Norcold N611RT not cooling

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  #1  
Old 08-29-15, 09:42 AM
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Norcold N611RT not cooling

N611RT serial 8912551. Was working last Tuesday, came up yesterday and freezer meat was soft and milk was not very cold. I turned it up to 5, and could hear no "noise" on the inside, and only a faint compressor noise in the outside compartment. Then, after 6 hours like that, the freezer was "water all over". Took everything out and it's shut off now. The door "on" indicator and the inside light have always worked.

Similar to this, a few times in previous years, it began to defrost, but always resumed working properly again for long periods. The compartment outside is clean and the roof vent is clean too.

Anyone have an idea of what may have failed and an approximate repair cost ?

2006 Jayco 31BHDS
 
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  #2  
Old 08-29-15, 10:09 AM
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These are ammonia based fridges. They don't have compressors and run on heat only. The heat is generated by an electric heating element when in electric mode and a burner when run in propane mode.

Have you tried manually switching to gas or electric ?
Your fridge should have a display panel that gives you some indication of a problem even if it isn't easily understandable.

In the following service manual link.... the trouble codes for you unit are on manual page #8. Your fridge uses the two LEDS for diagnostics.
bryant rv/docs2/docs/ncoldnnewnseries.pdf




Manual courtesy of Chris Bryant/Bryant RV
 
  #3  
Old 08-29-15, 10:19 AM
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We are permanent parked so I never tried just GAS. I tried that now and hear the burner. Is it possible that it would run good on gas but the electric heater element failed? There are NONE of those codes/conditions present - shown on p. 8 ...
 
  #4  
Old 08-29-15, 10:52 AM
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The electric heating element may have failed or you have lost the 120v. to the fridge. If you open the access cover outside.... the fridge should be plugged into a regular receptacle. Check that receptacle for power.
 
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Old 08-29-15, 04:23 PM
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Receptacle working.

Tried running it on GAS ONLY (never did before) and the Freezer is working but refrig compartment not very cold at all. Could it be the heating element?
 
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Old 08-30-15, 04:16 PM
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Expert UPDATE needed

Expert UPDATE requested: Runs fine on gas - freezer at 6 degress on the gas. Switched it 10 hours ago back to electric and the freezer is still cooling the same. Refrig compartment did get up to speed and 8-10 hours, and is still good! Again, this has happened 3-4 times before - where it just gave up the ghost for a period of time and then started working again! Would that likely be be the Control Panel, The Electric Heating Element, or the cooling unit ???
 
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Old 08-30-15, 05:21 PM
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It would be hard to guess.

The heating element either works or it doesn't.

It could be a control board problem.... possibly a relay for the electric element on that board or it could be a thermostat issue where the board doesn't know when to turn on. You would need to check the voltage to the heating element the next time the unit doesn't work.

The cooling unit could be losing ammonia but it would not likely work good and then not work good. I'm not an authority on ammonia cooling systems. My specialty is in the controls and control wiring.

I do know from personal experience that the fridge needs to be level to work properly and needs a good flow of cool air behind the unit and up to the roof. Any blockage in that air flow will reduce cooling capacity.
 
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Old 09-04-15, 11:05 AM
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Update

UPDATE:***I mis-read thermometer - was looking at Celcius.* Instead, is cooling the same at highest setting on both AC and Gas, but not very well.* Maybe 20 in freezer and 45 in fridge section.* I unplugged the thermistor wondering what effect that may have ?
 

Last edited by dcavaiani; 09-04-15 at 11:55 AM.
  #9  
Old 09-05-15, 08:02 AM
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Update

I have it all shut down now. I understand a new cooling unit is not a great way to go due to cost. I'm wondering if anyone has had success with a rebuilt unit and the approx. cost ??
 
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Old 09-05-15, 09:51 AM
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A cooling unit is +$1000

I've been re-reading the thread and I'm a little at a loss here. Normally when the unit wont cool.... the board detects a cooling failure, shuts down the heating system and then displays a flashing LED.

Rebuilt unit ???? fridge or cooling unit ?
 
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Old 09-06-15, 02:31 PM
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Be patient with /me

To recap - this fridge has run for 6-months straight for about 4 years in a row now - shut down during winters. It cools on both AC and just recently on gas but certainly not well. At times each year, once or twice, it basically shuts down and defrosts, and then will work again on a limited basis once again.

I am thinking about a whole new refrig. What about just buying a non RV regular type fridge (gas never needed) and fitting it into the old unit's slot? Not sure of the cubic feet nor how this would work? Has anyone else ever gone this route?
 
  #12  
Old 09-06-15, 02:47 PM
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Nice thing with that fridge is you have the back up gas operation in a power failure.

You can replace that ammonia type fridge with a typical refrigerant type with compressor. I'm not sure of the actual cubic feet either. You have to measure carefully and you MUST also measure your entrance doorway to get it inside. You will be bringing it in with the doors removed.
 
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Old 09-07-15, 11:46 AM
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Old one is OUT

No new one yet .... I am wondering if EITHER the outside vent or the Roof vent should remain "open" for the new "normal" fridge I'm going to get, or IF I should just block them up?
 
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Old 09-07-15, 11:50 AM
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The roof vent will not be needed as there is no fossil fuel burning to vent.
You could block off any air entrance from the outside hatch but I don't think I'd permanently close it up.
 
  #15  
Old 09-29-15, 09:44 PM
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Probably too late but I have seen these frigs revived by taking them out and turning them upside down for a few hours.
 
  #16  
Old 09-30-15, 05:30 AM
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Yes, turning an absorption fridge upside down as an attempt to make it work is a legitimate repair trick.
I have heard of it being successful in many cases and there are a few
theories as to why this works.

One is that the coolant is a mixture of ammonia and water and the absorption cycle works by heat separating the ammonia and water mix and and the attraction of the ammonia to water creates a cooling effect.
For some unexplained reason the mixture is unable to recombine and turning the fridge upside down encourages the mixing of the two fluids.

Another is that there is an orifice and some cooling units contain a check valve.
Turning the fridge upside down could cause scale and whatever might be causing a blockage at these points to clear.

A summary of the technique I have heard used is to turn fridge upside down for up to 24 hrs.
Gently shake fridge and GENTLY tap metal coils with a rubber mallet or hand.
Return fridge to its upright position and let sit for a few hours before trying it.
 
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