Dometic (Electrolux) fridge : Changing the heating element.

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Dometic (Electrolux) fridge : Changing the heating element.

Postby Simon » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:29 am

Dometic (Electrolux) fridge : Changing the heating element.

You wake up in the morning to find a puddle of water in front of the fridge – Ice in the freezer box is starting to melt and come away and in theory you are going to lose all that stored food.

Don't Panic :

First, if you can switch it over to gas do so... (it will be a right pain to make sure it is alight if it has not been used on gas in some while – dust builds up around the burner nozzle ) - that will buy you some time.

Now you may think that you will have to call out the local engineer to get it fixed (a daunting & expensive task if you are not in your native country) – but the job is actually quite a simple one.

WARNING : This tutorial is for the "Proper" replacement of a heating element – rather than a "hack job" on the fridges wiring system that could be potentially dangerous (as I have seen in other less safety conscious advice ) : if you are not reasonably confident in handling the job – seek professional assistance ! - the job is an easy one, but care is required at each step.

These fridges work by heating up the refrigerant liquid into a gas state (which is in a sealed loop) and the resultant condensing of the refrigerant liquid absorbs heat.

At the back of the fridge there is a simple insulated tube that contains:
the refrigerant feed pipe
a gas chimney
a 12 volt heating element
a 240 volt heating element

The likely culprit is the 240 volt element. (since most people run their fridges off the mains link rather that through the battery link)

First, go to any "competent" camping/caravan/motorhome shop armed with your fridge model number.. and ask for the replacement element – most decent ones will stock it or be able to obtain it swiftly.. ( I bought three - just in case, and at £14 each, the sense of security is well worth it)

Before starting - turn the gas off at the fridge (and at the cylinder) and disconnect your electricity supply. ! - watch out if you have been running on gas, the chimney will still be quite hot...

Open up the top vent panel on the outside of the caravan (2 plastic lock screws) and locate the gas feed.

Disconnect the gas pipe at the union nearest to the fridge (you will need a spanner) and very gently move it out of harms way.

Go back inside to the front of the fridge and locate the hidden mounting screws(open the front door, they are behind plastic grommets in the side wall) and remove..

Go round the back again and check for any "extra" mounting points (some manufacturers add extras)

Give the fridge a gentle push (on the frame – not anything that looks fragile) and it should slide forward a few inches. Go back to the front and pull the fridge out about a quarter of its depth.

You now have access to the wiring panel on the top of the fridge at the front and will have access to the flue at the back to remove the element.

Looking at the wiring box on top of the fridge (front left) you should see a clearly marked plastic cover protecting the junctions – remove the cover and inspect the junction – there will be a clearly marked 240v positive and negative take off that run into a plastic shrouded cable – please note that the shrouded cable has an earth wire that runs over to the right hand side of the fridge (this also needs to be removed) – remove the 240v feed.. (and mark the cable positions with a pencil on the frame for future reference.

Remove any cable ties on the top of the fridge that further secure the elements power supply routing

This should now free you to push the wires to the back of the fridge.

Go around the back and gently pull the wires through – this should now indicate which of the heating elements you need to remove from the chimney flue. (the two heating elements look the same – but are a different rating (ie: 240v : 35w & 12v :25w).

The chimney is a thin metal vertical shroud on the right hand side of the back of the fridge and contains insulating material.

It is next to impossible to remove the element directly from the chimney due to the elements shaping (45 degree bend) – You will notice that the chimneys shroud has a crimp running vertically down its length – by placing your hands around the shroud at the top, and compressing the shroud, you should be able to "unhook" both sides a bit like a zipper.

Once you have unhooked enough of the shroud to get at the element withdraw it.

Replacement is the exact reverse of removal – but there are some points to be ware of.

Make sure you secure the wire feed across the top of the fridge in the location you found it (avoids chafing) and make sure you tighten all gas connections properly before turning on the gas at the cylinder.

Hope this helps (more pictures to come)
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Simon
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Re: Dometic (Electrolux) fridge : Changing the heating eleme

Postby Fadhila » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:30 am

I like the information about the dometic fridge, because I have a fridge like that. What should exactly do if the temp of a fridge will change faster without warning? How about the fridge in bus, like my friend problem, like if he locked the bus the temp of the fridge will change?
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Re: Dometic (Electrolux) fridge : Changing the heating eleme

Postby Simon » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:28 pm

The temperature of the fridge depends on the difference in temperature between inside and outside :
the higher the temperature outside : the less effective the fridge is - the waste heat has to go somewhere :-)
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