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You know the scenario – you stop at a motorway services for a coffee. When you turn off the engine, your fridge bleeps at you and you change over to gas. And then, when you drive off for your next stint, you forget to change the fridge back to engine generator and waste gas. Or perhaps when you arrive at your pitch, you put the fridge onto gas until you are settled and hooked-up. And forget to change over to mains.
Wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of the Dometic RM8501 that you had fitted, you’d persuaded Rex to fit an automatic RM8505? As it happens, Dometic do a retro-fit automatic panel for the RM8501 to change it to an RM8505. It is a ten-minute exchange job. The new panel looks exactly like the old one, except that there is an extra button with a letter ‘A’ for Automatic. The new panel comes with two ribbon cables already attached – see picture DSC05658. The two-way cable has a thermostat at the end, and the nine-way cable has a connector at the end. I unplugged the hook-up for safety and turned off the fridge. I’m not sure if it was necessary but better safe than sorry. I removed these new cables – they are each held in place by small plastic lugs. It was necessary to loosen – not remove – the four small silver screws that hold the printed circuit board in place. You can see the four screws, but not the lugs, in picture DSC05659. The old panel is held in place on the fridge by three plastic catches. The first needing to be released is under the panel and is a large square one that can be pushed up and the panel gently pulled out. There are then two more catches, one on either side, which need to be pressed in to finally release the panel. The two cables need to be released from the old unit by loosening the four screws and easing the cables out of their plugs. The old cables are then attached to the new unit, the screws tightened and the unit gently slid back into place. Switch on and the gas should fire up. Reconnect the hook-up and the fridge should automatically change over to mains. Start the engine and – Hey! Presto! – the generator will take over.
There are several different units, and you need to get the correct one by telling Dometic the product number of your RM8501. You will find this on the info panel at the bottom right of your fridge, behind the salad drawer. In picture DSC05660 you can see the product number of mine at the top – 00921078394. Dometic will supply you with the replacement number of the panel – mine was 2890187020.
I ordered mine from Leisurespares (who will also find the replacement part number for you, if you ask). The price was £137.86 including P&P.