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Old 11-26-2012, 06:15 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: florida
Posts: 35
Default refrigerator warm while using gas

on our way home from the camp site i lit the pilot for the refrig. to keep all cold inside. when we got home food was not cold. could the pilot flame have gone out and if so how can this be fixed before our next trip. still have 1/2 tank of fuel. could the spark be to far from the gas to light?

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Old 11-27-2012, 09:18 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Southwest Arizona
Posts: 624

Sorry to hear about your refrigerator woes...

The refrigerators used in 99% of the full frame travel trailers, nowadays, are DSI; there isn't a pilot to light, so, I'm not real sure what pilot you lit (the water heater, too, is DSI). The only thing that should have a pilot light is your oven...

DSI is an "on demand" automatic lighting system (just like your grill's igniter only the DSI is controlled by a 12v board). It will / should light the flame of the refrigerator once the thermistor signals the board that the temperature is lower in the refrigerator than is should be and that the control board senses that the controls are set for gas use or if in "Auto" that there isn't 120v available. There isn't a big "whoosh" like the water heater, in fact, on many refrigerators, you can't even see the flame when it is lit; it is usually located behind a baffle plate along the right side of the refrigerator about 1/3 up the back between the trailer wall and the back of the refrigerator. There is "chimney pipe" that runs up the back of the refrigerator to take the excess heat up towards the vent and outside. It is just a single flame (it does look like a "pilot light", but, that is all there is; a single flame that heats the pipe in lieu of the electric element heating the pipe).

There are many things that can keep the flame from lighting... Your gas supply wasn't set correctly at the auto-changeover valve, the gas from the tank wasn't turned on slow enough not to trip the safety valve, your battery was in the "disconnect" position so the controller board wasn't seeing 12v, the controller board's fuse may be blown (the board is covered by a black plastic cover; under that cover are two glass fuses, one for the 120v side for when the TT is plugged in to shore power, and another for the 12v side when the refrigerator should be running off gas and your battery).

I'm assuming that the refrigerator worked while you were at the campground, so, I won't go into the leaking refrigerant scenarios. The control board at the top of your refrigerator, inside, if not set to "OFF" would always default to "Gas" operation; if in "Auto", when you unplug from shore power it will automatically go to gas operation, and, of course, if set on "GAS", it will use LP gas regardless of whether there is 120v available or not, so as long as it isn't turned "OFF" inside, the issue is going to most likely be one of gas supply or the ability to light the gas once demand is established.

Without more information on what you might have already tried in the way of troubleshooting, there isn't a lot of specific help I can give. I would first make sure that you do, in fact, have gas and 12v available. Try turning on the water heater and listen for "whoosh" of it lighting. It uses pretty much the same ignition process (DSI, 12v requirement, patent gas lines) for its operation. If it lights (don't light it empty), then you can assume that the gas is flowing, that the 12v is present (at least as far as the water heater). You'll then have to start investigating closer to the refrigerator; does the board actually get 12v? Could the fuse under the cover be blown? Is there a gas supply issue at the refrigerator?

Sorry I can't be of more specific help...


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Old 11-27-2012, 03:21 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: florida
Posts: 35
Default refrigerator

thanks for your help. i will try the simple fix first then get down and dirty. thanks again tom
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