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Another Refer fan question

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Allyson Smith

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Another Refer fan question
« on: July 18, 2021, 09:08:20 am »
We have a side vented Norcold, with factory installed single fan half way up. The fan works, but the thermostatic switch appears to not come on, or comes on at a temp that I believe is too hot. I changed out switches, one worked for awhile,another not at all. Maybe I got bad switches? Does anyone know at what temp the fan should come on?
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mikeh

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Re: Another Refer fan question
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2021, 10:01:25 am »
Allyson,

When I was troubleshooting my cooling problem (previously discussed in the "Refrigerator Vent Fan" thread), I reviewed several YouTube videos.  In one done by the "MyRVWorksInc" guy, he states that the thermostatic switch attached to the condenser coil should close (to turn on the fan) at about 130 degrees F.  It should open to turn off the fan at about 105 degrees F.  That wasn't specific to a Phoenix Cruiser, of course, but it was on basically on the same refrigeration system that Phoenix is using.

Because my system wasn't cooling properly at the time I was checking this, my condenser was just barely warm--and not hot enough to activate the fan--so to test operation and confirm all was good with that I had to bypass the sensor.  Probably the easiest way to check that condenser temp is with an infrared thermometer gun.

Mike

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Allyson Smith

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Re: Another Refer fan question
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2021, 06:04:47 pm »
Thanks Mike for your detailed response. After I posted I went out and restarted it on LP, its about 90 degrees outside. I let it stand for about four hours then went out to see what was going on.

 The fan was on, I put a instant thermometer on the sensor/ thermostat switch, it was 112degrees. Inside refer temp was still crazy hot at freezer 53 deg, refer 65(these are off a remote thermometer). I turned on my two added external fans, that are high in the compartment, within a few minutes the original factory fan shut down.

I have to admit, I don't really know if the factory fan has ever continued working in the past after the external fans come on, maybe someone else could chime in on their experience?

I also have to wonder why the factory fan could not be wired to a on/off switch, like my added fans, and forget the thermostat switch, any thoughts here?

Really getting tired of this garbage.

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Allyson Smith

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Re: Another Refer fan question
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2021, 06:08:26 pm »
I thought I should add, I replaced the thermistor inside the refer( not what I refer to it most days) too....

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mikeh

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Re: Another Refer fan question
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2021, 08:25:44 pm »
Allyson,

I do have some thoughts, but I have to preface what I say by emphasizing that I have NO extensive knowledge or experience with the refrigerator--just what I picked up from researching and repairing my own cooling problem.  I didn't even know exactly how the refrigeration cycle worked on these combination (gas and electric) fridges.  I do have a little experience with conventional refrigeration systems--but I found that these are quite different, and the system is more complicated.

The first question would be how does your unit work on electric power?  Your post detailed LP operation today, but didn't mention electric.  The key is that the primary difference between gas and electric operation is only how the ammonia/water mixture is heated in the boiler (electric heating element or gas flame).  In my case, my unit would work fine on electric power, but not cool when switched to propane.  That told me that the basic refrigeration cycle was working normally; that whatever issue I had was specific to the gas flame--and as I said in the other message topic I eventually found a blockage in the gas heater exhaust vent that was not allowing it to heat effectively even though the actual flame looked generally OK to my untrained eye.  For instance, the condenser cooling that we've been discussing (air flow, fans, thermostat switch, etc) has to happen for the fridge to cool on either gas or electric--so if either one of the two works, condenser cooling is not likely to be the problem.

However, if your refrigerator fails to cool essentially the same on both electric AND propane, the problem would likely be in the basic refrigeration system--which is common to both.  That calls into question several parts of the system--the thermistor you mentioned, leveling problems which lead to blockage of the system from the liquid not properly draining, inadequate heating of the boiler for some reason, inadequate condenser cooling from poor air flow (baffle, fans, thermostat switch etc), or even control system problems (board) or coolant leakage (not likely).

To directly address a couple of questions that you asked:  First--yes, the factory fan could be wired to an on/off switch and bypass the thermostat---BUT consider this: there are many, many of these fridges out there working at least adequately, with the original setup.  My own fridge worked perfectly again on propane (in some very hot conditions) once I corrected my problem.  If you are certain (or are able) to establish conclusively that your problem is tied  to condenser cooling, then modifying your factory fan to run full time would be one part of the solution (I'm not aware that there can be a problem from over-cooling the condenser but I don't know that for sure)--but I think you should try to be sure you're working on the actual problem before you spend more time on it.  Second--the fact that the factory fan shut off after you started your external fans sounds like that part of your system is working properly.  As I mentioned in the earlier post, my information is that the thermostat switch is supposed to open back up at 105 degrees F to kill the fan.  Sounds like your external fans simply dropped the temp below that level after you started them and the switch opened as prescribed.

Sounds like you have some extended experience with this refrigerator, so I'm sure you already know that an absorption fridge does not react quickly to cool-down.  I don't know what the internal temps were when you fired it up, but the 53/65 that it reached would be doing well for my unit if it was starting at 90 degrees--maybe not even as low as you report in four hours.  At least you have a remote thermometer to tell you what is actually going on inside--that's one of the handiest tools I've found in my own effort to keep up with mine.  If there is any other info I might provide, please let me know.

All the best,      Mike

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donc13

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Re: Another Refer fan question
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2021, 08:59:52 pm »
Thanks Mike for your detailed response. After I posted I went out and restarted it on LP, its about 90 degrees outside. I let it stand for about four hours then went out to see what was going on.

 The fan was on, I put a instant thermometer on the sensor/ thermostat switch, it was 112degrees. Inside refer temp was still crazy hot at freezer 53 deg, refer 65(these are off a remote thermometer). I turned on my two added external fans, that are high in the compartment, within a few minutes the original factory fan shut down.

I have to admit, I don't really know if the factory fan has ever continued working in the past after the external fans come on, maybe someone else could chime in on their experience?

I also have to wonder why the factory fan could not be wired to a on/off switch, like my added fans, and forget the thermostat switch, any thoughts here?

Really getting tired of this garbage.

Did you EVER have the refrigerator itself checked?   Do you know if the refrigerator's thermostat is working?    Are you aware you can ruin an adsorption refrigerator by parking it on too steep an angle?

I am *guessing* that it used to work, but remember, when it used to work, there was just the Phoenix installed fan.

And why oh why would you want an manual on/off switch for that vent fan?  What if you forgot to turn it on or off?

Just my thoughts.
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Don and Patti

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Allyson Smith

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Re: Another Refer fan question
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2021, 11:56:43 am »
Mike, I have to thank you again for that you tuber. Yes we have 3.5 years and 42k miles with this unit, and this norcold has never worked properly from day one. We are off griders, so use it on LP most of the time. I will check out the AC. I have a feeling this is a higher than normal( to us) ambient temp, poor install( horrible chimney, poor placement of fan)  from PC, type problem.  Always check out the simple stuff first,,,, right, like mud!