Thermocouple/Ammonia

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Deric, Dec 25, 2003.

  1. Deric

    Deric New Member

    This is a two part question. First of all I have been experiencing some problems with my Dometic 2811 frig. I bought this Wilderness 27.5 with the 13' slide, and have enjoyed it thus far. However I have run into a problem with the Frige staying on durring LP Operation. I bought this trailer a couple of months ago, and the previous owner had changed out the stock board with a new Dinosaur Micro P711 board. I have checked all of the grounds, have done all of the things that have been posted in response to frige problems on the net. Here's what happens: When the frige is running on AC, I unplug the power and it instantly lights the LP and then about 30 seconds later. just shuts off. The trailer is level, and the thermocouple seems to be far enough into the flame to get a reading. I have had alot of experience with LP appliances and so my first thought is that I need a new thermocouple, Any ideas? The second problem: We have had the trailer plugged in for a few months now, and went to load up for a short trip to the beach for some clam digging, and when I opened the frige, there was a strong ammonia smell coming from inside. At first I thought something got spilled, but then there was nothing in the frige. So I sort of dismissed it. We loaded up and had a couple of nice days at the beach. When I got home I started looking into why my LP will only burn for 30 seconds and then shut off, when I came across a website that explained the LP operation. It said that the inside tubing of an LP frige has ammonia in it. So that is where the smell came from. My question is, how did it get inside the frige, and is there anything that I can do to prevent it in the future? On AC the frige works great. Thanks in advance for any help.

    Deric Kettel
    Forks WA
     
  2. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Thermocouple/Ammonia

    Deric,
    Some of the rvs use ammonia instead of freon but, if it loses its charge it would not even cool on ac. The ammonia runs through the cooling coil on the evaperator inside the refridgerator. If this is the case you will probably have to replace the fridge :(
     
  3. Deric

    Deric New Member

    Thermocouple/Ammonia

    Thanks for the response. Interestingly I started the frige using gas today, and it has been running ever since. It seems to be inconsistant. As far as the Ammonia smell, the frige works great on AC, and LP,starts to produce ice in the tray within minutes of starting. I still think it is a thermocouple that is not trustworthy.

    deric
     
  4. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Thermocouple/Ammonia

    Did you say you had replaced the thermocouple Daric? If not, I would guess that to be the problem. Might try cleaning the end and reseting the screw in connection but, I would just replace as they are not very expensive. I don't think the thermocouple has ammonia in it but not sure. Was thinking it was mercury filled so don't know where the smell is coming from if it is cooling ok. Didn't forget a leave a chicken in the bottom drawer did you? :laugh: things like this can smell pretty bad after about a week without fridge hooked up :eek: No, that's one I haven't doon yet :laugh:
     
  5. Deric

    Deric New Member

    Thermocouple/Ammonia

    Hey Chelse L. Nash, Thanks again for posting to this question. I have not replaced the thermocouple yet, but I think I will. I did clean the tip of the thermocouple and it did not change anything. However it is still running on LP nearly 4 hours later. I will post another note when I get this thing figured out. Thanks again.

    Deric
     
  6. Butch

    Butch New Member

    Thermocouple/Ammonia

    IF your fridge is giving off an ammonia odor, it must be leaking ammonia. which means it is dying. It is possible to repair some of these units but usually not worth it. Are you sure it is an ammonmia smell and do you see any yellowish discoloration around the cooling grid or perculator??? I've never known an ammonia leak to fix itself...just keeps getting worse until it no longer does its job...
     
  7. Deric

    Deric New Member

    Thermocouple/Ammonia

    Just a follow up to my fridge problem. I ordered a new cooling unit for the Dometic 2811 fridge, and at the same time I also bought a new thermocouple. After the install i did a shop test and within 30 minutes the freezer plate was starting to frost. Installed the unit, and ran it on gas for a couple of days, and everything is pefrect. Thanks for the wonderful advice here on the forum, and keep up the good work.

    Deric Kettel
    Forks WA
     
  8. Deric

    Deric New Member

    Thermocouple/Ammonia

    Well this is a follow up on the fridge problem I was having. I did order a new cooling unit and installed it with no problems. It was pretty straight forward, and now everything is working again. Still less than half the cost of a new unit. Thanks again for the great help.

    Deric Kettel
    Forks WA
     
  9. Deric

    Deric New Member

    Thermocouple/Ammonia

    I guess I forgot that I had allready posted a thread about the install, I must be turning 40 this year, hair growing out my ears, and now the memory is going, sorry

    Deric Kettel
    Forks WA
     
  10. ralphdanita

    ralphdanita New Member

    Thermocouple/Ammonia

    AFTER MANY HOURS OF SURFING AND SEARCHING, I FOUND THIS THREAD! SURE HOPE SOMEBODY CAN HELP. GETTING READY FOR OUR LAST TRIP OUT, I SMELLED AMONIA IN THE FRIDGE. CLEANED IT UP CAUSE IT NEEDED A GOOD CLEANING ANYWAY. DIDN'T GIVE MUCH THOUGHT TO THE SMELL..... THEN CHECKED IT A FEW DAYS AFTER WE GOT HOME (WE KEEP IT PLUGGED IN AND RUNNING AT HOME TOO???) AND WHEW!!! THE AMONIA SMELL WAS HORRIBLE AND THE FRIDGE WAS HOT AND THE FOOD IN FRIDGE AND FREEZER WAS A TOTAL LOSS. NOT TO MENTION THAT SMELL!! I UNDERSTAND NOW THAT THE AMMONIA SMELL WAS AN INDICATION THAT THE FRIDGE WAS GOING BAD. NOW, I KNOW.

    ANYWAY.......MY TWO QUESTIONS.....1)DO I HAVE TO BUY A WHOLE NEW FRIDGE (THIS ONE IS OVER 10 YRS OLD) OR IS A NEW COOLING UNIT JUST AS GOOD?

    2)WHERE CAN I BUY ONE THE CHEAPEST FOR THE BEST AND NO SHIPPING??? OR MAYBE SOME SHIPPING???

    3)I KNOW, I KNOW,!!!.... I HAVE SEEN PLACES WHILE SURFING THAT SELL REBUILT UNITS. IS THERE A PLACE THAT WILL TAKE MY UNIT AND REBUILD IT AND SAVE ME EVEN MORE MONEY?
    THANKS, MANY TIMES OVER,
    RALPH
     
  11. Deric

    Deric New Member

    Thermocouple/Ammonia

    Hey Ralph, I really appreciated it when someone got back to me when I had a question, so I wanted to get back to you're question right away. I have learned from working on my own unit, that if you smell amonia, the cooling unit in the fridge is done. Since the cooling unit is the most expensive item on the fridge, there is not very much else that can go wrong. I did change out the thermocouple, since this was a problem before the cooling unit died. The electronic board was a new on from dinosaur when I bought the trailer about 6 months ago. The place that I got my cooling unit, is in the link included with this post. It was around $490.00 including shipping, and the guys name is Wick. He was very friendly, and got the new unit to me in a timely manner. The cost of a new fridge was over $1200.00, so for me to be able to rebuild this one for less than half the money, was a very viable option. Check out his website. Feel free to ask me questions directly, as I deal with e-mail at work and at home. One more thing: In my opinion, it's not a good idea to buy a used fridge for around $600.00, since the cooling unit could last a few years, or go out the next day after buying it. I think for the money a rebuilt cooling unit is the way to go if you're on a tight budget like me. I hope this helps. If you get into rebuilding it and run into any problems, maybe we could work together on it using questions and pictures, that is if you have a digital camera. Later.

    Here is the website http://www.rvcool.com/

    My home e-mail dkettel@centurytel.net
    work dkettel@u.washington.edu
     

Share This Page