Question about Refrigerators
A few days ago I noticed the unit was 'clicking on, then buzzing for about 15 seconds, and then clicking off' every ~5 minutes or so. The freezer had thawed. The fan was running all the time.
It took me a while (and some reading here) to figure out what was going on. Here is what I learned from some exploratory surgery:
- I removed the starter relay and overload device. The resistances between the 3 (tecumpseh) compressor terminals are all in the single digit ohm range. No shorts to ground.
- The starter relay does not rattle when you shake it.
- The compressor was warm/hot to touch.
- The unit was unplugged for a few hours while I did this. When I plugged it back in, the compressor started up an ran for a few hours. The freezer temp got down to about 10 degrees F. I went to bed. During the night I realized it was back in the "clicking, buzzing, getting warm mode". I unplugged it again. In the morning (several hours later) I plugged it in again and the compressor ran. It's still running (1 hour later) as I write this.
So, does the fact that it starts up after 'cooling off' mean that the starter relay and overload device are okay?
Does this behavior point toward compressor? toward overload device? toward starter relay?
I did clean the dust (it was bad, not horrible) off of the various coils.
Thanks for any advice!
I had a similar problem yesterday (Maytag side by side unit 5 years old, however this apply to most brands). All operation seems normal other then that the refrigerator was not cooling, the air that was blowing inside the refrigerator was room temperature and not cold air. The compressor was also very hot to touch (could not touch it for more then 1-2 seconds) and didn't buzz or hum as in standard operation. I also heard few clicks from the compressor every time I plugged / unplugged the AC to the fridge. Replaced the overload/ relay device with a new one I got at a local appliance parts distributor ($30) and MAGIC. The unit went back to work as soon as I plugged the AC power. The relay/overload unit is on the side of the compressor and that?s where the electric wires are attached to. The unit turns the compressor on and off. The unit is attached to the compressor side with an "electric outlet" like three holes and three prongs. It might be held tight so you can pry gently (between the unit and the compressor body) with a screwdriver. Once pulled out, release the wires connectors that are attached to the relay/ overload unit. You might need to use pliers as they are tight fit. If unit smells like burnt or if you shake and hear rattle then it?s bad. Find a local appliance parts distributors and call to see if they have part for your model/ type. Remember to unplug AC before starting to work on the fridge and good luck.
Posted on Jan 15, 2010
My name Peter. I am a retired field service refrigeration technician.
The clicking sound is the overload relay trying to start the compressor. Inspecting the overload relay for rattling or burn marks is a good start.
But, when the overload relay clicks trying to start the compressor and the compressor is hot!
Lets check out the compressor. Remove the overload relay and all components to expose the three steel pins on the compressor. Using a multi-meter; set the meter to the lowest Ohms (Omega).
Touch the ends of the meter probes together. The meter reading should = 1.0. Working around the compressor probes take the Ohm reading between each pin. You should have 3 readings, you will have one high reading and two low readings. Within a few tenths, the two low reading added together should equal the high read. If they do not you have a bad compressor. The fact that the compressor is hot from the overload (starter relay) clicking and trying to start is a good indicator is a good indicator you have a bad compressor. A bad compressor over time will repeatedly knock out the overload relay.
If you hear a clanking sound from the compressor then the flat plate valves in the top of the compressor are gone.
You need to have a certification to break into a seal system, which I have. There is a federal penalty of $27,500 if you are not certified.
If you tap into the low pressure side (65 PSI) vapor, you could get the refrigerant into your lungs, burn them or become asphyxiated. If you tap into the high pressure liquid side, you can get seriously burned.
Posted on Oct 31, 2014
I went by what is recommended and fixed my fridge which started making this clicking sound and stopped cooling at all. I basically replaced the starter on the compressor and now it works fine. I also did some research on this subject and found out that is a common occurrence. The component that typically fails is called a PTC chip inside of the starter ( Positive Temperature Coefficient Resistor) which basically allows for the motor inside of the compressor to generate a higher torque during the start- up. Compressors are typically build using a vein pump which requires quiet a bit of torque to star-up, once its running its fine. The component cost me $75 and it took about 5 min. to replace. Good luck.
Posted on Dec 12, 2012
Your help is so appreciated, I took my relay off, shook it, and it sounds like it was in a hundred peices inside. Sure seems like this is the problem. Thank you
Posted on Nov 14, 2011
A compressor can run hot for a variety of reasons, including lack of refrigerant in the appliance or a refrigerator thermostat that is set too low, thus causing the compressor to work too hard. Check your refrigerator thermostat to be sure it is set at an appropriate temperature.
Posted on Jun 13, 2020
If it has a fan make sure it spinning. Unplug the refrigerator and clean off the fan blades. There should be a cardboard cover with 1/4 screws. Use a vacuum to clean any dust buildup on anything copper or with coils. Careful not to suck up any water as there should be a tray that catches Condensation.
Posted on Jun 12, 2020
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