There are some RV owners and technicians that feel that this is a part that does not need to be added to any fridge brand or model. But like it or not, the control panel on your RV fridge is here to stay. It does do some useful duties.
The Norcold control panel is an essential device that helps protect your food. Without it, your food will be at the mercy of your memory and how you set the fridge thermostat. The control panel makes it easy to adjust the temperature and signals you when there is a problem inside the fridge.
To learn more about this device, just continue to read our article. It explores the topic so you understand what the control panel does for both Norcold and Dometic fridges. Not to mention what it does to help you have healthy unspoiled food to eat.
One of the duties of this little device is to monitor the power conditions in your RV. For example, if you set the fridge to electric AC mode, then if the power goes out for any reason, the control panel automatically switches to propane mode.
This little switch keeps the power on in the fridge and makes sure it continues to provide cool air to keep your food from being ruined. Another duty the control panel does is monitor the fridge door.
If you did not close it all the way, the control panel notices this mistake and sets off an alarm to tell you that you left the door open. When you hear the alarm, you know you better hurry and close the door before the inside of the fridge warms up too much and costs you a lot more in energy use.
What the control panel also does besides those two functions is alert you to interior problems. The control panel holds the LCD screen that illuminates different fault codes when it detects a problem within the fridge and in one or more of its components.
The control panel will display up to 12 fault codes when the fridge is not operating as it should. This is far from a useless device as it helps protect your food as well as warn you of mechanical or electrical issues within the fridge.
This device is basically the same as the Norcold version. It will let you know what is happening within your fridge with only a glance at the panel. The control panel in this case is a user-friendly model that provides you with finger-tip control.
The Dometic control panel is an intuitive device that provides maximum convenience as well as ease of use. Part of its duties includes monitoring battery power. It will let you know when your battery is low on power and you need to re-charge it.
The control panel may be different on different Dometic fridge models. One is inside the freezer door at the top but the display is above the freezer door in full view of anyone in the kitchen.
The display will show all the different functions as well. According to the diagram in the manual, you have to open the freezer door to readjust your settings. The Norcold control panel is on the outside and your fridge and freezer doors remain closed.
You lose a bit of power with the Dometic brand control panel. The manual also says that the control panel display will show up to 5 error codes. Those error codes are found on page 19 of one manual.
This is an easy-to-use control panel but you have to get used to opening and closing the freezer door to make any adjustments from electric to propane to automatic modes.
The Nordic control panel is compatible with both Dometic and Norcold fridges. You would have to have the part number from those brands to be able to match up the Nordic control panel or monitor to your current fridge.
This display control panel will detect abnormal temperature fluctuations inside the fridge compartment. Then it will restart it automatically to try and solve the problem.
However, you may be hard-pressed to find this unit. The RV parts companies that we checked do not carry this product or even this brand of RV fridge parts. When we checked the Nordic website, they mentioned the cooling unit only and not the control panel.
Their cooling units can be found on different websites but no mention of a control panel made by this company. If you are looking for an alternative to both Norcold and Dometic, Dinosaur may be your best option.
We mentioned the Nordic monitor system earlier but that part is not listed on their website either. But it was mentioned on a parts website. Other than that, there is no Nordic display control panel for your RV fridge.
There are many sources for this situation and since it is an electrical-powered device, the usual electrical sources should be checked first. The first step would be to see if the unit turns on or is turned on.
Sometimes people forget that they have not turned their fridge on and think they have a major problem. After making sure the unit was turned on, check the fuses, breakers, and battery to see if power is getting through to the fridge.
If not, then replace the fuse, reset the breaker, or recharge the battery. Sometimes, people forget to turn the battery disconnect to the proper position shutting off the power to the fridge.
The dc or LO error code will tell you that the DC power to the control panel is too low. So check your battery when you see that code illuminated on the display screen.
If you see no display on the LCD screen, that means that there is no power being delivered to the fridge. The source for this could be the above mentioned options or you may have a short or bad wire in the system somewhere.
Another possibility is that someone forgot to plug the power cord in when you started your trip or settled in your campsite. If you see a lone A on the display screen, it is telling you that there is no AC power reaching the control panel either.
Check the outlet first before checking the usual electrical suspects. When you see a lone C that means there is not enough DC power to the control panel and you should contact a Norcold technician to resolve the issue.
If you see a lone S, H, or r on the display screen, that means there are problems with the control panel and you do need to contact a technician to repair or replace the panel.
For the Norcold fridge, the settings usually go from 1 to 9 for the temperature end of the device. The #1 is the warmest setting and 9 is the coldest. You want to be somewhere in between those two settings when you have food in your fridge.
The Dometic control panel has only 5 temperature settings, at least for one model that we checked. It goes from 1 to 5 with 1 being the warmest and 5 being the coldest temperature you can have.
Another setting on both brands of RV fridges will be mode. There are the electric, the LP, and the automatic modes you can choose between. The automatic will switch your fridge power from propane to electric or back again when it detects a problem with either source of power.
The control panels for both brands of RV fridges are not that complicated and they do not have a wide variety of settings on them.
You can contact the two companies directly and see what they have for sale. However, they may not sell their products over the Internet. Dometic has one for $1899 but it is not available through internet means.
Most likely, you will have to go to an approved Norcold or Dometic dealer or your RV brand's dealers to get the right part for your fridge. There are various RV parts and accessories stores that may carry them and you would have to find one near you to see what they have in stock.
RV fridge control panels are far from being useless devices. They perform a variety of duties to help you preserve your expensive food items. Not only do they monitor the temperatures inside the fridge and freezer but they also switch power sources when given the command to do so.
Then, these control panels receive signals that something is wrong inside the fridge and display the appropriate fault code for you to deal with. Sometimes, those codes tell you that a technician is the only person to handle the problem.