Dometic RM2202 Fridge Problem...won't get cold on propane but DOES - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-16-2006, 09:05 AM   #1
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Hi everyone...

I have a 1997 13ft Scamp Custom Deluxe with a Dometic RM2202 120v/12v/LP fridge. The fridge works perfectly on 120v and 12v. But, on propane, it stays slightly lukewarm no matter the setting of the LP thermostat/temperature control (there are two separate temp controls for electric vs. LP).

The fridge lights with one click, with a nice consistent flame. I've cleaned the flue (if that's what you call it and how you spell it); everything looks fine. I did once have a giant muddauber nest around the thermostat control, but I cleaned that off years ago. The flame doesn't seem to get any bigger when you increase the LP thermostat. It only changes when you turn it down to nearly "1", then it gets itty bitty. But, from 1 to 5 there is no visible change in the size of the flame.

What could cause this? Someone else on the Casita forum posted the exact same problem, but that post was from two years ago with no real replies.

Any ideas???? I'm heading out on a trip in a few days and I NEED to be able to run this on propane.

Thanks everyone!
Jeff


BTW...I already know all the basics...leveling, cleaning, chimney maintenance, allowing 8+ hours to begin to cool, etc...I'm looking for a real fix. Thanks!
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Old 08-16-2006, 09:15 AM   #2
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Hi everyone...

I have a 1997 13ft Scamp Custom Deluxe with a Dometic RM2202 120v/12v/LP fridge. The fridge works perfectly on 120v and 12v. But, on propane, it stays slightly lukewarm no matter the setting of the LP thermostat/temperature control (there are two separate temp controls for electric vs. LP).

The fridge lights with one click, with a nice consistent flame. I've cleaned the flue (if that's what you call it and how you spell it); everything looks fine. I did once have a giant muddauber nest around the thermostat control, but I cleaned that off years ago. The flame doesn't seem to get any bigger when you increase the LP thermostat. It only changes when you turn it down to nearly "1", then it gets itty bitty. But, from 1 to 5 there is no visible change in the size of the flame.

What could cause this? Someone else on the Casita forum posted the exact same problem, but that post was from two years ago with no real replies.

Any ideas???? I'm heading out on a trip in a few days and I NEED to be able to run this on propane.

Thanks everyone!
Jeff
Years ago i had a camper w/fridge that didn't get that cold took it to a norcold service place and they adjusted (don't remember what) for $20 and the next trip the lettuce had ice on it. just a thought
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Old 08-16-2006, 09:24 AM   #3
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Jeff here's a service manual for the Dometic...ignore the model numbers. Troubleshooting is near the back...hope it helps!

From the Document Center: Dometic Refer Service Manual
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Old 08-16-2006, 09:42 AM   #4
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Hi Jeff,
I had the same problem with the fridge in my 87 Scamp. My problem was a small hole in the cap tube ( hollow wire ) that runs from the thermostat to the inside of the fridge that senses the inside temp. It was really hard to troubleshoot the problem because the size of the pilot flame and full flame is very small. So I had to remove the tube and inspect it. The hole in mine was located where the tube was resting on the coils and had rubbed a hole from vibration. I had to replace the thermostat since there is no way to repair the cap tube once the gas leaks out. Good luck with your problem. Half the time I love my little three way fridge and half the time I am thinking of how simple ice boxes are......
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:02 PM   #5
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Does anyone know if there is a flame adjustment on my particular fridge, the 2202? I can't find one yet. The troubleshooting guide for another model posted under this thread lists a possible cause of my problem (not cooling enough) as "improper maximum flame" but doesn't state how to fix it, what causes it, or how to adjust the burner at all. Does anyone have any idea? If I could turn up my flame it seems like I could get the thing to cool properly...

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:51 PM   #6
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...
It only changes when you turn it down to nearly "1", then it gets itty bitty. But, from 1 to 5 there is no visible change in the size of the flame.

What could cause this? Someone else on the Casita forum posted the exact same problem, but that post was from two years ago with no real replies.
Jeff,

The thermostat valve is working, that's why you see a change in the flame when you turn it down. The thermostat valve is off or on so you won't see a change once it has opened. The "itty bitty" flame is the pilot flame provided by a bypass in the thermostat.

The first thing I would try is to remove the jet and clean it with alcohol and compressed air. It's way small, don't try to poke anything into it.

If that doesn't do it, the gas regulator (at the bottle) may have failed and the pressure is too low. Do the other gas appliances work OK?
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:12 PM   #7
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Jeff,

The thermostat valve is working, that's why you see a change in the flame when you turn it down. The thermostat valve is off or on so you won't see a change once it has opened. The "itty bitty" flame is the pilot flame provided by a bypass in the thermostat.

The first thing I would try is to remove the jet and clean it with alcohol and compressed air. It's way small, don't try to poke anything into it.

If that doesn't do it, the gas regulator (at the bottle) may have failed and the pressure is too low. Do the other gas appliances work OK?

Hi there...all my other appliances work fine.

Perhaps I didn't make it clear of the problem. The problem is that the ONLY time I see a change in the size of flame is when I turn the thermostat all the way down. Then, opening the thermostat a tiny bit and the flame gets about 1/2" high. BUT, the problem is that from say 1 on the thermostat to MAX there is no perceivable difference in the size of the flame. The "itty bitty" flame is only there when you turn the thermostat down to minimum. So you're saying that when my thermostat is set to "max" the only flame I'm seeing is the pilot???? The jet seems clean; it fires up instantaneously and consistently.

Please elaborate on your response.

Thanks again!
Jeff
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:41 PM   #8
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Hi there...all my other appliances work fine.

Perhaps I didn't make it clear of the problem. The problem is that the ONLY time I see a change in the size of flame is when I turn the thermostat all the way down. Then, opening the thermostat a tiny bit and the flame gets about 1/2" high. BUT, the problem is that from say 1 on the thermostat to MAX there is no perceivable difference in the size of the flame. The "itty bitty" flame is only there when you turn the thermostat down to minimum. So you're saying that when my thermostat is set to "max" the only flame I'm seeing is the pilot???? The jet seems clean; it fires up instantaneously and consistently.

Please elaborate on your response.

Thanks again!
Jeff
It sounds like my problem. The pilot flame remained the same even if I turned the thermostat to high. It was of course the hole in the cap tube.
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Old 08-16-2006, 06:57 PM   #9
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Hi Dale...

Did you purchase a new thermostat in order to get the new tube? Dometic gave me a part number and price for a thermostat...almost $100. But, I want to make sure that if I order a new thermostat that I will get the capillary tube as well. Please let me know. Thanks!

Jeff
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Old 08-17-2006, 06:39 AM   #10
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Jeff, if you see a change in the the flame then your thermostat is probably ok, the valve for the fridge is an on/off valve only. Turning the knob higher doesn't correspond to a bigger flame, other than from 'pilot' to 'on'. The higher you turn the knob, the longer the flame will stay on.
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:05 AM   #11
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Does it hold it at the lukewarm temp the whole time, or does it continue to creep up in temp slowly?
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:47 AM   #12
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Hi again...

Yes, no matter how many days I leave the fridge on it only stays lukewarm. Even if it is ice cold first by using electric, if I switch it to propane, it will get warm.


Joe...

Please clarify what you stated about the pilot and thermostat. I have two knobs...one for "off/on" and a rotary thermostat. WHEN should I see JUST the pilot? When I start the fridge, if my thermostat is turned down all the way, the pilot is the size of a match. If I turn it up just a tad from this point the flame will get about a half inch high. From this point to max it doesn't get any bigger. Am I seeing the pilot? Or, is the pilot the tiny match size flame? HOW big should the flame be when it is "on"? Also, are you stating this 5 position rotary thermostat is just a TIMER? I'm confused...I thought it controlled the amount of gas to the burner so that the flame would get bigger or smaller depending on how cold you wanted your food.

PLEASE someone verify this. Thank you very much.
Jeff
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Old 08-17-2006, 10:14 AM   #13
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Hi Dale...

Did you purchase a new thermostat in order to get the new tube? Dometic gave me a part number and price for a thermostat...almost $100. But, I want to make sure that if I order a new thermostat that I will get the capillary tube as well. Please let me know. Thanks!

Jeff
Hi Jeff,
The thermostat and cap tube are one unit. To remove the unit for inspection was pretty easy. The tube runs through a hole to the inside of the box ( sealed with putty) and the bulb is just clipped on. After removal it was easy to see the small hole in the tube. I also would get a small change in flame size when adjusting the thermostat but without the gas in the tube expanding, the thermostat wouldn't open all the way. Anyway it's worth the time to inspect the tube, and if you can't find a hole then you can move on to all the other reasons why it's not getting enough propane to the flame. Good luck.
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:29 PM   #14
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...Please clarify what you stated about the pilot and thermostat. I have two knobs...one for "off/on" and a rotary thermostat. WHEN should I see JUST the pilot? When I start the fridge, if my thermostat is turned down all the way, the pilot is the size of a match. If I turn it up just a tad from this point the flame will get about a half inch high. From this point to max it doesn't get any bigger. Am I seeing the pilot? Or, is the pilot the tiny match size flame? HOW big should the flame be when it is "on"? ...
Unlike most gas appliances, which have separate pilot and working (main) burners, Dometic refrigerators (at least my RM 360) have only one burner: "pilot" is the little flame height, and full-blast operation is a bigger flame from the same burner. I was surprised to learn that the main/working/full-blast flame was still quite small, but in hindsight this makes sense, since the electric options only deliver a hundred watts or so of heat, and a one-hundred-what propane flame is not very big.

If it would help, I could probably take photos of the two conditions and post them. Let me know.

Quote:
...Also, are you stating this 5 position rotary thermostat is just a TIMER? I'm confused...I thought it controlled the amount of gas to the burner so that the flame would get bigger or smaller depending on how cold you wanted your food...
Not a timer, but a cyclic control like a house thermostat. My understanding from my manual and checking out my RM 360 is that, like a traditional home furnace, the refrigerator is either running at full blast, or just on pilot. When the thermostat sees a high enough temperature, it turns on the main gas valve; when it has dropped enough, the main valve is closed leaving only the pilot gas supply. The more cooling is needed, the more of the time the thermostat will be calling for the main burner to be on.

Jeff, I think you're saying that it does switch between pilot and main flame, so it's not the gas valve. The flame is not supposed to be very big, so maybe it's not a burner problem at all. If the maximum thermostat position does not cause the burner to run at the high level all of the time, then I would wonder about the thermostat.
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:57 PM   #15
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Hi there...

PLEASE take pictures of the two flame heights. That would help alot.

My flame only gets really small when the thermostat is all the way down. Any setting higher than that (just a tad above all the way down) and the flame goes to about 1/2" high, and NEVER changes. It change at all. It doesn't get bigger or smaller, and the fridge does not get any cooler.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 08-17-2006, 05:36 PM   #16
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jeff did you check the gas pressure at the fridge?
i have had 2 reefers that have had there trouble traced back to the regulator one the propane tank. The last one was on my new 2005 casita the regulaor was not allowing enough gas flow thur to the refigerator test the pressure with a monometer while the unit is running
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Old 08-18-2006, 06:28 PM   #17
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Hi there...

I have good LP gas pressure; that is working fine...


Any updates on the posts of the pictures of the "normal" working pilot flame vs. the "on" flame?

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 08-18-2006, 10:06 PM   #18
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Jeff

I have solved this same problem in two different refrigerators. Low gas pressure in one and a clogged jet in the other.

Have the gas pressure checked. 11 inches of water is the proper pressure. Clean the jet like Morgan suggested.

If after doing both of these suggestions your problem is not solved replace the thermostat.

I stopped following your hard to tow problem and wondered if you ever arrived at a solution.

Nick
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Old 08-20-2006, 11:41 PM   #19
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I finally fired up the refrigerator in my Boler today, opened up the back, and took some photos of the burner with the flame; here's one:

Click image for larger version

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The burner tube provides scale, but for anyone with a different model, I'll measure and provide the diameter, hopefully tomorrow.

I'm not saying that this the correct flame height, just that this is what mine does, and it works.

I wasn't surprised that it took a couple of hours to hit freezing in the freezer compartment (which should be -18 C when operating properly), but I am a little suprised that with the freezer at -10 C, and the main section at 4 C, the thermostat still has no effect - I guess I'm still above the high end of the thermostat's temperature range, so it's staying on high burner rate. I'll try for a comparison photo tomorrow, when it is fully cooled down, so the burner will go the the "pilot" or low level.

I guess that I had not looked this closely at the flame before, since I don't recall noticing the interesting shape: the inner flame from each burner slot is quite small, but it appears that they all combine into one with an outer envelope going right up the stack.
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:20 AM   #20
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Well, the freezer is at -20 C, the main compartment is below freezing, and even with the thermostat knob set below "1" (the lowest marking before "OFF" there is no change in the flame. So, I have one of two situations: either,
  1. the burner is on low, and this is one really effective refrigerator, given enough time; or,
  2. the burner is staying on high.
Since the burner does not appear to be changing levels, I guess I need to follow the various suggestions from other members regarding troubleshooting and repair. Since I'm pretty sure it's on high, the problem is presumably with the thermostat. Perhaps it's even not fully open, and I could have more flame and more effective cooling.

I thought that the thermostat was working (affecting temperature) in earlier use, but perhaps I was just seeing random fluctations due to outside temperature, and the thermostat knob is just a placebostat (it makes you feel like you're doing something, but actually has no effect).

Anyone with more experience with these units have a comment on the size of my flame (shown in my previous post)? Although Jeff is asking about an RM2202, mine is an RM 360.

For size reference in the photo, the burner tube is about 12mm or 15/32" in outside diameter.

So that's about all I can contribute. Jeff, is this useful, and how does your flame compare?
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