the burner tube, I think working on propane appliances is best left to experts. Where we live only certified technicians can do it. There could be factors outside the refrigerator like a faulty regulator or improper gas pressure. It is better to be safe.

Good luck with your Bigfoot.
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
I think the first thing to do is get a battery that will hold a charge. I'm not sure what you mean by a couple years old, as batteries are labelled with the date of manufacture, telling exactly how old they are. If it is really only 2 years old, the battery can be load tested before replacement. I haven't found it necessary to upgrade the converter in either our 1998 Casita or our Bigfoot. If you need to charge the battery quickly, a Charge Wizard is a good choice. The downside of quicker battery charging is shortened battery life. A charge wire from the tow vehicle is a handy thing, if you don't have one already.

The refrigerator in our Bigfoot RM 2652 is not the same as yours. Once you have done a little housekeeping like removing spider webs from the burner tube, I think working on propane appliances is best left to experts. Where we live only certified technicians can do it. There could be factors outside the refrigerator like a faulty regulator or improper gas pressure. It is better to be safe.

Good luck with your Bigfoot.
thanks for the tips.
I guess I called the battery scetchy cause I really wasn't surprised it was flaky. Gas Pressure good, it just shuts down as in the thermo-coupling circuit goes open. It jumps to 33mV when the flame is struck, and the flame continues with the thermo-coupling circuit eventually opening indiscriminately. I'll take my chances with a $99 board that has known similar thermo-coupling problems, before I paid someone to give me their opinion. Thanks again. and if anyone has particular information on a defective lower fridge board or their defective MagneTek power converter drawing .15 amps 12v constantly and slowly killing the battery....please chime in
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Old 06-21-2009, 06:25 PM   #5
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I need to solve a couple of issues on my 98 Bigfoot B17CB. Any helpful feedback welcome.

1.) The Dometic RM3663 fridge has worked fine in my driveway on AC power for the last few weeks, but now keeps shutting down on propane. Over a couple of days camping it worked anywhere from several hours to several minutes before faulting with the check light coming on & the flame going out. The thermo-coupling tests ok 33mV. After a bit of a search I see that these Dinosaur circuit boards are a a likely fix. Anybody have any experience with this?

2.)Actually everything worked just fine plugged in to 110v in the driveway, but it wasn't long till the battery was too dead to even run the fridge even on propane(it takes a constant draw of about .4 amp to keep the gas solenoid open). I knew the battery might be a little scetchy as it is a couple of years old. Once back home I've found that the charger/inverter has a continuous draw of about .15 amp on the 12v system(not charging), AC energized or not. Not too familiar with these things but after a quick search I found this modification that seems pretty good. Any feedback on this Inverter Mod?
Thanks for any help......dwayner
We had a similar problem with our previous '96 Bigfoot, we put in a new circuit board, then all was fine. Someone gave us a tip about that when our fridge stopped while camping in Big Bear.
Francine
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:33 PM   #6
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We had a similar problem with our previous '96 Bigfoot, we put in a new circuit board, then all was fine. Someone gave us a tip about that when our fridge stopped while camping in Big Bear.
Francine
thanks very much for that Francine. I've checked with a couple of local shops and everybody agrees that it is most likely a board problem with the fridge. I've ordered the Dinosaur P-711 board, once I get & test it I will post the results.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:10 PM   #7
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Board problems are very common in 90's Dometic refrigerators, in fact, recently two of my friends have experienced similar symptoms and both ended up with replacement boards. I replaced my still operational Dometic board with a Dinosaur board several years ago just as a precaution, as there was so many instances of failed Dometic boards on the internet. I tend to camp in more remote areas for extended periods, and a dead refrigerator would be a problem that would be difficult to remedy cheaply or quickly. I keep the old board as a spare.
The Dinosaur board is simple to install and offers temperature control on the board for those who do not have this option on their refrigerator control "eyebrow".

The Dometic recall is just some sheet metal shrouding installed around the burner to contain the fire caused by a leaky cooling unit and a retrofitted thermal sensor which shuts off the gas valve if a fire occurs. Probably worth having installed if your unit is among the affected units. Some of the cooling unit failures have been associated with higher wattage or out of spec. AC heaters installed in these years. These could be replaced with a newer slightly lower wattage heater if you are worried.
Dometic ideally should have replaced all the affected cooling units, but this probably would have bankrupted the company. Also the failure rate is likely not high enough to warrant replacing every cooling unit.

I junked my Magnetek converter and replaced it with an Intellipower 40 amp unit with the "charge wizard" smart charging option several years ago as well. The old Magnetek converters are slow to charge and will also boil your battery dry if plugged in for extended periods. They also do not deliver pure DC current and require the battery to be connected as a filter for reasonably clean DC. The Intellipower eliminates all these shortcomings.
I had to fabricate some brackets to reattach the old Magnetek face plate as the lower output Intellipower converters are physically taller than the 60 amp version and will not fit inside the Magnetek converter case as is shown in the webpage you linked to. The 60 amp converter is a bit of overkill for a single battery and may be capable of charging at an excessive rate which may shorten battery life. The 40 to 45 amp versions are probably a better choice and can be powered by a small 1000 watt generator for reasonably quick battery recharges while dry camping.

Steve.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Board problems are very common in 90's Dometic refrigerators, in fact, recently two of my friends have experienced similar symptoms and both ended up with replacement boards. I replaced my still operational Dometic board with a Dinosaur board several years ago just as a precaution, as there was so many instances of failed Dometic boards on the internet. I tend to camp in more remote areas for extended periods, and a dead refrigerator would be a problem that would be difficult to remedy cheaply or quickly. I keep the old board as a spare.
The Dinosaur board is simple to install and offers temperature control on the board for those who do not have this option on their refrigerator control "eyebrow".

The Dometic recall is just some sheet metal shrouding installed around the burner to contain the fire caused by a leaky cooling unit and a retrofitted thermal sensor which shuts off the gas valve if a fire occurs. Probably worth having installed if your unit is among the affected units. Some of the cooling unit failures have been associated with higher wattage or out of spec. AC heaters installed in these years. These could be replaced with a newer slightly lower wattage heater if you are worried.
Dometic ideally should have replaced all the affected cooling units, but this probably would have bankrupted the company. Also the failure rate is likely not high enough to warrant replacing every cooling unit.

I junked my Magnetek converter and replaced it with an Intellipower 40 amp unit with the "charge wizard" smart charging option several years ago as well. The old Magnetek converters are slow to charge and will also boil your battery dry if plugged in for extended periods. They also do not deliver pure DC current and require the battery to be connected as a filter for reasonably clean DC. The Intellipower eliminates all these shortcomings.
I had to fabricate some brackets to reattach the old Magnetek face plate as the lower output Intellipower converters are physically taller than the 60 amp version and will not fit inside the Magnetek converter case as is shown in the webpage you linked to. The 60 amp converter is a bit of overkill for a single battery and may be capable of charging at an excessive rate which may shorten battery life. The 40 to 45 amp versions are probably a better choice and can be powered by a small 1000 watt generator for reasonably quick battery recharges while dry camping.

Steve.
Awesome....thanks for the info guys. All my camping is done in the backwoods, and it was steak for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the last trip. We were out in the hills behind Lytton, and the temperature was soaring with a fridge that was cranky.
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Old 06-27-2009, 01:29 PM   #9
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Problem #1 solved...- Dinosaur board installed & all works perfect!!!
Also got a new RV battery from Interstate....now hopefully this old MagneTek 6325 Charger/Converter can keep it charged while I run the fridge on propane, and the battery has a .4 amp draw on it for the gas solenoid.
...and I've found my other constant .15 amp battery draw to be at the 7-way receptacle on the 12 charge line. I've just pulled the fuse for now.
If the battery does not stay charged with the fridge running on propane and the AC plugged in, the next addition is going to be this. Looks like a great way to go. Nice product, keep the original enclosure and have state of the art internals.
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