2 Way Fridge Switch-Over Issue

One time last summer, when I turned on the fridge, it immediately went to ignite the propane. This was unexpected, as we were on shore power in the driveway. I cycled through the on/off process, played with combinations of this including the gas button, but it still insisted on running on propane. A quick bit of troubleshooting with the manual lead me to think there might be an issue with one of the fuses, located inside the control box.

I pulled the lower vent cover and the black control box is sitting right there. A closer inspection though, soon revealed that it has been placed right up against an aluminum enclosure that covers a bunch of electrical cables as they travel through that area. Getting access to the cover screws, let alone getting the actual cover off, proved to be an onerous task. As we were soon heading out, my Plan B became a cycling of the switches again. Luckily enough, the electrics kicked in and we were OK. Not really sure why it worked, but we were OK...for now. It functioned fine all last summer, so getting to the root cause was happily deferred.

Fast forward to this summer and all was good until the third time out. All my efforts with the switch cycling solution failed, so I figured I needed to get to those fuses. Knowing the task at hand, I wanted to get a look at how the cover was constructed, what held it in place, and how could free up some room to manoeuvre it off. A quick Google search showed me the inside of the cover, and from what I saw, there was only a small lip at the bottom that would prevent it from coming straight up and off. To get this extra room, I unscrewed the entire mounting plate that the control box sits on, from the back of the fridge. This then allowed me to wiggle the box around enough so that I could pull the cover a bit forward, then up to remove. I had to be very careful to ensure I was not also pulling any of the wiring connections and circuit board gizmos along with it.

A visual and continuity check of the fuses ruled them out as a cause. Perhaps it was the circuitry or the relay that controls the switch-over, but it was working just the previous weekend. Clearly one of those elusive to solve intermittent problems. Another cycle of the switches failed, but I did notice a brief flash from the Auto indicator light. When pushed in, the Auto selection circuit is engaged, and the light comes on. In Gas selection, the light remains off. I had first assumed this light was tied to the on/off switch, but this might not be the case. I now cycled this switch a number of times, and came to the conclusion that perhaps the Auto circuit was not being powered up and engaged. As the switch is rarely used, a little oxidation on the contacts may have occurred, impacting the circuit. Finally able to get the light to stay on, the switch-over occurred and the fridge was in electric mode. If you listen closely just after you push in the Auto switch, you can hear a tiny click of the relay that allows the A/C voltage to flow to the heating element. In gas mode, you will hear the gas solenoid valve engage, and the igniter going off.

I will be keeping an eye on this, now that I know where the real cause of the issue may well be. Now I had to put back on the cover I previously removed, but before I did, I took the opportunity to cut off the lip that was on the bottom. This will allow the cover to be removed a little easier, without having to remove the entire assembly bracket. Or so I hope.


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