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IdealStandard

Three way fridge issues

39 posts in this topic

I pulled out the little three way fridge on my boat yesterday to discover why it only runs on 240v and not on gas or 12v. I was met with a mess of wiring and quite a lot of head scratching.

 

I know it's difficult to tell from this photo, but there are two wires which have been snipped, two cables just lying around and the inputs to the gas ignition are loose. I really want to get it working on gas as I am unlikely to be anywhere near shore power anytime soon.

 

8361100184_4b8caab865.jpg

Untitled by tim_warin, on Flickr

 

I found a wiring diagram and got the multimeter out, but accomplished very little. I tried running a 12v source into the input from the wiring diagram but nothing happened.

 

I don't know if anyone has any recommendations, or if I should simply get it professionally serviced? Ideally I'd like to be able to take it to a servicing place, as my gas is currently switched off and the electrics are a mess.

 

The previous owner of the boat is no longer alive, so I can't ask him what's going on back there, but is there anything I should be worried about when poking around? If it's disconnected, could it be so for a reason and therefore not safe?

 

Many thanks again for all your help CWDF

 

Tim

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Without having access to either the top of my own, or to an instruction book, I can't imagine quite why there are so many wires laying around.

 

Presumably the white cable that enters the plastic box on the left is the 240 volt feed, so presumably nothing else relates to 240 volts.

 

I'm guessing the black cable rising from the back right is intended to be a 12 volt feed - can you find out where it heads off to?

 

As far as I recall, the piezo ignition uses only a single wire between the piezo generator and the "electrode" at the burner, so if that wire is diconnected, it should be easy to re-establish that and see if you ge a spark at the burner end.

 

However, it actually looks to me like there is a brown wire running back from the generator, but you say it is diconnected, so I'm not sure.

 

These Electrolux/Dometic fridges are notorious for not lighting, even if you have both a spark and gas to the pilot light, and I have never fully resolved ours. It works fine if pulled out and examined, but regularly refuses to light without multiple attempts once "installed" - at which point you can no longer see what is, or is not, happening. :banghead:

 

Having said that, although it "sulks" it can always eventually be bullied into life.

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Without having access to either the top of my own, or to an instruction book, I can't imagine quite why there are so many wires laying around.

 

Presumably the white cable that enters the plastic box on the left is the 240 volt feed, so presumably nothing else relates to 240 volts.

 

I'm guessing the black cable rising from the back right is intended to be a 12 volt feed - can you find out where it heads off to?

 

As far as I recall, the piezo ignition uses only a single wire between the piezo generator and the "electrode" at the burner, so if that wire is diconnected, it should be easy to re-establish that and see if you ge a spark at the burner end.

 

However, it actually looks to me like there is a brown wire running back from the generator, but you say it is diconnected, so I'm not sure.

 

These Electrolux/Dometic fridges are notorious for not lighting, even if you have both a spark and gas to the pilot light, and I have never fully resolved ours. It works fine if pulled out and examined, but regularly refuses to light without multiple attempts once "installed" - at which point you can no longer see what is, or is not, happening. :banghead:

 

Having said that, although it "sulks" it can always eventually be bullied into life.

 

Presumably the white cable that enters the plastic box on the left is the 240 volt feed, so presumably nothing else relates to 240 volts.

 

Absolutely right, and the wiring diagram says that there is the option of two 12v inputs, in either end of the white connecting block, but after that it disappears into the white housing and must either come out in the red or grey housing (and returns near the ignition in black). I tried running direct from a battery, but nothing much happened.

 

In the wiring diagram the 12v for ignition goes via a few bits and pieces before heading to the ignition switch, if I bypass all of this I'm worried I might not get a full picture of what's going on.

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later types did not have piezo crystal (push to spark) but had 12v feed to a rocker switch which fed electronic ignition.

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I've misunderstood then!

 

I assumed it has one of those piezo "clicker" type ignitions. They are stand-alone and nothing to do with any other power supply, and don't need 12 volts to make them work.

 

Are you saying yours in intended to generate the ignition from the 12 volt supply? (In which case you presumably do not have a "clicky" spring-loaded igniter button at all???)

 

The picture isn't clear enough for me to really see what is there, if I'm honest!

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12v and 240v use a heating coil to warm the refrigerant into a gas which then removes heat from the cool box as it turns back into a liquid So dump all of them as they are greedy on electric The gas heater is a permanent flame which does the same and must be vented to the great outdoors. If you cannot get the piezo to spark you can light the gas with a match. While lighting you need to press in the temperature button. you need a flexible calor tail and compression fittings. The powers that be do not like garden hose fittings.

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you need a flexible calor tail and compression fittings. The powers that be do not like garden hose fittings.

It is clearly already fitted with a proper metal-sheathed LPG hose.

 

However the maximum 1 metre length these are allowed to be for BSS purposes, (if the correct hose is in use), will often mean it is quite impossible to pull the fridge from its recess, and turn it around to get to the burner area, with the hose still connected.

 

Hence, (certainly in a case like mine), pulling the fridge out to light it, them returning it to its "hole" is not an option.

 

I'd go as far as to suggest that in many cases if you can do this the hose will be longer than the BSS allows.

 

EDITED TO ADD:

 

The gas heater is a permanent flame which does the same and must be vented to the great outdoors.

 

It may also surprise you to find that the BSS does not actually require this, however sensible it may seem!

 

FURTHER EDITED:

 

To remove reference to hose beig "armoured" - which it isn't really, of course!.

Edited by alan_fincher
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I've misunderstood then!

 

I assumed it has one of those piezo "clicker" type ignitions. They are stand-alone and nothing to do with any other power supply, and don't need 12 volts to make them work.

 

Are you saying yours in intended to generate the ignition from the 12 volt supply? (In which case you presumably do not have a "clicky" spring-loaded igniter button at all???)

 

The picture isn't clear enough for me to really see what is there, if I'm honest!

 

 

Clean the flue. Remember to put the twirly thing back in the flue. Remove the 'tin' box around the burner and clean the burner gauze, check there is a thermocouple then take the fridge onto the bank and connect to a temporary gas supply, or, if brave, turn on the gas at the end of that flexible pipe. Check for leaks all along the gas pipes (that's why on the bank is best). If all is OK push in the FSD override (temp control knob I think ) and light the burner with a match/gas lighter etc. Wait 30 secs and let go of the FSD override. If the flame stays lit then the gas bit works and if it worked on 240v then the fridge should now cool down. Put the tin box back round the burner.

 

The next step would be to sort out the elctronic ignition. I think on the right the red wire is the power supply, the blue wire is the control and the black wire is the return. My expectation would be that if you connect the red and black wires to 12V DC+ and DC- and then the blue wire to DC- you will get sparks, if the ignition unit works. The blue wire and the black wire belong on the switch thingy on the fridge control plate. If the electronic ignition is banjaxed either you will need to rob one from a duff fridge or light the thing with a match.

 

N

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Clean the flue. Remember to put the twirly thing back in the flue. Remove the 'tin' box around the burner and clean the burner gauze, check there is a thermocouple then take the fridge onto the bank and connect to a temporary gas supply, or, if brave, turn on the gas at the end of that flexible pipe. Check for leaks all along the gas pipes (that's why on the bank is best). If all is OK push in the FSD override (temp control knob I think ) and light the burner with a match/gas lighter etc. Wait 30 secs and let go of the FSD override. If the flame stays lit then the gas bit works and if it worked on 240v then the fridge should now cool down. Put the tin box back round the burner.

 

The next step would be to sort out the elctronic ignition. I think on the right the red wire is the power supply, the blue wire is the control and the black wire is the return. My expectation would be that if you connect the red and black wires to 12V DC+ and DC- and then the blue wire to DC- you will get sparks, if the ignition unit works. The blue wire and the black wire belong on the switch thingy on the fridge control plate. If the electronic ignition is banjaxed either you will need to rob one from a duff fridge or light the thing with a match.

 

N

Spot on!

 

That is exactly the type of process I was after. I will go and give this a shot later.

 

just to clarify it is a 12v ignition and not a clicky type.

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Spot on!

 

That is exactly the type of process I was after. I will go and give this a shot later.

 

just to clarify it is a 12v ignition and not a clicky type.

 

 

From the picture this does not appear to have been a well-looked after installation and there must be some reason why the sparks have been disconnected. Remember that you are working with LP gas. It is heavier than air and will settle in your bilges if you give it a chance. It does explode quite happily and easily. Much the best place to find out if your fridge is OK is out in the fresh air using a temporary gas supply from a bottle and regulator than to find out there are gas leaks into your boat.

 

N

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From the picture this does not appear to have been a well-looked after installation and there must be some reason why the sparks have been disconnected. Remember that you are working with LP gas. It is heavier than air and will settle in your bilges if you give it a chance. It does explode quite happily and easily. Much the best place to find out if your fridge is OK is out in the fresh air using a temporary gas supply from a bottle and regulator than to find out there are gas leaks into your boat.

 

N

 

 

I have been pondering this and I do plan to be careful. I will set up a temporary supply.

 

Interestingly the gas supply was not switched off and it has had a gas supply running to it whilst I've been living on it, so it's probably fine but best not to take the risk.

Edited by IdealStandard
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After sweeping the flu and removed the tin box around the burner to clean, you need to remove the burner tube or gauze tube behind which you will find the gas jet which will almost certainly be bunged up with goo if its not been used for some time, it can be probed with a wire brush bristle, one of the main reasons why these fridges performance tails off and eventually won't light at all. Its important to remove the heat twirler and sweep the flue first before doing anything. I don't bother with my Electrolux fridge during the winter but I heave it out every late winter and carry out the service and it lights up first time ''on the high setting by the way'' and runs faultlessly. It is about 25 years old now.

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just to clarify it is a 12v ignition and not a clicky type.

Fair enough - no doubt part of the reason there are more wires than I'm used to seeing, then!

Edited by alan_fincher
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Spot on!

 

That is exactly the type of process I was after. I will go and give this a shot later.

 

just to clarify it is a 12v ignition and not a clicky type.

Be careful. This fridge is designed for 12 v ignition. To light you would normally swirch on the amber rocjer switch to power up the ignitor then turn gas control knob on abd press in to overide flane failure. The ignitor will keep firing until a flame is established and then Stop.

If the flame goez out the gas will keep flowing for severam seconds whilst the switched on ignitor start clicking trying to re establish a flame the gas flows for much longer tvan the push button ignitor models. Therefore in my view to run it without the 12v ignitor circuit working would be unwise. The two rocker switches on the front ade interbally illuminatex which may be why there are more wires than you woukd think.

But I may be wrong.

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Ok, so I took the flue off, cleaned the twirler and the burner housing, held down the bypass for the thermocoupler and it lit and stayed lit. There was a bit of crackling and smoke (hopefully just loose dirt which I knocked loose) but the flue got hot and the rest got cold. So far so good.

 

I tried wiring the ignition to a battery as reccomended and still nothing so I removed the little white bit of plastic which makes the sparks. I tried holding this directly onto a 12v supply and still nothing.

 

Now to find a replacement and wire it all in.

 

I honestly don't know what I'd do without the help of people on here. Greatly appreciated as ever.

 

Many thanks

Tim

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Ok, so I took the flue off, cleaned the twirler and the burner housing, held down the bypass for the thermocoupler and it lit and stayed lit. There was a bit of crackling and smoke (hopefully just loose dirt which I knocked loose) but the flue got hot and the rest got cold. So far so good.

 

I tried wiring the ignition to a battery as reccomended and still nothing so I removed the little white bit of plastic which makes the sparks. I tried holding this directly onto a 12v supply and still nothing.

 

Now to find a replacement and wire it all in.

 

I honestly don't know what I'd do without the help of people on here. Greatly appreciated as ever.

 

Many thanks

Tim

You really needed to remove the burner to clean it out as soot will have fallen down inside it, probably the crackling noise, also to enable you to probe and clean the gas jet.

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Removed the burner and cleaned that properly too. I was following Bengo's instructions and didn't think to remove the burner myself.

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Blimey! The spares for sale online are an absolute rip off!!

 

I need to replace a bit of plastic and it's going to cost £30

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dometic-electrolux-caravan-fridge-igniter-lead-/300687513326?pt=UK_Campervan_Caravan_Accessories&hash=item46025f56ee £30!!!!!

 

Any ideas how to do this a bit cheaper? I don't have an old fridge knocking about for spares unfortunately. Would there be another appliance I could pinch one from which would do the same job?

 

8360620637_7545a91715_b.jpg

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Blimey! The spares for sale online are an absolute rip off!!

 

I need to replace a bit of plastic and it's going to cost £30

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dometic-electrolux-caravan-fridge-igniter-lead-/300687513326?pt=UK_Campervan_Caravan_Accessories&hash=item46025f56ee £30!!!!!

 

Any ideas how to do this a bit cheaper? I don't have an old fridge knocking about for spares unfortunately. Would there be another appliance I could pinch one from which would do the same job?

 

8360620637_7545a91715_b.jpg

 

 

You could fit a piezo igniter, or a battery igniter off an electric cooker, but both are likely to fall foul of a vigilant BSS examiner as being modifications which have not been approved by the manufacturer. Keep your ears open for a S/H one with a duff cooling coil- they rust out frequently - and talk to any local caravan places to see if they can find you one/have one already. In the meantime light it with a match.

 

Clean the burner and flue again about every 3 months or so.

 

N

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These fridges were really designed for gas - they're woefully inefficient on electric and indeed the 12V never does much at all.

 

I think the original purpose of the 12V was to try and retain some cooling between camp sites for a caravan being towed. At best it'll partially retain its cool - what it'll never do is make anything more chilled than it was before you switched to the 12V supply.

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We have a 3 way in our van , on 12v ( while driving) it will freeze a 4 pint milk bottle and turn chocolate into concrete :) works a bit too well !!

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You could fit a piezo igniter, or a battery igniter off an electric cooker, but both are likely to fall foul of a vigilant BSS examiner as being modifications which have not been approved by the manufacturer. Keep your ears open for a S/H one with a duff cooling coil- they rust out frequently - and talk to any local caravan places to see if they can find you one/have one already. In the meantime light it with a match.

 

Clean the burner and flue again about every 3 months or so.

 

N

 

Seriously considering a piezo ignition. It seems over complicated as is. I could always hide it come BSS time.

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Seriously considering a piezo ignition. It seems over complicated as is. I could always hide it come BSS time.

My STRONG RECOMMENDATION is not to. As I said earlier the flane failure device is different and in my opinion it would be dangerouse to convert to piezo push click ignition.

Did you miss my earlier post?

 

Unless of course you changed the FFD too but that would be more expensive than just getting the right think. Why not go to a caravan breakers and get the part? Not sure where you are but Newhaven. caravans in Newhaven might help.

Edited by jelunga
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