refrigerator freezing up

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refrigerator freezing up

Postby Zeiszler » Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:48 am

We are winter camping in northern Ohio. Everything is going fine, at this point except for our regrigerator. When the outside temperature falls below 30 degrees everything in the refrigerator freezes. When the temperature outside rises above 30 degress things thaw out.

The refrigerator has been working fine in the past. We are full timers and have been on the road now for 2 years. This is the first problem we have had with the refrigerator. It is a Dometic RM2652. I have had a couple discussions with Dometic and they think the refrigerant is gelling when it gets too cold. They advise against covering the vent on the side of the motorhome.

Anyone have any ideas. I've ruled out a defective thermistor and the fuses on the board are fine.
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Postby Rob98801 » Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:37 pm

Really cann't help, only to suggest manually turning on an off at intervals.

Someone else have any ideas :?:
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Postby drifter » Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:26 pm

I've got an idea but it's long and complicated.

Some Dometics, and I think the RM2652 is among them, have a Low Ambient Temperature switch located on the inside upper door frame. You have to open the door to see it. and it might be labeled just "LAT". Turning it on will keep the light on inside the refrigerator and will add enough heat to keep from freezing inside.

It's purpose isn't to keep the box from freezing, however. There's a thermistor is located in the box and when it's cold outside, it doesn't call for "cool" and the refrigerator won't kick on. The box is happy but the ice cream in the freezer melts.

So turning on the switch might temporarily cure the problem in cold weather but it sounds like the thermistor isn't working properly. It's supposed to shut down the cooling action before the beer freezes in the box. You can adjust the inside temp up somewhat by moving the thermistor down on the fins at the back of the box. Of course, if it's fallen off the fins and dangling in space, then that's the problem. It has be attached to a fin. Your owner's manual should tell you which one, probably the second from right, about 2/3 of the way up.

If it's in place and the box is freezing up, the thermistor needs to be tested. You don't have to take it out, just remove the harness for it from the board and check the resistance (ohms). It doesn't "click-on" like most sensors, it varies according to the temperature on the probe end. Here's a chart:

20 deg.=13376 ohm
30 deg.=9932 ohm
32 deg.=9370 ohm
36 deg.=8847 ohm
40 deg.=7448 ohm
45 deg.=6473 ohm
55 deg.=4925 ohm
70 deg.=3325 ohm

If the thermistor is in place and tests OK, then the board is likely bad and needs tested. This, however, takes a board tester.

If you do turn on the LAT switch, be sure to remember to turn if off before summer or the refrigerator will run constantly and won't be able to keep up.
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Postby admin » Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:54 am

Dometics response does not make sense to me - if the refrigerant was gelling all circulation would stop and no cooling would take place. Since the box is inside the living space it would eventually warm up. (exactly the opposite of your situation)

Interesting thread ... I think Drifter is on the right track.
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Postby Zeiszler » Mon Dec 10, 2007 5:05 pm

I put a small light on an extension cord by the back of the refrigerator just inside theat outside vent. It seems to be helping somwhat. Right now the milk is like slush instead of a hard block. Only a few things are frozen.

I think I will try a light bulb that gets a little hotter than the one I am using.
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