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Old 01-12-2015, 06:13 AM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 1,265
I think you found the main problem by restricting the air flow.

Ford's RV Training and Service specializes in RV refrigerator repairs and training for repairmen. They have videos online that are very informative. Two of the videos discuss heating elements.

In one of the videos they said that during very cold weather there's too much air flow through the chimney and it doesn't properly heat the refrigerant. To test a unit, they taped cardboard over the lower access panel to cover about 80% of the opening.

As for the A/C heating element, electric heating elements seem to either work or not work, not deteriorate over time. If you can remove the element, it should have the wattage stamped on it.

If you can’t test the wattage of the element in place while it is operating by measuring the amps and volts, you can at least check the resistance, which should tell you if it is good. With the power off, disconnect the wires to the heating element and measure the resistance. It will be directly proportional to the wattage that the element puts out.

To calculate the resistance, use this formula: R = V squared divided by the wattage. I don’t know the voltage that they use for the wattage rating, so I’ll assume they used 115 volts to get a number. For our Dometic with a 325 watt element and 115 volts, R = (115 X 115) / 325 = 40.7. If the resistance isn’t close to this, the wattage it’s putting out won’t be close enough to properly operate the refrigerator, especially with cold outside temperatures.

As a side note, considering how you are using your RV, I fully agree that if you can’t get it fixed quickly for a reasonable cost, just buy a small residential refrigerator and worry about the RV refrigerator later.


2011 Sunseeker 3100
1997 Pathfinder Toad
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