no 12 VDC to refrigerator circuit - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 07-05-2014, 06:35 PM   #1
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no 12 VDC to refrigerator circuit

Greetings;
We recently purchased a really clean 1993 Dutchmen 300 Classic and have come up on a slight problem. The RV had a tree branch fall on it at the area where the fridge was. Insurance repaired the exterior as well as replacing the fridge.
The RV was never used after that and was stored for 10 years til we got it. Don't know for sure if fridge was ever proven or not.
When we were checking everything out, before a trip, the control panel for fridge would not come on. I checked the circuit behind the fridge, and there was no 12 VDC at the two leads going to the rear of circuit board. The 2 wires went UP between outer wall and rear of fridge to almost top of trailer and then go into wall about 6" below the top of trailer. ( Odd that the wires follow this path?)
I then started checking at the battery and found the "short stop" or circuit breaker had no continuity so installed a new 40 amp one. Re-checked the 12 VDC wires going to fridge panel,,still no 12 VDC.
Then I went inside trailer at convertor and had 13.6 VDC at the terminals. Checked all the fuses and are OK. Sooooooo,,,,the 12 VDC wires to the fridge rear panel must get their supply elsewhere,,but where?
I left the factory 12VDC wires dis-connected from rear fridge panel and ran some new 12 Ga wires from battery, thru a 20 amp fuse and on to the rear fridge panel,,,and UREKEA,,,the control panel at the fridge comes on,,!! Opened propane bottle and went thru motions to start fridge, and panel indicates fridge has lit and started,,,,? NOT!! Been "running" bout 3 hours and coils are a tad cool but not cold at all. Checked out the pilot at rear of fridge and it is lit, but circulation lines lines are cool at best. Is there something else that I need to look at for fridge to work? Or should I hook the trailer to the house 115 AC and try that?
I could sure use a wiring diagram so maybe I can resolve this issue and finish up my checking everything out so we can go to the mountains,,,!! We got a manual for every appliance in the RV but no wiring diagram,,!!
Can anybody help with a diagram,,?? Many thanks for your time and help. Sorry for the long winded post,,,
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:50 PM   #2
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You'll need to give the refrigerater 24 hours to really get cold. You should have a hot tube near the top of the unit, it comes out of the insulation package around the chimney. If that one is hot to the touch then most probably it's working and will need time to get cold.

I suspect that since the tree fell there and the repair was made the wires may have been cut to facilitate the repairs or they were broken when the tree fell on it.

You can run your own fused circuit to the refrigerator after you determine the refrigerator is working correctly.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:35 PM   #3
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Mr Sundancer,,, I like that handle,,,I appreciate your time and info. That right there is what I wanted to do, but would still like to look at a wiring schematic/ diagram, as I would really like to see where this 12 VDC is coming off the main (looks like 8 Ga or maybe even 6 Ga) wire from battery to convertor. I;m like you in that the 12 VDC wires must of been cut or broke loose from main feed, when fridge was replaced. I had already taken the roof vent cover/screen off on roof to try to reach these wires, so I;ll just tape the ends and abandon them,,,,,,BUT,,,I sure would like to disconnect them wherever they tie-in to main.
I'll just leave the fridge run till tomorrow and see what-what.
OH,,,just remembered another reason I needed a wiring diagram,,,when I opened the junction box at bottom front of trailer,, ain;t that a heck of a place to mount all the electrical from the tow vehicle???? there was a "YELLOW" wire inside box just hanging there and looks like it had never been connected to anything,,,? It comes from the electrical plug harness from tow vehicle. I looked at all the wire nut connections, but did not see any that might have had one pull loose,,,????? Thanks for all the help.
You got a guess?
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:57 PM   #4
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To the best of my knowledge Dutchmen has never published wiring diagrams. There will be a fuse in the fuse panel for the fridge, just have to determine which one.

As far as the yellow wire, is it on the vehicle end or the trailer end? I have had a couple of trailers with backup lights, but don't recall the wire color.

Here is a chart of what the current industry standard is, this has been around since the 1970's IIRC.

Aaron

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Old 07-05-2014, 09:02 PM   #5
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Tow vehicles are a little different than fifth wheel trailers so regarding the yellow wire in the box is way out of my expertise. Lots of tow vehicle people here that will chime in after they get back from camping and the holidays.
Regarding wiring schematics, late model RV schematics are just as unavailable as yours. Even if there was a schematic I would put bucks on the fact they aren't followed to the T, not even close.

Isn't there a fuse block somewhere? Maybe another box hidden in a closet? Hang in there, the tow folks will help when they get back.

The cold plate (the shelf) in the freezer will get cold first and should be pretty cold by now. After the freezer is good and cold the system starts work on cooling the box proper. Once that's all accomplished it should work well for you.
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Old 07-06-2014, 12:30 AM   #6
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I had a problem with my old TT with 12v power. Circuit breaker on frame next to battery was bad. Just a thought
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Old 07-06-2014, 04:14 AM   #7
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A bit of an update on my Dutchmen's 12 VDC issue,,,,
Brand new Fridge been "runnin" off 115 AC for 6 hours and still not cold,,,? Goin to let it run til morning and hope for the best.
There is a fuse block located next to the convertor and all the fuses are good to go. The fridge will "run" on 12 VDC, just won't cool.

But, another issue has arisen,,,,,there are three double pole breakers on the convertor but were not tagged as to what they supply. When I first plugged the trailer power cord into the garage 115 AC outlet,,,it promptly tripped the far right breaker on convertor,,! thinking it might be the fridge, I dis-connected the 115 AC cord behind the fridge and tried again, still tripped breaker. Thinkin it may be microwave I started dis-mantling to remove microwave as I cannot find where it is plugged in. must be behind unit. Would the furnace and water heater in this general area use 115 AC power? Water pump is in this area, but think it is 12 VDC.
With this one breaker "OFF", I checked all the 115 outlets in trailer with my Fluke and all have 115 AC power.
Anybody got a clue? I am stumpted,,,!!!!
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Old 07-06-2014, 05:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ilike55s View Post
A bit of an update on my Dutchmen's 12 VDC issue,,,,
Brand new Fridge been "runnin" off 115 AC for 6 hours and still not cold,,,? Goin to let it run til morning and hope for the best.
There is a fuse block located next to the convertor and all the fuses are good to go. The fridge will "run" on 12 VDC, just won't cool.

But, another issue has arisen,,,,,there are three double pole breakers on the convertor but were not tagged as to what they supply. When I first plugged the trailer power cord into the garage 115 AC outlet,,,it promptly tripped the far right breaker on convertor,,! thinking it might be the fridge, I dis-connected the 115 AC cord behind the fridge and tried again, still tripped breaker. Thinkin it may be microwave I started dis-mantling to remove microwave as I cannot find where it is plugged in. must be behind unit. Would the furnace and water heater in this general area use 115 AC power? Water pump is in this area, but think it is 12 VDC.
With this one breaker "OFF", I checked all the 115 outlets in trailer with my Fluke and all have 115 AC power.
Anybody got a clue? I am stumpted,,,!!!!
You are correct, water pump and furnace are 12V. Hot water could have 120V, you should see an on-off switch on the tank if you have heating coil.

You haven't mentioned the other AC, air conditioner, is it working?
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Old 07-06-2014, 12:40 PM   #9
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Are they double pole or double breakers? Usually a double pole breaker is for a 220v circuit.

On my new unit, the microwave, fridge, air conditioner, and the converter are all 120v, along with the plugs, and I have one GFCI circuit. The fridge is pretty low draw somewhere in the range of 1.5 amps, so it is probably on a circuit with something else.

Furnace blower, lights, water pump and vent fans are 12 volt.

As far as cooling it can take a good 24 hours for a fridge to completely cool down. I use a cheap indoor/outdoor thermometer and put the outdoor probe in the fridge so I don't have to open the door to see if it is cooling down or not. It will probably cool fastest on LP, then 120v. FWIW most of the newer units no longer have the 12v elements in them.

They make a circuit tracer, I have found these invaluable in general electric repairs. I have seen some at the local Home Despot for ~$30.

Aaron
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Old 07-06-2014, 12:47 PM   #10
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Hey HdDecker,,,you are exactly right,,,I flat forgot the air conditioner being 115 AC,,,!!! Soon as it gets light, I'm goin out there and check that out. And it is in very close proximity to where the tree fell on trailer,,!!
Boy, I sure wish I could get my hands on a wiring diagram for this thing,,!!
One thing I forgot to mention, is that I did contact a Dutchmen dealer and talked to a guy in their tech dept. and he told me bout the "short stop" breaker in the junction box at front of trailer, (which turned out to be bad) but also stated that Dutchmen did not supply wiring diagrams due to liability issues,,,RATZ,!! He told me that even the repair shops didn't have wiring diagrams,,!! Now, that makes a lot of sense, don't it?
Oh, well,, charging on,,,and waiting for the sun to come up,,,!!
Many thanks for your help,!!
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Old 07-06-2014, 12:54 PM   #11
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I call BS on the "liability" issues, that is everybody's excuse anymore. I have not one but two vintage Airstreams and have full wiring diagrams for both of them, as well as service manuals. In addition I have a dealer's service manual too.

The problem is they don't want to provide wiring diagrams and such because it would cut into their profits (time is money) and when they build them they don't necessarily put them together the same way every time. I have been working on RV's off and on for over 35 years, and very seldom do you ever find proper diagrams for them. A buddy and I had a matched pair of Pathfinders, that were produced less than a month apart. His had the main wiring loom on the road side, mine was split, half on the road side half on the curb side, go figure. Mine was mostly copper plumbing his was mostly poly butylene.

It would cost them money to keep up with all the rolling changes they make.

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Old 07-06-2014, 01:05 PM   #12
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Hey Aaron,, Many thanks for that valuable info, Guy. My terminology is slipping some, you're right, they are double breakers for 115 service. I pulled one of them out just to look-see and could not find what amp rating they are. Methinks PO must of had some issues with electrical that he failed to inform me of as there are two different brand breakers there. I went ahead and pulled em all and tested for continuity while tripping them and they all check good.
Good to know the LP will cool faster but makes sense when you think about it. Hmmm, goin to change fridge back to the LP this morn also.
We usually go up to the Alien town for supper on Sundays after Church, so I will stop in at Home (Despot) ? and check out that circuit tester you mention.
Thanks for your help. Joe r
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:43 PM   #13
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Home DESPOT... not a spelling error! The one nearest me (20 miles one way) sucks! I honestly don't know how they stay in business. I work all over the country and shop at Lowes, Home Depot, Menard's, etc. The HD here and in Richmond, VA (Intown) are the absolute worst. One of the best ones I have ever been in was in Keene, New Hampshire.

The one here is poorly stocked, usually out of whatever I stop in for, the management could care less and the employees have no clue what they are talking about most of the time.

Aaron
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Old 07-06-2014, 05:11 PM   #14
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From what I remember of my 12V fridges, they were more for maintaining the cold rather than creating it. Other owners I talked to back then said they got the units cold on LP or 120AC and then used the 12v to maintain the cold while traveling as you are plugged into the tow vehicle. I remember trying to cool a fridge on 12v and pretty much thought it wasn't working because it was taking so long. Changed over to LP and it was cold in a couple of hours. Wish they wouldn't have done away with the 12v element as they were safer than running the LP while traveling.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:33 PM   #15
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WOW, this is great,,,gettin lots of good info here and it is getting good,,,,.

Well, decided to isolate the roof AC, microwave and fridge one at a time to prove their circuits, and right off the bat I find on the roof AC, something I have not seen, but since I'm not a juice-trician, it may be OK. There is a 3 position switch on ceiling right by the AC. (???) I removed the cover and there are three (3) 115 AC circuits tied to this switch. The three black wires are all connected to the three terminals on "one side" of the switch, and the three white wires are all wire nutted together,,,,what??? told you I wasn't a juice-trician,,,there is nothing tied to the three terminals on opposite side of switch,,,,??
Is this kosher and what is happening with this arrangement?
Why is a switch needed on ceiling for the AC when the AC has it's own switch?
HELP,,!!!
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:43 PM   #16
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Sounds like its trying to isolate 2 different circuits. You should find power on the center terminal. Power is then directed to the individual circuits by which way the switch is pushed. Why...?????? Probably the circuit is not designed to carry the load of whatever they have connected to it.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:48 PM   #17
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Do you by chance have 2 AC's on the roof?
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:59 PM   #18
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Your whites wires are neutrals so they'll be tied together to form a common point.

As sawpilot says, the center black wire is the supply wire whereas the positions to either side of it are for other switched circuits.

The switch is an ON/OFF/ON switch so maybe one side was pre-wired for another A/C but who knows.
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Old 07-07-2014, 02:37 AM   #19
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From what I remember of my 12V fridges, they were more for maintaining the cold rather than creating it. Other owners I talked to back then said they got the units cold on LP or 120AC and then used the 12v to maintain the cold while traveling as you are plugged into the tow vehicle. I remember trying to cool a fridge on 12v and pretty much thought it wasn't working because it was taking so long. Changed over to LP and it was cold in a couple of hours. Wish they wouldn't have done away with the 12v element as they were safer than running the LP while traveling.
They still make the fridge with the 12v element, but it costs ~$100 or so more than the 2way. It may or may not be safer depending on your point of view. I had one and the tow vehicle did not have an isolator circuit, parked the rig went for a 3.5 hour hike and came back to dead batteries.

Aaron
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:42 AM   #20
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I call BS on the "liability" issues, that is everybody's excuse anymore. I have not one but two vintage Airstreams and have full wiring diagrams for both of them, as well as service manuals. In addition I have a dealer's service manual too.

The problem is they don't want to provide wiring diagrams and such because it would cut into their profits (time is money) and when they build them they don't necessarily put them together the same way every time. I have been working on RV's off and on for over 35 years, and very seldom do you ever find proper diagrams for them. A buddy and I had a matched pair of Pathfinders, that were produced less than a month apart. His had the main wiring loom on the road side, mine was split, half on the road side half on the curb side, go figure. Mine was mostly copper plumbing his was mostly poly butylene.

It would cost them money to keep up with all the rolling changes they make.

Aaron
Like wise, I had the factory service manual that included the wiring diagram for my '85 Airstream. The wiring diagram actually reflected reality.

I too doubt that a wiring diagram would be of any use in this day and age, the way the wiring is shoved into the voids or get wrapped around the plumbing. I'm still scratching my head over the way they wired the TVs.
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