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Old 07-26-2019, 02:39 PM   #1
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Refrigerator smoke

Dometic DM2652RBX.
What would burn under the fridge? I smelled electric burning. Really strong. Immediately turned off AC and fridge. A little smoke and smell by bottom of fridge. Went out and pulled outside panel. No smell. Aired out coach. Turned AC back on and switched fridge to gas. All seems well.
I do admit that the fridge needed defrosted but it wasn't totally iced up. It's been humid. I was going to do that tomorrow. So I did it today.
Unplugged fridge on outside. Assuming I fried something. What's on the inside that could burn up? Fan?
Thanks for your attention.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:42 PM   #2
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Many of these units have heating elements around the door seal area(s) to help with condensation. If it was heavily frosted over, maybe it was having to work too hard?

I hope you discover your issue.
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Old 07-27-2019, 05:07 AM   #3
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Is your power panel under the fridge?
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Old 07-27-2019, 07:09 AM   #4
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The outside of the fridge is pretty well sealed from the inside in order to keep carbon monoxide gas from migrating from the outside tiny LP burner to the inside of the coach.
If you smelled smoke inside the rig you need to access and check what's under the fridge.
As Herk mentioned- is your power center or "fuse box" under the fridge??

Roof Air Conditioner = heavy load.
Heavy load combined with loose connection = smoke and fire risk.

My 1st guess and it's only a guess is the smoke did not come from the fridge but rather something else going on under it.
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Old 07-27-2019, 07:41 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone. I'll have to keep looking. Power center is near fridge. But it didn't seem to be coming from there. Trying to follow the clues. I'll have to get everything opened up and look for damage. Everything is still fine so I'm assuming it's the electric part of the fridge. Although something else could have burned through and can't burn anymore. Of course I don't feel like doing any of that. HeeHee. Got enough to do. I'm going to have to go out today and get propane. Quarter tank. I can't take a chance on running out with the fridge now depending on it. The local place only pumps on weekends.
I love it when people say to us full-timers "What do you do, don't you get bored?" No.
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Old 07-27-2019, 09:29 AM   #6
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Update: I may be mistaken about blaming it on the refrigerator. Now the hot water heater doesn't work! It's not even electric. I'm still too chicken to try the fridge on electric though. Until I find what fried. I'm going to have to get under that mattress to look at the back of the power center.
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Old 07-27-2019, 01:13 PM   #7
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If you are getting a hot/burning smell from a power panel a common issue is loose connections at circuit breakers. If the screw on the breaker that holds the wire wasn't properly tightened it may have loosened due to heat/cool cycles.

With RV power cord unplugged it's not a bad idea to take a screwdriver to the breaker screws and make sure each is tight. If you find a loose one, remove the wire and scrape off any burnt material then re-tighten.

Unless the installer used a preset torque screwdriver to tighten the terminals, chances are that "good enough" was all you got which often isn't--------- good enough.
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Old 07-27-2019, 01:35 PM   #8
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If you are getting a hot/burning smell from a power panel a common issue is loose connections at circuit breakers. If the screw on the breaker that holds the wire wasn't properly tightened it may have loosened due to heat/cool cycles.

With RV power cord unplugged it's not a bad idea to take a screwdriver to the breaker screws and make sure each is tight. If you find a loose one, remove the wire and scrape off any burnt material then re-tighten.

Unless the installer used a preset torque screwdriver to tighten the terminals, chances are that "good enough" was all you got which often isn't--------- good enough.



Mind sharing what normal torque specs are on our breaker panels? Can't seem to find any of that in the manual for my breakers.



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Old 07-27-2019, 02:27 PM   #9
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Torque specs can run from 25-35 inch lbs depending on the breaker. There should be a wire and torque spec label near the wire clamping screw. You may need a magnifying glass to read it, but it's there.
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Old 07-27-2019, 02:54 PM   #10
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Torque specs can run from 25-35 inch lbs depending on the breaker. There should be a wire and torque spec label near the wire clamping screw. You may need a magnifying glass to read it, but it's there.

Some breakers have the torque value on the side of the breaker too. I's then necessary to pull one out so you can read it.

I never use a torque screwdriver, I just check regularly with a screwdrover and make sure it's tight as I can get it with a normal grip on my screwdriver, using one hand. It's fairly easy to tell if one has a loose connection.

FWIW, 35 inch pounds is almost 3 ft pounds. Think three pounds on the end of a 12" "lever". Since most of us have a feel for pounds (pound of hamburger, 3 pounds of pot roast, etc) it might be easier to judge the amount of twist when thinking in pounds.

And yes, it is possible to over torque which results in stripped threads or broken breaker housings.
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Old 07-27-2019, 04:02 PM   #11
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I will check that, thanks. As much toxic stink that I had, I'm thinking that it should be obvious once I find it. Not looking forward to dragging that big mattress out of the way. HeeHee. If I can find it, then I hope I can decide if any permanent damage was done. Tighten it up and switch everything on again and watch it for a while? We will see.
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Old 07-27-2019, 05:02 PM   #12
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I will check that, thanks. As much toxic stink that I had, I'm thinking that it should be obvious once I find it. Not looking forward to dragging that big mattress out of the way. HeeHee. If I can find it, then I hope I can decide if any permanent damage was done. Tighten it up and switch everything on again and watch it for a while? We will see.

True but depending on how much "stink" you had, you probably do have damage.

It's always been said that electrical devices are merely containers filled with smoke. Everything is fine until the smoke finds a way out.

Look for signs of heat and smoke.

Since it seems like the odor is coming from a power panel, if your converter is located there it could have overheated. Cooling fan may have malfunctioned while converter was under load.

Lots of things to consider.

As for ease of access, seems to be an ongoing issue on anything with wheels. Ever since I worked on my first vehicle I learned that the harder a part was to locate and change, the more likely it was the source of my problem.
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Old 09-21-2019, 09:20 AM   #13
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Thanks again. Nice post. Of course it had nothing to do with the refrigerator. In the space of a week, I had a wire melt down to the fuse on the solar controller and the shore power plug also melted. I was really sick of that smell. Of course these two things were not related except for the 95° weather. Heat will let the smoke out of those wires. HeeHee.
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