Dometic Fridge issues; advice needed

Campeador

Active Member
May 22, 2021
142
Fort Worth, TX
The control board on my fridge (RM2354) suddenly stopped turning on. We left for NM/ CO on Saturday 6/11. Per usual, I had turned the fridge on to cool it a few days before. All was good. We drove 8.5 hours to a state park in NE NM and were confused and frustrated to discover that the fridge simply had no power when I hit the on/off switch. I've been trying to fix it since then. During our trip I checked all the fuses (30 at my main board and 3 and 5 via the power module (black box) in the lower access panel from outside). I replaced the 3amp fuse as it looked weird. No dice.

It's a couple weeks later now and we're home from our trip. Thankfully, we have an Rtic cooler that saved the trip, but I still want to get this fridge working.

Called Dometic and waited 30 minutes to get a person who had me on speaker phone while she apparently was doing household chores. Not very helpful. Her main message was to check DC power, the thermal fuse, thermal disc, and safety fuse.

I pulled the power to the camper, unplugged the fridge, and pulled the fuse from the battery... then took a look. Before pulling power I noticed that the black wire (which I think is from my DC power) was sending sparks when it would touch the screw above it in the photo. Something doesn't look right here: the white wire is firmly attached to the screw on the right, but this black wire appears to be very loosely connected to the center screw. Should it be there (is it a ground?) or should it be connected to the screw on the left (my intuition says it should). Also, can someone confirm that this is likely my main DC power line?

TIA for any help!
 

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Campeador

Active Member
May 22, 2021
142
Fort Worth, TX
please load true images not zipped files
Thanks, I tried, but had issues. I'll try again.

Edit to add: I think the file from my iphone was too big, so I took a pic with my Ipad and that worked. Original post now has the photo.

Having inspected further: I feel pretty confident that this is the main DC line. My sense is that the black wire is supposed to be both grounded to the center screw AND part of it is supposed to be inserted into the plastic box to the left. Does that seem correct? I am guessing that it came loose in transit (we did go over some washboard dirt roads).
 
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Campeador

Active Member
May 22, 2021
142
Fort Worth, TX
To me it looks like that wire should go in the bottom left empty lug on the plastic H thing.
That's exactly my read too. It seems to be loosely / partly connected to the center screw, which is odd. I am wondering if it should be spliced and half of it goes into the left empty lug and half should be grounded (to the middle screw)?
 

neighbormike

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 6, 2012
4,092
WI
First I would check for power & ground with a test light. My hunch: loose black wire is 12v “in” - should go to lower left (connect to red 12v “out”… white ground “in” to blk grnd “out” at the top of the connector.
 

Campeador

Active Member
May 22, 2021
142
Fort Worth, TX
First I would check for power & ground with a test light. My hunch: loose black wire is 12v “in” - should go to lower left (connect to red 12v “out”… white ground “in” to blk grnd “out” at the top of the connector.
Thanks. I went ahead and attached the loose black wire on the lower left and was hoping that would do it. Unfortunately, when I plugged the 20 amp fuse for the cut off at the battery back in, nothing happened. No power from my battery (checked lights). I plugged into Shore Power--lights are good. So now it seems my battery is on the fritz. I unplugged and plugged the 20 amp fuse back in different ways, but had no luck. It's just one of those days. Might be time for a pro, but this doesn't seem THAT complicated.
 

Johneliot

Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Jan 1, 2022
255
Chico, CA
In an RV, white is neutral and black is power. You can check with a 12 volt tester just to make sure you have power at that black wire. You might be able to find a manual online for your model. Maybe that will have a the wiring for your fridge. You don’t want to put a wire in the wrong place and blow your circuit board.
 

S4nsc

Active Member
Jan 30, 2021
116
St Augustine, FL
Not home with camper or old fridge right now but I am 99.9% that nothing was on the center screw for my RM2193. Black was on one side, white the other. I had wired computer fans to help with cooling to that same terminal block.
 

neighbormike

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 6, 2012
4,092
WI
Thanks. I went ahead and attached the loose black wire on the lower left and was hoping that would do it. Unfortunately, when I plugged the 20 amp fuse for the cut off at the battery back in, nothing happened. No power from my battery (checked lights). I plugged into Shore Power--lights are good. So now it seems my battery is on the fritz. I unplugged and plugged the 20 amp fuse back in different ways, but had no luck. It's just one of those days. Might be time for a pro, but this doesn't seem THAT complicated.
Since your hot wire was contacting ground before you reconnected it, you could have blown a battery fuse… check inline between the battery and fridge (normally close to the battery).
Edit: just re-read your post and you already checked it (sorry)… so, there’s no 12v at the battery or to the fuse??
 

Campeador

Active Member
May 22, 2021
142
Fort Worth, TX
Thanks to all who have written with advice. I do have the manual and finally discovered the appendix at the back that diagrams the set up. The part I'm looking at is, indeed, the 12 V DC terminal block. I am still unable to confirm whether my stripping the plastic insulation to expose more wire and then plugging the black (live) wire into the left side of the terminal block resolved the issue because now my entire battery is not working. I had pulled what I believe is the 'cut off fuse' right at the battery before messing with the fridge (pretty sure I learned that here, BTW: it's the 20 amp yellow fuse right next to the battery box). Once done, I put the fuse back in and have not had power via the battery at all. I even replaced the fuse with a new one. Nada. I just bought a multimeter, so now I need to figure out how to use it to determine whether the battery has juice or not.

I think this wire appeared to be connected to the center screw (leading me to believe is was grounded) by accident. As I fiddled with the power module cover my hand was moving the incoming DC wires and the black one was rubbing against that center screw and kicking sparks. I think it essentially soldered itself to it, leading me to believe it was screwed into it. (This was before pulling the 20 amp fuse. Also worth noting: the battery worked perfectly well during our trip which ended last Friday).

Any advice, anyone? @Hilldweller, you're likely camping, but I know you're a battery expert and would love your input!
 
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Johneliot

Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Jan 1, 2022
255
Chico, CA
It'll take some time but the voltage meter will be a great help. First thing I would do is to start with a known good battery. Think of the electricity as a river that flows. Just follow the path with the tester until you find the first connection and make sure there is current to that place, then move to the next connection.
 

Campeador

Active Member
May 22, 2021
142
Fort Worth, TX
Hope you didn't bugger the battery.
I'll have to open it up and look when I get home.

...camping for a week starting Saturday though.
Glad you chimed in, Bill. I just used the multimeter to check the battery. It read 12.92 volts, so I think it's good. That's usually what it reads (or lower) in the mornings when we're using the solar kit. So it seems like my removing the cut off fuse is where things went wrong. Given that none of the lights work (the easiest to check whether my battery is working is the orange exterior light just above the tongue), it seems like no power is getting beyond the cut off fuse, which is right at the battery. I'm left to wonder whether debris got into the housing when I pulled it out (unlikely) or WTH is going on. I'm such a novice with electricity, sigh.
 

Firehawk068

Active Member
Mar 22, 2016
302
According to the picture posted above, (I'm assuming this is a picture of the main 12-volt connection on the back of the fridge?)
That large black wire is the 12-volt +positive wire. It needs to be connected into the plastic block at the lower-left and held in place by the set-screw. This is the main wire that powers the fridge on 12-volt.
It DOES-NOT go to the center-screw that holds the plastic-block to the back of the fridge. Connecting it there will short-out your 12-volt system in the camper!
That is why it was sparking when touching that screw. This is also why it may have welded itself to the screw.

After connecting it properly, you will most likely need to follow that wire back to the power-converter to see where the power circuit has been broken.
By shorting itself on that mounting-screw, it has most likely caused a blown circuit-breaker or fuse somewhere in the circuit. (or worse, a melted-wire)

Most camper wiring (for the 12-volt circuits) use Black for the + positive, and White for the - negative. This is not the same as Automotive 12-volt wiring.
 

Campeador

Active Member
May 22, 2021
142
Fort Worth, TX
According to the picture posted above, (I'm assuming this is a picture of the main 12-volt connection on the back of the fridge?)
That large black wire is the 12-volt +positive wire. It needs to be connected into the plastic block at the lower-left and held in place by the set-screw. This is the main wire that powers the fridge on 12-volt.
It DOES-NOT go to the center-screw that holds the plastic-block to the back of the fridge. Connecting it there will short-out your 12-volt system in the camper!
That is why it was sparking when touching that screw. This is also why it may have welded itself to the screw.

After connecting it properly, you will most likely need to follow that wire back to the power-converter to see where the power circuit has been broken.
By shorting itself on that mounting-screw, it has most likely caused a blown circuit-breaker or fuse somewhere in the circuit. (or worse, a melted-wire)

Most camper wiring (for the 12-volt circuits) use Black for the + positive, and White for the - negative. This is not the same as Automotive 12-volt wiring.
Thanks for this concise summary. It seems that the positive wire broke free in transit then. I'll look over the fuses in the converter.
 




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