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Thread: Crazy Fridge Controls???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1

    Default Crazy Fridge Controls???

    Hello fellow van lovers... Hoping somebody can help a new guy out...

    Just bought my '76 VW Westy last week. Honestly didn't do a heck of a lot of research prior to buying. My one stipulation was that it needed to run really smooth (which, so far is looking very promising - fingers crossed). Now that I've had it for a week though and had a chance to clean it up and start testing things to see what works and what doesn't, I've discovered a couple things that seem to be strange by comparison to most of the pictures and descriptions I'm finding online.

    The biggest discrepancy is probably the controls for the fridge and the converter control panel for switching between aux 12V power and 110V external power. It's a Dometic fridge system (that appears to be part of the original package) and it all appears to be there (in a somewhat dilapidated state mind you) other than the control panel that should be mounted on the wall above the fridge. At first I thought that maybe the previous owner had removed it for one reason or another, but there doesn't even appear to be any holes in the wall where it might have been.

    The other thing I noticed is that where the thermostat dial is (in the cabinet with the refrigeration unit is housed), there's a switch to change between 12V and 110V. This doesn't appear in the picture of the thermostat location in my owners manual or most of the other pictures I've seen online (I think this switch should be in the "non-existent" control panel above the fridge).

    I've attached a couple of pics. Is this a different variation of the fridge control system from Westfalia? Or is it possibly a half-ass retrofit of a fridge?

    In any case, I tried plugging the van into external power. The two plugs near the floor work, but the fridge doesn't seem to be working at all. I don't have a auxiliary battery yet so I can't test if it would work on 12V power. By the looks of it, however, I'm guessing that it's probably too old and rusty to work anyway. Does anyone know where I could purchase a new refrigeration unit and possibly control panel for above the fridge? Or is the current one I have salvageable?

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    isle of wight
    Posts
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    Default

    you have an original P27 fridge, just like in my californian registered 1978 westy. If you fit a 2nd battery plus split relay, it will take 4 hours to drain that battery, but will not touch your starter battery. Best way to run the fridge is onthe move, and on its highest setting. Then it'll be cold enough to keep the milk from cheesing out. I've found that the start of a journey is best done with a whole bunch of those blue ice block thingies from your home freezer, kept cold by the bus fridge on full pelt until you get to the venue. Keep the box closed as much as poss, and the cold will last a day. Not figured how it runs on hook up (city power) yet...I am in the UK, so we run on 240V, so cannot explore this. Both you and I need a schematic of the control panel wires as mounted into the wall above the fridge lid. That panel should have a few things...a volt meter to test the aux battery, and its rocker switch beside it. There are also a couple of switches to change between batt and city(hook up) power, and an on switch. Lastly there should be a wind-round timer to charge the aux batt.from city power. Despair not about the appearance of the workings of the fridge in the left hand box.....have you seen the colour of your engine bay?? and that still works!!!
    Kindest regards from the UK, Tim

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    39

    Default 110 AC Fridge

    [QUOTE=frankthebus;15494]Hello fellow van lovers... Hoping somebody can help a new guy out...

    Just bought my '76 VW Westy last week. Honestly didn't do a heck of a lot of research prior to buying. My one stipulation was that it needed to run really smooth (which, so far is looking very promising - fingers crossed). Now that I've had it for a week though and had a chance to clean it up and start testing things to see what works and what doesn't, I've discovered a couple things that seem to be strange by comparison to most of the pictures and descriptions I'm finding online.

    The biggest discrepancy is probably the controls for the fridge and the converter control panel for switching between aux 12V power and 110V external power. It's a Dometic fridge system (that appears to be part of the original package) and it all appears to be there (in a somewhat dilapidated state mind you) other than the control panel that should be mounted on the wall above the fridge. At first I thought that maybe the previous owner had removed it for one reason or another, but there doesn't even appear to be any holes in the wall where it might have been.

    Actually, 1976 was a great Westy year to have. A bay window with most of the Vanagon cool stuff! I have an 81 AC Westy, (Vanagon) with a Dometic fridge, (110/12volts, propane) but it's a different type. So, I can't help you too much.


    The other thing I noticed is that where the thermostat dial is (in the cabinet with the refrigeration unit is housed), there's a switch to change between 12V and 110V. This doesn't appear in the picture of the thermostat location in my owners manual or most of the other pictures I've seen online (I think this switch should be in the "non-existent" control panel above the fridge).

    I've attached a couple of pics. Is this a different variation of the fridge control system from Westfalia? Or is it possibly a half-ass retrofit of a fridge? (see above)

    In any case, I tried plugging the van into external power. The two plugs near the floor work, but the fridge doesn't seem to be working at all. I don't have a auxiliary battery yet so I can't test if it would work on 12V power. By the looks of it, however, I'm guessing that it's probably too old and rusty to work anyway. Does anyone know where I could purchase a new refrigeration unit and possibly control panel for above the fridge? Or is the current one I have salvageable?

    I believe the Dometic fridge when working on 110AC is actually plugged in to a receptacle and not wired into the van or directly to the van's own 110ac wiring.

    Thanks in advance!

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