How to Troubleshoot a Norcold RV Fridge

Written by rene agredano
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How to Troubleshoot a Norcold RV Fridge
Norcold Makes AC/DC RV Refrigerators (rv, image by Greg Pickens from

The Thetford Corporation makes Norcold RV refrigerators. Before calling for technical support, you need your refrigerator model number. There are three places where you can find this number. Look for the serial plate either inside the refrigerator equipment panel, which is accessed via the exterior compartment; inside the refrigerator itself on the inside right corner; or inside the refrigerator's bottom right panel underneath the produce bin.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Multimeter voltage testing tool

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    Understand Common RV Refrigerator Issues

  1. 1

    All refrigerators should be cold for at least eight hours before loading with food. The day before you leave for your trip, turn the refrigerator on and check it in two hours to ensure it's getting cold. Once your refrigerator is cold, pack it with food but ensure that air can circulate throughout. If the temperature isn't cold enough after packing, move items around (or eliminate some) to improve airflow. Also ensure that the door is closed completely by listening for a clicking sound when shutting the door.

  2. 2

    Check to see if your RV is level. All RV refrigerators, including Norcold's, will only operate at peak performance if your RV is parked within 3 inches off level side-to-side or 6 inches off level front-to-back. Move the RV to a more level position for optimal operation.

  3. 3

    Understand fault codes that may display on the refrigerator's exterior readout panel. If you receive an error fault code of "F," this means that your refrigerator won't light. If this happens, consider the altitude at which you are parked. According to Norcold, at altitudes higher than 5,500 feet above sea leve,l you may experience reduced cooling power and burner outages. At high altitudes, it's best to operate the refrigerator on AC power, but if this isn't practical, keep a butane lighter handy, since you may need to manually relight the refrigerator frequently, especially in colder temperatures. Be aware that lighters brought up from sea level may not work at altitude. Purchase one locally instead.

  4. 4

    Rule out a low-voltage issue by testing the leads going into the refrigerator control panel with a multimeter tool. Your refrigerator should have an AC voltage of 108 to 132 volts and a CV voltage of 10.5 to 15.4 volts. Keep in mind that the Norcold refrigerator needs full battery power to ignite. If battery power drops below 12 volts, your refrigerator may have a hard time lighting. Also, check to ensure that your refrigerator is grounded to the chassis, and also that the ground wire is connected to the refrigerator.

  5. 5

    Remove air from propane gas supply lines. If you are running on propane and have recently replaced the propane tanks, you may get air in the gas lines, which can cause reduced performance and non-ignition issues. To purge air, push and hold the ON/OFF button to turn the refrigerator off, then on again. You may need to repeat it a few times until all fault codes are cleared and the refrigerator ignites.

Tips and warnings

  • A multimeter is a handy tool for RVers to have on hand, since it can test battery and refrigerator power for proper voltage. This will enable you to give more concrete information to RV repair shops, should you need to call one for service.
  • When using a multmeter to test your RV refrigerator's power, always ensure that the test leads are in the proper jacks for the measurement you are seeking.

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