Help! Problems with propane refrigerator

Dear RV'rs,

If anyone out there can shed some light on my refrigerator problems,
I sure would appreciate it!!

I just purchased a brand new Norcold N300 refrigerator and installed it in my camper. It seems to be working once in a while, but usually it works very poorly as the flame
goes out COMPLETELY once the thermostat hits it's target temperature. Since this is a model that works without any auxilary power, there is no way for the fridge to turn itself back ON, and therefore needs to be re-lit each time this happens. To make matters worse, the Norcold Owners Manual says that their refrigerators will NOT WORK in the gas mode above 5,500 ft. elevation (HUH??!!), that makes this fridge pretty much worthless where I camp here in Colorado. Especially since my typcial camping elevation is about 9,000ft.

Seems these refrigerators have what's called a High/Low flame. The flame is on high when the fridge needs to be "working" and actually cooling the cabinet. Once the target is reached, is switches over to the "low" flame (I figure it's a kind of pilot light). Then, when the cabinet warms enough, it once again clicks over to the "high" flame once again. Problem is, mine simply switchs OFF (NO flame) and needs to be re started.

On a recent camping trip (at 8,000 ft. elevation) it worked FLAWLESSLY for about 18 to 20 straight hours. Then the low flame promptly went out with no warning (I just happened to be looking at the flame meter when this happened). After that, it was very difficult to get even the HIGH flame to stay lit!

What's happening here? Does anyone out there know?? Oh, this also happens in my driveway in metro Denver (where the altitude is only 5,200 ft.), so I can't imagine this is an altitude problem.

Any and all info would be very welcome as I'm VERY confused and a bit frustrated at this point (as you know, those refrigerators are NOT cheap!!).

Feel free to email me if you like.


Help! Problems with propane refrigerator

James, I believe I know what the problem is but not where it is, sounds kind of dumb?

There is a heat sensing device that should be where the burner is. It is probably about the size of a small skinny pencil and about 2 inches long. It is the same as the capilliary tube used in all gas fired devices now days such as furnaces.

If this tube is not located where the piolet flame can impinge on it, and keep it hot, the unitrol safety device senses there is no flame and shuts off the gas.

The first thing I would check is to follow the capilliary tube back to where it hooks into the Unitrol valve and see it it is tight asnit works off a milli amp signal.

If it is tight, check the position of the capilliary tube in relation to the flame, sometimes if they are not tight at the factory they will slip.

Gary B

Senior Member
Help! Problems with propane refrigerator

Hi James, Poppa is sending you on the right track, the device is called a thermocouple. and it has to be in the flame wither the flame is high or low. Also you may need to set the LP pressure up, you check this with a device called a manometer and it reads in inchs of water column, a pressure reading at the refer with it operating/flame burning should be 11" of water column. Norcold refers are very sensitive to proper LP pressure, the pressure can be adjustted at the LP regulator. If you don't have the proper test gages and tools take the rv to a quaified LP tech, this can be a tech at the local LP distrubiter ( NOT A FILLING STATION), or your local rv service center. From your discription it sounds like the thermocouple is cooling and shutting off the gas, and this could be from low pressure and not enough flame. Good luck. :) :laugh: :cool: :bleh: ;) :approve:
PS I forgot here is a site that maybe of help
Help! Problems with propane refrigerator

Thanks Poppa,
I'm going to dig into it this weekend and systematically
follow your advise as well as the other gentleman's advise
who replied. Hopefully it will be obvious. Again, many thanks!!

Help! Problems with propane refrigerator

Thanks Gary!
I appreciate your's and Poppa's advise.
Can't wait to now dig in there with new hope
of resolving this!!!