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refrigerator repair

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by nucleus, May 12, 2009.

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  1. nucleus

    nucleus Guest

    have 12 year old kenmore (whirlpool) refrigerator (top freezer)
    style, that is struggling to keep designed temperatures. since
    a few days ago, the freezer temp will only get down to 26 degrees
    F and the refrigerator temp is about 50 degrees F at best.

    have done significant troubleshooting. no problem with evaporator
    coils or defrost thermostat or defrost heater or refrigerator defrost
    timer. condensor coils are clean, both fans operating properly.

    temp of compressor tube outlet (to condenser coil) is 109 degrees
    F and temp of compressor tube inlet is 84 degrees F. temp of
    tube after capillary expansion just before it goes into evaporator
    is barely below freezing. i think it should be much lower than

    i am trying to decide if i have a failing compressor or a plugged
    freon line line somewhere. there is no evidence of any freon

    i can email pictures if anyone can help. thanks.
  2. nucleus

    nucleus Guest

    hey Meat Plow, thank you for your reply. i performed the test you
    suggested, turned refrig on for 5 minutes, unplugged it, plugged
    it back in, the compressor would not start until after 3 cycles of
    the thermal overload protector. i deduct this means there is
    adequate freon (it only has 4.000 oz of R134a), especially since
    the compressor outlet temp is so low (possibly meaning that
    line is not plugged. (and i have read that plugged lines are rare.)

    i did not mention in my post, that over a year ago, the compressor
    began having a rather loud noisy startup, which quietened after
    about a minute. at that time, i asked a refrig tech about possible
    noisy reed valves, and he suggested i continue to run the refrig
    until it quit. so that is where it stands now, still with a noisy
    startup, but with inadequate cooling.

    i tentatively conclude that i need to order a new compressor and
  3. Mark Zenier

    Mark Zenier Guest

    If this unit is old enough to have a separate bi-metal thermal overload
    switch and electromechanical start relay, check out the overload
    switch as they can fail by self heating and that gives you some really
    strange load sensitive operation. Our 1980's Whirlpool had that
    problem, where it would run OK until a defrost cycle and then would sit
    there overload cycling (a second every minute or so, up to several hours)
    and them, like magic, just go ahead and work fine until the next defrost.

    The replacement was a combined overload/start relay that appears to work
    like a TV set degauss (using posistors or something like that). About $50.

    Mark Zenier
    Googleproofaddress(account:mzenier provider:eskimo domain:com)
  4. nucleus

    nucleus Guest

    did you read my original post? the problem has nothing to do with the
    thermal overload protector (i only ran that test after Meat Plow's
    suggestion to check for insufficient freon).
  5. Mark Zenier

    Mark Zenier Guest

    Of course not, this is Usenet. ;-)
    Well, so maybe it will help somebody else reading the archives.

    Same brand. The basic symptoms were the same. A change in the sound
    at startup, and not keeping temperature were features of my unit, too.
    (The difference seems to be that my fridge would get cold SOME of the
    time). And your unit did a series of overloads at the start of your test.

    The point is that a weak overload switch will give you symptoms that
    appear to have nothing to do with its normal function. (The damn
    thing isn't supposed to turn itself off, or if it does, it should do
    it consistently).

    The intermittent nature of the fault, where it would sometimes run
    fine and sometime it wouldn't, would make you think it was something
    different, unless you were listening to it while it was going through
    its short cycles, which it only did about 5-10% of the time.

    Didn't show up worth shit on an ohmmeter, either.

    If I'd managed to get a pro out to look at it, he probably would have
    said junk it, or get a new compressor. The one guy I called wouldn't
    even bother coming out. Probably figured, correctly, that it would be
    an unprofitable waste of his time. So I fixed it myself.

    (A side question. Is is really worth a couple of hundred bucks and
    a bunch of your time to fix a 10-15 year old appliance?)

    Mark Zenier
    Googleproofaddress(account:mzenier provider:eskimo domain:com)
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