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I have a suspicion that the thermostat in my refrig has gone bad. Is there a way to test it

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Old 11-30-2010, 01:52 PM
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Default How to test a thermostat?
Model Number: EL87TRRRS05   Brand: Whirlpool   Age: 1 - 5 years   

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I have a suspicion that the thermostat in my refrig has gone bad. Is there a way to test it before I order a new one and waste money? A tech told me that may be my problem and also when the refrig stops running I usually hear a very loud snapping sound. Help!


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Old 11-30-2010, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mentch171 View Post
I have a suspicion that the thermostat in my refrig has gone bad. Is there a way to test it before I order a new one and waste money? A tech told me that may be my problem and also when the refrig stops running I usually hear a very loud snapping sound. Help!

Mentch,

You do have a multi meter ?

With the cold control turned off, you should read an Open(No resistance) circuit across the two terminals on the control.

With the cold control turned on, you should read a closed(infinite resistance) circuit across the two terminals, using the lowest resistance range on your meter(RX1, RX2,RX100, etc.)

You may also want to lightly wiggle the control knob shaft, during both tests, to see if you have a loose,intermittent contact in the switch.

As for the snapping noise, is it only when the compressor shuts off, there are no snapping noises when the compressor starts ?

You've got me wanderring, if you've got a weak or loose start relay/overload on the compressor versus a bad cold control ?

If your cold control circuits check OK, that would be the next component to check, based on the information you're giving.

Good Luck,
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:57 PM
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Thermostat seems to test ok.

The loud snapping noise is only when it shuts off.

The frig runs almost all the time but it just doesn't cool like it should. Sometimes it's cold but not like it used to be. Two techs checked it out and both said there's nothing wrong with it, no leaks, nothing. I have it set on #6 all the time and even overnight when it hasn't been opened for hours it's not cold.

Last edited by mentch171 : 11-30-2010 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mentch171 View Post
I have a suspicion that the thermostat in my refrig has gone bad. Is there a way to test it before I order a new one and waste money? A tech told me that may be my problem and also when the refrig stops running I usually hear a very loud snapping sound. Help!
First of all, why are you wondering it is the thermostat. Is the whole refrigerator dead? If so, unplug the refrigerator, and take the 2 wires that go to the thermostat, and put the terminal ends together, and put some tape around it, to keep them together, and to be sure they don't hit metal, and then plug it in, and see if the refrigerator comes on. If that is not the case, give us more detail. Tom ********************************************
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:14 AM
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You may have two problems.

The snapping noise may be an indication that the compressor is on it's last legs if the snapping noise is coming from the compressor.
Though usually it is described as a bang or clunk which is a mechanical problem in the compressor. See #24 in the below link.

The constant running may be a second problem.
I do not know how or what the techs did to troubleshoot the problem so will try to cover possible causes.
1. Are the condenser coils clean?
2. Are the vents in the kick plate and the rear cove (if it has one clean)?
3. Remove the cover from inside the freezer and check the frost pattern on the evaporator coil. If it is only in one area or blotchy then odds are that you are low on freon. This must be done after the unit has run several hours without a defrost. If you do it shortly after a defrost the coils will be frost free.
Here is a good link.
http://www.applianceaid.com/refrigerator.html
Check out the example pictures in #20.
4. Are the doors sealing correctly.
Refrigerator Repair Guide: How to Check the Door Seals - ACME HOW TO.com
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Old 12-01-2010, 05:54 AM
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Definitely a electrical kind of snapping noise when it does shut off, not a mechanical clunk or bang.

I will roll the frig out and check to see it's thoroughly clean. I do have large dogs in the house, could be pet hair but I would think the two techs would have checked for that problem. I wasn't here when the first guy came and the second guy double checked everything the first guy did. He's the one that suggested the "controller" was going bad. I'm guessing he meant the thermostat, that's why I checked it out last night.
You mentioned checking the frost pattern on the freezer coils. This refrig is a totally separate unit from the freezer so that will have nothing to do with it's operation. The first tech said it is definitely not low on freon. He put a dye in and checked for leaks and found none.

I did ask the second tech about the door seals. He said they looked good.

The control dial always turns the fan on and off so I'm guessing I don't need to splice the two wires together to further test the thermostat.

The techs were both from A&E Factory Service so I'm hoping they're competent enough.
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:32 AM
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This refrig is a totally separate unit from the freezer so that will have nothing to do with it's operation.
I did not notice that it was a fresh food only unit.
My observations still generally apply.

It sounds like the techs did a thorough job.
I am assuming they put gauges on the unit to check the freon fill level.
And since I was not there I have to agree with their diagnosis that the unit is running normally as far as the cooling goes.

The control dial always turns the fan on and off so I'm guessing I don't need to splice the two wires together to further test the thermostat.
I would not bother as you know it does cycle on and off but seems to run too much without getting too cold in the fridge.

As far as the snapping sound goes I would say it depends on where it is coming from. It could be arcing when contacts open so that leaves you with either the start relay on the compressor or the temperature control.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:34 AM
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So I rolled the frig out and everything is nice and clean. I removed the shelves and back panel from inside. The fan is running fine, as I thought I could hear before, and there is frost building on the coils. Could this be an intermittent problem with the start relay or temp control that causes it to not cool all the time? The tech mentioned the temp control can get out of calibration, is that possible? How would I test the start relay?
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:02 PM
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Could this be an intermittent problem with the start relay or temp control that causes it to not cool all the time?
Yes

The tech mentioned the temp control can get out of calibration, is that possible?

I do not know if I would describe it as out of calibration but they can go intermittent.

How would I test the start relay?
You have to connect a meter to it and monitor it.
If it is getting voltage from the thermostat and the compressor does not start then it will be the culprit.
Here is a good link on checking parts.
Refrigerator Repair Guide: How To Fix a Refrigerator - ACME HOW TO.com

I feel the thermostat is more likely to go intermittent than the start relay.
Note: This is just my opinion.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:03 PM
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Yesterday I posted that my frig was building frost on the coils and seemed to be getting colder. Today it's very warm with the control set at #6 for about 24 hours. I again removed the back panel and there's now no frost. I turned the control off for a minute or two then back on starting at #2 and almost immeadately it started building frost. WTF?

I also called A&E Factory Service again to let them know it still wasn't working even after two of their techs worked on it and the next available appt is seven days from now. Good customer service, not! All my food is now out in my garage frig for the next week unless I can fix this myself.
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