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Old 09-09-2016, 01:45 PM   #1
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Name: Huck
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Virginia
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Fridge acting Up

I have a 3-way Dometic refrigerator (not sure model #). I have been running it on propane. Temperature dropped to 40 degrees after a couple of hours. Stayed there for several hours. Next time I checked it was 60 degrees. I tried to see if it was still lit, but couldn't see a flame. Flue was still hot. When I turned it off I heard a little whoosh, so I know it was still lit.

I had also turned on hot water heater, so I switched propane tanks thinking the tank might be low. Cooled down to 40 degrees. Several hours later it was 60 again.

I went out and bought a marine cooler to save what food I could.

I made a tube before I left on this trip to try to see if gas was lit, but even with the tube I can't see anything. The only way I can tell is to start it and when I hear a sound that indicates it started, I wait 5 minutes and see if the flue is warm.

Any ideas on how to troubleshoot problem? It has worked
in the past. Only problem I ever had was when it blew out one time.
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Old 09-09-2016, 02:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huck View Post
I have a 3-way Dometic refrigerator (not sure model #). I have been running it on propane. Temperature dropped to 40 degrees after a couple of hours. Stayed there for several hours. Next time I checked it was 60 degrees. I tried to see if it was still lit, but couldn't see a flame. Flue was still hot. When I turned it off I heard a little whoosh, so I know it was still lit.

I had also turned on hot water heater, so I switched propane tanks thinking the tank might be low. Cooled down to 40 degrees. Several hours later it was 60 again.

I went out and bought a marine cooler to save what food I could.

I made a tube before I left on this trip to try to see if gas was lit, but even with the tube I can't see anything. The only way I can tell is to start it and when I hear a sound that indicates it started, I wait 5 minutes and see if the flue is warm.

Any ideas on how to troubleshoot problem? It has worked
in the past. Only problem I ever had was when it blew out one time.
I use a BBQ starting lighter to both light and check to make sure the fridge is lit. It's quite simple to use. Light the lighter blow out the flame while keeping the tripper pulled, stick the end into the observation hole, if there's flame there the BBQ lighter will lite.

Simple easy to use and since I carry at least two to light the cook surfaces they're always handy.

As far as the temperature is concerned a lot depends on how often you open the fridge door and outside temperature. If you carry a lot of sensitive food you might need to either change your eating habits or use a cooler with lots of ice or????
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Old 09-09-2016, 03:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
I use a BBQ starting lighter to both light and check to make sure the fridge is lit. It's quite simple to use. Light the lighter blow out the flame while keeping the tripper pulled, stick the end into the observation hole, if there's flame there the BBQ lighter will lite.

Simple easy to use and since I carry at least two to light the cook surfaces they're always handy.

As far as the temperature is concerned a lot depends on how often you open the fridge door and outside temperature. If you carry a lot of sensitive food you might need to either change your eating habits or use a cooler with lots of ice or????
Thanks. I had thought about using a match, but the BBQ starter might work better.
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Old 09-09-2016, 03:42 PM   #4
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Remember that the RV Propane fridges don't work like the ones in your house. Don't expect too much.
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Old 09-09-2016, 04:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huck View Post
I have a 3-way Dometic refrigerator (not sure model #). I have been running it on propane. Temperature dropped to 40 degrees after a couple of hours. Stayed there for several hours. Next time I checked it was 60 degrees. I tried to see if it was still lit, but couldn't see a flame. Flue was still hot. When I turned it off I heard a little whoosh, so I know it was still lit.

I had also turned on hot water heater, so I switched propane tanks thinking the tank might be low. Cooled down to 40 degrees. Several hours later it was 60 again.

I went out and bought a marine cooler to save what food I could.

I made a tube before I left on this trip to try to see if gas was lit, but even with the tube I can't see anything. The only way I can tell is to start it and when I hear a sound that indicates it started, I wait 5 minutes and see if the flue is warm.

Any ideas on how to troubleshoot problem? It has worked
in the past. Only problem I ever had was when it blew out one time.
A similar issue was posted on a Scamp Facebook page this week.. All the above trouble shooting tips and more were suggested.

Turned out that the trailer was not level enough. Once it was leveled, the fridge worked just as well (or just as poorly if you prefer) as it ever did.

If your flue is hot, out of level would be my first guess.
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:40 PM   #6
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Name: Huck
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
A similar issue was posted on a Scamp Facebook page this week.. All the above trouble shooting tips and more were suggested.

Turned out that the trailer was not level enough. Once it was leveled, the fridge worked just as well (or just as poorly if you prefer) as it ever did.

If your flue is hot, out of level would be my first guess.
Trailer is almost perfectly level. I got lucky and parking slab is level, so I didn't need any adjustments.
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:45 PM   #7
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Chicken and steaks ended up in the dumpster. I'm on peanut butter and jelly and bologna and cheese sandwiches for the next couple of days. I'll be interested to see how long my new $75 ice chest keeps ice.
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Huck View Post
Trailer is almost perfectly level. I got lucky and parking slab is level, so I didn't need any adjustments.
Well sorry to hear the simple fix wont work...

Perhaps you need to take it out and turn it upside down for a while, or maybe just some driving will get the fluids moving again. Need to figure out if the heating elements are working but the fridge is not. If the propane is flaky, then trying it on elect will tell. Sorry if this was covered already.
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:11 AM   #9
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Expecting raw chicken and raw beef to keep in the fridge results in violated expectations. These fridges don't keep food like your home fridge, the temperature varies too much.
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:41 AM   #10
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My 5.0 cu. ft. Dometic propane/120V works just fine. Currently it has a half chicken, two steaks and a bag of prawns in the freezer. The fridge has been running on 120V for a couple days ( in my driveway ). We'll finish packing it up Sunday and switch to propane for a six-hour drive to our campsite.
Everything in the freezer will still be frozen solid and my dozen beers in the fridge compartment will be cold.
You can't stand with the door open pondering what to make for dinner, but if you are quickly in and out, the fridge stays below 42F as it should for food safety.
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:43 AM   #11
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Name: Huck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
I use a BBQ starting lighter to both light and check to make sure the fridge is lit. It's quite simple to use. Light the lighter blow out the flame while keeping the tripper pulled, stick the end into the observation hole, if there's flame there the BBQ lighter will lite.

Simple easy to use and since I carry at least two to light the cook surfaces they're always handy.

As far as the temperature is concerned a lot depends on how often you open the fridge door and outside temperature. If you carry a lot of sensitive food you might need to either change your eating habits or use a cooler with lots of ice or????
Byron, thanks. The lighter worked like a champ. I just got it near the hole and it lit.
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:46 AM   #12
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I'm thinking the problem may have been caused by too much stuff in the fridge. I had it packed pretty tight (and I know better).

I just restarted fridge and temp was 80. When it gets down near 40, I will put a couple of water bottles and a few other things in that aren't so temperature sensitive, and monitor the temperature every hour or so.
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Huck View Post
I'm thinking the problem may have been caused by too much stuff in the fridge. I had it packed pretty tight (and I know better)....
A small fan that runs on two D cells inside can help too of course, esp. is lack of air circulation inside the fridge in the problem.

Its been my experience that is I pack it too tight, then the stuff near the fins gets frozen solid and the stuff that is further away and not getting air circulation gets too warm. Where is your internal thermometer? Is it a wireless one or do you have to open the door to read it?

Another thought came to me.. spiders and such in the flue can cause partial obstruction and result in uneven performance. A little compressed air might help.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:01 AM   #14
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I ran the refrigerator on propane (high) for about 3 hours and it only cooled down to 65 degrees. That happened in the 1st hour and no additional temp drop since then. Decided to just shut it off and use my new ice chest for the rest of the trip.
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Old 09-11-2016, 08:27 AM   #15
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Poltergiests inhabit these fridges

Sometimes it is 30, sometimes it is 45 under similar conditions. I try everything to satisfy the whims of my fussy fridge. I've insulated, I've shaded. I've serviced, I've installed fans. I wait till absolutely necessary to open the door (unless it's 30 degrees and freezing my salad and club soda).

I installed remote thermometers so I can keep track of the temps without opening the doors.

Except under extreme conditions the freezer usually stays frozen so I only keep raw meat in there. Underway I move my sensitive item (milk) to an ice box.

I will never buy another trailer where the fridge vents through the side. Friends with top venting models are so much more casual than I am and do not have the same complaints.

Would it ruin some celestial plan for a top vent to be included on all fridges?

And then I talk to people with my same model who have none of the above issues, thus my suspicion regarding haunt habitation.

Alex
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Old 09-11-2016, 02:06 PM   #16
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The dometic RM2453 three way in our 17' Casita SD stayed below 40f for three weeks in 90f and above temperatures and the freezer was always right around zero running on propane.
It's possible for them to work properly if several conditions are met. As Casita installed them don't expect much and you won't be disappointed.

To the original poster, have you cleaned the gas jet? It's supposed to be done yearly?

But after cleaning the burner jet and tube read up on Dometic's installation manual concerning venting. Then go here and read all 17 pages and follow others footsteps on venting and keeping the refrigerator systems heat and the burner's heat separated and your refrigerator will preform correctly.
http://www.casitaforum.com/invboard/...ge-run-better/
You'll need to join.

Or you can complain and buy a stickie with straight sides with the vent on the roof where it can leak.

Joe
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Old 09-11-2016, 02:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Joe Romas View Post
...
Or you can complain and buy a stickie with straight sides with the vent on the roof where it can leak.

Joe
I don't have a stickie, but I wonder if the fridge roof vent on my Scamp can still leak?

The answer, by the way, is a resounding YES. Like so many things added to a fiberglass Egg type camper, the fridge vent on the roof does not follow the curves, and some adjustments in the installation is needed, including a lot of silicone (now partially replaced with ProRV sealant). In fact they even notched out a corner of the vent to put in one of the rivet / bolts that hold the cabinet.

But the roof vent does work better. I would guess that a properly installed fan would make a side top vent about as good. Dometic includes information on installing a fan in the manual.
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Old 09-13-2016, 12:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
Remember that the RV Propane fridges don't work like the ones in your house. Don't expect too much.
They work very well as long as you understand how they work and what will negatively affect their cooling capacity. I run a large one in the full sun for two weeks every summer, during the height of east coast heat and humidity and it does just dandy. Even keeps ice cream.
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Old 09-13-2016, 12:42 PM   #19
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Huck,

Turn off the gas and run it on 120v electric for a while. If the symptoms are the same you know it's not the flame or flame modulation problem. Sounds like you might have overloaded it and didn't wait long enough for it to stabilize, or you have a thermostat problem. I don't think you need a fan in the box at this point.

Taking out and turning it upside down is sort of the default suggestion often recommended, but it's not likely to help and it's a hassle, so try everything else first. If you do take it out inspect and clean the chimney. Out of level is not the problem.

I have three of them now and just sold a fourth one. All have been very good. A fifth one I had years ago would lose it's flame occasionally, but otherwise worked fine too. I really like them and have no complaints with their performance.
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Old 09-13-2016, 12:53 PM   #20
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They work very well as long as you understand how they work and what will negatively affect their cooling capacity. I run a large one in the full sun for two weeks every summer, during the height of east coast heat and humidity and it does just dandy. Even keeps ice cream.
I agree. I spent a week in Death Valley in the summer and kept the beer cold. But I did have to install a fan behind it to help the condenser. One of these days I'll use thermal solar to drive one and see how that goes. The ingenious design of absorption cooling is fascinating.
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