Testing Westfalia fridge

Discussion in 'Mech Tech' started by AndyC, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. I've never really tested (or used) the fridge in my Westy Berlin.

    However, I have been informed it works.

    When I installed my 240v electrics, I removed the transformer and wiring from underneath the bed.

    Now, having seen a wiring diagram yesterday (http://www.amescador.nl/documenten/1978_Westfalia_Repair_Manual.pdf) part of me thinks I needed to leave that in place to run it off of 12v only.

    Am I right? Has anyone got a proper wiring diagram of all the fridge gubbins?

    If not, how do I test the fridge quickly to see if it works?
    Don't really want to leave it on for hours to see if it works.
  2. Found this:


    From what I can see, removing "T" would make no difference to the running of the fridge on 12v.

    I hope the fridge doesn't only work when engine is running.
    That'll be a pain!
  3. Should still work without "T" but I would get a 240v to 12v transformer to power the fridge for when on mains hookup.
    Absorption Fridges are power hungry so likely to drain your leisure battery quite quickly.

    You should be able feel heat from the fridge coil if the 12v element is okay.
    AndyC likes this.
  4. We have the same afaik there are two heating elements one 12v and one 110v, so removing the 110v won't affect the 12v element but you wont be able to convert it to run straight from the mains, we use a ctek battery charger when hooked up and run it on 12v all the time. The element should get cool after 10 minutes or so, I wouldn't even bother to try and run it off the battery. A frozen litre of milk is good to keep it cool for a couple of days without taking up any extra space (2 days later fresh milk!).
    AndyC likes this.
  5. rickyrooo1

    rickyrooo1 Hanging round like a bad smell

    I ripped the 110 out and just run 12 via ctek, 12 only kills the battery in a few hours.....
    AndyC likes this.
  6. I have a CTEK hooked up to 240v socket and leisure battery, so I will be keeping the fridge on 12v and getting round it that way.

    Maybe I'll check for the element warming up.

  7. When I bought mine it was wired directly to main battery, not for long, didn't fancy using it like that as I was sure the fridge would kill the battery. So to check if it worked used a transformer 240v to 12v (coleman coolbox one). It did and took a long time to cool ( max setting) but the fridge and transformer did get HOT! I just use this now as a cool box, others use a CTEK charger connected to leisure battery for when on hook up.
  8. Well whilst I was outside yesterday I turned it on. Nothing got warm (or cold).
  9. This is a circuit diagram for my 220V fridge. The original is stuck on the underneath of the control box. Nothing will happen on mine on the 12V section if the engine is not running. It runs on 220V only standing still. You should trace the wires to the elements and test them for continuity.
    Note my comments about the thermostat and see it is not wired into the 12V section so if you run the 12V element off mains voltage via a transformer it will be permanently on. Better to step down to 120 V and use the hook up element I'd have thought, but then the 120V version may be different to mine.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  10. Cheers

    I'll test with a multimeter at some point.

    Ideally I need fridge to work regardless of engine being on. Hopefully that's easy to sort.
  11. Your westy fridge should work in 12 volts with engine off BUT it will eat all the power from the battery very quickly.
  12. That's ok. I'll only be doing that when hooked up to mains, as the charger will put juice back into the battery.
  13. Checked some of the wiring. The wire going into the thermostat has 12v coming from it. Can't quite see where the wires go after that!

  14. I've revamped the circuit diagram - hope it's clearer now.
    AndyC likes this.
  15. it's a power hungry monster....but does make ice when working OK :thumbsup:
    You need to confirm what type it is as there are several, but I suspect by looking at your stat control pic that it is the same as ours.
    If so, it is a Dometic RC150 or 152
    They are DC only, and here is a link to a service manual

    As they are DC, they are really simple. An element heats up inside a tube and drives the cooling process by changing the refrigerant gases into liquids.
    What's important is two things..the element heats up, and the refrigerant hasn't crystallised over time.
    You need to check all the connections, especially the two to the element, which is right under the fridge gubbins and sits vertically with the connections facing downwards.
    I haven't seen a replacement for this element as it's an odd size but they may be available if you look hard enough. Your best bet is to take the fridge box out and do the tests on the bench. You can clean all the dust and crap off the pipework (remember it gets hot in operation so keep it clean).
    A good 12v battery clipped to the two wires will soon tell you if it heats up. There is a fuse in line (in the engine bay just after the battery terminal connection for the leisure circuit) so check this.
    I would recommend a CTEK that has a constant voltage output function for when you're hooked up, as that worked best for us. The charge function alone struggles to keep up with the fridge draw, which can be 8 0r 9 amps per hour when really ragging it. (although the book says 5.6 it's more).

    If the element works and but the evaporator plate inside the fridge box doesn't get ice cold within 30 mins or so, then you need to turn the fridge upside down for a day or two to disperse any crystals that have formed. That's another reason why it's easier to work on the thing when it's out of the bus:rolleyes:

    Good luck....:cheers:
    pkrboo and AndyC like this.
  16. Legend. Cheers.

    I remember seeing a fuse or two in the engine bay coming off of the +ve lead of leisure battery, so will check them out. Although as I'm getting 12v at the thermostat dial, that should be ok.

    How quickly should the element get warm?

    I'm going out tomorrow in bus for an hours drive so will test it then.
  17. The element will start heating straight away so you'll feel it within a few minutes. As you've got 12v at the multi-plug, try tracing the earth. There is a small grub screw that stops the element falling out at the base of the tube. It's hard to reach when the fridge is in the van butI seem to recall it may need to grip the side of the element so may be an earth...?
    AndyC likes this.
  18. This thread has inspired me to see if I can get mine working too. Just need to finish the other jobs I am half way through!

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