Vitrifrigo Fridge problem need advice at Berri SA

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 21:25
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Hi Guys, Have been on the road for 3weeks with 5 week old caravan and the fridge has decided not to work was wondering if anyone has had the same problem. The fridge wants to run but the motor cuts in it only runs for 5 seconds then cuts out. I noticed the freezer not working to well a day ago and today it not holding anything. I am running it completely on our 12 volt system and that consist of 3 x 105amp gel batteries that I know are completely charged so I don't know why it keeps tripping out. Have rung Camec in WA who sold the fridge to the guy who built our van and they told me to go ahead and get someone to look at it, but we can't find anyone here in Berri who has done these ones before. I managed to get hold of a company who deals with fridges in Mildura so we will head up there tomorrow but we have no vents on the back of the fridge (4x4 Caravan) so we will have to pull her out to see the problem. Has anyone had any problem with these as this is only 5 weeks old and also does anyone know any caravan fridge mechanic in this area. We are staying on Martins Bend and intended to stay here a few days but this has put a major spanner in the works. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks Red Tail Black
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 21:54

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 21:54
Hi Red Tail

Sorry to hear you are having trouble so early in your journey. Is it wired direct to the battery or through the controller? The guy who we purchased ours through said they should not be wired through the controller which causes a voltage drop. I know a number of caravanners have direct wired, or if it was already, they have used heavier wire after having problems.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:02

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:02
It is possible that you have lost some gas - any fridge mechanic should be able to pressure test the gas.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Red Tail Black (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:11

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:11
No you wouldn't believe our luck brand new van and already a fridge problem.
We think our is direct wired with heavy cable, because cabling was one of our stipulations. Also we have a transformer as an extra so that it recognizes it when I change to 240volts. The fridge is never off unless I pull it out of the plug and it has its own circuit. I can watch the load on the battery monitor but not quite sure what controller you mean.

Thanks
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:18

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:18
Controller is the battery/solar monitor. I just sent you a member message with a few more thoughts.

Mh
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Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 21:55

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 21:55
RTB, on the side of the compressor block there are a series of terminals down inside a black plastic shroud. I have found with ours that there can be a dirty terminal that causes it to stop from time to time. You may need to crimp the fittings so they clamp the terminals a bit better.

I think you will find there is a remote compressor off in a cupboard or somewhere. Well, our is anyway, and I have turned it around to make sure I can access it easier.

Actually on our Vitrifrigo there is another circuit that boosts the compressor rate, across a couple of terminals, but the same symptoms. It may reduce your costly journey.
Cheers,
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Follow Up By: Red Tail Black (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:18

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:18
Thanks John will show you reply to the services man when I find him. We can't get to anything until we pull her completely out.
Thanks again
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:23

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:23
Hi John

Only the 150 litre has the option of a remote compressor. Red Tail Black probably has a bigger model.


"Actually on our Vitrifrigo there is another circuit that boosts the compressor rate, across a couple of terminals, but the same symptoms" - can you clarify please John?

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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:30

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:30
Been a few like ours RTB. You may not have to pull it out, just see if you can fiddle with the wiring down the side of the block on the compressor first. The block is at the back, opposite end to the codensor, on the right looking at the back of the compressor unit (left from the condensor end). There are other wires there of course. A touch there may cause it to go and so locate your problem. I also squirted some electrical contact stuff in there too.

I am also aware of some of the Vitrifrigo units that were imported with an 'L' shaped evaporator plate inside the freezer. They should be a 'U' shaped one, on it's side of course forming the top, rear and bottom of the freezer compartment. The 'L' shaped one doesn't have the same capacity to cool. A friend had one that couldn't keep food cool in higher temps.
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:39

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:39
Mutha, ours is a 130 litre with a remote compressor.

I don't know about the circuitry, it is a little addition that was standard on ours and others. The symptoms were the running for a few seconds and stopping because the terminals weren't touching properly. Just as though the compressor started, but no fan so it stalled out. Warm beer or milk!
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:48

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:48
The block is plainly visible here left


I guess the other pic is the block, but it is a while since I have seen it close up. You can look to the page HERE
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:52

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:52
Judy, just look to the page to see reference to the speed adjustment on various sized units. We have the BD35F but speed boosted somehow as referenced above.
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Follow Up By: Red Tail Black (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:06

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:06
Thanks John for all your feed back. Our main problem is getting to it ourselves as it has been srewed and sikabond in and we have no vents on the back. Our fridge is on the back wall of the van and a 100ml pipe runs to the bottom of the fridge and two fans pull the cold air through. I wish we could get to the back easy but it looks like we will have to pull it out. When I get home the first thing we are doing is going back to the builder and getting a dustproof hatch put behind it.
Thanks for all your info
Cheers
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Follow Up By: Red Tail Black (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:11

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:11
Sorry guys ours is a 260lt
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:34

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:34
Hi John - ours is 130 litre with the BD35F compressor - a blonde moment. When our plays up (usually when not enough power for it) the compressor kicks in, then stops within up to 20 seconds, and the fan continues for the rest of one minute. It then tries to start again i think another 30 seconds later. It seems to draw more power than the previous edition of the same model. I'll have a look at the compressor in a day or three.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Red Tail Black (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:38

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:38
Motherhen thats just whats happening to me so I will show the fridge mechanic the replies tomorrow
Cheers
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:40

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:40
Sure hope you get it sorted. They are a top of the range fridge.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Red Tail Black (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:45

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 23:45
Yeah thats why we chose it, as the Bushtracker have been using them for a while and my guy wanted to put in another but I insisted on Vitrifrigo.
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 08:41

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 08:41
Mh, we have never had a power problem with ours with the amount of power. I guess that is because there is a dirty big Redarc in there cutting power before it troubles the fridge. That isn't to say the fridge hasn't stopped. One friend had his stop when he failed to have the charger on with Darwin's heat as the backdrop. The (previously) frozen barra flowed out to the door while he was in Adelaide. {:-(((

RTB, ours had the patch on the block Sikaflexed in place and the unit screwed through the floor. I have changed the direction of the air movement and have that block right by an access. I had to use a sharp blade to remove the Sikaflex and then re-crimp the fittings.
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Reply By: Grass Parrot - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 21:57

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 21:57
I would try the following places;
Renmark Caravan Centre on main road (18th Street, right hand side) just before the Paringa Bridge going to Paringa from Renmark. Pretty much he is the only dealer of Caravans in the Riverland.
Hook Line and Sinker and CMV Parts (I think) both sell Waeco and Engel fridges and may be able to help or put you onto someone who can help.
See how you go.
Parrot
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Follow Up By: Grass Parrot - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 21:59

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 21:59
Hook Line and Sinker and CMV Parts are both in Berri.
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Follow Up By: Red Tail Black (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:23

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:23
Thanks Grass Parrot,
Yes we found them today and they put us onto Halls in Mildura, but will stop in at Renmark Caravans when we go through tomorrow. Fridge guy Ric in Berri was helpfull over the phoine but he's busy for a week and hadn't done one of these before.
Thanks for your reply
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Reply By: The Halls - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 15:03

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 15:03
We have had the same problem both with a Waeco and our new Vitrifrigo (recently on our new Van).
The cause in both cases was a Mobitronic Power Supply made by Waeco. This unit produces 24VDC to run the fridge while on mains power and acts as a Low Voltage Cutout when on Batteries.
Sometimes the relays inside the unit that perform the switching develop a high resistance across the contacts, the starting current of the Fridge causes a voltage loss across the contacts which the unit senses as a low battery voltage. The Mobitronic stops the Fridge, then senses that the Battery Voltage is OK again and allows it to start. The cycle repeats.
Our Mobitronic was accessed from the lower Fridge Vent outside the Van, connected to it will be a + and - from the battery and a + and - to the Fridge. You can either join + to + and - to - or put them each under the same + and - terminals on the Mobitronic.
If you do this be mindful that you no longer have low Battery Voltage Protection and run the risk of stuffing your Battery and burning out the Fridge Compressor.
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Follow Up By: The Halls - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 15:07

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 15:07
On second thought just join them together off the Mobitronic. If you were to put them under the 24VDC terminals you would get an interesting result when connected to Mains!!!
Sorry about that.
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Reply By: Red Tail Black (WA) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 22:29

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 22:29
Thanks to everyone for all the information.
We decided to pull the pin on Berri this morning and headed into Adelaide to make sure we could get it fixed. Camec in Perth put us onto a fridge guy and You Guessed It low voltage or the fridge thought it was, even though we had heaps of power. Speaking to two guys in the game today its very common for these fridges to do this and even though our is directly wired we need to move the cable up another size. Will also look at the Mobitronic rectifier as this sounds like it might be causing a problem also. Brother who's on the road with us is putting new cable in our van tomorrow. The caravan and fridge guys have seen a few like this and going by this forum it sound like a regular occurrence.
Thanks for all your input,
Cheers Red Tail Black
AnswerID: 359756

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