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Old 08-01-2018, 09:47 PM   #1
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Default High altitude problem???

Just returned from a week at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon....8,800 feet..

Had a problem with the Dometic propane refrigerator..... could not keep things cool enough causing us to get ice chests and ice everyday...pain in the ass....

Have any of you had problems with this situation or can explain what you did....
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Old 08-02-2018, 04:10 AM   #2
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Hey man. I'm the master of problems with Dometic fridges! But I did the north rim last year. Great place, eh? Sorry to hear that you had problems but I wanted to post and say that with all my problems, I didn't have any with my Dometic at the north rim. So I don't think it's the altitude. We frequently camp in the White Mtns near Alpine AZ which is higher and I haven't experienced them there either. I'm heading to Glacier in 10days with an iffy Dometic. Could have to do ice as you did if it doesn't cool down. I'm wondering, did you try putting ice in the Dometic freezer and if so, did that work?
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Old 08-02-2018, 04:19 AM   #3
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That said. I think that I remember reading that the propane appliances were calibrated for 4,500 feet. Someone else, I'm sure, is more knowledgeable in how altitude can affect pressure in the system. What I have learned about Dometics is that they are very shall we say finicky about pressure.
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Old 08-02-2018, 05:04 AM   #4
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Default Calibration issue

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Originally Posted by GallenH View Post
That said. I think that I remember reading that the propane appliances were calibrated for 4,500 feet. Someone else, I'm sure, is more knowledgeable in how altitude can affect pressure in the system. What I have learned about Dometics is that they are very shall we say finicky about pressure.
I seem to recall reading in the owners manual for the Dometic propane fridge that 3,250 feet is the maximum.....we were up at 8,800 feet...

We did have frozen food in the ice box.... I could hear the propane click and start...and the outside got a little warm on the exhaust... but, it wouldn't cool down....got hotter each day with the ambient temperature....was around 85-90 degrees...

As the evening temp fell the unit cooled off to around 55 or 60 but went back up to 70 degrees.... during the day...

One more thing...it was hard to get a level ground....lots of inclines everywhere....we used leveling blocks wherever we could.....
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Old 08-02-2018, 07:58 AM   #5
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Mine has worked well at 11,000ft so your problems are not with the design of the burner. Check propane pressure, clean the burner tube with alcohol and remove the propane orifice to see if it is clear.
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Old 08-02-2018, 12:33 PM   #6
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Color me lucky but I have never had any problem with a propane refrigerator in any of our rigs over the years because of altitude. It is, in my opinion, very important to level the rv properly to assure the maximum performance of the frig and that has proven to me to be even more important at altitude. We camp at or above 10,000 with some regularity every summer.

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Old 08-02-2018, 12:49 PM   #7
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From the Dometic manual,

Quote:

OPERATING REFRIGERATOR AT HIGH ALTITUDE

All gas appliances experience lowered efficiency (or rating) at high altitude. This is a direct result of lower atmospheric pressure and oxygen levels, and is not a defect of the refrigerator.

Reduced cooling performance and burner outage may occur at altitudes higher than 5500 feet above sea level (while operating on LP gas). Always operate refrigerator on electric power at altitudes higher than 5500 feet.

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Old 08-02-2018, 12:51 PM   #8
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.

Did the outside temp drop below 32F at night?
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Old 08-02-2018, 01:14 PM   #9
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Default This is good to know....

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Originally Posted by BBQ View Post
From the Dometic manual,
Thank you...... I will check it out.....

Maybe it's nothing more than that.....my problem was that I didn't have electricity where we were......and my generator failed to continue working..( turned out to be a bad switch)......

I don't know...how much power it would have used if I had just run it off my house batteries??

I have a 160 watt ZAMP solar panel.... normally it keeps the system charged up during the day and at night it falls to around 12.8 or 12.7....volts.

How much further would it have dropped with the refrigerator running....
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Old 08-02-2018, 01:28 PM   #10
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I live at 5000' and regularly take the RV above 10k ft and I agree that efficiency drops with my refrigerator but it never stops working on propane. I try to plan ahead and overly cool the interior before going into the high country, and it helps me to keep the thing full to have less dead air space to rechill when I open it, and maybe add a little thermal mass. Once it warms up, it takes a long time to rechill, there isn't much cooling power in mine
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