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Old 10-08-2018, 12:12 PM   #1
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Refrigerator not working on gas

The last time were camping w/o electric (about a month ago), we found our refrigerator had stopped working on gas. I took a few things apart while on the campsite, brought them to the local Camping World and the tech checked the ignition module and the ignitor and said they were OK. I did a little cleaning, reassembled and adjusted the igniter gap and it worked. Figuring that the problem was solved, we went out again this past weekend only to find the same issue.
When we got back, I removed the brass gas components, blew out the passages with compressed air, checked the burner tube (it was clean), put it all back together and still, I'm getting no spark from the igniter when I turn the refrigerator on in gas mode. No spark, no flame, but I can hear the valve opening.
The unit works in AC mode, not in gas mode.
I'm wondering if maybe the ignition module could be at fault, but it could also be a problem with the circuit board, so before I start switching out components, can someone tell me how to check them?
I've gone to dometic's website and youtube videos, but haven't found what I'm looking for.
Thanks,
Rich
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:25 PM   #2
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mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
Domedic fridge number?
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:38 PM   #3
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I'll have to look at it a little later and post the model.
Rich
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Old 10-08-2018, 01:28 PM   #4
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The model is RM2652
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:13 PM   #5
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mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
Have you tried to have someone turn the fridge on while you watched the burner assembly? There should be a pretty good spark. I'll assume you cleaned any crud from around burner assemble behind the cover plate. Any codes on the display?
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mainah View Post
Have you tried to have someone turn the fridge on while you watched the burner assembly? There should be a pretty good spark. I'll assume you cleaned any crud from around burner assemble behind the cover plate. Any codes on the display?
I have done that, got no spark.
Yes, everything has been cleaned.
No display on this model.
Rich
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:32 PM   #7
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Ok, it's working now!
It seems like the same outcome I had last month, pull a few things apart, put them back together and it works again. The last thing I did this time was to scrape around the mounting areas of the burner tube since the online manual I found said that the burner tube is the ground for the electrode (makes sense, it's like an engine's spark plug)
The remaining camping trips this year are on electric sites, so in the spring, I'll make sure to check the operation again before heading out.
Thanks,
Rich
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:08 PM   #8
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Hi Rich,

The display I think mainah is asking about is the "check" light which indicates a gas flame fault. Assuming you are not getting the check light,

You keep saying you get no sparking. And this quote says a lot.

Quote:
I took a few things apart while on the campsite, brought them to the local Camping World and the tech checked the ignition module and the ignitor and said they were OK. I did a little cleaning, reassembled and adjusted the igniter gap and it worked. Figuring that the problem was solved, we went out again this past weekend only to find the same issue.

When we got back, I removed the brass gas components, blew out the passages with compressed air, checked the burner tube (it was clean), put it all back together and still, I'm getting no spark from the igniter when I turn the refrigerator on in gas mode. No spark, no flame, but I can hear the valve opening. The unit works in AC mode, not in gas mode.
We may have a play on wording here, but lets talk to some pics. This is a RM2652. My prior 2004 T2499.

This overall pic is "pre" recall installed but is shows the black cover on the igniter.


Here is with the recall and the black cover off


There are 2 parts we need to hone in on.

The black covered "igniter" and when the cover is off, the igniter is white and has a black wire, yellow wire and a clear covered white cable coming out of it.

See here


That clear covered white cable is the high voltage cable going to the "electrode". See here, the high voltage cable has a red cover on the wire as it gets near the burner area and the "electrode".


You used the words the camping world tech tested the ignition module and the ignitor. Did you mean ignitor and electrode? What is the ignition module you are referring too? The PC board?

Reason for asking is trying to find out what he tested. The high voltage cable and the electrode has a dual function to it. When it is working correctly, the high voltage going down cable from the igniter jumps the gap at the electrode to the gas burner tube. AND when the flame is burning the resistance changes and sends a signal back to the igniter through the high voltage cable to stop the sparking. Flame sense is also done with the thermocouple above the ignitor back to the PC board. But the electrode and high voltage cable & electrode stops the sparking.

It seems you have 1 or up 3 issues.

1. Is the igniter getting power to start sparking?

2. The igniter is getting power but is not sparking?

3. The high voltage cable and the electrode has the wrong resistance and keeps shutting down the ignitor.

No 1 is easier. Are you sure the ground wire on the igniter is making a good connection? The ground wire in this case is the black in this pic going into the igniter.


No 2, And if the ground is good then is the PC board sending the igniter 12 volts when trial for ignition signal is being called for? The 12 volt DC hot wire is the yellow wire going between the PC board and the igniter. That yellow wire also goes to the gas valve. The PC board powers the gas valve and the ignitor at the same time. So if you know for sure the gas valve is working, you can hear and smell it, then the PC board should be sending the 12 volts. Make sure the yellow wire does not have a connection issue going into the ignitor. Again the ground wire on the igniter has to be good.

No 3 then is the high voltage cable and the electrode. Is the porcelain cracked at the electrode area? If so, it needs to be replaced. Is the gap 3/16" between the electrode and the burner tube? And lastly there's a way to check the cable and the ignitor. If the high voltage cable and electrode has the wrong resistance it can shut down the igniter.

I'll be back in a bit and can post the how to test. I need to upload a file for you. No sense me retying you can read how to yourself from the Dometic instructions.

Be back soon

Thanks

John
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:33 PM   #9
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Hi Rich,

Went looking and we already have the Dometic manual in our files section under the "Sunline Kitchen" subsection which has fridge files in it.

See here while logged in Sunline Coach Owner's Club - Sunline Owner's Files - Dometic Service Manual

Scroll to page 59 and 60 for RM2652 fridge instructions on how to test the igniter, the high voltage cable and the electrode.

Hope this helps and let us know how you make out.

Thanks

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Old 10-09-2018, 06:19 AM   #10
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Hi John,
Thanks for the help, Dometic doesn't go into as much detail as you do!
Sorry for the inaccurate terminology, I was posting before I found the online manual and didn't know what to call everything.
The CHECK light at the top of the fridge (display) was coming on after awhile when we were camping, that's how I knew it wasn't working on gas.

Yes, Camping World tested the ignitor (white box) and electrode.

I had done my own test on the igniter as per Dometics instructions-pull the electrode wire from the igniter and turn on the power, if the igniter makes a clicking sound, it's good (my wording)- and since it did make the sound, I went looking elsewhere for the problem. At this point, I think the problem could either be the high voltage electrode wire or the ground path beyond the electrode tip (burner tube, mounting bracket etc.

I went to page 60 in the manual link you posted John (to see how to test the high voltage cable) and was confused by the wording:
"Disconnect DC power at the refrigerator terminal block.
Disconnect high voltage cable from electrode. Reconnect
DC power. "
I'll assume disconnecting DC power from the terminal block means the 4 lug plastic block screwed to the bracket near the PC board, but how do you disconnect the high voltage cable from the electrode? It seems to be one piece, wire, ceramic insulator and electrode tip.

BTW, I did check for voltage at the igniter (yellow and black wires) and got slightly less voltage than at the block I just mentioned, which was consistent with what Dometic noted in the manual.

Another thing I didn't understand was what they said about the electrode gap adjustment. They said to loosen the electrode hold-down screw before adjusting the gap. The flanged metal part that my electrode goes through was very loose last month when the problem started and I wondered how the gap would be maintained after being rattled around on the road. This time, I removed the ceramic from the flanged hole in this metal bracket and squeezed the flange a little tighter so it would be snug on the ceramic when I slid it back on. Now I can adjust the gap knowing it will stay there, but as far as whether or not the hold-down screw is tight seems to make no difference since all it does is hold the flange to the bracket.
Thanks again,
Rich
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Old 10-09-2018, 06:11 PM   #11
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mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
Unless it slid back and increased the gap.
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Old 10-10-2018, 05:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mainah View Post
Unless it slid back and increased the gap.
I tried changing the gap from about 1/8" to 1/4" and there was no spark. I think it was the grounding that wasn't completing the circuit.
I'm planning on removing the burner tube/mounting bracket, cleaning all of the contact areas between the two parts and tightening them. Right now the burner tube is a loose fit in the bracket.
I'll see how that goes.
Rich
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:21 AM   #13
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That should not be an issue the holder does not provide a ground the burner tube does. Though a bit of looseness possibly could cause an issue It would seem to me that the igniter tip should be slightly above the center of the burner tube. A 1/4" gap would require around 19 thousand volts to jump the gap and 1/8" only around 9-10 thousand. Air is a pretty good insulator.
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mainah View Post
That should not be an issue the holder does not provide a ground the burner tube does. Though a bit of looseness possibly could cause an issue It would seem to me that the igniter tip should be slightly above the center of the burner tube. A 1/4" gap would require around 19 thousand volts to jump the gap and 1/8" only around 9-10 thousand. Air is a pretty good insulator.
But since the burner tube is acting as a ground, it has to be grounded itself to the chassis right? I would think that would mean a good connection from the burner tube to the mounting bracket is needed.
The manual calls for 3/16"-1/4" gap.
Rich
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Old 10-10-2018, 12:42 PM   #15
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Yes it is possible but at that voltage it probably does not make a lot of difference. If you want to play with the igniter just leave the gas off and have a helper turn it on a few times till you get a nice blue spark across the burner face. I'm guessing your spark generator is in the 10,000 volt range but very low current it will sting you but it won't kill you!
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Old 10-10-2018, 08:18 PM   #16
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Hi Rich,

Getting back to you and some of your questions.

I did some more digging into files and I found a newer tech manual (2007 version) and a parts diagram for the RM2652. I have uploaded both of these to tonight in the Files Section under the Kitchen directory.

The prior manual I linked you too was the 1998 version.

This new version has some less confusing wording on testing the high voltage cable.

Here is the 2007 ver tech manual
Sunline Coach Owner's Club - Sunline Owner's Files - Dometic refrigerator service tech manual 2007 vers

The RM2652 parts diagram
https://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/d...o=file&id=5628

If you go to page 12 (PDF pg 13) on the top right under section 5.5 it talks about the high voltage cable test. And it talks to the upgrades in the high voltage cable and the electrode. Some newer high voltage cables is bonded to the electrode and it is all one unit. On these you cannot unplug the cable from the electrode.

The end result is, if you have an integrated high voltage cable and and electrode then to test.

1. You can turn the gas off to do this at the shut off valve screw below the gas valve at the fridge, see page 19 (PDF pg 20) for the shut off valve.

2. Power down all 12 volts, at your battery disconnect switch and the shore line power.

3. Pull the high voltage cable from the igniter, power up and turn the fridge on gas and if you hear the clicking sound of the igniter when in trial for ignition, then the igniter is good. You did that test.

4. After proving the igniter is good, power down again, put the high voltage cable back on the igniter and power up. With the fridge on gas mode the system should go into trial for ignition. You should hear the click/clunk of the gas valve when trial for ignition is started. If there is no spark at the electrode this indicate the integrated cable and and electrode could be bad. It could also mean the burner tube is heavily corroded and no ground is bing made. And it could be the electrode gap it too big. If the porcelain insulator is cracked, it may be trying to spark at the crack which could be why you do not see it at the electrode but you may be able to hear the spark going to ground through the cracked porcelain. If you checked the things listed and still no spark, then the integrated cable and electric can be bad.

5. Make sure to turn the gas back on when done troubleshooting.

Since you cannot separate the electrode from the cable, you cannot test just the cable by itself. Makes it a little harder to sort out, but the end result is the same.

The RM 2652 parts diagram page 9, item 33 if the high voltage cable/electrode. This diagram does not show 2 parts.

Page 10 shows item 33 as Dometic part number 2932781012 A B Electrode w/conductor

And a hit on the wen shows Amazon as one place to get one with a good pic of it.
https://www.amazon.com/Dometic-29327.../dp/B002PUM6NM

Electrode gap:

You mentioned this
Quote:
The manual calls for 3/16"-1/4" gap.
Rich
I cannot find that tolerance. I can find the target to be 3/16" in several of the manuals. The 2007 tech manual shows up on page 12 (PDF pg 13) which shows the 3/16"

That said, I have seen 1/8" gap work but not all the time. Over time the 1/8" gap seems to want to get a carbon buildup on it and bridge carbon between the electrode tip and the burner tube. When this happens you do not get a good spark and the fridge can go into fault.

3/16" seems to be the sweet spot, I have not gotten carbon build up on the 3/16" gap but I also clean this area every spring to check it and blow out the rust that falls down from the burner tube.

1/4" might work, I never have seen them that far apart or a manual reference to the 1/4". However if the igniter is getting weak, then it might not want to jump the far. Do you recall which manual you say the 1/4" in?

As to adjusting the electrode, as you have found there really is not an exact adjustment slot or something like that. You loosen the screw, tweak the electrode where you want it and tighten it. If it stays good, if it's not right, well tweak some more. The only adjustment movement is generally the clearance in the hole that the porcelain insulator goes through. I have had to fiddle with some folks fridge a bit to get the 3/16" but after fiddling I was able to get it. You really cannot bend the electrode as it can crack the porcelain in the process plus it is a hardened steel electrode not wanting to bend anyway.

I think you have now sorted this out to a bad ground on the burner tube, the gap may not be yet optimised and maybe the high voltage cable/electrode is having issues.

Hope this helps and let us know how this comes out. We all learn from this.

Thanks

John
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:24 AM   #17
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Yes John, I think you're correct about the ground and possibly the electrode. I found then on ebay from $30-50.00, but you found $30.00. Thanks for that. Maybe I should buy it and have as a spare if it goes out again AND the problem is the electrode.

I'm pretty sure I saw the 3/16"-1/4" gap noted in my refrigerator owners manual in the binder, but I'll check it.

Right now, it's quite close to 3/16" and yesterday, as I parked it back under the canopy/garage, I tested it again and the flame came up as soon as the gas valve opened, so it's still working. Our next two trips will be at electric sites, so no need to run the fridge on gas, but I still want to tighten up the burner tube (it's pretty clean BTW) and mounting bracket connections to insure a good ground path.

Thanks for your and Mainah's help, it makes me feel more comfortable around electricity!
Rich
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Old 10-11-2018, 08:59 AM   #18
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mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
Yeah a 1/16" gap can make a 5000 volt difference in the ability to make a spark.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:21 AM   #19
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Doesn't common wisdom say you shouldn't have a flame anywhere near a gas source? How much wattage in a match?
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:01 AM   #20
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Doesn't common wisdom say you shouldn't have a flame anywhere near a gas source? How much wattage in a match?
Rich
I have watched people (from a distance) test for gas leaks with a match!
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