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KelzBelz80

Fridge Repair - Diagnosis and Testing Help Needed

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KelzBelz80

Hi there,
I am attempting to diagnose and fix a GE Refrigerator (PSCF5RGXCFBB). I've been using this webpage of yours coupled with the youtube video: https://appliantology.org/blogs/entry/696-how-to-troubleshoot-the-new-inverter-compressor-refrigerators/

History:
Hurricane Irma was heading my way so I filled tupperware containers and ziplock bags with water and placed in my freezer on a Friday night around midnight. After I was done, the freezer temp read 10 degrees and I wasn't concerned because i just had the door open a lot and put a ton of room temp stuff inside. However, 12 hours later, the freezer temp was showing 28 and the fridge temp was showing 57 on the digital controls. (I frantically searched and located a mini fridge last minute just as everything was shutting down for the hurricane). I opened it up and noticed the fan was running but the compressor wasn't. I unplugged it a few times and plugged it back in but it didn't change anything. I left it plugged in after that. Since I have an appliance warranty, I called them and a technician came out on Tuesday to check it. He didn't appear to use any tools or anything. He unplugged it a couple times, touched some things in the compartment but I don't think I ever saw a multimeter or screwdriver or anything. He never even opened the motherboard compartment either. Based on the sounds and how it was acting he said I needed a new compressor, inverter kit and a valve rerfigerant. He reported this back to the appliance warranty people who said nope we're not fixing it and they're cutting me a check for $600. However, I noticed after the tech left and later in the week, the compressor is now running and the freezer is holding steady at 6 degrees and the fridge at 41 degrees. I had it set to 0 and 34. Thinking that since the temps were both about 6 degrees higher maybe all the thermisters were bad or something else to do with a temperature connection, I turned the controls down to -6 for the freezer (fridge was already the lowest it could go at 34). No luck. Still holding at 6 and 41. However, that meant my compressor was running and I thought that a bad compressor didn't run? So then I started to question the knowledge and diagnosis of the tech and decided to try to figure things out myself...I'm pretty intelligent and handy after all, just don't know much about fridges...

What I've done so far:
I have taken the inverter assembly off of the compressor and used a multimeter to test the ohms between all 3 of the windings on the compressor. I got a reading of 8 between each of the 3 connections. I think this indicates the compressor is good (yay?). I did notice that the compressor itself was quite hot to the touch when I first unplugged the fridge and started taking things apart.

I have accessed the motherboard and found my j15 junction and tested the pegs, getting a reading of 15amps. I know your tutorial is saying this should be between 4 and 6 but when I looked at the specs on this page (http://products.geappliances.com/appliance/gea-specs/PSCF5RGXBB) under power/rating I see it mentions 15 amps so i though maybe that might be ok? However I obviously have no context as to what exactly the specs are referring to. In addition, I have no idea if this rating even is allowed to vary from the 4-6 and still be acceptable. There is also a chance I'm not correctly using the multimeter because....let's be honest here...there are a lot of numbers and options and the instructions it comes with aren't that clear. However, I did set it to the DC range...and I got a -15 when I put the leads on the opposite pegs.

I have not yet tested the AC voltage from the wall because, well, frankly I am a little leery of electrocuting myself. Also, since the compressor is starting and the fan is running I was assuming the inverter was getting power at least some of the time.

So basically I am now at a loss for what to do or test next. The technician mentioned something about a start relay & overload switch and that if I replaced that it might work but probably wouldn't fix the issue long. However, after reading about new variable compressors and inverter kits and such, I am unsure if my fridge model even has a start relay and overload switch in the first place, considering the inverter board does the starting. (Thus furthering my doubt about the technicians diagnosis and knowledge).

The couple questions I have are:
1) If a compressor is bad, would it even run and if it ran would it be able to maintain a constant temperature in the fridge and freezer like it is??
2) Is the 15 amps from the J15 junction bad? Does this mean the motherboard is bad? It's obviously still communicating to the inverter box sometimes because the fridge is staying a steady temp.
3) Do I really need to test the AC voltage from the main wall plug and, if so, is a multimeter capable of and ok to use to test this? Your page suggests hooking something else up to it to test the voltage draw.
4) What do I do next?? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated 

Thanks!
 

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howdryiam

You might need to wait unit it fails again to find the flaw:

Reminds me of a similar case I had a year ago. GE (inverter controlled) refrigerator randomly quit cooling for as much as 24 hours and then return to normal operation. Customer noticed melted and refrozen items in the freezer. After two calls I could find no fault. All systems and voltages were spot on including compressor wiindings. I asked her to call me when she noticed it warming. Got a call two weeks later (Saturday at 8am, of course). 

Found temps warming, condenser fan running and no compressor. Input voltages were correct - 120VAC and 12VDC (as i recall but could have been 4-6VDC). The inverter had correct power and the control board was telling the inverter to run the compressor. But the inverter would not comply. Bad inverter. Replaced it and all is well one year later. I had never known them to fail intermittently before. 

Perhaps this will help. 

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Chat_in_FL
16 hours ago, KelzBelz80 said:

The technician mentioned something about a start relay & overload switch and that if I replaced that it might work but probably wouldn't fix the issue long. However, after reading about new variable compressors and inverter kits and such, I am unsure if my fridge model even has a start relay and overload switch in the first place, considering the inverter board does the starting. (Thus furthering my doubt about the technicians diagnosis and knowledge).

You are correct.

 

16 hours ago, KelzBelz80 said:

I did notice that the compressor itself was quite hot to the touch when I first unplugged the fridge and started taking things apart.

Are the fans running at full speed, not some weak half speed?

what does frost pattern look like?

 

 

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darren412

Please do not take this personally , nothing I am saying here is meant to offend you.  I am just trying to help you to better understand the diagnosis procedure being applied to your refrigerator. Its quite obvious neither you or the technician from the warranty company were qualified enough to be looking at the fridge  from what you have said.      For starters, The video you have watched says nothing about amperage readings from the J15 connector at the mother board. The video talks about 4-6 DC volt readings from the j15 connector.  If the video talked about amperage readings , the amperage readings were to be taken from the 120V input going to the inverter board to see if it is trying to tell the compressor to do its job.     You also mentioned that the technician said something about it possibly having a problem with the relay and overload protection device.  Your model refrigerator has an inverter board connected to your compressor which takes the place of the old style relay and overload devices that were used before the inverter boards. Hence you do not have a relay and overload protection device on your model Refrigerator.   You need to either research the video contents more thoroughly over and over again taking exact notes because it sounds as though you did not thoroughly understand the correct procedure in  the video and then apply it correctly to diagnose the issue.   If you can wait then I would request another technician to check the fridge out that knows what they are doing because you are under warranty still and if they have 3 failed attemp's at fixing it then I believe the refrigerator would have to be replaced.  Not sure what they would do actually but that's normally what has happened in past situations similar to yours.   Most of the time the agrevation  is not worth the expense and its just simpler to just buy a new fridge or take the $600.00 they offered you towards another fridge. Don't be afraid to get another GE fridge.  $600.00 towards the purchase price of another fridge that your most likely going to get anyway, is a lot better than Nothing towards a new one.   Good luck ok

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KelzBelz80

Thanks for the input. You are correct in that I misspoke when I mentioned that I read 15 amps instead of 15 volts at the J15. I did test the voltage, not the amperage, which is why I was wondering if the 15 was ok because the video said 4-6. That was simply a typo, not a lack of understanding the testing procedures in the video.

Also, I already realized the technician didn't know what he was talking about with the start relay and overload device as soon as I realized that I had and inverter on my compressor. I was simply confirming what I suspected because, as I mentioned, this is obviously a new 'language' for me, so I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything.

The fridge itself is not under warranty unfortunately, just a supplemental 'appliance warranty' and that company doesn't do second opinions so the unqualified technician that was sent is all I get from them.

I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond! If you have any actual suggestions for what to do next or what else could be the issue I welcome the help!

 

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KelzBelz80

Chat_in_FL - The fans seem to be running at full speed. Both the one on the back to the right of the compressor and the one inside the fridge. I even noticed the one inside working at 2 different speeds (normal and really fast) when I was investigating it and the frost patterns.

As for the frost pattern, there was frost on the tubes above the coils, however, the coils themselves didn't look to be frosted at all. I had the door open for a few minutes (while depressing the switch to trick the fridge into thinking the door was closed) and noticed the frost building up more at the top on the tubes above the coils but not progressing down the coils themselves. Not sure how long it takes for frost to form on the could though though? They were cool to the touch.

Fridge is still holding steady at temps of 6 and 41.

Thanks!

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