Insta-Matic IM-163 Fridge works on gas but not on electric or battery - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-23-2019, 07:29 AM   #1
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Name: Kristi
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Insta-Matic IM-163 Fridge works on gas but not on electric or battery

We have been working on re-doing the inside of our 1978 Layton Skyline. It had been cared for all of its life, and just about everything works in it. However, the fridge only works on propane. When i go to the control panel and move the switch to electric, the light comes one, but the fridge never comes on. I have test the outlet, it works. After that I am kind of stumped.

I assume the unit works, since it works on propane, but something is stopping the electric from getting to the unit.
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:58 AM   #2
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using electric is very slow to cool, I have an instamatic IM33, and I find it actually works better on electric, just slower. If you have an access at the back of the fridge check all connections to make sure they are solid, make sure to unplug trailer from AC before checking the connections though. pictures of the back of the fridge would help as well
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:16 AM   #3
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pics of back

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using electric is very slow to cool, I have an instamatic IM33, and I find it actually works better on electric, just slower. If you have an access at the back of the fridge check all connections to make sure they are solid, make sure to unplug trailer from AC before checking the connections though. pictures of the back of the fridge would help as well
Like how slow to cool? i had it plugged in for an hour and couldn't tell a difference. We will check connections also.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:41 AM   #4
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Try 24 hours and stop opening the door to check.
Get an indoor/outdoor thermometer so you can monitor the temp without opening the door.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:51 AM   #5
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got that going now glen, lets hope i was just never patient enough
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:57 PM   #6
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Not any cooler yet. Staying at 79
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:59 PM   #7
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Shouldn't I hear something?
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Old 08-23-2019, 05:33 PM   #8
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Shouldn't I hear something?

You won't hear anything.

How are the door seals?
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Old 08-23-2019, 05:36 PM   #9
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Seals are good
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:37 PM   #10
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So let me get this straight... you are trying to run it on 120 volts AC and have established that the power at the outlet where it is plugged in is OK?

If so, there are a few things I would look at but I'm sure that the most common issue with an absorption fridge that works on propane but not 120 VAC (under the same conditions) is a burned out heating element. Disconnect the 120 VAC heating element and check the resistance with an ohmmeter.

Perhaps this document is the correct one and will help: http://bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/im272.pdf
See page 21 to start.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:40 PM   #11
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I'll check that manual out. Thanks
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:42 PM   #12
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And yes you have it straight. Outlet is good.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:22 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
I'm sure that the most common issue with an absorption fridge that works on propane but not 120 VAC (under the same conditions) is a burned out heating element.
I agree. My fridge worked on propane but it did not work when plugged into the electrical outlet. I replaced the heating element. That solved the problem. It took me a lot of searching to find the correct heating element for my old refrigerator.

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Old 08-24-2019, 09:33 AM   #14
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This is the heating element I replaced on my 1973 Dometic - to give you an idea what it might look like. It fits down inside a metal tube.
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