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HELP! Thanksgiving 2011 lost??

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PLEASE help! It's the middle of the night, before Thanksgiving 2011 and I'm desperate. My wife loaded all the Thanksgiving

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Old 11-23-2011, 11:16 PM
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Unhappy HELP! Thanksgiving 2011 lost??
Model Number: TBX16SASFLWH   Brand: GE   Age: More than 10 years   

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PLEASE help! It's the middle of the night, before Thanksgiving 2011 and I'm desperate. My wife loaded all the Thanksgiving goodies into our fridge & freezer today. Shortly thereafter, the fridge warmed up and the freezer wouldn't freeze ice. Everything already frozen stayed frozen, but (after several hours of trying to troubleshoot) everything in the fridge had to be thrown out.

We have a few things in a different chest freezer, so not all is lost. But, it looks like the turkey may refreeze -- and we won't be able to cook it tomorrow.

I know next to nothing about electronics, but I'll explain what I've done... and HOPEFULLY someone can help me save my family's Thanksgiving meal.

First, I unplugged the fridge and vacuumed off the rear coils. Man, were they dusty! Looked at the diagram on this site and found that more coils are on the bottom of the unit. So, I blew air under the fridge, then vacuumed up everything -- including cleaning the front vents. Plugged it back in and let it sit for a few hours.

We put a thermometer in the fridge. The temp was 67 degrees. After three hours, it was 66 degrees. UGH!

So, I then unplugged the fridge again, took the light console (which has a thermal thingy in it) down. Put my finger up in the hole where I think the cold air is supposed to come from, and there was snow cone like ice in that area. So, I took the floor out of the freezer and broke up the thin layer of ice there. Removed all that and cleaned under the shelf/floor. Also, took the cover off the rear fan area. There was visible ice underneath the fan blades... and a thin sheen on the rear of the freezer (NOT much, though). So, I took a hair dryer and blew hot air into that hole and under the shelf for around 10min.

I could feel LOTS of air flowing from the freezer down into the fridge. So, I put the dryer up near the lower hole. Could slightly feel air in the freezer, but I'm not sure if there was flow from the lower hole.

All the visible ice was gone, so we plugged the unit back in. It's been sitting for 30min now and the temp is still 67 degrees in the fridge. I have NO idea right now what the freezer temp is.

My wife is literally crying because she thinks the Thanksgiving meal she has worked hard to prep for is ruined. She is soooo good to our three kids. PLEASE help us. I have a multimeter, but have no clue how to use it. I will follow instructions, if you send detailed steps to me.

THANK YOU!
CharlieJ


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 11-24-2011, 02:42 AM
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I assume the evaporator fan is running. Describe the evaporator coil frost, should be covered entirely with light frost. If ok, measure the freezer temperature and post.
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Old 11-24-2011, 07:04 AM
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richappy,
THANK YOU for replying!

Oops... I may have messed up. The evaporator was covered in frost, but that is where I put the hair dryer, thinking it was too icy. Dumb, inexperienced. Sorry.

Yes, the fan is running fine - turned freely and blows lots of air.

The only thermometer I have is an electronic indoor/outdoor. I'll put the indoor part in the freezer and let you know the temp ASAP.

Do I need to take everything apart and make sure the evaporator is regaining the frost I "heated" off of it last night (with the hair dryer)?
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Old 11-24-2011, 07:38 AM
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So far, the freezer temp registers 20.3 degrees. No ice on rear panel of freezer.

The fridge is down to 57.0 degrees. It's been 55-57 degrees since around 3am. Much better than the 68 from last night, but still warm for a fridge -- I think.

FYI - for the first time since last night, the fan in the freezer just cut off. I hope that's not a bad thing.

The freezer air flow setting is on C (plastic piece inside the evaporator fan cover). The fridge is set on 7 (coldest is 9; "medium" is 5).

If anyone can help, please do. I can't get parts today, but we could make my darling wife feel much better knowing that we won't have to take Christmas money to buy a new refrigerator. FWIW, we were able to save the turkey and some of the Thanksgiving food. The rest is in the trash, along with $100, or more, of other food from the fridge. TTL we have a chest freezer outside!
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Old 11-24-2011, 11:52 AM
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Remove the back panel and check the condensing coils and condenser motor. The fan should be running, the compressor warm and the condensing coils warm and not clogged.
If ok, remove the freezer back panel and check the frost pattern, at only 20 degrees in there you probably only have partial frost.
If partal frost, you have either a refrigerant leak and or bad compressor.
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Old 11-24-2011, 02:00 PM
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The condensing coils are all clear -- backside and underneath. The fan is running freely -- blowing air outward (not onto the coils). Everything in the back is warm, dry, etc -- including the large pot looking device.

I'll have to check the frost pattern once we xfer everything back out to the chest freezer.

IF the compressor is bad, is that something a novice can replace? Also, I can't find a specific part called the "compressor" on the diagrams. That might sound stupid to you, but like I said, I'm a complete novice on this stuff.

Temps now: 22 in freezer & 58 in fridge

THANKS again for your help!
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Old 11-24-2011, 02:29 PM
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richappy et al,
I took the back panel off. Here is a photo of the frost pattern.

And a photo of the lower back area -- showing the pot looking device (part #725, "hi side" in diagram), condenser fan running (on right side; blades moving) and coils (center background).
.
.
.
UPDATE: 11/25/11 4:55am - So we get up this morning to go to Sears or Best Buy and purchase a new refrigerator... but the freezer temp is down to 5 degrees. And, there is a small area of ice on the back panel. The fridge temp is 57 degrees. Therefore, I went back to original troubleshooting guide.
Turned the defrost thermostat one click, waited 15 minutes. No sizzle; evaporator fan still running, etc. In the past, when I've heard the sizzle sound, that fan has been off.
Now, I'm thinking it's either the defrost thermostat or defrost heater (as suggested in the guide).
Two things I need to know - where is the defrost thermostat in my unit (GE TBX16SASFLWH)? The diagram is lacking in positional information for that part. Also, when checking continuity on the defrost heater, how do I get to the ends and disconnect one end? As you see below, the heater ends are covered in ice and look like they go behind the evaporator coil. Remember, I'm a novice -- a very tired, sleepy one, at this point.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1322172731392.jpg (12.3 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg 1322173322317.jpg (22.3 KB, 17 views)

Last edited by CharlieJ : 11-25-2011 at 01:55 AM. Reason: Additional info & Friday morning update
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:17 AM
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You just got a Thanksiving present, your fridg is repairable. With compressor running, locate the large hole under the control panel in the fridg section and turn the defrost timer with a flat bladed screwdriver till the compressor stops. If it now defrosts, replace the defrost timer. If not, defrost the coils with a hair dryer, then temporarily short the defrost thermostat wires ( a round device clipped to the top of the evaporator) If it now defrosts, replace the defrost thermostat,get your part here.
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richappy View Post
...temporarily short the defrost thermostat wires ( a round device clipped to the top of the evaporator)
Please explain how to do this or point me to a link where I can read how to "short the defrost thermostat wires".

I'll do the checks and order the part -- whichever one it turns out to be -- from here.
Once I have those instructions, I should be good to go. THANKS again!

Last edited by CharlieJ : 11-25-2011 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:54 AM
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Defrost the coils with a hair dryer. Check the cal rod heater, if no burnt areas near the ends, it's probably ok. Now, just order the defrost thermostat AP2071264. The fridg should ok for 4 days till you get the new part.
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