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GE PDS18SBMRBS not cooling


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#1 Exploding Fist

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:14 PM

I'm posting to track my repair. The symptoms appear to be common with this model, where the freezer appears to be functioning fine, but the fridge compartment isn't cooling at all. Searching around I found this post for my model http://appliantology...bs-not-cooling/ which suggests that the evaporator fan might be clogged with ice. This would make sense since I recall not long ago the sound of what my best guess would be a fan banging against an object at high speed (loud grinding). My guess is that eventually the fan seized. I unplugged the fridged and cleaned the inside. There was a strong smell of rotten milk coming from the fridge when it was off, so I made sure to do a thorough job. 

 

Removing the front panel (part 36) was a bit of a pain as I had to wedge the side of the fridge open with a screw driver to allow it to come out. Once out I noticed what appears to be sludge or mold underneith. Here is a picture.

 

muck.jpg

 

 

I carefully removed the foam covering the evaporator coils after removing some clear tape holding it down, trying to be careful not to break the foam. I powered on the fridge and observed the fan spinning without issues. I'm fairly certain I couldn't hear it spinning when the fridge was warm, so it's likely that the problem resolved itself with just melting everything in the unit.

 

fan.jpg

 

My next steps are to clean everything to get rid of the sludge and put everything back together. Hopefully the defrost timer isn't broken, and this is a simple repair. The question I have is:

 

1. Is there anything else I should do while I'm in here?

2. Do you spot anything else wrong that I need to take a look at, or is there anything else I should test?

3. What is the name of the tape that is holding down the foam, and is it important I use that tape to seal it?

 

Thanks!

 


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#2 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 05:46 PM

is the Fridge Damper open ?


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#3 Exploding Fist

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 06:04 PM

I had to look what that was :)


How can I tell if it is open or not? The bottom is off right now so I doubt there would be much airflow to determine if air is coming through. After taking the bottom off I found a chunk of ice below the fan, even 24 hours after unplugging it, so I'm guessing it was much worse before. 

 

Any idea on the tape question? I have some proper duct tape (the aluminium kind) if that would work well, or better. Otherwise I'm off to home depot ;)



#4 DurhamAppliance

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 06:38 PM

I use some sort of extreme foil tape found in the hvac section at home depot. I guess the most important thing is for it to be waterproof and freeze resistant.

 

and following up on the damper issue, make sure air can blow across the evap and  into the fridge and any air return ports must also be free of ice/obstruction. Put all temp controls on recommended setting


Edited by DurhamAppliance, 09 December 2012 - 06:58 PM.

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#5 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:01 PM

what are the Fridge and Freezer temperatures ?

can you post better pictures of the frost pattern on the Evaporator ?


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#6 Cactus Bob

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:03 PM

when reading your post it looks like you turned off the fridge and defrosted it ?

 

if this is true , it's a bad idea . now your back to zero , with no way to know anything

 

was the coil frozen up ? you have no way to know , you defrosted it

was the fan jammed ? you have no way to know , you defrosted it

was the drain blocked with ice ? you have no way to know you defrosted it

do you have a good frost pattern ? again you don' know

does the defrost heater work properly ? without a frozen coil even if you put it in defrost , it's not going to come on , so who knows !

 

never , never unplug a fridge that is not working properly , you loose the clues that tell you whats wrong

 

the best you can do is place the cover back on , plug it in , wait 24-48 hours then do the following

 

place the defrost timer in defrost , remove cover and be sure defrost heater is working

leave in defrost , within 30 mins it will come out of defrost , if not you got a bad timer

if it does , most likely you got a good timer

when your done , run a little water down the drain just to make sure it's working


Edited by Cactus Bob, 09 December 2012 - 07:04 PM.

SORRY ABOUT THE SPELLING , I FIX GREAT , I DON'T SPELL WELL

#7 Exploding Fist

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:56 PM

I use some sort of extreme foil tape found in the hvac section at home depot. I guess the most important thing is for it to be waterproof and freeze resistant.

 

and following up on the damper issue, make sure air can blow across the evap and  into the fridge and any air return ports must also be free of ice/obstruction. Put all temp controls on recommended setting

 

That's exactly what I was talking about. I have lots of that, so that's what I've used. Seems to stick well and make a good seal.

 

 

when reading your post it looks like you turned off the fridge and defrosted it ?

 

if this is true , it's a bad idea . now your back to zero , with no way to know anything

 

was the coil frozen up ? you have no way to know , you defrosted it

was the fan jammed ? you have no way to know , you defrosted it

was the drain blocked with ice ? you have no way to know you defrosted it

do you have a good frost pattern ? again you don' know

does the defrost heater work properly ? without a frozen coil even if you put it in defrost , it's not going to come on , so who knows !

 

never , never unplug a fridge that is not working properly , you loose the clues that tell you whats wrong

 

the best you can do is place the cover back on , plug it in , wait 24-48 hours then do the following

 

place the defrost timer in defrost , remove cover and be sure defrost heater is working

leave in defrost , within 30 mins it will come out of defrost , if not you got a bad timer

if it does , most likely you got a good timer

when your done , run a little water down the drain just to make sure it's working

 

Point taken. This is my first fridge repair so I focused on what made sense to be the problem based on my linked post. 

 

I've given everything a really good cleaning, and put everything back together, then plugged her back in. I can feel cool air coming out of the vent at the top of the fridge, so it looks like it might be working. With everything together, would their be another obvious way to determine if the defrost cycle is working without opening her up again, or is that my only option to be sure it's functioning (and wont spoil food over christmas)?

 

Newbie question. Where does the water go when it is spilled down the drain?

 

For now I've put in an ice cube tray into the freezer and a beer into the fridge as a first test. If all goes well, I'll drink the beer emot-v.gif



#8 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:21 PM

what are the Fridge and Freezer temperatures ?

can you post better pictures of the frost pattern on the Evaporator ?


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#9 Cactus Bob

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:26 PM

most likely it will work for a week or more if it's a defrost problem

 

if it's a drain problem it may work for a month or two , until the ice builds up and jams the fan

 

the only other way to test the defrost is with a watt meter ( this can only be done if fridge is been running long enough to be down to temp)

with this you would plug it in and plug the fridge into it

turn timer until you get defrost , look at meter , most defrost heaters draw about 500 watts , if you see that draw , you have defrost

 

there is a quick and dirty way to tell too , put timer into defrost , unplug fridge , take plug and slowly plug it in and in a dark room you should see a spark in the plug as you plug it in , no spark , no defrost(again fridge must be down to temp)


Edited by Cactus Bob, 09 December 2012 - 08:35 PM.

SORRY ABOUT THE SPELLING , I FIX GREAT , I DON'T SPELL WELL

#10 reelynyceguy

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:18 PM

Exploding...To answer your question, the water goes through a coupling underneath the fan motor that connects to a drain tube behind the fridge which lands in a pan underneath the cabinet to be evaporated by the condensation motor.


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#11 certified tech group 51

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:30 AM

Do as Cactus Bob suggests, let it run for about a month.        By then the water  ( in the defrost drain) should be hitting the fan blade and then stopping it all together............The last repair on this type of evaporator placement was....................... I installed a foil heater in the trough that diverts the defrost water down the drain...Supco part,  P/N  ??   1 inch wide by 10 inch long,  Foil Heater..............self adhesive, 4 watt..... Heater wired in parallel to the existing heater.............BUT the repair only lasted for about 14 months.....the heater failed, could have been a fluke and just quit or  it had  worked too hard/excessive current.................BUT, it did fix the problem of the defrost drain freezing up.............Replaced the failed heater with the same P/N....................  Some one else did this repair and placed the foil heater on the under side of the defrost trough, I was going to ask on how they removed the trough to stick on the heater with out damaging anything..I think there was pictures also......But i failed to do so.......Also in this repair , you will see the Styrofoam falling apart and bits of it in drain pan just clean/clear all of the bits out.....  Do not seal  the evaporator cover down untill the repair is done.......I used Nashua 324A foil tape, cold weather,................ Home Depot or Lowes.



#12 Exploding Fist

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:02 AM

So thanks again to everyone who gave good responses to this post. I took your advice and decided to wait it out (hoping it was actually fixed) keeping an eye on it so I could save the stuff inside if the fan seized again. Two nights ago I heard some grinding, and last night I stopped hearing the fan at all. Luckily I moved everything in the fridge while it was still cold.

 

As suggested, I left everything plugged in and opened her up to take a look as to what was going on inside. Originally I was imaging a small piece of ice stuck in the blades, but it appears as you've suggested, there is an ice rink at the bottom of the fan with it stuck in the middle, and the entire drain is frozen. Here is the picture at this point. It's hard to see the ice, but the fan is embedded in it:

 

frozen.jpg

 

Sorry for the large size, but I figured you'd want a decent resolution to get a good view of the coil. My observation is a lot of frost evenly distributed over the coils. The missing frost up front on the top is from me removing the cover.

 

I was able to melt the ice by hitting it with a blow dryer. The ice melted at the top fairly quickly, but it took about 15 minutes of blowing for the drain melt allowing the water to flow down (at least we know the drain works?). 

 

Does the picture and description help the diagnosis? What seems to be the problem, how can I confirm, and what parts would I need to fix it? Keep in mind I'm by no means a fridge expert (this fix was my first time opening one up), so pointing out what something is and does would be important (although I've already learned a lot more than I knew) ;)

 

Cactus Bob suggested turning on the defrost timer, but I'm not exactly sure how to do that. Also, what does that actually do, and how would I test to see if it's working? I'm guessing these are the parts we will need to test? http://www.repaircli...ing-PDS18SBMRBS

 

Thanks a ton!


Edited by Exploding Fist, 28 January 2013 - 03:06 AM.


#13 kdog

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:51 AM

The defrost looks to be working by that frost pattern, the issue seems to be with the draining of the trough as suggested - be careful with your heatgun in that one as the evaporator floor is comprised mostly of styrofoam and can be deformed easily - try running a small wire/zip tie etc through the drain (loops like a trap) - use a steamer or compressed air to clean it out.  I have seen cases where the styrofoam becomes "logged" from exposure to freeze/thaw that it breaks down the ability of the foam to shed water and instead kinda soaks it up.  I had the joy of replacing the styrofoam divider (NOT a fun job) that runs between the compartments.

If you have the tape that CTG recommended you can apply some to the area around the drain and see that the slope goes inward to the drain, raising the front legs of the fridge may aid in this as well.

Key thing is to make sure the drain is unrestricted from end to end and will actually carry the water to the drain pan that resides near the compressor.

 

Looking at the parts listings, it appears that they have some sort of ridiculously priced "evaporator drain pan kit" which may be to address that issue, obviously you would replace the fridge before buying this kit. Sadly, R/C has no picture of the kit so I dunno what's all involved - http://www.repaircli...ber=PDS18SBMRBS


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#14 Budget Appliance Repair

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:00 AM

WR17X12453 looks to be just a new styrofoam divider, maybe it has been modified to drain better but none the less another total GE ripoff!!!

 

It doesn't appear as the kit would be anything different from the original unless it has been redesigned, as part # WR17X12453 is what you get if you look up the evaporator drain pan/styrofoam divider.

 

Appliance Parts Pros has a picture of what you get:

Part number: WR17X12453

Part number: WR17X12453


Edited by Budget Appliance Repair, 28 January 2013 - 07:04 AM.

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