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Old 05-22-2007, 07:17 PM   #1
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I have a refrigerator that operates on propane, 110 VAC, or 12 VDC. It worked fine the last time I used it, several months ago. Now it does not work, at least on propane.

The procedure to start it on propane:

Given: Ensure there is adequate propane in the cylinder and the valve on the cylinder is open.

1. Turn the fuel selector knob to propane.

2. Turn the thermostat 1/4 open.

3. A red light comes on, indicating there is 12 VDC power to the electronic igniter.

4. Push and hold igniter button. That allows gas to by pass the gas control vale, fires a spark at the burner, and lights the pilot light.

5. Hold the button for 15 seconds after the red light goes out. That is to ensure the pilot light flame heats up the thermocouple, in turn allowing the gas control valve to provide gas to the burner when called for.

Later, after the fridge has had adequate time to cool, go back to step 2 and adjust the thermostat as desired.


Now the red indicator light doesn't come on. (Electrical Issue in my mind)

I fiddled with it a while. I'm an experienced Do It Yourselfer, but refrigeration and electronics are not my expertise. I have other priorities and decide to take the problem to a service center and leave it there. Two weeks goes by. This morning they call; it went like this:

You need a new fridge.


Yeah. The lines in back are plugged.


Yeah. That happens when fridges get older, the lines get plugged and the gases can't get through the lines.

What does that cost? $1,470. USD Installed.

Hmmmmm.... Are you sure?


HmmmmmmMMMM...... I need to think about this a little. I'll get back to you.

Refrigeration is not my expertise, BUT I know something.

* There is only One gas in that system, and it is Freon.

* It is a closed system; there is nothing in there to plug the lines.

* Granted, there is some lubricant in the system for the compressor, but that is clean to.

* If anything could get in there, the Freon would escape, that is a different problem. He did not say it is low on Freon.

* If the lines are plugged, what plugged them?

* If the lines are plugged, than why not unplug them? Blow them out.

* Granted the compressor could fail, and pieces of it may obstruct the lines. Compressor failure is yet another problem.

* How would obstructed Freon GAS lines affect the red indicator ELECTRICAL bulb?

Are plugged lines even possible? Anybody ever heard of such a thing?

In hindsight I should have questioned him about "those gases". I don't think he knew what he was talking about. On the phone he sounded very young, very inexperienced, and lacking confidence due to his lack of knowledge. I had the "Gut Feeling", about this guy.

I am not having them replace the fridge. First I will recover it, than I am going to put my best efforts into diagnosing it. The first time I only gave it a cursory look; my heart was not into the project. I never tried the 110 VAC or the 12 VDC sources. I will not suggest they do, as after that phone call I don't want them fiddling with it anymore. If the fridge works on electrical power that will prove that the lines are not obstructed. If I can't figure it out, I am getting a second opinion from another service center.

What are your thoughts?

When in doubt, do the right thing.

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Old 05-22-2007, 07:36 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Home Port: Durban
Posts: 2,984

I hate these Guys!

Step 1: Get the report in writing (if they will give it to you).

Step 2: Get a second opinion in writing.

If it differs vastly, get a local consumer body involved to oversee the repair and EXPOSE the original business to save other consumers.

You will probably find that it requires some electronic component to be replaced at a cost of 7c.

I hate them!


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Old 05-26-2007, 03:37 AM   #3
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There is no Freon in your refrigerator. It has no moving parts. It is an absorbing type refrigeration system using ammonia and other chemicals. It uses steel coils (heavy) and the only use of the electrical is to provide a spark for the pilot. Try lighting the pilot by hand using your normal lighting procedure and a match. If it lights then the only problem is with the igniter. If it lights and there is no cooling (takes a while) look at your flue and coil on the back and make sure it is clean. Blow it out with air if dirty. If that doesn't work; as a last ditch effort, turn it upside down for 24 hrs and then turn it back up and try operating it. Sometimes the chemicals in the system get locked into one section . If these pointers do not help there is no way to repair the sealed system without special equipment and chemicals. I only know of a few places in the States that can do this. I was going to do this at one time but it was a very limited market. One other thing is that these units need to be level when operating. I have seen motor homes out of level and no cooling. I do not understand why you have this type of refrigeration on your boat unless it is always level.

I hope this helps. Nick
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Old 05-26-2007, 06:50 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 3,067

Way back when, we had Electrolux fridges in the Bush that ran on Electricity, Paraffin or Gas - using heat absorbtion.

If left unused for any length of time - they would behave exactly as Jeff's

Solution :- turn the fridge upside down overnight - then upright, light up and Bingo - fridge starts to get cold having got rid of air lock.

If the above did not work turn upside down, take it for a ride in the Land Rover on a Bush Road.

If that did not work empty gas and refill gas .
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