Norcold Lock-out - Fiberglass RV
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:31 PM   #1
Name: David
Trailer: in the market
Posts: 85
Norcold Lock-out

I can't believe that this info isn't on here somewhere but I didn't find it in 15 minutes of looking so I thought I'd be sure it was available. I hope it comes in handy for someone.

We went out this week for a short camp not too far away. When we got there our Norcold N621 fridge wasn't working at all. Testing showed that it wasn't even trying. No flame and no power to the electrical heater. The fuses were all good and everything to the fridge was in good shape. The display had an n code showing. Before I go on, let me say that as far as I can tell, all Norcold refrigerators can set this code but depending on the model it may display it as an n, 5 flashes of a light on the front display or alternating n and c. They all mean the same thing, that the controller board has detected that the unit isn't cooling enough.

Some looking in the Norcold manual revealed the n code means the fridge tried to cool but failed. In response to the failure to cool it shut the fridge down.

If it does this only one time and then works normally the next time then everything will be fine but if it does it twice in a row it will lock-out and set the n code. The manual said that there is nothing the user can do about it but take it to a dealer for service.

There are several things that can lead to this situation. Here are some of them:

Running the fridge when it isn't level.

Leaked out coolant (ammonia).

A defective cooling fin temperature sensor.

Blocked cooling coils.

Empty fuel tanks.

Defective electrical heater.

Defective gas burner.

My problem was the first thing. The place I had it parked at home isn't level and I think the fridge may have been run before I got it leveled up.

I'll be darned if I will go pay a dealer a wad of money just because the fridge was run while it wasn't very level. FYI, level is 3 degrees side to side and 6 degrees front to back.

I searched youtube and googled Norcold n lock-out. There is a ton of info out there on how to deal with it. YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO TO THE DEALER FOR THIS.

Basically, you access the back of the fridge, remove the cover from the controller board, ground pin 2 in the 16 pin connector on the bottom left of the board for 5 seconds until you hear a click and it is reset. Pin 2 is second from the left on the top row of the connector. It is an empty hole and you don't need to remove the connector to access it, though you can if you want to. You can just stick a wire in the empty hole and touch it to ground.

There is another kind of control board that doesn't have a 16 pin connector at the bottom left. In that case it is a 6 pin connector at the top left of the board and you need the second pin from the right end of the connector. It is also and empty hole in the connector.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to examine the cooling coils for a bird's nest and if you see a mud dauber nest on the gas burner you should take it off but more than likely you just have a problem like I had and all you need is a reset.

Here are a couple of links to the best pages I found.

Norcold Refrigerator in Lockout Mode (do you need to reset your power board?) - The Norcold Guy

You should print this page out and keep a copy with your fridge papers because when you need it you may not have internet or remember what to do. Put a jumper wire with it too. The jumper can be anything. It doesn't even need to be insulated but a piece of insulated wire could be used for other things as well. 6" is plenty long enough and you can ground to any clean metal in the vicinity of the control board. You don't need to use the designated ground screw if it isn't handy.

This crusty old RVer isn't destined for the youtube hall of fame but eventually he gets around to showing you where the connector is and what to do with it.

Now for the safety bit. There is 120 volts available here so be careful what you touch. If you have a real problem, not just a bit of tilt, then resetting the system without checking for problems could lead to an unsafe conditions, I suppose. I don't know how but there might be a way.

Just for reference, there is a company called Dinosaur Electronics Dinosaur Electronics Home. High quality circuit boards for RV appliances. that makes circuit boards for just about anything you might have on your RV. Their replacement for the Norcold board in your fridge is about half the price of the OEM unit and doesn't have the lock-out "feature". That leads me to believe that the feature is actually more of a glitch and eliminating it isn't risky at all.

As always, use your own judgement. If you don't have any then you will need the money to pay someone who does.
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:19 AM   #2
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Name: Tom
Trailer: Escape 21 and Northern Lite truck camper 2014 2500 HD Duramax
Posts: 79
Great info
Thanks for the research and sharing with others
Life's A Journey: It's not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body, But rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, Woo Hoo!....What a Ride!
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