Old Refigerator Help or Advice


Thanks to those who provide some useful information here. I appreciate it greatly.

Recently I decided I needed a hobby to get myself out of the corporate garbage of a job I have so I decided to delve back into seasonal camping.

I purchased a 78 24ft Layton that is in surprisingly good shape, albeit, I am ripping it apart and rebuilding the inside.

One item I am having trouble with is deciding what to do about the propane fridge. I have yet to test it out, however, I was told it was fully functional. The problem is the door seals are not in great shape and the racks are a tad corroded. I intend to park this in a seasonal spot, but may take it on the road once or twice this summer for short jaunts in New England.

Would I be better off simply buying a 4.5 cubic foot AC model or spending time on this old beater?

Second to that, this appears to be either a IM or IN model. It has a Thomson electronics sticker on the door. Wondering also where I might be able to try and track down information about this particular model at.

If anyone has any info or opinions to share, I will gladly take them.

Thanks in advance.

Old Refigerator Help or Advice

From your description of letters on frig it is an Instamatic brand and probably Innovator Series. If you remove from interior bottom plate to look at controls and it has a guage that is flame indicator on it showing lit or not lit based on how far needle moves to right on guage this would confirm Innovator Series. Remember plate may be missing. If it is strongly advise to not operate on LP as those gas controls were notorious leakers.
If it was a dometic from that era they were more reliable than all others.


Senior Member
Old Refigerator Help or Advice

On the use of an apartment type refrigerator, they are far less costly and they can work just fine in a unit that sits in an RV park most of the time. They do not have the ability to take the constant travel and vibration of the RV type unit and the will stay cold for a limited length of time with no power. But if you sit still most of the time and do not travel far, it would be much less expensive.

On the repair issue, I clipped your post and have forwarded it to a friend who is retired from the RV repair business and who often knows the answers on these older units. I'll return and post what he has to say about the one you have now, once I hear from him.
Old Refigerator Help or Advice

I appreciate the information greatly. I can confirm it is an Instamatic brand. I have to go traveling this next week for work but hope to have it yanked out soon. I think out of interest sake, Im going to attempt to get it running. Hopefully the ammonia hasn't been boiled solid.

My wife and I both feel that just moving to a small electric unit is going to be it for us. We are virtually gutting the thing and rebuilding so I think for simplicity sake, Im going to do that.

At the very least, this is going to be an interesting project. It surprises me how ineffeciently built this trailer is. Previous owners have removed the water pump and fresh water tank and jury riggged the plumbing with a combination of copper and steel.. lol. So we do have our work set out for us.

We questioned ourselves about doing this and almost bought a used 2001 model but in the end, the goal for us was to get us out of the house and away from our computers doing something else constructive that doesn't involve our professional lives. I can't wait to get rockin on this baby and have some fun this summer.

Thanks again for the help!



Senior Member
Old Refigerator Help or Advice

I just got the following reply from my friend the retired RV tech.

quote:Thomson is one of the early developers of propane refrigerators. It is very complicated and very difficult to work on. The most usual cause of their failure is the expansion orifice which becomes corroded with zinc chromate. The best thing is to replace it with an AC frig that will fit the hole. If a frig is more than 10 years old, and it fails check the obvious and replace it. Check out the link below.
Old Refigerator Help or Advice

Kirk - Thank your friend for me. I do appreciate the time and follow up. Based on it's condition and after hearing that, Im defenitely going to pull it and replace with an AC unit.

Thanks again!

Old Refigerator Help or Advice


You're showing your age. ;)
I got into the biz in 1976 and barely remember the Instamatics.
Do you remember Morphy - Richards and Astral?