The basic refrigerator technology is ammonia gas absorption, invented several years ago. It provides rugged construction that time (50 years) has proven to be reliable for RV refrigerators.
Most RV refrigerators work with propane being burned or electricity being used to heat a sealed generator that is filled with water and ammonia. As the mixture begins to boil, it is passed to a separator, which separates the water from the ammonia. The water then goes to an absorber and the ammonia to a condenser. The condenser allows the heated ammonia to dissipate its heat and condense back into a liquid. The ammonia is then sent to an evaporator where it mixes with compressed hydrogen gas and evaporates into a vapor that is very cold. The vapor is then pumped through cooling coils inside the refrigerator, cooling the interior and any food you have there. The vapor then goes to the absorber to recombine with the water and start the process all over again.
mini refrigerator A common problem in the control system may occur with the main power board. The board components are typically encased in an epoxy for protection. However, this reduces heat transfer from the component to the board resulting in an overheated component failing. The only fix is to replace the board.
A common problem in the refrigeration system is it not cooling down adequately to keep the food from spoiling. This can be from a variety of causes, the most common is the unit is not level (i.e. the RV is not level) or the door not staying closed when driving the RV. To solve, turn off the RV refrigerator for one or two hours, level the RV again and turn it back on. With the door coming open, check the door latches and replace if weak or it is too easy to open the door.
Some maintenance things you can do to ensure proper operation and longevity of the RV refrigerator include:
1. Clean your flue/burner
On the outside of the RV is a door giving you access to the back of the refrigerator. Inside you will see flue/orifice /burner. Inspect for loose soot and rust. Clean with rubbing alcohol or replace as necessary.