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Old 06-16-2019, 07:42 PM   #1
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Norcold Fridge Misbehavior

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My van fridge is about 1.5 years old and was installed by SMB west. The unit is the Norcold 12v/120v 2.5 CF model NR751BB.

It worked fine for about 6 months in both hot and cool conditions. Last fall at lake Mead, I noticed the unit was off after returning from an overnight hike. The food was spoiled. Van battery voltage was still adequate at that time. I fiddled with the temperature control knob and the unit started and appeared ok. Late last year the unit stopped working on all settings except maximum with is setting 5 on the control knob. On setting 5 the freezer freezes and the food section is cold even during hot weather so the cooling components don't appear to be suspect.

This was an expensive unit and I feel it should work on all settings as advertised. But with local service techs 2 months out I am curious if there is anything I might do to encourage better behavior. Now I don't trust the thing and bring a Yetty cooler backup on every trip. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:27 PM   #2
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We had that model Norcold in our SMB and it was a power hog. It worked but many reviews I read were about the same experience you have had with this unit. We went back to SMB to have a Isotherm Cruise 65 installed in the same space. A far superior product, very happy with the power usage and improved fridge layout.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:46 AM   #3
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I would look at the thermostatic sensor and the temperature control.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:00 PM   #4
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Most likely it's the thermostat. If, after checking all the connections it still misbehaves, I'd replace it. Have you tried Norcold customer service?
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:24 PM   #5
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Does it do the same thing on gas and 12v?

Also are you leveling the rig? Absorption units don't tolerate being too much out of level, otherwise the ammonia condensate won't drain back into the bottom, and instead form crystals that block the the tubes.
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Old 06-17-2019, 02:31 PM   #6
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Norcold fridge Misbehavior

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Originally Posted by arctictraveller View Post
Most likely it's the thermostat. If, after checking all the connections it still misbehaves, I'd replace it. Have you tried Norcold customer service?
Agreed. I will focus on that part assembly and have a call into the vendor also. thanks
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:13 PM   #7
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Does it do the same thing on gas and 12v?

Also are you leveling the rig? Absorption units don't tolerate being too much out of level, otherwise the ammonia condensate won't drain back into the bottom, and instead form crystals that block the the tubes.
I might have missed the fact that it is an absorption unit, but I had one in my boat for 15 years, and it was out of level most of the time. After about 14 years, it suddenly began leaking ammonia one night, and drove my wife out of the boat. Being out of level all those years, the flame impinged on the tubing and oxidized a hole in it.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:44 AM   #8
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Should have a two year warranty I think. AC/DC not absorption. Power hog....3.6a*12.5v*24hrs = 1000 watts per day
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:52 AM   #9
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Should have a two year warranty I think. AC/DC not absorption. Power hog....3.6a*12.5v*24hrs = 1000 watts per day
Gotcha. I didn't realize Norcold had dual voltage compressor fridge now. I have an identical looking Norcold absorption fridge. It works great, but will suck down a pair of 12-volt batts on a hot day running 12-volt.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:26 PM   #10
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Gotcha. I didn't realize Norcold had dual voltage compressor fridge now. I have an identical looking Norcold absorption fridge. It works great, but will suck down a pair of 12-volt batts on a hot day running 12-volt.
That's exactly what we found. Take a look at the 3E – 2.7CF specs on Sportsmobile's page on power stuff (https://sportsmobile.com/solar-panels/). We found that our 3E used about twice as much power as stated - and that it was within spec from Norcold. Our Isotherm 65 matches the 3E specs and has a layout that works much better for us.
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