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Repair and additional information page for GE's DFE29JGD**** model refrigerator, a compact, built-in, French Door style fridge with a bottom-mounted freezer, featuring an automatic ice maker and thru-the-door service. This page covers information for model numbers matching the pattern DFE29JGD****.

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Why do my fridge temps fluctuate between 34 and 50 degrees

GE DFE29JGDCBB 10 years old. I have checked FF thermistor, FF Evap thermistor, cleaned the coils. Everything is running when asked to in diagnostic mode. RPM's show on all fans and correct temps vs. ohms show on thermistors. I set freezer to zero and fridge to 38. Temps on display show -7 and 38 even when the fridge is 50 degrees. When I reset the fridge via 016 on diagnostic, temps on display change, but they are still wrong. Could the thermistor be reacting too slow? Board not reading thermistor resistance and processing into correct temp? Could defrost timer be mis reading?

Also, when testing thermistor temps on display screen in diagnostic mode, an intermittent 101 shows up on the screen. Error code of some sort?

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I reset the fridge this morning and watched and listened to everything. Compressor, Condenser Fan, Ice Box fan, Frozen Food Evap fan all turn on. The fridge has risen to 53 degrees and the fresh food evap fan is not running. As soon as it turns on, all is well. The fan is okay though as I have tested it. I tested fresh food and fresh food evap thermistor and they showed the correct ohms but they react slowly. Could their slow reaction be causing the issue? The temp display never shows what the thermistor value is when I put it in diagnostic mode and the temp probe I have in the fridge never matches either. Sometimes is only 2 degrees off, sometimes 10.

There is water on the back where the fresh food coils drain, so I know the heater is working. What could cause the fresh food evap defrost to turn on too frequently and last too long? The evap thermistor checks out with ohm readings, just slow to react.


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Given that it eventually works, I think you could be on target with a slow to react thermistor. Thermistors do have time constants, though I have no way of knowing the proper value for those in your fridge. Especially telling is the fact that you have tested the thermistors outside the fridge and found them to react slowly. Might be worth replacing one or both. I tend to suspect the Fresh Food Temp thermistor if you go that route.

Another thought, your fridge uses a TDM (Time Divided Multiple Evaporator) refrigerant cycle as far as I can tell. This means that a 3-way valve supplies the fresh food evaporator with liquid refrigerant when called for, and this refrigerant partially evaporates and then flows into the freezer evaporator and fully evaporates. (Called position A on the valve). The other position of the valve supplies the freezer only (Position B). It uses Position D (all off) to minimize gurgling refrigerant sounds when the compressor is off. (It doesn't use position C,all on) I am wondering if your 3-way valve is slow to react to calls for cooling in the fridge. You might want to replace the coil on the 3-way valve since maybe it is slow or sticks so it doesn't go from the all-off position (Position D) to the Fresh Food Evaporator (Position A) or hangs at the freezer only setting (Position B).

The defrost is an adaptive defrost that monitors operating conditions and schedules defrosts accordingly based on compressor run time and door open time. I do not think there is a discrete defrost timer, it is on the main control board.

Your exact manufacture date would be handy as some significant changes were made in October 2014.

It sounds like you have tech literature, but here's a link to the service manual

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Thank you for your reply!! That three way valve is definitely another possibility!! I went ahead and tested frozen food and frozen evap thermistors and they checked out temp vs. ohms. My first step was to change the control board as that timer is monitored by the board (as you mentioned) and I wanted to see if the variance between thermistor raw temp values and whats shown on the screen improves. I just plugged it all back in after tearing everything apart so going to give it some time and see what happens before I change the thermistors. I want to be able to return as many parts as possible so I swung for the fences first with the $170 board.


@effequalsma I also researched further and found that apparently GE 3-way valves operate like stepper motors and sticking does occur. I kind of like your swing for the fences approach. So often the end of our troubleshooting journey is the confounded main control board. If it is returnable I think this is a good move.

I'd be interested to compare the response speed of your thermistors with those from a known good fridge or new ones. Also I wonder about a high resistance connection to one of the thermistors that makes the fridge think it is colder than it is.


I looked up the 3-way valve and it seems that replacement is not as DIY as it involves the capillary lines, recovering freon, etc. Over night the freezer got down to -1 but the fridge stayed at 52 degrees. The condenser for the fridge is 34 degrees so it is definitely like the fridge coils arent getting refrigerant which points to the 3 way valve. With the freezer getting down to temp and staying there, can we assume the 3-way valve is not getting stuck? Its moving from position B to D to give the freezer what it needs. Then when I power cycle the fridge cools so I know it will move into position A.

I cycled power this morning and everything kicks on and works as expected. Fridge rapidly drops to 38 degrees on my temp gauge but the fridge screen shows 45 degrees and it stays on.

I am going to change the fresh food thermistor today and see if that changes anything.


I just replaced both fresh food thermistors and defrost thermostat. New PCB as well. The screen still isn't displaying the actual temp in the fridge and doesn't seem to budge. The actual will go down to low 40's and the display shows 54 degrees. So I know the 3 way valve is directing freon to the fridge capillary. I am stumped.

My refrigerant kit will be here tomorrow. The only thing I can think of now is the 134 is low. I will try that and then I am out of ideas.


@effequalsma I understand replacing the whole valve is not really DIY but I was under the impression that the coil portion of the valve is replaceable without having to cut tubing.


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