Norcold RV refrigerators are known for their reliability and performance, but proper wiring is crucial for their safe and efficient operation. This article provides a comprehensive guide to understanding Norcold RV refrigerator wiring diagrams, including installation and troubleshooting tips.
Understanding Norcold RV Refrigerators
Norcold is a leading manufacturer of refrigerators designed specifically for recreational vehicles (RVs). Norcold RV refrigerators operate differently than residential refrigerators by using an absorption cooling system powered by 12V DC electricity or LP gas. Absorption cooling has no moving parts, making Norcold refrigerators well-suited for the shock and vibration of travel on the road. These refrigerators provide reliable food preservation while off the grid.
Norcold offers RV refrigerators in two major categories based on their power sources:
These models can run on 12V DC electricity through the RV battery or on LP gas from the RV’s fuel system. Having dual power sources provides flexibility and a backup option. Two-way Norcold RV refrigerators have lower energy demands, making them well-suited for smaller RVs. Popular two-way models are the N300 and N600 series.
As the name suggests, these refrigerators can operate on three power sources:
- 12V DC electricity
- 120V AC electricity via shore power
- LP gas
Having three power source options allows the flexibility to choose the most economical option available. For example, using shore power at an RV park to minimize battery drain. Three-way models like the N1000 are larger in capacity and typically used in bigger motorhomes.
Key Electrical Components
Understanding the function of each electrical component is important for proper Norcold RV refrigerator installation and troubleshooting:
Power Supply Module: Converts 12V DC power from the RV battery into lower voltages needed for the electronic control board, temperature sensor, and LP gas ignition. Usually located near the back of the refrigerator.
Electronic Control Board: Manages major refrigerator functions, including temperature regulation, mode selection (AC, DC, or gas operation), and fault code diagnosis. Located in the rear electrical compartment.
AC Heater Element: For three-way models, this heating element produces heat for the absorption cooling system while operating on 120V AC shore power. Located near the burner assembly.
Temperature Sensor/Thermistor: Monitors interior refrigerator temperature, signaling adjustments from the control board to maintain the set temperature. Located within the cabinet.
Fuses: Overcurrent protection devices that interrupt the circuit if electrical spikes or faults occur. Various locations including the 12V DC converter box.
Wiring Diagram Basics
It’s important to consult the manufacturer’s wiring diagram for any Norcold refrigerator model you are installing or servicing. These diagrams include valuable information:
Wire Colors: Standardized wire colors indicate the function (e.g. red for positive, white for negative/return). Wires must be correctly matched.
Terminal Connections: This shows the location of electrical terminals on each component and the corresponding wire connections. Proper connections are critical.
Fuse Rating and Locations: Indicates fuse amp rating and locations in line with respective electrical loads and circuit design. Allows easy fuse checking.
Grounding Requirements: Provides diagrams for properly grounding the refrigerator according to code. Ensures occupant safety.
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RV Refrigerator Wiring and Installation
When installing a Norcold RV refrigerator, the first step is to disconnect all power sources to the RV – unplug from 120V AC shore power, disconnect the 12V DC battery terminals, and shut off the LP gas valve at the tank. This de-energizes all wiring and allows safe access. Before connecting any wiring or altering the existing wiring configuration, carefully compare the Norcold wiring diagram to the actual physical wires and terminals inside the refrigerator electrical compartment. This allows you to positively identify each wire run.
Then double-check that all routing and terminal connections accurately match the diagram before restoring power. Properly secure any wiring with approved fasteners, ensuring no wires risk being damaged by contacting sharp metal corners or edges. The final step is to thoroughly test refrigerator operation in all available modes – 120V AC, 12V DC, and LP gas – to verify full and proper functionality.
Many Norcold refrigerator operation problems originate from a power supply issue. Start troubleshooting by methodically checking all power modes and testing the condition of any fuses with a multimeter. Verify that fuse types and amp ratings match what is specified on the unit’s wiring diagram. Use the multimeter to also check wire terminal voltages to compare with the voltage levels designated on the wiring diagram. This can identify power faults.
Visually inspect all wiring runs and terminals for concerning signs like damage, overheating damage, melted connectors, or corrosion. Another helpful troubleshooting step is connecting a control board scanner that reads historical fault code logs providing diagnostic clues to reoccurring issues. For complex or difficult-to-resolve refrigerator problems, contact an authorized Norcold RV service professional for assistance.
While owning an RV provides greater freedom and convenience for travel adventures on the road, it also makes individuals responsible for properly maintaining complex systems like the Norcold refrigerator. Consultation with a qualified RV service technician is strongly advised if installing a refrigerator or troubleshooting anything beyond basic faults. However, RV owners can take common-sense safety steps when forced to examine electrical wiring issues on their own. Always fully disconnect 120V AC power via unplugging from shore power or shutting off the power pedestal.
Additionally, disconnect the 12V DC battery system at the main terminal or battery disconnect switch if equipped. For gas-powered operation, shut off the LP gas valve at the tank before disconnecting any gas supply lines to the refrigerator. Do not attempt to modify or override the OEM refrigerator wiring without explicit authorization from Norcold. Always replace blown fuses with the exact same fuse type and amp rating specified on the unit’s wiring diagram. Taking these basic precautions will help ensure personal safety when making minor refrigerator repairs. However, complex electrical issues should be handled by certified technicians.