Question about Kenmore 53542 / 53544 Side by Side Refrigerator

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Start Deivce Relay

I have read this forum and found that the Start Device Relay has burned up. I have already ordered a new replacement part from Sears Parts on-line and it should be here Sat. 1/5/08. Fixya member, Rene Kirk asked "Does this normally burn out by itself or am I looking at another problem that causes it to short out?" The answer was from fmauka..."A normal tech check at this point, is to check ohm readings, short run motor and check current draw, ( to check motor run resistance) and if abnormal reading, then replace the condenser/compressor unit on warranty service..." I have also read on other web sites that I should check the ohms on the Start side/windings (between 1-5 omhs) and the Run side/windings (between 3-11 ohms). To be honest I have know idea how to do this and where to find the Start and Run windings. Please help...

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  • salvadore ferrara Jan 05, 2008

    Thanks for the info. Mike. I do own a Volt/Ohm Meter and I am familiar with it enough that I would like the test my fridge. My model number is 106.53542300 a Kenmore Side by Side Unit. Now I have tested the wires supplying the relay and they tested 5 ohms. Your help is greatly appreciated.
    Thanks, Salvadore

  • salvadore ferrara Jan 09, 2008

    Thanks for all your help. Everything tested okay on the fridge and I got my parts in on Monday and the fridge is working great.



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Save it. What you want to know is, did the compressor cause the relay to fail or did the relay fail on its own? There has been a lot of discussion on this issue. One thing is irrefutable - PTCs normally run HOT. After years it's a wonder any solid state device holds up as long as they do. Fortunately by design the wafer crumbles and they usually fail open before passing current to the start winding. I've found only one case where the compressor was bad along with a PTC and even then I couldn't conclude the relay was the cause.

Posted on Jan 05, 2008

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The start and run windings are the electrical circuits inside the compressor. If you have a volt/ohm meter with an amp clamp it is good to check for shorts, resistance, and amp draw when replacing the relay. If you do not have a meter and don't expect to need one for anything except this repair then just replace the relay and see what happens. If it fails within a short time, then you probably need a technician that is familiar with the model and factory specs to check it anyway.
We have seen a sharp rise in relay failures in the last few years. Most of the time, the relays fail on their own because they are built with cheaper material than in the past. They do not seem to hold up as well to power surges and fluctuations in voltage as older units did. The replacement relays we are recieving are supposed to be better according to the manufacturers.
I guess what I am saying is don't overcomplicate the repair. While I do occasionaly find other reasons causing a relay failure, the large majority of the time it is just the relay that needs replacing.
If you have a meter and are familiar with it, and want to check everything, post the complete model number from the fridge and I will try to walk you through checking it.

I have posted this for information only, not for a rating. You are free to rate it as you like, but if you don't want to rate it as a fixya then I ask for you not to rate it at all since anything else will drop my rating.

Posted on Jan 05, 2008

  • Michael  Lindley
    Michael Lindley Jan 05, 2008

    Pop off the grill in the front of the machine. There should be two tech sheets stuck into slots on the back side of the grill. One is for the icemaker, the other is for the rest of the fridge. This sheet should have your specs on it. There is no repair manual published for these units, the only model specific info you can get is on this sheet.

    First check your compressor windings to ground. There should be no continuity between the compressor housing and any of the terminals on the compressor.

    You have 3 terminals on the compressor. The bottom one is usually common, the upper left is usually start, the upper right is usually run. If yours is different you will figure it out whenyou check it.

    From run to common you should have about 2-3 ohms.

    From start to common you should have about 5-6 ohms.

    The start winding is usually about twice the resistance of the run winding.

    Add the readings together from the run and start windings and that is what you should get checking between run and start terminals.

    If you can check capacitence with your meter, check the capacitor. The specs for it should be printed on it, usually 13- 15uf.

    If you are good to this point, install the relay and hook up the wires. Put your amp clamp around the wire coming from the common terminal of the relay, usually red. Plug the fridge in and watch the amp draw. At start up it will spike 14-18 amps. It should drop quickly to around 2 amps usually.

    The compressor should now be running as well as the condenser fan motor. Open the freezer door and look at the bottom of the evaporator coil that you can see through the rear wall of the freezer. it should start frosting over.

    If all is well so far, reinstall the cover on the back of the unit, close the doors and let it cool. You should see freezing temperatures in the freezer in a few hours. Allow 12-24 hours before loading all your food back in to let the box get back down to temp.

    Post back if you have questions.


  • Michael  Lindley
    Michael Lindley Jan 07, 2008


    Just wanted to follow up on your fridge and see if you got it going.




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SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

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It sounds like the Tech only did half his job and seen that the start device was burned up and called it that and didnt check the compressor or you got a bad start device or, you didnt put it on corectly or the thermostat in the refrigferator is off.

When you put the new start device on and you pluged the machine on, Did the condensor fan come on (the fan right by the commpressor ??)

If that fan came on and the compressor did not start.
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