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ShawnG
ShawnG UltimaDork
8/23/21 10:02 p.m.

If you can't be sure the gas is coming on, you can light the pilot manually from the outside.

There will be a cover on the outside side of the unit that can be taken off. Once that's off there is a little hatch you can open to gain access to the pilot. 

Turn the gas valve to "pilot" and hold the button down. You can light the pilot with a BBQ starter. Hold the gas button until the pilot heats the thermocouple enough to keep the gas flowing. Then you can turn the valve to "on".

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/24/21 5:05 a.m.

In reply to birdmayne :

While poking around outside on the back of the unit, I felt that the flue was warm - not even close to burning myself, but definitely above ambient. I'll try to remember to hit it with my IR thermometer today & see how hot it is. 

After watching a number of vids about this model I have a little better understanding of it's operation, so it seems like it's functioning of a/c, but maybe it's not heating up enough to cool the inside of the fridge? 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/24/21 5:07 a.m.

In reply to ShawnG :

I don't think this model has a "pilot" setting for gas - at least none of the vids I watched showed one & the valve  only turns 90* from off to on?

birdmayne
birdmayne New Reader
8/24/21 7:44 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to ShawnG :

I don't think this model has a "pilot" setting for gas - at least none of the vids I watched showed one & the valve  only turns 90* from off to on?

Yours is electronic ignition. That's the "Click" noise when you switch it to LP. You should have a small access window / inspection port to look at the flame though. You want it to be blue, with yellow tips.

03Panther
03Panther UltraDork
8/24/21 7:46 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

The fridge, H2O heater and furnace used to run pilot lights; since the '90s most use a piezo electric ignited set-up. The clicking you heard is the piezo trying to light the burner. It probably does work on a 12VDC circuit. But since 95% of the time, 12V is present when plugged in to 110,that would be "behind the scenes " for most. 
I remember the on/off and Auto buttons being frustrating to learn how to force it into the mode ya want... but don't remember what the sequence actually is. If you don't have it worked out, I could put batteries in the rv, plug in and figure it out... again... but I think your on the right track, there

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/24/21 9:21 a.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

I think I finally figured out the operation after watching a few vids last night. If I unplug the fridge, leave the power switch on & switch it from auto to gas, I should be able to go outside, plug it in, and check for ignition - I'm pretty sure it won't ignite. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/24/21 9:24 a.m.

In reply to birdmayne :

I'm going to drop this vid here for my own future reference, as well as anyone else who stumbles into this thread. So far this is the only troubleshooting vid I've found from an actual tech & it's far more detailed & useful than any others I've watched so far. 
 

 

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/24/21 11:02 a.m.

Saw the picture of the cages up above the cab.  Always remember to confirm clearance when the slide comes in.  It's easy to place something and say "looks good" and then forget that the wall is going to move at some point.

I think you'll be ok but you have the best seat to check.

 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/24/21 11:35 a.m.

In reply to glueguy (Forum Supporter) :

I discovered this yesterday - not with the cages, but with blocking the gap under the bed. I'll just keep the 2 pieces of wood I cut nearby so I can slide them into the gaps while we're parked.  

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/24/21 7:43 p.m.

I spent time troubleshooting the fridge after work, and while I made progress I'm still not sure what's going on. 
 

I traced the a/c from the outlet & confirmed I do have 120v at the heating element. Using my HF IR thermometer & pointing it inside the small gap around the element it reads 145*. So it's heating up, but not getting up to operating temp(which is 300*+ from one of the vids I watched). I'd ohmed out the heating element the other day & it reads 44.5 ohms, which is within the 10% +/- spec of the manual's 44 ohms. 

So I pulled the covers off & unplugged the a/c. Within a couple seconds the propane ignited & continued to burn while I closed everything up. I only have about 1/4 tank left, but I'm hoping that'll last through the night so I can see if it's cooled down by morning.  

03Panther
03Panther UltraDork
8/24/21 7:52 p.m.

I just skipped through the video, but looks like a good one. Will have to check out his other stuff as well.

Sounds like your gettin' it done. Hope it cools tonight.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/24/21 9:52 p.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

I went out & checked around 7pm. The burner was off, the gauge still shows 1/3 tank of propane, and the fridge is still hot inside. I'm thinking the cooling unit is bad, despite no leaks/smell sound, which is around $550 doing a quick Google search. 

For $800 I can get a kit to convert it to a DC compressor fridge, which is apparently way more efficient, will cool to lower temps, and doesn't need to be level. That may be a wise choice, especially since we'll be adding solar & a larger battery bank in the future. 

03Panther
03Panther UltraDork
8/25/21 5:35 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

A dc compressor would be a good choice. Had not heard of retro fitting one, but that's cool. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/25/21 9:12 a.m.

The burner was still hot this morning, as was the interior of the fridge. So unless someone points me toward a different path I'm presuming the ~$550 cooling unit is failing. 
 

I discovered/confirmed there's no inverter in the RV, so to have a functioning fridge while we're in motion I'll either need to do a DC conversion to this one, buy a DC(or 3-way) fridge, or buy an inverter & transfer switch so we can have 120vac while in route. I know I could run a 2-way fridge off propane while traveling, but it seems like a bad idea & is illegal in some places, so I'm just going to nix that idea. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/26/21 9:48 a.m.

I found a box of manuals & paperwork in the RV last night that I'd somehow overlooked. 
 

 

I spent some time reading through them last night & learned quite a bit. 
 

I also found this sheet from the dealership dated 2013, with the mileage just over 35,000. That means it's only traveled 3,500-miles in 8 years. Although I also found where the PPO canceled their insurance on it in 2019, so I'm betting it sat unused from 2019 until the PO bought it this spring. 
 

 

With some extra knowledge gleaned from the manuals & a bit of time researching, I ordered a new fridge this morning. It's a smaller than normal residential unit & will fit nearly perfectly in the space of the existing Dometic. I also ordered a 3000w(2000w continuous/4000w peak) Renogy inverter & automatic transfer switch. 
 

The new fridge only uses 43w, but since we'll be adding solar & increasing our battery capacity too I went with a bigger inverter so it'll handle our eventual capacity. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/26/21 2:51 p.m.

We had a nice little monsoon around lunchtime today. I waited about 15-minutes until we'd received an inch+ of rain & went out to inspect the RV. I didn't find any signs of water intrusion, but I'll check it again after work just to make sure nothing seeped in later. 

hobiercr
hobiercr UltraDork
8/26/21 4:32 p.m.

Looks like you may get more rain (and wind) soon. Is this thing ready for it's first bug-out party?

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/26/21 7:22 p.m.

In reply to hobiercr :

Other than a non-op fridge, I hope so! Speaking of the fridge, I discovered this evening that I, in fact, did somehow manage to diagnose it correctly. 

I opened the outside cover to start prepping it for removal, even though the new one isn't scheduled to arrive until next week, and was greeted with a smell I didn't immediately recognize & a puddle inside. Sure enough, after I looked around I finally saw the yellow ammonia/hydrogen/whatever else fluid leaking from the cooling unit. 

ClemSparks
ClemSparks UltimaDork
8/26/21 7:33 p.m.

It's too bad you had to replace it right off the bat...but at least now it will be a known quantity (the fridge) and not a ticking time bomb (will it make it through this next big trip we want to go on?!).

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/26/21 9:02 p.m.

In reply to ClemSparks :

It should be way more efficient too, since I'll be going from a ~340 watt iirc heating element(when not on propane) to a ~45 watt compressor. 

ClemSparks
ClemSparks UltimaDork
8/26/21 10:04 p.m.

Nice!

I remember a build thread somewhere years and years ago where a guy was doing an RV and had a plan to up the refrigerator efficiency simply by facilitating the evacuation of the rejected heat (from under/behind the fridge maybe).  Seemed like a good idea when I read it.  I think the plan was to use a low power solar fan or something similar for ventilation.  I don't recall all the details, but I'm sure others have documented the idea since then.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/27/21 5:33 a.m.

In reply to ClemSparks :

That seems very common now, to the point that I was surprised not to see a fan kit installed on this one. 
 

One other issue with this type fridge is I read a quote from the Dometic manual that stated the unit's efficiency drops pretty significantly at altitudes above 4000'. Considering that's where we're planning to do most of our traveling, and that evaporation refrigerators weren't designed to cool to the lower temps like residential/compressor fridges anyway, that seemed likely to cause us grief. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/27/21 9:45 p.m.

Right now it looks like Ida will be far enough west of us to have minimal impact, but if it makes a right turn earlier rather than later things could turn ugly. So I decided to go fill up the propane since the gauge showed it was only 1/3 full. The tank only took about 3-gallons, so it's way smaller than I realized. The guy filling said he thought it's probably 7-10 gallons. Fortunately we shouldn't need to use too much of it. 
 

This was the first time I'd driven it since I drove it home last week. It started up fine & is almost too easy to drive - I have to make a conscious effort to remember its almost 2' wider than the van. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/31/21 9:33 p.m.

The inverter & transfer switch arrived. 
 

 

The inverter is a bit bigger than I realized. Hopefully I can fit it & the transfer switch under the bed with the other electrical connections. 
 

The new fridge is supposed to arrive tomorrow, so I got the old one pulled out tonight. I need to disassemble it & pull the cooling unit off the back to get it out the RV's door though.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/1/21 2:04 p.m.

I went out at lunch today & got the fridge out of the RV - but not without a fight & accidental fumigation. 
 

 

In theory the cooling unit is supposed to pull out of the back of the fridge, which would have allowed it to fit through the doorway. Unfortunately despite how much I pried & cut around the foam holding it in, it wouldn't come free. Since it has already leaked & took a hacksaw to one of the lines so I could just cut it off the back, and it instantly started spraying its ammonia/hydrogen mix into the RV. 
 

The good news is I now know the CO2 detector works, the bad news is I got a good nose & mouthful of the stuff. I walked out into the middle of the driveway to catch my breath, so just in case I passed out hopefully someone driving by would see me. Fortunately I didn't. 
 

With the fridge out the damage to the roof is more visible. 

 

And the reason why is all-4 corners of the vent are cracked, so I'll be sealing them up. 
 

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