|It was original equipment in our Interstate, thus 7 years old at the time of purchase. We initially were not sure how it would perform, but it's nice to have a pleasant surprise now and again.|
At that point I phoned our closest local RV service center, which is Dues Camping Center in League City Texas, and asked if they could diagnose a Dometic. The gracious gentleman who answered the phone said yes but he advised me to do this first: Turn on the Dometic and 24 hours later, open up the back and feel the coils. If a heat differential could be felt across the coils but the interior of the fridge was still not cool, then the cooling unit itself is probably kaput, which essentially means that the fridge is a write-off because it costs so much to replace the cooling unit that you might as well buy a new fridge.
|In order to get at the coils, you have to open up the hatch on the exterior of the vehicle to access the back of the fridge. There should be a ventilation panel that looks something like this, if your rig has a propane fridge.|
|The controller is that contraption with the black plastic housing marked by the number 1. I will describe number 2 toward the end of this post.|
|I did not see anything particularly wrong with the old controller board, except, one of the two on-board fuses showed corrosion, which can lead to erratic appliance behavior if the corrosion is sufficient to disrupt electrical current.|
|You can count on the likes of this ruining your RV-ing day, every single time, guaranteed.|
What this means, then, is that said teeny weenie fridge has its operation dependent on at least four different fuses, and perhaps more (many forum users have noted in passing that the Airstream Interstate contains in-line fuses as well as the main fuses in the converter). Furthermore, two of those fuses are only physically accessible if you first gut the fridge, including breaking the gas seal that helps to hold it in place within the vehicle. In other words, this isn't exactly an ergonomic optimization coup we're talking about here, in the way this thing is put together from a design standpoint.
Anyway, after we got through all of this, I looked at my husband and said, "We probably spent $85 on a new circuit board that we didn't need." He replied, "Yeah, well, there is a learning curve to all of this stuff." That's what I call an understatement. Actually I don't know that I regret buying the new circuit / controller board because I suspect that the corroded on-board fuse would have caused us an issue sooner or later, and by taking it apart now, we were able to discover it.
Additionally, this little repair escapade also revealed Problem #2 in the photo above, which is that the drain line for the fridge was apparently not constructed of a UV-resistant grade of plastic (UV light comes in through the ventilation panel). You can see two halves of the line in the photo above. It's supposed to be a continuous solid line, but it literally disintegrated in the hand when we touched it - the plastic was completely brittle. So if we hadn't opened up the fridge to troubleshoot this other mess, we would not have discovered that the fridge was going to commence draining into the inside of our vehicle.
This adventure has also convinced me that we need to retrofit a digital temperature sensor, as was recently discussed on Air Forums. Clearly, we need to be able to keep a closer eye on how our fridge is performing. And we might as well install it now, while the fridge is still unsealed from the vehicle.
|I have ordered this one, the Buler brand digital temperature meter. Why in the hell Dometic could not have included one of these in the first place is beyond my ability to comprehend.|
- Why was the Auto light winking on and off? Whatever the cause, it appears unrelated to the blown fuse.
- What blew the fuse in our converter? This occurred under very unremarkable circumstances. I had taken the Interstate for one night and I was boondocking, so whatever happened cannot be blamed on some issue with shore power. Besides, we recently installed an integrated surge suppressor, so theoretically, things like shore power problems should no longer be as much of a concern.
|This is what we installed. It's mounted on the exterior wall beneath the port side rear couch.|
|Where the Interstate is concerned, we are still doing quite a bit of both.|