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Old 06-24-2015, 09:15 PM   #1
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Norcold refrigerator fix

As a new owner of 4714 a Selene, one of my first tasks to make the Admiral happy, was to check into why the refrigerator wasn't getting very cold. Early this month the temp in Portland got pretty high to mid 90's and the refrigerator was struggling to keep up.
After pulling the unit out of the rather tight cabinet I found the problem. My unit had two electric fans that cycle on when the unit starts up, only mine never shut down. Upon further investigation, I noticed the large fan (there is a small 2.5 inch and a larger 4.1 inch) wasn't turning on. This fan is directly under the condenser tank and is supposed to blow air across the condenser tank. Now this fan looks just like the cooling fan that computers use to cool the cases. So much so that the mounting holes are in the exact location, so off to the local computer store in search of a replacement. I pick up two thinking it would be nice to have a spare. Get back to the boat and start the depacking Process only to find that computer fans now a days are four wire with a connector plug and require it to be controlled by the mother board in order to operate.
Starting all over again, I get on the Norcold site and find that the replacement fans are $72.00 each plus shipping but are not in stock. So off to the local chandlery for solutions. At Ocean Marine the owner, Kim (who by the way is great to work with) had about a dozen of these fans hanging on a wall so I pick the best 2 and she even tested them for me to make sure they worked. Now these fans have the required 2 wires I needed and for 10 bucks apiece I figure I got a good deal. Back to the boat, again.
I install one of the fans and plug in the unit, It works great. Picture this if you will. When the unit is out of the cabinet, it now sits between the cabinet and the galley counter. You have to climb over the counter to get to the other side. By the way our galley is a center galley, passageway down to berths is on the port side, passageway up to pilot house is on the starboard with galley in between.
So now I'm thinking, if one fan works well, why not add an additional fan to help draw the air out of the rather tight cabinet. After all, the current draw on these fans is so light, it just might reduce cycle runs of the unit. So I install the second fan on the inside of the port vent and wire this in series to the other fan. The reason for wiring in series is, I wanted to know if a future fan failed we would know right away. Test it and it works great! Now I slide the unit back into the cabinet, after I taped up the Teak trim and grab rail with blue painters tape ( trust me, do this before you attempt to remove the unit in the first place, I didn't ) reinstall the new screws to retain the unit in place and make myself a cocktail for a job well done.
Now the admiral is so happy that she decides to make me a very nice dinner. Only she is having a problem getting the gas stove to light now. So now, Mr Handyman has to fix the stove, only to find out that the extra fan is now blowing all that warm air from the cabinet directly onto the stove top and not allowing the burner to light. I don't claim to be an engineer, but am rather handy with tools.
But by this time Mr Handyman is in no mood to pull the refrigerator back out again, so on to the second cocktail and fire up the BBQ. Dinner was a success, and as I'm making cocktail number 3, I'm getting Ice from the Raritin Ice maker that just so happens to be right behind the refrigerator cabinet, I notice that the Ice maker is generating an awful lot of heat from its little cabinet that is directly under the watch berth in the Pilot House and right behind the refrigerator cabinet. You guessed it, an ah ha moment.
Day 3. I again remove the refrigerator unit from the cabinet, after taping the wood trim again, and after a bit of carpentry work the extra fan is now located inside the Ice maker cabinet drawing air from the refrigerator cabinet and venting out the ice maker cabinet hatch. Reinstall the refrigerator and make myself a job well done cocktail.
So the end result is, the refrigerator now cycles on and off less often, the ice maker is running so much cooler and making ice faster.
And now it's on to the next project, don't ya just love boat repairs?

John
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:31 PM   #2
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The part I like best is the 4th cocktail you consumed...
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Old 06-24-2015, 11:47 PM   #3
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My question is always, why the H can't a $1M boat not get a $5 fan in the right place?!!!
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Old 06-25-2015, 02:41 AM   #4
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The part I like best is the 4th cocktail you consumed...
Trust me, 4 cocktails in 3 days, I might have missed a few.
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Old 06-25-2015, 02:47 AM   #5
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My question is always, why the H can't a $1M boat not get a $5 fan in the right place?!!!
You would think! But then again, after so many boats, I've come to the conclusion that they make boats for those billiable extras down the road, or "Future improvements".
Think I'll make another Cocktail and contemplate the next repair.
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Old 06-25-2015, 06:28 AM   #6
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When you purchase the next fridge be sure to buy the style that blows the heat out into the cabin , instead of into a barely ventilated locker.

Either way its still in the boat , but the front vent is far more efficient, and costs no more.
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Old 06-25-2015, 06:36 PM   #7
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What size norcold do you have?
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Old 06-25-2015, 07:21 PM   #8
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What size norcold do you have?
The 7 cu. ft model, freezer on top.
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Old 06-25-2015, 07:25 PM   #9
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The 7 cu. ft model, freezer on top.
That is the same unit i have I did not realize it had to fans, I'm not sure Mine does it's a sure does struggle in the South Florida heat. what voltage Are the fans you installed, AC or DC?
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Old 06-25-2015, 08:16 PM   #10
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Great solution, Chief! You deserved every drink. I hope a couple were served to you in style.
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Old 06-25-2015, 08:48 PM   #11
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That is the same unit i have I did not realize it had to fans, I'm not sure Mine does it's a sure does struggle in the South Florida heat. what voltage Are the fans you installed, AC or DC?
Sorry, for not getting pictures as several people have asked. But the fans are 12 VDC, although when I checked the voltage output from the refrigerator it was close to 24 VDC. My guess is that in the 120 mode a voltage converter transfers AC to DC so that the units inner workings can operate. By the way, on Pairadice we have two plugs for both AC and DC and two separate circuit breakers at the master panel for the refrigerator also for AC and DC. I can only assume that yours does also. Hope that helps.
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Old 06-25-2015, 09:56 PM   #12
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Thanks john. Yes that does help
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Old 06-25-2015, 10:18 PM   #13
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Pairadice!! Great name, Chief. Congrats on the new boat. Where is she berthed?

Forget fridge pics. We need to see boat pics!!
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Old 06-25-2015, 10:27 PM   #14
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I'm impressed it only took two trips to the store! Well done.
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Old 06-25-2015, 11:06 PM   #15
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Pairadice!! Great name, Chief. Congrats on the new boat. Where is she berthed?

Forget fridge pics. We need to see boat pics!!
In the process of downloading, the Admiral is the historian and she has to download the pics.

Pairadice is berthed in Salpare Bay on Hayden Island, Portland OR. I'll be heading back up in a month to work on her some more for another month. The goal is to have her ready for an 8 month cruise up in the Canadian ICW starting in March. So several more trips are planned, I really hated to leave her and come back to the Blast Furnace here in Vegas, today was 114. But it's a dry 114!!!@
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Old 06-25-2015, 11:08 PM   #16
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I'm impressed it only took two trips to the store! Well done.
Well, actually it took 3 trips! I forgot to include the run to restock the Booze Locker, LOL!!!
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Old 06-25-2015, 11:42 PM   #17
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Pairadice!! Great name, Chief. Congrats on the new boat. Where is she berthed?

Forget fridge pics. We need to see boat pics!!
Ok, best I could do for this evening.
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