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Old 07-26-2013, 08:39 AM   #1
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Issue with RM 2652 Fridge on Propane

Appreciate your thoughts on what may be causing our fridge to not work on propane. First its the Dometic RM2652 with an integrated ignition. We're dry camping and running a generator to maintain our battery each day, and using propane overnight and most of day to keep the fridge cold. Note the the fridge is okay on 120v - running generator with fridge setting on auto.

I've addressed the possibility of low voltage, battery reading 13v+, and tried the fridge on propane (AUTO/GAS Mode Selector Button set to gas) while running the generator. Confirmed at the main terminal (for fridge) that we have 13v+.

Propane is working fine for the stove, and water heater. When attempting to light I get a faint smell of propane at the fridge. However tonight I'm removing the orifice to clean (with alcohol); suspect that this would create a poor flame versus no propane...

Checked the solenoid, continuity good, 47ohms, and 13.4v read when the unit is in trial-for-ignition.

Measured 13v+ across the thermofuse and at J4 on the circuit board.

Suspect the igniter/electrode as there is no sparking at the electrode tip (viewed directly with covers removed). Unable to disconnect as suggested in the service manual for units with a separate igniter, high voltage cable/electrode are one unit, and igniter is integrated (noted on page 17 of the Dometic Service manual not to run disconnected). Tonight I'll review the grounding of the electrode, though recently had this apart and no visible corrosion.

Any thoughts appreciated.

Thanks
Mike
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:53 AM   #2
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Things to check:

1) You say it is the RM-2652. Is it windy? There is a recall on RM-2652s to add a metal shield and stack over temp sensor (see photos of fridge to see mod). If the recall was not performed, wind can keep the flame from lighting and/or blow out when lit.

2) Clean out stack. Bug nests (spider/wasp) in the flue can cause an over rich mixture in the combustion chamber and not allow ignition.

3) Examine spark gap. A bent electrode can prevent the DSI from igniting the gas.

4) After 3 start attempts, the control board will "LOCK OUT" and the check light will come on. You must turn off the fridge to reset the board

5) Battery voltage must be above 11.5 volts for the control board to function and the solenoid to open. 13+ volts is "charging voltage" and should only be that high when the generator is running (and shortly after you shut it down while the surface charge gets dissipated). What is the battery voltage an hour AFTER you shut the generator off?
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
Things to check:

1) You say it is the RM-2652. Is it windy? There is a recall on RM-2652s to add a metal shield and stack over temp sensor (see photos of fridge to see mod). If the recall was not performed, wind can keep the flame from lighting and/or blow out when lit.

2) Clean out stack. Bug nests (spider/wasp) in the flue can cause an over rich mixture in the combustion chamber and not allow ignition.

3) Examine spark gap. A bent electrode can prevent the DSI from igniting the gas.

4) After 3 start attempts, the control board will "LOCK OUT" and the check light will come on. You must turn off the fridge to reset the board

5) Battery voltage must be above 11.5 volts for the control board to function and the solenoid to open. 13+ volts is "charging voltage" and should only be that high when the generator is running (and shortly after you shut it down while the surface charge gets dissipated). What is the battery voltage an hour AFTER you shut the generator off?
Thanks Lou for the list.

1) Modification was done. With and without the shields in place no ignition. I'm comfortable with the sound of the fridge starting and running on propane from the outside; we're not getting there. Should add that earlier the week it was running okay. We've been dry camping for over a week and the issue started after about 4 days.

2) I'll check and clean the stack.

3) Confirmed the gap, we're good on that.

4) Good point to confirm. We have been cycling the power on the fridge each time, allowing a period to clear the board, e.g. 10 seconds, before attempting, and following receipt of the check light.

5) Battery voltage read over two (2) days was 12.59v, and 12.55v (checked in the morning), running the generator in the evening to charge. Also have a 40w solar panel that I set up on sunny days; it's marginal what it provides to charge, suspect more maintains the battery.
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:42 AM   #4
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Since you smell gas (outside) when it is trying to light and the gap appears correct, mixture is the only remaining possibility. If the stack cleaning does not help; it should fix it!

DO NOT put anything in the orifice. Even a slight enlargement can result in an uncontrollable fire. Wipe the end with an alcohol swab and that is it.

Beyond that... I don't know.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
Since you smell gas (outside) when it is trying to light and the gap appears correct, mixture is the only remaining possibility. If the stack cleaning does not help; it should fix it!

DO NOT put anything in the orifice. Even a slight enlargement can result in an uncontrollable fire. Wipe the end with an alcohol swab and that is it.

Beyond that... I don't know.
I'll get at the stack tonight. Is there a trick to cleaning the stack? The users manual provides; "Remove the wire and flue baffle from the top of the flue tube. Using a flue brush, clean the flue from the top..." How do you get access to the top?

Understood regarding the orifice. Will follow the service manual - "The orifice is cleaned by using an alcohol based solvent. Soak the orifice for approximately 1 hour and allow to air dry. Donít insert anything in the center of the orifice it will harm the man-made ruby."

Any thoughts on the electrode; could this be the issue and not firing? Do these normally fail?
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mduff View Post
...
Suspect the igniter/electrode as there is no sparking at the electrode tip (viewed directly with covers removed). Unable to disconnect as suggested in the service manual for units with a separate igniter, high voltage cable/electrode are one unit, and igniter is integrated (noted on page 17 of the Dometic Service manual not to run disconnected). Tonight I'll review the grounding of the electrode, though recently had this apart and no visible corrosion.
You see no spark and you hear no spark. It's not a gas or orifice issue. Given that the gap and voltage are good, it sounds like you need to replace the electronic igniter (board), unless there is a fuse there that is blown.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BarryD0706 View Post
You see no spark and you hear no spark. It's not a gas or orifice issue. Given that the gap and voltage are good, it sounds like you need to replace the electronic igniter (board), unless there is a fuse there that is blown.
Thanks Barry

Gulp! The igniter on our unit is integrated on the lower control board for the fridge. The electrode and high voltage cable is replaceable and may be ruled out with a replacement first. There is a 3a fuse that I had ruled out, however will double check as well. Also I'm going to clean the stack as suggested by Lou.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:06 PM   #8
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Before removing anything, I would get a garden hose and shove it in the combustion chamber and flush out any debris. Compressed air can also be used but I would use a low pressure to avoid damaging the electrode.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:25 PM   #9
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Mine would not ignite. Electrode was touching combustion chamber causing it to short out.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:43 PM   #10
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One more thought. The burner has to be grounded in order for the spark to jump to it. If the part right below the electrode wasn't grounded (or was extremely corroded) this could also cause the problem. I suggest using your ohm meter to verify a good ground at that point.
(A very corroded electrode would also be a problem.) These can be cleaned with sand paper if need be.
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