Question about Kenmore 72232 / 72234 / 72239 Bottom Freezer Refrigerator

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Compressor does not want to start. - Kenmore 72232 / 72234 / 72239 Bottom Freezer Refrigerator

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If the compressor will not kick on what you have is either a bad compressor or a bad starting device. Generally the unit will try and start and after 8 seconds or so you will hear a loud tick. That indicates the relay is bad. If the compressor is bad it will usually make a loud humming noise.

The start device is plugged into the side of the compressor. Unplug the frig. You can simply take off the wires to the start device (remember where they go!!!!!) and pull it off. You have two piece, the overload and the relay. The relay is the piece that is most likely the problem. Some machines will have these put together in a white plastic block. You can shake this entire piece and if you hear loud rattling it is broken. Sometimes the relay is visibly burned and blacked where it plugs into the compressor. Anyway, if you do not have this white plastic relay/overload combo, the relay is a brown square shaped plastic piece. Shake it and see if you hear rattling. If not, chances are very good the relay is ok, and the compressor is locked up.

Compressor changes are expensive and unless the frig is extremely nice and cost a pretty penny, they aren't worth fixing. Relays and overloads should not break $100 for the parts, and any tech should be able to change one in under 10 minutes. So if it's a relay fix that puppy! good luck :D

P.S. In a RARE occasion the frig may use a capacitor, and the capacitor may be bad. The only way to check is with a multimeter or replace the capacitor and see if it fixed it. This is highly unlikely and therefore not checking from the beginning.

Posted on May 30, 2010

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Hard Start Capacitor A hard start capacitor, its only purpose is to add...



Hard Start Capacitor
A hard start capacitor, its only purpose is to add additional starting torque when the compressor is starting and for just a few milliseconds.
It is wired thru a normally closed set of points in a potential relay and in parallel with the run capacitor, when the compressor is starting the start capacitor is in the circuit adding additional starting torque to the compressor, when the compressor reaches a certain speed it generates enough back EMF (voltage) to energize the potential relay coil and open the normally closed set of points and take the start capacitor out of the circuit and then will stay open, keeping the start capacitor out of the circuit as long as the compressor is running. The hard start capacitor is only in the circuit or working for a few milliseconds, it’s not doing anything once the compressor s back EMF opens the potential relay coil.
These potential relays have different cut in and cut out voltages, so the same relay won’t work with any compressor and may actually damage the compressor or shorten its life if you don't use the right potential relay. The compressor manufacturer and the local parts store list the correct capacitor start relay and start capacitor for every compressor and now they are putting the information on the compressor on the nameplate with the model and serial number.
As a rule of thumb you can use a capacitor or start capacitor within 10% of its rating if you can’t get the correct one.

on Feb 17, 2010 | Heating & Cooling

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Hard Start Capacitor A hard start capacitor, its only purpose is to add...



Hard Start Capacitor
A hard start capacitor, its only purpose is to add additional starting torque when the compressor is starting and for just a few milliseconds.
It is wired thru a normally closed set of points in a potential relay and in parallel with the run capacitor, when the compressor is starting the start capacitor is in the circuit adding additional starting torque to the compressor, when the compressor reaches a certain speed it generates enough back EMF (voltage) to energize the potential relay coil and open the normally closed set of points and take the start capacitor out of the circuit and then will stay open, keeping the capacitor out of the circuit as long as the compressor is running. The hard start capacitor is only in the circuit or working for a few milliseconds, it’s not doing anything once the compressor s back EMF opens the potential relay coil.
These potential relays have different cut in and cut out voltages, so the same relay won’t work with any compressor and may actually damage the compressor or shorten its life if you don’t use the right potential relay. The compressor manufacturer and the local parts store list the correct capacitor, start relay and start capacitor for every compressor and now they are putting the information on the compressor on the nameplate with the model and serial number.
As a rule of thumb you can use a capacitor or start capacitor within 10% of its rating if you can’t get the correct one.

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The fridge is not cooling at all there is a clicking noise every 30 secs to one min. the model number is ptb1553grw


it sounds like a bad: 
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  •       compressor itself

the start switch clicks  off usually when the compressor is pulling too many amps or the compressor is overheating. if the compressor is not even running then its probably not overheating.
so either the compressor is pulling too many amps 
(bad compressor) or the start switch is bad and cannot handle the amps required to start the compressor.

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Refridgerator compressor cycles on for 6 seconds then off for 1 minute


it sounds like a bad: 
  • ·       start switch (on the side of the compressor) or
  • ·        compressor itself

the start switch clicks  off usually when the compressor is pulling too many amps or the compressor is overheating. if the compressor is not even running then its probably not overheating.
·                                 so either the compressor is pulling too many amps (bad compressor) or the start switch is bad and cannot handle the amps required to start the compressor.

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1 Answer

Refridge hums then you hear a click,lights dim like the compressor turned on then another click a few seconds latter.this same cycle repeats .evaporator and compressar fans stay running.


it sounds like a bad: 
  •   start switch (on the side of the compressor) or
  •   compressor itself
  • the start switch clicks  off usually when the compressor is pulling too many amps or the compressor is overheating. if the compressor is not even running then its probably not overheating.
  • so either the compressor is pulling too many amps (bad compressor) or the start switch is bad and cannot handle the amps required to start the compressor.


Jul 02, 2008 | Refrigerators

1 Answer

Freezer has quit working and now refrigerator not cooling like it should.


If you hear the start relay clicking after the compressor tries to start then you know that there is power to the compressor.
This tells you it is ether a bad start relay or a bad compressor.
At this point I use a meter to see if the compressor is shorted to ground.
If the compressor is not shorted then replace the start relay and give it a try.
You should hear the compressor start right away with a new start relay if that was the problem.
If the compressor is shorted to ground you will need to have the compressor replaced.
Given the history on whirlpool refrigerators in the 5 year old age range It may be good chance that a new start relay will fix your refrigerator.
If the start relay is bad you will hear it try to start the compressor and then click off.
If the relay is bad you will hear the clicking sound seconds after plugging it in and then again every minute or two as it keeps trying to start the compressor.

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