RV Refrigerator Control Panel Overview

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The RV control panel on your built in refrigerator may seem like an unneeded accessory, but it’s crucial for choosing when and how to use each type of power to keep your food cold and safe. Using the right combination of electrical power and propane can save you money as well as ensure your RV refrigerator doesn’t lose power at the wrong time. This video covers the use of the RV control panel, as well as indicator codes and when to alternate from one form of power to the other.

Some of the important points covered in this instructional video are:

  • The importance of the RV control panel
  • When to use automatic vs. LP
  • How automatic mode works on your RV refrigerator
  • How to ensure your food won’t spoil if the campground electricity fails
  • How to set the RV control panel for each individual camping situation

Uses for an RV Control Panel

The day you put your ice coolers away in the garage was a happy day. This meant you were done camping in tents, and had moved up to enjoying the open road in your own RV. Your refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in your RV, and it’s a multi-powered machine. This means it runs on either LP gas, 120-volt AC power, or 12-volt DC power with the use of an invertor. The RV control panel determines which one the refrigerator is using now as a default, as well as whether it will switch to an alternate power source if the primary one goes out. Using the control panel to choose the right power source for each camping situation can not only save you money, it can make sure your food stays cold in camp and out on the road.

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5 Responses to “RV Refrigerator Control Panel Overview”
    • Customer Service Techs

      Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your refrigerator issue. To provide more specific troubleshooting information we need the make, model and year of the refrigerator. It’s probably either a Dometic, or Norcold. However there are a few basic troubleshooting tips you can look for. Most of these refrigerators operate on either 120-volt power, or LP gas with assistance from a 12-volt DC source. If you have no lights on the control panel, check to make sure the unit is plugged in to the outlet. This is usually found outside by removing the lower vent behind the refrigerator. Next check to make sure the circuit breaker on the distribution panel is working properly. As a precaution, check to make sure other 120-volt and LP appliances are working such as the microwave oven and stove top. This will verify you have power and LP working. After that, you’ll need to verify 120-volt and 12-volt power is coming to the refrigerator and that the fuses inside the ignition module are not blown. To go any further, we would need more specific info on the the make, model, and year. Hope this helps.

  1. Lynelle Phillips

    I have an original Dometic in my 1995 Fleetwood Bounder that works perfectly on AC when hooked up to shore line. It worked for a day on LP gas on the road then stopped working. I reset the control manual per the instruction manual, still nothing. I even reset the carbon dioxide detector (which definitely works), but still no frig. Camping World had done an LP inspection and fixed a small leak and tightened the valve a bit a month before I left. The stove and oven were working, so I know it’s not the LP gas line. I even had one truck stop check to make sure the LP tank was still full (he put in one gallon of gas, so it was full). One website suggested I blow out the gas lines by turning on the stove for a period of time (like ten minutes), which I did (I really didn’t see how that would help but I tried it anyway). The frig still will not kick on with LP gas only and the frig control panel has a constant “check” light. On my road trip I finally gave up and threw away some groceries that got bad and bought a big coleman cooler which took up all of the space under my dining table. I’m desperate, I want to use my frig when I’m traveling on the road with the LP gas but my frig apparently does not. What else can I do besides handing over my vacation-home-on-wheels back to Camping World for many months with a repair bill I can’t afford?

    • Customer Service

      Hi, Lynelle. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your refrigerator issue. There are several things you can check, starting with the batteries to ensure they are fully charged which is required to open the gas valve and run the spark ignitor. Next, check your 12-volt fuse in the distribution center and in the control module. This is the back box accessed from outside through the vent. There is a 12-volt DC and 120-Volt AC fuse in that module. Next, try lighting it on LP and listen for the sound of LP going through the tube to the burner assembly and the sound of the spark ignitor trying to start with a clicking sound. You may need to take the burner assembly apart and clean it out and make sure the ceramic electrode of the spark ignitor is not cracked which would cause the spark to “carbon track” or follow the crack instead of jumping to the burner. There are several videos on the site showing all of this.

  2. douglas

    did not realize my fridge would run on coach batteries thought the automatic was for gas or ac power this tip is gonna save my lifeline batteries when i’m dry docked thanx guys……..


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