Propane powered refrig - Fiberglass RV
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Old 08-16-2023, 05:29 PM   #1
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Name: Cori
Trailer: 2013 Scamp 13'
Texas
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Propane powered refrig

I have a Scamp 13w a 3 way fridge. It works great when I’m plugged into shore power but it doesn’t get cold in about half of my camping spots where I have to rely on propane. I am careful to level the trailer when I arrive. I can’t figure out the reason it works sometimes and not others. Any ideas?
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Old 08-16-2023, 05:33 PM   #2
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Try moving the thermistor on the fins
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Old 08-16-2023, 06:47 PM   #3
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Cori, while moving the thermistor off off the fins to the plastic wall of the refrigerator may “fool” the main board into thinking that the refrigerator needs to be cooler, resulting in cooler inside temperatures, I doubt it will help your propane “problem” if the refrigerator is working great on AC power. These absorption refrigerators work by heating up the gas in the cooling unit, either by flame (gas) or by heating element (electric) which then circulates through the cooling system by convection. Based on the age of your trailer, I would ask when was the last time the refrigerator was serviced by you or a technician. You may have a clogged orifice that needs to be cleaned, or the tube from the electric valve to the burner (very thin tube) may be partially clogged by propane impurities. If you light the stove burner(s) do you get good flames? If not, it could be the regulator needs to be adjusted or replaced. You should be able to find You Tube videos on cleaning the orifice and burner if you feel you can handle these procedures. They really aren’t too difficult to do.
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Old 08-16-2023, 08:11 PM   #4
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Propane refrig issue

Thanks for the replies. BTW I get a great flame on my stove so at least that isn’t blocked.
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Old 08-17-2023, 12:24 PM   #5
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Evaporative refrigeration can only get the cooler box down to about 40 degrees below ambient temperatures. Are you camping in warm weather? All things being equal, if it works on 110v it should work on propane. Generally units cool better on propane.
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Old 08-17-2023, 04:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billinflorida View Post
Evaporative refrigeration can only get the cooler box down to about 40 degrees below ambient temperatures. Are you camping in warm weather? All things being equal, if it works on 110v it should work on propane. Generally units cool better on propane.
Apparently my Dometic did not learn that in refrigerator school.
A week in Monument Valley a few years back with daytime highs reaching 104° F and according to the thermometer within, my refrigerator never exceeded 38° F. And it always stayed slightly cooler on 120 VAC than when running on propane. I had, however, relocated the thermistor off of the aluminum fins.
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Old 08-17-2023, 05:29 PM   #7
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On our trip cross country my Norcold fridge stopped cooling down and problem was the chimney of the fridge was sooted up so heat from flame wasn't getting up it ... Cleaned soot out and worked fine since.
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Old 08-17-2023, 09:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Gerry View Post
On our trip cross country my Norcold fridge stopped cooling down and problem was the chimney of the fridge was sooted up so heat from flame wasn't getting up it ... Cleaned soot out and worked fine since.
Gerry, that's exactly the problem I had with two propane fridges previously. In both cases, a clean-out of the burners/chimneys restored performance back to 100%. This worked even though the 110-volt performance was perfect in both cases; the propane flame wasn't getting its required heating through all the soot and grunge in the chimney, but the 110-volt heater was.
=-AndyB
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Old 08-18-2023, 10:53 AM   #9
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Like others have said, clean the jet. On my last trip, the fridge gave us grief on propane. It looked like a good flame on the burner but still not getting cold. I removed the jet and used a can of butane to spray though it. That fixed it right up. On some dometic fridges, there is a port to test the pressure at the burner. It should be 11-12 Water Column and if required you can adjust the pressure at the regulator. You can easily build a manometer to test it. I made one out of some plastic tubing and a piece of cardboard. I thick its a 1/8 pipe fitting for the connection. You need 5 1/2-6" of movement when testing. You multiply the reading x2 so 6"=12"WC
Measuring Gas Pressure with Manometer
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Old 08-18-2023, 03:01 PM   #10
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Name: Cori
Trailer: 2013 Scamp 13'
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Serendipity. I pulled into a gas station to get more ice on the way to my next spot. A minute later a couple pulled up next to me, excited to share they were also Scampers and don’t see too many on the road. (Nova Scotia). We chatted for awhile and I showed them my interior as they don’t have a bath. He asked why I had a cooler. Fridge doesn’t work I said. He looked at it and said that he always lights his fridge separately w a long lighter through the little porthole that has the swinging round door. So I tried it at my new campground when it got dark ( easier to see refrig flame through the porthole) Voila! It got cold! I don’t know why the fridge sometimes lights by itself and other times doesn’t. Might be something to do with those jets y’all are talking about. But I’m happy.
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Old 08-18-2023, 03:04 PM   #11
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I’ll look up the you tube videos about how to clean the jet and chimney.
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