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Fridge died

Aug 6, 2013
8,641
7,797
Kendal, Cumbria
Funster No
27,352
MH
A Class
Exp
since 1999
My Dometic 'Tech Tower' fridge has died. The van is 2012 with under 4000 miles under its belt. What is maybe worth posting is the sequence of events: I bought the van during February this year. The fridge was turned on when I arrived home and stayed on, on 230v, until we took it for a 3 week shakedown in early March. Upon our return from that trip the fridge was left on until we set of on our first major trip - a 7 week tour of Scotland and NE England. During week 3 the fridge died. It warmed up and couldn't be persuaded to cool down. At the time it was on 230v and the mains element was functioning. I switched it off overnight, back on the following morning and it cooled (froze) as it should.

All went well for the rest of the trip and for a further couple of weeks parked at home. Then it warmed up - by which I mean the freezer was warmer than ambient. Mains element checked - all good. So, off overnight (I learn fast), back on in the morning and it froze down as expected. This time it lasted 3 days before pretending it was a heater. My Warranty is insurance based, and portable, so I contacted my nearest Dometic approved service centre. Here I spoke to their engineer who listened carefully to my ramblings then asked me what I thought was wrong. I said it had to be the cooling unit itself. He agreed and has ordered one (a cool £800 installed - pleased about the Warranty) which will take at least a couple of weeks and when it arrives he'll contact me to do the business.

I've described this in detail because others might have the same issue especially as the most interesting part was the engineers opinion as to why this sort of failure occurs. He believes, based on close-up examination of the innards of a cooling unit, that Dometic use a poorer quality steel than in the past. Inclusions within the steel dissolve when the fridge is not in use because the chemical fluid mix (which includes water) separates and causes minor corrosion. The corrosion in itself isn't a problem but the particles of inclusion or corroded steel within the cooling circuit block a restriction that is part of the fluid circuit so the fridge stops working. Turning it off for an extended period clears the blockage as fluid drains back to the lowest point - until the fridge is turned on again when the cycle repeats. His suggestion for prevention? Don't leave the fridge out of use for any length of time.
 

DBK

Jan 9, 2013
14,466
26,150
Plympton, Devon
Funster No
24,219
MH
PVC, Murvi Morocco
Exp
2013
My recent troubles led to me having a better understanding of how these fridges work. There is hydrogen, ammonia and a strong brine solution involved. The brine isn't a table salt one but I guess it can still cause corrosion.
Thanks for the info. Must spend more time travelling! :)
 
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