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Old 10-24-2021, 01:03 PM   #1
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2-way Norcold fridge only runs on AC power

Haven't started digging in yet, thought I'd throw it out there to see if this has happened to anyone before.

Started a two overnight trip, 2-way (AC/DC, no propane) Norcold DE0041 was running just fine on 12v. Went for a mountain bike ride, nice cold beer on return.

Friday afternoon and evening were cold and rainy / snowy, so we ran generator for a few hours enjoying "bonus" power and running furnace etc, fridge ran fine on AC power.

Shut generator off overnight, in morning everything quite warm in there. But fridge is still "on" on 12v, as in the light still works, and you can hear the fans and everything try to kick in when the thermostat tells it to, just the compressor doesn't start.

Went back to the generator, fridge still runs fine and compressor starts and runs on 110 AC. Ran the genny for a bit, made sure batteries were good and charged, then shut off AC power and tried fridge on DC again, same deal... lights are on and fans are running (so it's not the main fuse from the 12v fuse block to the fridge) but no compressor.

Anyone ever had this happen? Ideas of where to start troubleshooting? I looked at manual and wiring diagram and there doesn't APPEAR to be any fuses on the back of the fridge, but I fear this is heading towards pulling the whole thing out of the cabinet to diagnose.

Anyone know what these fridges actually run on natively (i.e. is it a 110v fridge and 12v is converted up, or is it a 12v fridge and the 110 is stepped down?)

TIA,

-- Bass
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:00 PM   #2
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How old is your house battery, sounds like it might be toasted.
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Old 10-25-2021, 12:43 AM   #3
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I was thinking these fridges are stepped down from 110 to 12, not inverter up but don't really remember for sure. I'd try to take voltage at the 12v connection point and look over the DC connection first. When mine quit, it didn't work well on AC or DC. I know it automatically switches to 12 volts when the AC is off. If I turn on my inverter, the norcold pulls 110 via the inverter/AC outlet so I usually kill that AC breaker when running my inverter in the field.
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Old 10-25-2021, 06:26 AM   #4
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See attached service manual, I believe it is dependent on the serial number.
There are two supplies AC and DC on top of unit. I would suspect DC supply or DC input, it must be minimal 10.5 volts. Also suspect the ground connection for the DC supply.

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Old 10-25-2021, 05:15 PM   #5
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How old is your house battery, sounds like it might be toasted.
Two house batteries, definitely getting a little older but still in decent shape (usually supported by plenty of solar so don't have many big cycles on them). But I did wonder about this, whether there was enough power to run the lights and fans on the fridge but not enough to kick start the compressor.

However, I had the batts at 13.6 volts just after I turned off the charger and didn't see wicked voltage drop when I turned the fridge on on 12v, so I don't think it's the batteries being too weak.

But that's on the list to check.

-- Bass
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Old 10-25-2021, 05:18 PM   #6
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See attached service manual, I believe it is dependent on the serial number.
There are two supplies AC and DC on top of unit. I would suspect DC supply or DC input, it must be minimal 10.5 volts. Also suspect the ground connection for the DC supply.
Well well well... that's an interesting document you have there, I found a different one searching online and it didn't show the detail that's shown here.

What I see is what I suspect is the issue... I have power to the fridge (interior and control lights turn on, computer fans spin) so I know it's not the fuse on the 12v+ input wire. But in this document (not in the one I found online) it also shows a second 12v fuse on the DC power supply, bet that fuse is blown and that 12v circuit leads to the compressor.

Looks like pulling the fridge out is in order

Thanks much!!!

-- Bass
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