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Old 09-18-2021, 01:29 PM   #1
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Dometic Fridge won't switch to AC

2012 17B
We are planning our first real camping trip in it, but have a ton of questions.
If the Fridge won't switch to AC, does that definitely mean no AC power is getting there? I turned it on, pushed AUTO button and GAS lit up and tried to light.
I have it plugged in to my house.
Also, how can I tell how much charge my batteries have? When I push the TEST button on the monitor panel, all the lights come on for the battery column. Otherwise, nothing is lit up for that column.

Bob
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Old 09-18-2021, 02:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burritobob1 View Post
2012 17B ...
... If the Fridge won't switch to AC, does that definitely mean no AC power is getting there?
IF your 2012 17B is like at least some later models, the fridge gets it's AC power via a standard wall-outlet in the fridge compartment and a short cord with a standard plug on the fridge.

IF you have that arrangement (look for it behind the removable exterior lower-fridge vent) it's very easy to check for AC power to the fridge - unplug the fridge from the outlet and plug-in a known working AC 'indicator' (e.g. a fan or lamp). There should be power at that point regardless of any setting on the fridge, including "Off". If there's not, first suggestion is toggle all breakers Off then On in an attempt to reset and restore power to that outlet (all because the labels on the breakers may be incorrect).

Also, when toggling between 'modes' on the fridge control panel, exercise patience and give it a minute or two to 'cycle' to the desired combination of settings; the effect of changes may not be instantaneous, particularly the "Auto" mode required to get it to default to AC when plugged-into shore power.

Finally, if plugged into your house via a standard 15Amp outlet and thin-gauge extension cord, it is possible that you are not getting enough current to the trailer to allow the fridge to toggle to AC mode. First make sure nothing else is operating on AC in the trailer. This can be exacerbated if your batteries are low and the charger is concurrently trying to use a lot of amps to charge them. If that is suspected, try toggling your battery disconnect to Off (if you have one), temporarily removing the battery-charging load from your system while testing the fridge situation; if that allows the fridge to go to AC mode, at least you know your likely problem is your shore-power shortcomings, not anything with the trailer systems.

Hope that helps, good luck!

Example pic, yours may differ:
Attached Thumbnails
example of plug-in fridge AC power.jpg  
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Old 09-18-2021, 08:18 PM   #3
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I agree with Centex that the amount or quality of the shore power getting to the trailer might not be enough to run to fridge. Check to see that the connections are clean and shiny between your plug in cord and the outlet. If you are plugged in at home you are probably using an adapter between the cord and the outlet or extension cord. Those adapters can be a weak link.

Regarding the battery monitor, if you push the test button while the trailer is plugged in and charging or the solar panel is charging then all the lights come on. You need to do the test when the trailer is unplugged and it is dark outside. Then the number of lights that come on should show the level of charge.
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Old 09-18-2021, 09:19 PM   #4
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Thanks. I followed Centex's advice and tested the outlet for the fridge cord. Did not work
Also, I tried the exterior outlets and they did not work.
Not sure what to do now. I'm going to re-read the manual a few times.
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Old 09-18-2021, 10:00 PM   #5
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I would first plug your fridge directly into your house extension, and verify that the fridge works on AC.

It sounds like a problem with the converter/charger, you should check fuses and breakers. It could be as simple as a flipped AC breaker.

Nothing lights up on your monitor panel unless you press the test switch. If all of the battery indicators light up (top one is green), your battery should be well enough charged for things to operate normally.

Hope you get it figured out.
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Old 09-18-2021, 10:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burritobob1 View Post
Thanks. I followed Centex's advice and tested the outlet for the fridge cord. Did not work
Also, I tried the exterior outlets and they did not work.
Well, without any power at that fridge outlet (and others) you are narrowing the focus, IMO. Do you have AC power at any of the trailer's AC outlets? Are you certain that you are in fact getting any AC power to the trailer at all? Have you checked the breaker for your home outlet to ensure it has not tripped?

If you are certain you have power to the trailer and other AC outlets in the trailer are 'hot', that's starting to sound like a problem with the breaker for that circuit in the power center, perhaps even a loose connection at the breaker. (Note - disconnect your shore power and tell anyone around not to touch it before you poke around in that panel!)

Late wild thought - are any of the non-working exterior outlets 'GFCI' outlets? If yes, try hitting the "Test" and "Reset" buttons on that outlet in that order - see if that 're-energizes' everything that's 'dead' or if the "Reset" button will not stay depressed (indicating a ground-fault on that circuit which will have to be resolved). Yes, I'd be surprised if the fridge outlet is downstream of a protecting GFCI outlet, but that's not necessarily bad (may be good in fact).
Quote:
Originally Posted by KirkB View Post
I would first plug your fridge directly into your house extension, and verify that the fridge works on AC.
Not a bad idea, IMO, but remember your batteries must also have enough power (it doesn't take much) to operate the DC controller in the fridge, too. The Fridge will not work solely on AC power - it must also have DC to work in AC mode; if you are getting lights on the fridge control panel you likely have the needed DC power to operate in AC mode.
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Old 09-19-2021, 08:14 AM   #7
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Thanks to all for your suggestions. I found that the GFCI outlet by the bed (on the outside of the sink wall) was the "problem". Once I reset it, everything was fine. Fridge switched to AC and exterior outlets worked. I learned quite a bit from your knowledge. Keep up the good work. I am sure us newbies will need your help in the future.
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Old 09-19-2021, 10:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by burritobob1 View Post
I found that the GFCI outlet by the bed (on the outside of the sink wall) was the "problem". Once I reset it, everything was fine. Fridge switched to AC and exterior outlets worked.
Kudos, Happy Camping!
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Old 09-19-2021, 10:26 AM   #9
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This thread is a perfect example of the back and forth getting problems solved on the forum. Our 'electric' folks know their stuff!
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Old 09-19-2021, 11:06 AM   #10
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It also reveals the weakness of the electrical documentation by Escape. I wish they would get that together and send out a list of outlets and breakers that is accurate.
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Old 09-19-2021, 11:39 AM   #11
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It also reveals the weakness of the electrical documentation by Escape. I wish they would get that together and send out a list of outlets and breakers that is accurate.
I agree, I traced all my wiring that I could access some time ago. At the advice and help(diagrams) of Tdf-tx. His diagram of the power center DC outputs was the same as mine.
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Old 09-19-2021, 12:13 PM   #12
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I am tracing out my outlets as part of my inverter install next week. I do expect similar routing. I did not get any extra 110 outlets when we ordered. I bought duplex breakers so I can isolate the microwave . I also will try to isolate the kitchen and the stand as I use induction and hot water boilers.
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Old 09-19-2021, 01:42 PM   #13
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A very interesting thread and another great step by step resolution of a problem from such sources like CENTEX.

I'm getting the impression, after reading this and other threads on the topic of wiring in our trailers, that there is no "standard schematic" of wiring within our rigs, that each trailer is wired individually. Too frequently the (paraphrased) comment "yours may be different" appears when wiring is discussed.

Having explored and modified areas of our 21NE, I find it surprising that the auto industry standard of a building a primary "wire harness" with "sub-harnesses" to optional areas hasn't been used more extensively. I'm sure that a primary harness for all Escape trailers could be designed and various sub-harnesses that would prove cost effective, both in the build process, but also in the service needs down the road.

There's been video/photo evidence on this forum, that Escape "harnesses" are individual and inconsistent. Inefficient I'm sure, and potentially inconsistent from one rig to the next.

I may well be wrong, but it would most certainly make life easier in isolating a problem. Plus using auto industry connectors more frequently may well reduce problems overall. If they can do it in the closed confines of a car, the open structure of an Escape during construction would improve the finished product (and likely add a little more wiring for us wanting to splice into the system).
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Old 09-19-2021, 03:41 PM   #14
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Escape is a custom built trailer, so prefab wiring harness may not always work.........
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Old 09-19-2021, 04:00 PM   #15
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If ETI said no to wiring drops and outlets here and there, not to mention preferred appliances, they could have a standard wiring harness.
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Old 09-19-2021, 04:18 PM   #16
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You could have it both ways
A basic harness and the ability to add customs drops
Not rocket surgery
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