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Old 12-23-2022, 01:36 PM   #1
SRS
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Problematic Dometic RM2454

The 4 cu. ft. 3-way frig we got in our 2022 Escape 17 has a mysterious problem when running on gas. When started, it will run for 2-5 day without issue and then the check light comes on. We didn’t experience this initially and in fact went on a 10 day trip to Wyoming, camping at over 7,000 ft without issue. And before that, to 10,000 feet on the Grand Mesa.

When the check light comes on, I can turn the frig off and back on, and within 20 seconds the burner lights with a very strong flame. It will freeze a container of water, but from my tests, withing a day or so of freezing the water, the check light comes back on and the frig shuts down. I’ve checked electrical connections and the gas supply and found no issues. We live at an elevation of 4,900 ft., below the 5,500 ft. the Dometic manual suggest is ideal, and where it has failed numerous times. Last camping trip was below 5,200 ft where it failed 3 times on a 3 night trip to the San Rafael Bridge, Utah.

I made an appointment with a local RV shop Dometic certified back in late October but couldn’t get in until Dec. 15th. It’s been cold here but ran the frig for 5 days at which point the check light came on and I left it in that state for the RV shop in case it might help in terms of diagnostics. I also told them that it seems to take from 2-5 days before the check light comes on.

After 4 days, the RV shop called and said they brought it inside and ran it for 13 hours without any problems (not long enough from my experience). They indicated they checked gas flow and pressure and some electrical such as power and grounds but could find nothing wrong. At this point they’re charging me diagnostic time at $185 an hour with a ˝ hour charge at the point they called. I told them that it would probably take longer for it to fail so they agreed to keep it running until Tuesday the 27th but they would have to move it back outside because they needed the shop space and there would be another ˝ hour diagnostic charge.

Since there are so many knowledgeable folks on this forum, I was hoping someone might have an idea what might cause this or had a similar experience. My best guess is either a flaky power module or thermocouple (not sure the RV shop tested that) I’ve read the diagnostic manual so when I get the trailer back (assuming the check light doesn’t come on) I may be able to do some checking with my voltmeter.

While I’m not thrilled by the diagnostic charge, it seems reasonable that they have to verify there is a warranty issue. So hopefully, if it fails, Dometic will pay the charges going forward. If it doesn't fail for them, possibly due to the already cold outside temps but fails later for me, at $185/hr it might be less expensive for me to try and figure it out. A Dinosaur power module is about $150 and a thermocouple is about $40. Of course it might be another component so other ideas may be helpful.

Sorry for the long description but it felt necessary to convey the whole scenario. Hopefully I didn’t leave anything important out.
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Old 12-23-2022, 03:31 PM   #2
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They indicated they checked gas flow and pressure and some electrical such as power and grounds but could find nothing wrong.
Did they read the propane pressure at the back of the fridge with a manometer? What pressure did they read? Should be no less than 11" water column (w.c.) with 50% of overall maximum BTU demand if everything was running. This usually requires one to also run the furnace and a couple of burners on the stovetop. In my experience if you are at 12" w.c. +/- with no demand you are right where you want to be.
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Old 12-23-2022, 03:47 PM   #3
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Did they read the propane pressure at the back of the fridge with a manometer? What pressure did they read? Should be no less than 11" water column (w.c.) with 50% of overall maximum BTU demand if everything was running. This usually requires one to also run the furnace and a couple of burners on the stovetop. In my experience if you are at 12" w.c. +/- with no demand you are right where you want to be.
Good points. I was only able to talk to the reception person and she didn't have much in the way of specifics. When I pick it up I will ask. I have tested the frig with the heater on and at least one cooktop burner on and it worked fine with a strong flame. Then a day or so later, check light is on.
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Old 12-23-2022, 04:56 PM   #4
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When we were first using our new trailer last year the refrigerator worked great for days (using propane) but it would occasionally not light off - as announced by the Fault light and beeping (usually in the middle of the night. Turing it off and on would usually solve the problem, sometimes though it would reoccur and I would leave the refrigerator off until the next morning when I would turn it back on - then it would work all day… Anyway, the symptoms were that we could hear the ignitor clicking, but the burner wouldn’t light off and it was an intermittent problem - maybe worse at higher elevations. I found a YouTube (can’t find it now) that said sometimes with new refrigerator units the ignitor is mounted such that the ignitor to burner-tube gap is slightly too big. A spark jumps between the ignitor and burner tube (where the propane comes out) to light the burner. Too big of a gap can lead it intermittent burner light-offs as the spark can’t jump the larger gap consistently, I guess. Anyway, without much more than a screw driver I was able to get to the ignitor and bend its mounting bracket slightly so as to reduce the ignitor to burner-tube gap. That solved our problem and it hasn’t happened once since. Here’s a link to a video that shows how to get to the ignitor. Hope this may help. Rob

https://youtu.be/NTjpxF5m8oc
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Old 12-23-2022, 05:41 PM   #5
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Good points. I was only able to talk to the reception person and she didn't have much in the way of specifics. When I pick it up I will ask. I have tested the frig with the heater on and at least one cooktop burner on and it worked fine with a strong flame. Then a day or so later, check light is on.
Just be sure to confirm. Looks can be deceiving. Owners have thought their fridge flame looked fine and then checked pressure and found it was lower than required. Adjustment on propane regulator is easy if needed.
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Old 12-23-2022, 06:58 PM   #6
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SRS, when the refrigerator shuts down does it try to relight by going through the ignition sequence? Including a soft “thunk” sound when the solenoid valve opens followed quickly by the igniter clicking. If there is no propane, such as the tank is out or the tank valve not open, the refrigerator still goes through 3 attempts to start before it goes to the check light. If there is no igniter clicking it could be a intermittently bad igniter or it might be the solenoid valve isn’t opening so the ignition sequence stops.

If there is clicking but no light then it points to a gas supply problem or, as suggested, an igniter gap problem.

Given the newness of the refrigerator I am assuming that it has electronic ignition with no pilot light. When the cooling phase ends the refrigerator shuts off, then restarts when the temperature rises to the set point. An intermittently bad igniter might work fine initially or for awhile, but fail to relight when the cooling process restarts.
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Old 12-23-2022, 07:12 PM   #7
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I have noticed a decline in refrigerator performance when using my exterior propane connection for my camp stove but never had a light come on.
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Old 12-24-2022, 08:03 AM   #8
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Just be sure to confirm. Looks can be deceiving. Owners have thought their fridge flame looked fine and then checked pressure and found it was lower than required. Adjustment on propane regulator is easy if needed.
Thanks Rubicon327, I will ask the question when I pick it up. As you say, the flame looks good but that's always after I restart it at the flow of gas off for a bit.
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Old 12-24-2022, 08:26 AM   #9
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SRS, when the refrigerator shuts down does it try to relight by going through the ignition sequence? Including a soft “thunk” sound when the solenoid valve opens followed quickly by the igniter clicking. If there is no propane, such as the tank is out or the tank valve not open, the refrigerator still goes through 3 attempts to start before it goes to the check light. If there is no igniter clicking it could be a intermittently bad igniter or it might be the solenoid valve isn’t opening so the ignition sequence stops.
If there is clicking but no light then it points to a gas supply problem or, as suggested, an igniter gap problem.
Given the newness of the refrigerator I am assuming that it has electronic ignition with no pilot light. When the cooling phase ends the refrigerator shuts off, then restarts when the temperature rises to the set point. An intermittently bad igniter might work fine initially or for awhile, but fail to relight when the cooling process restarts.
That's a good question. The trailer is at my house when I did the testing and waiting 2-5 days for the check light to come on makes it tough. On my last camping trip where it happened I believe I was near the trailer just before the light came on and I don't recall it every going through a sequence to restart. I've looked through the Dometic RM2454 manuals and it doesn't discuss there being repeat attempts to light for this refrigerator. I did notice when reading about Dinosaur power boards that they do about 3 retries at different intervals.

Every time I light or restart the frig, the igniter clicks for about 30 seconds and the gas ignites almost immediately. One issue in diagnosing the problem is when it malfunctions and I turn the frig of and then back on, I'm resetting the power board and everything works as expected for hours.

FWIW, both tanks are full and the valves are on. I haven't personally checked the gas pressure but depending on what the RV shop tells me, I may have to.
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Old 12-24-2022, 08:43 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by robjones101@gmail.com View Post
When we were first using our new trailer last year the refrigerator worked great for days (using propane) but it would occasionally not light off - as announced by the Fault light and beeping (usually in the middle of the night. Turing it off and on would usually solve the problem, sometimes though it would reoccur and I would leave the refrigerator off until the next morning when I would turn it back on - then it would work all day… Anyway, the symptoms were that we could hear the ignitor clicking, but the burner wouldn’t light off and it was an intermittent problem - maybe worse at higher elevations. I found a YouTube (can’t find it now) that said sometimes with new refrigerator units the ignitor is mounted such that the ignitor to burner-tube gap is slightly too big. A spark jumps between the ignitor and burner tube (where the propane comes out) to light the burner. Too big of a gap can lead it intermittent burner light-offs as the spark can’t jump the larger gap consistently, I guess. Anyway, without much more than a screw driver I was able to get to the ignitor and bend its mounting bracket slightly so as to reduce the ignitor to burner-tube gap. That solved our problem and it hasn’t happened once since. Here’s a link to a video that shows how to get to the ignitor. Hope this may help. Rob

https://youtu.be/NTjpxF5m8oc
Thanks for the video. No buildup on the igniter and the gap looked good between the igniter and the gas jet but worth rechecking. My previous trailer had the 3 cu. ft. version of this frig and my recollection is once the gas ignited, the clicking would stop. on this 4 cu. ft. version, even when the gas lights which takes about less than 2 seconds, the igniter keeps clicking for at least 30 seconds. Not sure if that's normal and on the video you linked, his igniter stop clicking when the gas was lit. It would sure be nice if the problem I'm experiencing was more consistent.
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Old 12-27-2022, 04:53 PM   #11
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Thanks to everyone for their input. I got my trailer back today and basically all they did was a visual inspection of the frig from the lower access panel and visually inspected the hoses, tanks and regulator. They turned on the frig on LP mode and noted it had a strong flame. Then they ran it for 13 hours monitoring it's internal temperatures. After passing those test, they kept it over the weekend and it still didn't fail on gas but its been cold here, with daytime highs in the mid 40's (Fahrenheit) at best and lows in the mid to upper teens so not good weather for testing a frig. They never checked gas pressure or anything else. So, mostly things I already did.

I did learn that this model and others try to light the gas for 45 second and if gas ignition doesn't occur, the check light comes on and the power goes into "lock-out" mode. It won't try lighting the gas again until the frig is turned off and then back on, which is essentially a reset. Looking at the instructions for Dinosaur boards indicates they make continual attempts to relight the gas at specified intervals. Something that would be beneficial in this situation.

For now I'm running the frig on DC to try to get my lithium batteries to 80% SOC and then remove them and put them in the garage. I'll tackle this issue again in March when, hopefully, it will be warmer.
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Old 12-27-2022, 05:09 PM   #12
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They never checked gas pressure or anything else.
That’s really poor for a so-called service center. Confirming proper propane pressure should be one of the first things they check.
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Old 12-27-2022, 05:19 PM   #13
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That’s really poor for a so-called service center. Confirming proper propane pressure should be one of the first things they check.
Agreed. My general feeling with service centers including automotive ones is they seem to assume the customer doesn't know what they are talking about. Plus it's a way to make more money by extending the time they can bill for diagnostics. Before I pursue this further, I'm going to do a pressure test at the burner port as well as trying to simulate a 50% load. Think I'll let it worm up a little more though.
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Old 12-28-2022, 01:12 AM   #14
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Hey SRS, Initially, we had a similar problem with our 3-way Dometic fridge. After 3-5 days running on propane the 'check' light would randomly come on. Eventually, we had the fridge serviced by our local RV service center. Basically, for us the problem was not the fridge. Turned out to be a faulty automatic change over propane regulator by our propane tanks. Once we got a new propane regulator (for about $65) the 'check' light has not come on while running on propane. Perhaps you have a faulty propane regulator? Hope this helps and good luck with your fix. -Bea
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Old 12-28-2022, 08:43 AM   #15
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Hey SRS, Initially, we had a similar problem with our 3-way Dometic fridge. After 3-5 days running on propane the 'check' light would randomly come on. Eventually, we had the fridge serviced by our local RV service center. Basically, for us the problem was not the fridge. Turned out to be a faulty automatic change over propane regulator by our propane tanks. Once we got a new propane regulator (for about $65) the 'check' light has not come on while running on propane. Perhaps you have a faulty propane regulator? Hope this helps and good luck with your fix. -Bea
That's a possibility I've considered among so many others. Certainly easy to replace the regulator. Do you recall if they did a test on the regulator or if there was a symptom that led them to suspect the regulator?
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Old 12-28-2022, 12:36 PM   #16
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That's a possibility I've considered among so many others. Certainly easy to replace the regulator. Do you recall if they did a test on the regulator or if there was a symptom that led them to suspect the regulator?
When we picked up our E21 in 2019 we noticed the fridge check light on (while on propane) just after 2 days. So we called ETI and we brought it back to them. The original owner (Reace) was the one who serviced it. He said the fridge looked fine but that the propane regulator was not set correctly (he seemed surprised by that) so he adjusted it. Then after a few months the problem started to slowly and very randomly surface again - a puzzling idiopathic problem. The light would go away if we turned the fridge and propane off and on again. (All other propane appliances where working fine.)

Eventually, we decided to have our local RV guy take a 2nd look at the fridge during some routine tire maintenance. When he said he could not find anything wrong, even after leaving it on propane for several days, we asked him to replace the propane regulator. Thankfully, that worked and glad it was a rather inexpensive fix. Hope yours will be, too. We really enjoy our fridge - so big and keeps everything nice and cold. -Bea
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Old 01-29-2023, 11:00 PM   #17
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We have a 2019 Escape 21C. We are currently experiencing the same check light problem when running our fridge on propane.
It worked fine for nearly three years, with frequent use. The first time we saw the check light was last spring, and it has occurred intermittently ever since. We took it to an RV repair shop and they said the pressure was too low and adjusted it. Worked great for about 6 days. We changed the regulator and again it worked for days, but problem reoccurred. Sometimes days will pass and other times the fridge shuts off multiple times a day. We are at a loss and are very interested in whatever solution you discover!
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Old 01-30-2023, 07:29 AM   #18
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We have a 2019 Escape 21C. We are currently experiencing the same check light problem when running our fridge on propane.
It worked fine for nearly three years, with frequent use. The first time we saw the check light was last spring, and it has occurred intermittently ever since. We took it to an RV repair shop and they said the pressure was too low and adjusted it. Worked great for about 6 days. We changed the regulator and again it worked for days, but problem reoccurred. Sometimes days will pass and other times the fridge shuts off multiple times a day. We are at a loss and are very interested in whatever solution you discover!
Have you ever cleaned the burner and orifice? See page 5 of this service manual for troubleshooting "check light on" issue. There are several things listed but since this fridge has had frequent use the burner and orifice should be suspect. Shouldn't be too difficult to remove and clean.
https://fourwheelcampers.com/NewDome...atorManual.pdf
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Old 01-30-2023, 08:38 AM   #19
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We have a 2019 Escape 21C. We are currently experiencing the same check light problem when running our fridge on propane.
It worked fine for nearly three years, with frequent use. The first time we saw the check light was last spring, and it has occurred intermittently ever since. We took it to an RV repair shop and they said the pressure was too low and adjusted it. Worked great for about 6 days. We changed the regulator and again it worked for days, but problem reoccurred. Sometimes days will pass and other times the fridge shuts off multiple times a day. We are at a loss and are very interested in whatever solution you discover!
What model do you have? The model number is inside the refrigerator on the left edge. I've been having the same problem with a RM2454 in a 2022 Escape. Due to the cold here in Colorado I removed my batteries and can't completely test it, but I have done some testing and inspection of the gas system and made some changes.

Rubicon327's suggestion is a good start. I've done that as well and it's not difficult. In my case it was clean. I also removed the burner grate to make sure it had no obstructions and it was also clean. I tested the gas supply to the frig and it was 14 inches WC, which is to high so I adjusted it down to around 12 inches (Dometic recommends 11 inches). I can't check the pressure on downstream port from the gas solenoid until I put the batteries in.

I'm suspicious it might be the power board so I replaced the Dometic power board with a Dinosaur replacement. What I've been able to find out, is the Dometic power board will only try lighting the gas for 45 seconds and then the check light comes on and the board goes into lockout. To reset the board, you have to manually turn the power off and on, as you've no doubt discovered. Dinosaur boards, according to their literature, will retry ignition several times, automatically resetting the lockout. Again, I haven't been able to test it so I can't confirm that.

My RV Works (web and YouTube) has some great video's on many RV issues including refrigerators. I've found them helpful. I hope to reinstall my batteries in February and begin more testing. And if I find I've resolved the problem, I'll post it here.
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Old 01-30-2023, 11:44 AM   #20
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I tested the gas supply to the frig and it was 14 inches WC, which is to high so I adjusted it down to around 12 inches (Dometic recommends 11 inches). I can't check the pressure on downstream port from the gas solenoid until I put the batteries in.
Perfect. The Dometic service manuals say 11" w.c. needs to be maintained with 50% of overall system BTU demand. In rough numbers in the average Escape trailer that would be the equivalent of running either the furnace OR water heater and the large stove top burner. If you have the oven run the furnace OR water heater and both a large and small cooktop burner. With all that said I have found that 12" w.c. with no demand is just where you want to be.
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