Tip & How-To about Refrigerators
Refrigerator not Working (getting Cold)
How To check the Refrigeration Mechanical Components
If compressor on your refrigerator is not working then you need to check the compressor windings, capacitor, and the starter components. I would be happy to walk you thru the steps of checking all of these you will need a few different tools to check the above listed components of your refrigerator.
1. Slotted screw driver
2. Multi meter to measure resistance
3. Needle nose pliers
First thing you will want to do is unplug the unit in order to locate and remove the starter components from the unit. Be careful as if the compressor has been trying to run it may be really hot and the components are located on the side of the compressor (image at the bottom of the page) (check the compressor for hot temperature and let cool if hot).
To locate the starter components you want to look on the side of the compressor there is usually a little box that sticks out and has wires running to it. You will need to remove the cover to locate the starter components. You will want to remove the wires and label where they go top, left, right, etc. as they need to go back on the starter components in the same place.
Removing the starter components:
Once you remove the wires from the starter components your will need to remove the starter components. They are slid on the prongs from the compressor windings. To remove grasp firmly and pull away from the compressor, may require a little force (try to pull straight as not to damage the prongs).
Checking the Starter relay:
Once you have the starter relay shack the unit and see if you here it rattle. If you hear a rattle inside of the starter relay it is bad and needs replaced as the compressor can not start. You can purchase the starter components at any local appliance part dealer in your area.
Checking the Compressor Windings:
Where you pulled off the starter components you will notice three prongs sticking out these are the windings. You will need the multi meter to check resistance between the windings. You will notice that one is not in line with the others this is usually the common and the other two are the run and start. Most come the top prong by itself is the common, the left is start and the right is run.
You will want to check for resistance between common and run; common and start if either of these show no resistance then your compressor is bad and needs to be replaced.
Another test that you need to complete is a grounded winding test. You will want to connect one lead of your multi meter to any of the windings and to one of the copper lines of the compressor, if resistance is shown then again your compressor is bad. You will want to complete this test on all windings one at a time.
Checking the Capacitor:
The capacitor needs to be discharged before you do any tests. Be careful and do not touch the prongs until after it has been discharged as they do hold a high amount of voltage. To discharge you want to take a pair of pliers and remove the leads on the capacitor, then take a screw driver and hold between the prongs to discharge.
To Test you will need you meter set on resistance then touch one lead to each terminal the meter should jump up high and slowly move back to infinity where you started, then reverse the leads and should get the same reaction. If you do not get this reaction or do not get this reaction in both directions then the capacitor is bad and needs to be replaced. You can purchase a new capacitor at any local appliance parts dealer in your area.
If you find that the compressor is bad you will need a service technician to replace. However, in most cases the cost of replacing the compressor is not worth doing. Usually the cost is more than half the price of a new box with a warranty. So be cautions as to save money and headache do the road. My general idea is if the cost of fixing the unit costs more than half the cost of a new comparable model then it is better to get the new one with a warranty.
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Posted by Justin... on
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