Dinosaur Replacement Norcold Boards

February 7, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Service Issues, What's New 

As I have said in the past I’m a huge fan of Dinosaur brand replacement circuit boards. The only problem I have had was with the new Norcold “N” series- they have very complex circuit boards, along with many different models, so I doubted that Dinosaur would ever come out with an N series replacement board.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

Dinosaur N series board

Dinosaur N series board

This new board replaces the following Norcold part numbers:
621267,   621667.001,   621268,   621268.001,    621269,   621269.001,
621270,   621270.001,   621271,   621271.001,   619360,   619361,   632168.001

You can read more about it at the Dinosaur website

Obsolescence- finding parts

December 9, 2008 by · 12 Comments
Filed under: Op-Ed, Service Issues 

I wrote a blog post about cleaning the Norcold burner on my RV.net blog. On the refrigerator I was working on at that time (a Norcold 662), I needed to simply replace the burner.
I grabbed a new burner off the shelf, installed it, and everything was good to go.
I then went to re-order that burner, and found out that Norcold now considers anything over 10 years old to be obsolete.
Now- our current travel trailer is a 1977 model- just over 30 years old. It’s still in good shape (though it does suffer a bit from the ‘shoe makers children’ syndrome)- but I can still buy

1977 Airstream

1977 Airstream

factory parts for it, though a door lock is a mind numbing $500+, simply because it is hand machined, but I can still buy one.
On the Norcold burner, there is a new burner that will fit right in. The only difference is the original uses a compression connection, with a ferrule and copper sealing ring, and the new one uses a flare connection. A modification to a flare connection should not be at all hard, and it really wouldn’t be hard for Norcold to come up with a retrofit kit- a more reasonable one than the $200+ kit they have for the 900 series. All the kit would need would be the burner and a new tube (soft aluminum). I just cannot see telling a customer that their perfectly good 1996 refrigerator is not repairable because I cannot get a $30 part, and they have to spend $1200-1500 for a new one. On the other hand- I take a bit of liability on my shoulders by modifying a part like this, so…..

Even though I grew up in a very affluent period (relatively), a large reason was my parents remembering and observing the old adage- “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

I’ve also been running in to range parts being not available (safety valves and thermostats)- this time due to mercury content. While I understand this a bit more, it still isn’t easy to deal with.

Ah, well….

–Chris

TV Changes

May 27, 2008 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Service Issues, What's New 

Last week, my RV.Net blog post was on TV in your RV, and upcoming changes, including digital and Satellite HD reception.DTV.gov website link. A couple of things to keep in mind- the standard Winegard Sensar “Batwing” antenna will work just fine for Digital television- no need to buy a special “digital” or “HD” antenna.

There is a difference between Digital and HD. If you are going to buy a digital converter box for your RV, if you have an “HD capable” television, you will need to buy a high definition converter box. If, however, you have a standard tube type “SDTV”, one of the cheap , err…. inexpensive converter boxes will do just fine.
There is a good comparison of “Coupon Eligable converter boxes” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_CECB_units

Dometic and Norcold expand recalls

May 16, 2008 by · 29 Comments
Filed under: What's New 

Hmphh… all recalls, all the time 😉

Thanks to the many members of the RV.Net Forums, I found out about a couple of expanded recalls (the service centers are always the last to know!).

Norcold has expanded the recalls on their 1200 series “4 door” models to units built before February 2001 (the old cutoff date was March 1999). The official Norcold recall site still doesn’t have the information, but it can be found in this letter from Norcold to the NHTSA, which spells it out (basically, you are looking for the cooling unit serial number (not the refrigerator serial number), which is on the outside tank of the cooling unit- the new recall adds cooling unit serial numbers from 1008701 to 1273700.

The Dometic recall has expanded to add refrigerators built between May 2003 and September 2006- they have updated their recall web page to include this information.

The expanded Dometic recall- adding another ~750,000 to the ~925,000 refrigerators already recalled may have something to do with the recent change in cooling unit policy- adding another $40-50 million has got to hurt a bit.

Dometic Recall- the Saga Continues…

April 22, 2008 by · 55 Comments
Filed under: Op-Ed, Service Issues, What's New 

Well, I’ve been writing about the ongoing Dometic recall in this post and this post, and today I had an unwelcome finding- working on a refrigerator I had done the recall on nearly a year ago, but the cooling unit failed in the area concerned with the recall.

Called to order a new cooling unit, and was told that Dometic is no longer replacing failed cooling units out of the warranty period.

Needless to say, I am not a happy camper.

–Chris

On RVNetBlog- 5 Ways to Assist the RV Service Facility.

April 3, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Service Issues, What's New 

Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor is writing a great series of posts on things that people can do to help the RV Service center.
Highly recommended.

–Chris

Design vs. Quality vs…

April 1, 2008 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Op-Ed 

I know life is full of compromises, but they can sometimes drive a person crazy. I’m always wanting features and items from each of the travel trailers and tow vehicles we’ve owned and put them all together in to one ‘perfect’ rig. Now I’m wanting to take materials and designs from different RV equipment makers and roll them in to one perfect product..

Read more

Patterns of Failure

February 14, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Op-Ed, Service Issues 

Sometimes I run in to patterns of failure on different items- bad batches from the manufacturers, faulty designs, etc. The past few weeks I have run in to 2 different items that have been giving me problems.

The first is a fairly simple thing, but one that has potentially very bad consequences.. and that is a vent lid (yep- about the simplest thing there is). Read more

Long time, No post…

January 31, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Op-Ed, What's New 

Well, I’ve been very bad about posting here- or for that matter, responding to posts and emails. It’s that time of year in sunny Florida, so we’ve been slammed with work.

A couple of thoughts… another round of owner notifications on the Dometic recall has been issued (we’re getting 3 or 4 calls a day about it). So far Dometic has been excellent about replacing failed cooling units from the recalled models- we’ve been getting them within a week now, though I’ve only done 3 failed units- a very small percentage of total that have been recalled.

A bit ago I had a customer with a busted Fantastic vent lid. I’ve always known about their “fantastic” customer service, and now I have experienced it. Called up, spoke to Bob Beratta- even though the operator (crank) was good, he insisted on replacing it as well, just in case. The replacement lid and operator arrived in a couple of days- no charge- even though this was a 10 year old vent, third owner, and it had been left open and run under a tree. If it breaks, they replace it, no questions asked.

I’m also writing a weekly (though I missed last week ;)) blog at the Affinity RV.Net Blog– if I can squeeze more writing time out, I’ll keep this blog up to date as well.

All for now
–Chris

Dometic recall, part 2

January 24, 2007 by · 68 Comments
Filed under: What's New 

In my last post about the Dometic cooling unit issues, I said:

This recall does nothing to actually fix what is a defect in design and construction, it simply makes it so that when your thousand dollar plus appliance fails after a few years, it will not destroy your entire RV

It appears there may be hope, though, as Dometic has put up a web page for people to enter serial number and model number information to receive information about the upcoming recall.

Read more

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