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Old 06-01-2016, 02:44 AM   #1
mjammersc
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M.O.C. #17609
Norcold 2118 Outside Cooling Fans not running

When setting up to go on my trip this past weekend, I noticed that my fridge seemed to be taking longer to cool. It did end up cooling off and running OK overall except for one afternoon where it seemed to run through a defrost cycle as the temps warmed up then recovered and the water drain cup filled up some. The unit hasnít shown any fault codes or warnings.

When I pulled off the outside lower vent to confirm there wasnít any debris or critters in there I noticed the single lower fan and the two upper fans werenít running. I confirmed no visible wires disconnected and there was good power to the unit. I also switched to gas and no change. I then checked the thermal switch up on the upper cooling fins and it appears to be functioning. I checked this for continuity and also voltage on both sides and it looked good. I also rechecked this at home once the unit had been off and it was an open the turned the fridge back on and after the temp started to climb on the fins, the thermal switch closed and had voltage thru the switch but still no fans. I couldnít tell what is next in the wiring as it is behind the wall but per the wiring diagram in the manual, it doesnít look like anything else. The only unusual thing that happened during setup was that after we had it plugged in at home for a while, my home breaker tripped so not sure if the sudden disconnect caused an issue but the power was connected through a Progressive Industries EMS. As far as I can remember, I had heard the fans running in the past before this but you only really notice once something goes wrong.

Anyway, any advice or suggestions on what else to check would be appreciated. Iíll be calling my dealer as well later today but hoping to avoid the 2+ hour drive there to have them look at it.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:42 AM   #2
jcurtis934
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One of the wires on the thermal switch goes directly to the fans at the top. You should be able to make sure that it IS on the fans with a mirror. I would bet it has come off there. Jumper across the thermal switch should turn both on. John
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Old 06-01-2016, 07:10 AM   #3
mjammersc
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I can take a shot at the jumper as a final check though I could see the switch change states on my multimeter, both via continuity and voltage. I've used my cell phone to take Picts of the wire runs and they (fans and switch wires) all go to a bundle zip tied into a bundle attacked to the back of the fridge and can't really see the ends. Of course it is half way between the vents too.
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Old 06-02-2016, 02:27 PM   #4
jcurtis934
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Thermal switch probably is good, but two seconds to stick a piece of metal in between the contacts of it insures that voltage makes it to the fan wire run. Fans not coming on when you do this means either the switched feed wire connector is off the fan OR the ground connection off the other side of the fans. Had to use a mechanics mirror to look down to see connections on our fans. John
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:28 PM   #5
mjammersc
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I'll take a shot at the jumper this weekend . I used my phone to take shots above and below and could not see any disconnected wires though most are all bundled together half way down the wall. I can see the first ground connection and it is solid but I'll confirm it with my meter too. I have a call into my dealer and a tech is supposed to call back and see if they have any ideas too. Trying to avoid a 2.5 hour trip to the shop.
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Old 06-03-2016, 04:32 PM   #6
mjammersc
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Well the jumper didn't cause the fans to kick on. Checked a couple other connections and no luck. I guess it's time to take it to the dealer. I talked to a tech from the dealer and the next step is to pull the fridge out some to fully inspect all the wires and connections on the back. Time to let them handle it and get some warranty work done and also have them take care of a couple other minor issues while its in.
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Old 06-04-2016, 04:08 AM   #7
Larry-P
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The fans are not designed to run at all times. I believe the temp in the back of your unit must hit 130 or there about. We go many days & never hear the fans running & the temp is perfect within the fridge. You may be worrying over nothing.
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:54 AM   #8
mjammersc
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Larry, I can see the thermal switch flip via the multimeter which is what turns them on and they don't run or even whe. I jumper the switch which should trigger them
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Old 06-18-2016, 06:26 AM   #9
27musicmakers
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M.O.C. #18698
check for resistance between the fan leads. If infinity (nothing) then I would presume a bad fan
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Old 06-19-2016, 03:04 PM   #10
mjammersc
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27 - thanks for the tip - should have thought of that one. Oh well it was dropped off this weekend at the dealer to look at, we'll see what he finds. The good/bad part is the fridge works well as is. Was maintaining 37-38 while set at 5 this weekend and it was hitting low to mid 80's
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Old 07-18-2016, 01:59 AM   #11
mjammersc
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Well I picked up my rig from the dealer this weekend and did an overnight with it to ensure everything is good and no problems. The fridge issue ended up being a disconnected wire in the bundle (rats nest) of wires attached to the back. They replaced the sensor as they thought that might be the cause originally (maybe closing but not working well (wasn't real optimistic on that due to my testing) but as expected it didn't fix it so they had to pull the fridge out to check the wiring and that's when they found it. Unit cooled well and I could hear the fans running. Now its ready for a couple week trip coming up soon - wouldn't have wanted to run it without the fans with the temps coming up.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:45 PM   #12
DarMar
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Because of your knowledge that there was something wrong when the fans didn't engage you certainly avoided a cooked unit and replacement once the warm weather hit. Good catch!!!
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