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Norcold 412 Refrigerator "n" code and lockout


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Once again, we had a problem with our Norcold refrigerator giving us an "n" code. This has happened to us once before, but we were under warranty at the time.

Since it's a holiday, there is no one open to look at the problem, and I have a refrigerator full of food for this afternoon's cookout. The problem with many of the fault codes listed in the back of our thin manuals that come with the camper is this: if you reset the refrigerator by turning it off and on, and the code reappears, the board locks out all power sources. Even if there is a problem only with the gas operation, the board locks out all power sources (gas, a/c, and d/c) until the board is reset.

Resourceful Paul found the manual online, via a forum post on another forum, and it appears that we have solved the immediate problem, at least for now, and are running on a/c power to the fridge.

 

The "n" code can mean a number of things, including inadequate circulation of air to the fins and thermister that hangs off the fins. (This may have been our problem, as the top shelf was packed full.) Other causes are listed in the manual. Here's a link to the manual, which you may want to print off and add to your book. http://bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/n5051.pdf

 

The manual describes two ways to reset the board. One is very involved, removing lots of wires and using a jumper. Not the way an average person would like to attempt, as a wrong move could "fry" the board. The second method restarts modern boards through a series of steps on the control panel. That's what Paul used, so we could try the refrigerator on A/C mode. Directions are on page 56, Screen 6, Erase Fault Data History.

 

This fault can be caused by a number of things, including wasps' nests, dirty burner, etc. All of these will need to be checked on ours, however, at least for now we're running on A/C power and the food (and beer!) will stay cold.

 

Other links to read: http://www.justanswer.com/rv-motorhome/40nbc-hi-norcold-n412-3-lance-camper-locked.html

 

http://bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/reset.pdf

 

http://bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/newreset.pdf

 

We thank the repair man who posted these links, as it's saving our cookout today. Hope it helps one of you someday. I removed the stuff blocking the fins before Paul did the reset, and he checked for wasps' nests, etc, before he did the reset. Working ok for now.

 

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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I think I caused the original problem by the way I loaded the refrigerator. I had three quart and 1/2 bottle on the door shelf, plus other items, which probably caused the door to bow and leave a gap at the bottom. I also had the fins pretty well covered up with a wine box and other items on the top shelf. I won't do that again.

Today, we've been monitoring all day, and everything is working fine with plenty of air circulation and the excessive weight off the door (The water alone on the bottom shelf was probably close to 9 lbs.. The door was actually "creaking" when I opened it. I should have known better.) I think the excessive weight caused the door to bow a bit, and allowed cold air to spill out the bottom, keeping the refrigerator from doing its job, and causing the "n" fault.

Paul checked everything else in the flow chart, so I'm pretty sure the problems were all caused by the way i loaded the fridge. The burner carried a clear blue flame, nothing was dirty, igniter was working, etc. I'm lucky he's so handy.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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  • 11 months later...
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Well, the dreaded "n" code appeared again. We're at home this time, so we took it into the local repair facility. We'll see what they find out....

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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No, it wasn't an easy fix. Actually, it's not fixed at all. The local guy (who did a great job last time) didn't even pull out the trailer for two days, then blew breakers plugging it in... and we don't know why. Everything electrical is fine.

When they finally ran the refrigerator, they got an "n" code.(Norcold shorthand for not cooling.) Surprise, surprise.

The tech called Norcold the next afternoon, and they suggested a thermister loose, which it was, but it still gives an "n" code and only cools the freezer. We gave up, pulled it out, and came up to NC anyway. It probably needs a new cooling unit, but Paul is going to trouble shoot it first before taking it anywhere else, as he was able to fix it last time.

In the meantime, we're camping out of ice chests. The refrigerator is a very large cupboard for dry goods at this time. Oh, well.

The weather has been beautiful. Sadly, we're headed home again soon. Camping with an ice chest is far better than no camping at all....

 

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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We had problems with our refrig when it was first new and it turned out to be the cooling unit. They couldn't get access to it from outside so they had to pull it out in the trailer to fix it. Even though it was under warranty they charged us an extra $100 over what warranty paid because of that. Oliver's covered that expense because we hadn't even had the trailer for more than a few months and had only used it a few times. You gotta love the Oliver's and all those associated with their company. They do care.

 

Has anyone had to replace their refrig yet? I've heard that you have to take part of a wall out to get it out, is that true?

 

Pam

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Has anyone had to replace their refrig yet? I've heard that you have to take part of a wall out to get it out, is that true?

 

Pam

 

That is true with all of our 17 footers. It will not go out the rear window. The wall between the bathroom and the closet has to be removed in order to turn the corner with the fridge and get it through the door.

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

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Thanks. Not looking forward to ever having to replace the refrig. We live in a rural area where quality work on anything is hard to come by. I only know of one place where I would trust them to take out a wall and replace it and Tennessee is just too far away. :)

 

Pam

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Pam, our local guy says we need a new cooling unit, also. We haven't yet had the time to run thru all the diagnostics, but that sounds likely. I believe someone did have to have a refrigerator replaced (maybe Mountainborn?) early on. From what I understood, removing the wall wasn't such a big deal as expected, though it sounds daunting to me.

Our local guy says they do not have to remove the refrigerator to replace the cooling unit, just pull it out of the space, and work on it in the aisle. Is that what your repairman did?

 

We're debating, though, on whether to replace the whole refrigerator unit instead of the cooling unit if it must be repaired. We've had on again/off again problems with the Norcold for the last three years.... We had a control board replaced once already under warranty, and have had a series of issues with the codes over the last two years.

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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I had to pull out my file on the Oliver to see exactly what we had done. We have a Dometic and it was the heating unit they had to replace not the cooling like I thought. They pulled it out in the aisle to work on it but then failed to put it back in correctly and it shifted almost all the way out before we were even got out of the lot. They had charged extra because they said it was more work for the labor, although I fail to see how.

 

I hate to admit that we have less than 6,000 miles on our Oliver because of elderly parents and pets making it difficult to travel. We have done all our camping locally so we can get home quickly if needed. We have considered selling it but then we have hopes of being able to take off across country in the future.

 

Good luck and let us know if you replace it and how it goes.

 

Pam

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  • 1 year later...
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Pam, we did finally have our Norcold 412 replaced at the factory in July. With the current Dometic model they're using in the bigger new Oliver Legacy II. Servicing dealer said our cooling unit was shot.

The cooling unit for the Norcold comes in two different pieces, and is really expensive. There is no aftermarket version available like the Dometic models. Quotes on getting the cooling unit replaced rivaled getting a new refrigerator, and we are only about six hours from Hohenwald when we camp at Asheville. Plus, the new refrigerator comes with a factory warranty.

(Besides, we like camping in Tennessee. Some beautiful parks there.)

 

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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