Question about Thetford Norcold DE0051 Refrigerator

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Refer Norcold DE 0051 not getting cold

I have this unit in my boat. It was working great until the other day I went to get a cold one and it wasn't cold. It sounds like it wants to work. Oh, my boat partner was getting the ice off the coils a few years ago with an ice pick. Of course he stabbed the coil so I wound up replacing the whole cooling unit about 3 years ago. So it is mostly new except for the box. Help!!


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  • bbcableguy Jan 01, 2008

    I have this unit in my boat. It was working great until the other day I went to get a cold one and it wasn't cold. It sounds like it wants to work. Oh, my boat partner was getting the ice off the coils a few years ago with an ice pick. Of course he stabbed the coil so I wound up replacing the whole cooling unit about 3 years ago. So it is mostly new except for the box. Help!!


  • bgraham830 Jul 18, 2008

    My DE 0051 was making a loud humming sound then stopped working. It cools when you first turn it on, but fades fast. Any ideas?



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Your cooling unit is shot, I suggest. Most likely, you've lost the R341 refrigerant. Norcold, so they can sell you another cooling unit at $500+, does not make these little fridges with a service port so you can recharge the system. Same with Dometic. Solution is to spend, again, $500+ for a new sealed unit that will fail in relatively short order (I'm on my second in five years) or buy a better refrigerator. I'm opting for a new fridge this go around (Vitrifrigo). Vitrifrigo has the needed service port.

Posted on Apr 15, 2009


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Hi captstu,

I'm Harvey th Master Plumber.

Your question is: Can you install an auxiliary thermostat on the DC power feed to stop the power draw when cooling is not required?

I understand your frustration. I live on a boat. Since the fridge thermostat is reducing the amp draw when the compressor is off, just remember to turn off the curcuit when you leave the boat and emptying the fridge. You are probly doing this already. Since any modification to a new unit voids the warranty I wouldn't go down that path. The unit should have been tested before installation. Water under the bridge. I agree with the manufacturer. I would tear it out and get a warranty replacement. Sorry, Norcold is right, this is the least painfull way out. It is beter than the cost of repair.

Feel free contact me again!
Please give me a rating here at before you sign off
Thank you,
Harvey your Master Plumber

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1 Answer


Firstly you only had their word that it was cold when you bought it. A fridge with a compressor should be kept upright when it is moved and if it isn't it should be allowed to settle for a few hours before switching on. Once switched on it can take several minutes for refrigeration to begin and that would only be known by somebody holding a hand against the evaporator. It could take significantly longer for the interior to cool significantly considering the low wattage of the motor.

I am wondering how long they tested it before declaring it was ok and saleable...

Getting the right polarity when connecting equipment to a direct current is paramount and rarely is there a second chance if you get it wrong - trial and error is not an option, especially if the unit contains electronics. It is possible you got it wrong.

I suggest you take a look through a magnifier at the circuit board tracks. If you find one cracked or burned you might be able to make a repair and be very lucky, otherwise you probably should take the unit to a specialist for repair or perhaps return it to the junkyard as faulty...

Apr 24, 2017 | Thetford Norcold Compact Refrigerator 1.7...

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