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Help is greatly appreciated!... Refrigerator (Top Freezer) Model Number GTH22SBSARSS, approximately 6+ years old. Problem: Not Cooling properly (both refrigerator

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Old 06-14-2012, 08:55 AM
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Default Cooling, Not Cooling
Model Number: GTH22SBSARSS   Brand: GE   Age: 5 - 10 years   

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Help is greatly appreciated!...

Refrigerator (Top Freezer) Model Number GTH22SBSARSS, approximately 6+ years old.

Problem:
Not Cooling properly (both refrigerator and freezer) for approximately 24 to 48 hrs (freezer temp to 40F). Unplugged and removed rear bottom panel. Found condenser fan not operating because the 4-pin electrical connector for the fan power had some how separated. It was somewhat of a stretch to get the two sets of wires/connectors together and it seems likely that they were never properly locked together from manufacturing and had separated due to vibration over the years. Compressor was very hot. Re-connected 4-pin connector and plugged unit back in to wall receptacle. Compressor kicked on and unit began cooling again.

After several hours, found that unit was still not cooling properly. Discovered compressor not operating while the rest of the unit was operating (including condenser fan). Performed the following tests:
  • Freezer thermistor at pin on PC board. Resistance corresponded with expected resistance for given temperature.
  • Removed compressor start capacitor and tested capacitance... OK.
  • Removed start relay and overload protector from compressor. Tested for continuity between compressor pins and housing (paint scraped away)... no continuity.
  • Tested resistance between pins on compressor (Embraco EGY70HLP). Top 2 pins = 10.7 ohms, top left pin and bottom pin = 4.6 ohms, top right pin and bottom pin = 6.3 ohms. This seems OK since the resistance of the top 2 pins is approximately the sum of the resistance between each top and bottom pin.
Cleaned condensor coils (not very dusty in the first place). Plugged unit back in and it began to cool properly for the next week (freezer maintained temp at 0F or below).

After a week, the unit began to warm up again (freezer in the upper 30sF). Discovered same problem with the compressor not operating properly. The compressor would run for a short time (~2 minutes) and then shut off while the rest of the unit stayed in operation (fans, etc.). Sometimes, after unplugging the unit for 30+ seconds, the compressor would not come on at all when plugged back in. Checked wall receptacle voltage with multimeter... checked OK (~122 volts).

I started to suspect that the unit being bumped (like from closing the refrigerator door less than gently) had an effect on whether or not the compressor would operate properly. The compressor seems properly seated at the grommets and everything appears to be in its proper place. The unit works most of the time, but every other day or so it starts to warm up again. I unplug the unit, bump the compressor a few times, and it starts to work again.

At this point, I'm planning on ordering a start relay and overload protector since they are cheap. Am I on the right track or could it be something else?


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06-15-2012, 02:02 AM
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I would say that you are on the right track.

I would unplug the unit and the start device and check that the pins are clean.

Then if your new start device does nothing odds are that the compressor was damaged by the heat.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:53 AM
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Your syptoms point to a lack of compressor voltage when it gets warm. Also, GE start and overload items are very reliable, suspect bad solder connections in the motherboard. AP4436216, particulary if you find no voltage to the compressor,just check.
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:43 AM
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Thanks for responding. The unit is working again now, so I'll likely wait until it fails again to investigate (particularly the voltage to the compressor). I have backup freezer/fridge, so it's inconvenient, but not the end of the world if it goes out again.

I didn't mention this in my first post, but I did remove the motherboard and look for any obvious problems. I didn't notice any obvious solder issues, but I'll check again. I did notice a somewhat discolored (burnt?) area of the motherboard under a resistor. So, I removed one lead of the resistor and tested it. It was OK.

It's good to know that GE relays and overload protectors are reliable. I just wonder if the heat from the compressor when the condenser fan wasn't running could have caused a problem in one of them.

If/when I ever figure this out, I'll post back what it was in the event that this type of thing happens to someone else.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:16 AM
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Just an update on this... I replaced the start relay and overload protector and it is still having the same problem. So, I finally gave up trying to diagnose it myself and had a tech come out. He said I've eliminated all of the typical things, so the only thing left is something on the motherboard.

So, it looks like richappy was right! I think that as soon as that condensor fan cable became disconnected, something on the board got too much voltage and was damaged, which may explain why it works sometimes for days on end, then just starts acting up again. I dabble in electronics repair and would love to try to diagnose this myself, but I think it's probably something other than a resistor or capacitor and could be difficult to diagnose. So, I'll just replace the whole board. Hopefully that works.
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