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  #1  
Old 04-29-2010
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Need help diagnosing refrigerator issue

The owner of a boat (powerboat) has asked me to check out his Norcold DE561F Refrig. The problem is, he has frost build up in the left side of the freezer yet 6" away all he has is water. The lower section ( refrigerator ) is cool at best and he has the T-stat set to or near max.

I assume it's the cooling unit that has gone bad but, what does it sound like to you guys ?



Also, Norcold is now owned by Thetford, who has discontinued the unit and has no replacement parts for it, so if anyone has a source, that would be really helpful
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Last edited by poopdeckpappy; 04-29-2010 at 01:32 AM.
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Old 04-29-2010
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pdp- PM denby....as he'll be able to diagnose it....
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Old 04-29-2010
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We had a similar problem. It was due to inadaquate freon. Even the best systems seem to leak a tiny bit which, over time, does add up. It's a simple fix.

FWIW...
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Old 04-29-2010
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it sounds like a refrigerant issue. norcold made several models some older ones used amonia for refrigerant newer use r12, r22, or the new r134a it's important to use the correct type as each system is specific.
if your lucky it's r134a as you can purchase it inexpensively at an auto parts store and use a $12-15 dollar adaptor to charge it yourself. an easy job.
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Old 04-29-2010
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PDP, is it a 12 volt compressor type fridge? And, if it has a remote condensing unit it will be allot easier to check and recharge. If it's a sealed (hermetic) compressor unit in the back of the fridge it becomes quite difficult.
However, it does sound like low freon charge. Check or ask if they ever used a sharp object to "pick" the ice off the evaporator. (very common dumass thing people do) there are heat set epoxy sticks to fix the leak. (they don't work very well) Little fridges have very small amounts of freon in them, often way less then 6 oz. Sv is kinda right but, freon is not supposed to leak out over time. Think of your mom's old philco or GE still running after oh.. 50 yrs now? Anyway, it's tough to re-charge really small units without weighing in the charge. finding the leak is even harder! it's not simple to fix if you want to do it right. you will need a vacuum pump, gauges, weighing equipment. It may be cheaper for him to buy a a new one. But we all know how people like to "tinker" before calling a person in that particular trade.

DE56/EV56 Series

Good luck!
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Last edited by deniseO30; 04-29-2010 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 04-29-2010
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Low freon

It's low on freon as others have already said. Just wanted to emphasize their answers.
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Old 04-29-2010
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Thanks everyone, Denise it's a AC/DC 6. something cu/ft unit (wish I had room for one )
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Old 04-29-2010
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well, to ck the freon one needs to install a "tap valve" it's self pierceing type of saddle valve made for refrig and ac lines. the hard part is getting the right amount in the system. it may only need an ounce or two. Question is, where is the leak?
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Old 04-29-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
Check or ask if they ever used a sharp object to "pick" the ice off the evaporator.
Just got off the phone with him, yep, he did
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About 7 years ago our daughter, 10 at the time, used a Steak Knife to liberate an Ice Cream bar from the evaporator plate in our fridge-cooled by a FrigoBoat system. Of course, in the process she poked a hole in the plate and within a few hours all of the Freon had run out. (I did not discover this until a week after the fact, all I knew was that the system failed and the fridge have to become an Ice Box for the balance of our spring cruise.)

Upon our return home, our friendly A/C guy stopped by, pronounced our system empty and injected some Freon with a green dye in the system which, in short order, revealed the hole! (With that he reached up, pulled one of the steak knifes out of the rack, pointed out the similarity of the shape of the wound to the shape of the blade tip and enquired about children aboard. More on that later!)

At that point we were quoted an obscene price to replace the plates. Of course, the mechanic, having become something of a friend, indicated that it would be weeks before he could obtain replacement parts and suggested I think about a temporary fix. So think I did.

I sanded off the white enamel paint around the hole, exposing the aluminum; cleaned it thoroughly with Alcohol, mixed up a tiny bit of MarineTex, and swabbed that over the wound. Once that kicked off, I sanded it smooth, mixed up a tiny bit of epoxy, snipped a little piece of woven roving off the corner of a repair kit I have aboard, and laid that as a patch over my MarineTex. Once that kicked off, I sanded it smooth and painted it with white applicance chip repair enamel from the hardware store. With this I called our A/C mechanic back for a fill, which took only a few ounces of Freon and our trusty system was back in business--and has remained so with the addition of about 1/2 Oz of Freon every 14-18 months since.

As for the child and the steak knife, when confronted she pled guilty but further pleaded extenuating circumstances in that she was recovering the Ice Cream bar for her mother rather than herself which-true or not-her mother vouched for. I'm not quite sure how that mitigated the offense but both both seemed to think it did so somehow I had to settle.

FWIW...

(And try the fix. It has worked for us for 7 years.)
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Last edited by svHyLyte; 04-29-2010 at 08:57 PM.
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