Kenmore Elite intermittently cooling


Refrigerator & Freezer Repair

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I apologize as I try to explain what happened without confusing anyone. Our refrigerator freezer started to slowly become warmer

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Old 11-29-2017, 05:37 PM
rkm rkm is offline
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Default Kenmore Elite intermittently cooling
Model Number: 40141003010   Brand: Kenmore   Age: 5 - 10 years   

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I apologize as I try to explain what happened without confusing anyone.
Our refrigerator freezer started to slowly become warmer over the past few weeks. Eventually, ice cream would no longer stay frozen, but everything else appeared to (that's ok, I can eat ice cream no matter what temperature!) Last week, I decided to get out my multimeter and start searching the internet to figure out how refrigerators work so I could try to troubleshoot the issue. The day after thanksgiving (I still couldn't figure out the issue), the refrigerator started to having issue with cooling (we put an appliance thermometer in there). The fridge started to fluctuate up to above 40 but if we turned on rapid cooling, then the refrigerator would get down to 34F (which is the correct temperature for rapid cooling). Eventually it would end up back around or above 40. After a couple days the rapid cooling stopped working. For the freezer, the rapid freeze mode did not help temporarily bring down the temperature when it started having issues. The couple days before the refrigerator compartment stopped cooling, the freezer stopped working all together after I spent a day trying to figure out why it wasn't cold enough. I now know way more than I ever thought I would about the fridge except what is wrong with it. Basically, it's a fancy fridge with mostly Samsung electronics. It has a pretty comprehensive diagnostic mode, which of course says everything is fine. I tested the voltages of the sensors at the main PCB, and those all appeared fine. I had checked the evaporator coils in the freezer which were cold, but not froze up with ice. The evaporator fan appeared to be operating correctly as well as the thermistor. The condenser fan was also running. The condenser itself is also pretty warm to the touch and the refrigerator and condenser all sound like they are running fine.

After many hours of research and discovery (as I slowly figured out which advice was wrong and right about testing certain things), I decided that I could see how the main PCB could be potentially the issue (especially because we had a lightning strike near our hour 3 years ago which fried a bunch of stuff in the house and the pcb board smelled a little burnt while troubleshooting). Replacing the PCB did not seem to make any difference, so I swapped it back for the original one. Once I got the original back in and did some more poking around, I eventually plugged the fridge back in and called it a night (that was 2 days ago), since then, the freezer started to cool again and is now at 20 degrees (it has bounced between the 20s and 30s during the past 2 days). The freezer temp is set to it's default -2F, so obviously it's still 22F above what it's supposed to be at. The fridge has been staying around 40F plus or minute 2F (it's set for the default 38F)

This is confusing me a bit as to what might be the issue. The compressor has to be working (the fridge diagnostics has always said it was on) otherwise the fridge wouldn't cool at all. I thought maybe since the fridge has a multi speed compressor, that maybe the compressor isn't being kicked into high speed? I tried to get to the pins on the compressor to test for resistance, but having a hard time getting the internal protector off of it (I got the black cover off, but there is something else underneath that needs to come off.) The only other thought is maybe the inverter board could be going bad? I'm wondering if because how the behavior of the fridge temperature fluctuating, if that might point to one or the other. My wife is getting impatient and wants the fridge fixed. I am a software engineer, so I feel like I should at least be capable of diagnosing the problem and determine whether I need a professional to come out or need a new fridge.

Anyone have any thoughts? It's hard to find any info about this particular fridge, most repair information seems to be about fridges that use a non-variable speed compressor and no inverter.

Thanks for any suggestions! If I have to tuck my tail and call someone out to diagnose it I will, regardless of how much my pride will take a hit.


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