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GE Energy Star Refrigerator with top mounted freezer.

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Refrigerator not cooling at all after replacing condenser fan

My refrigerator was staying cold, but my freezer was intermittently thawing. I took off the cover in the back and noticed that the condenser fan motor had clearly burned out (it was not spinning, and there was melted plastic, scorch marks).

I proceeded to replace the condenser fan, and after plugging the refrigerator again, nothing is cooling at all. The freezer completely thawed, and the refrigerator is warming.

I noticed after all of this that the compressor was not kicking on at all. The compressor was hot to the touch. one tube was cold, the other hot. I checked the run capacitor and the compressor start relay. The relay on this one can't be checked with a multimeter because there's a circuit board. To me it looked like the flux on the board was brown, and maybe a bit singed? Not entirely sure, though.

The capacitor, however, gave no reading on the lowest Ohm setting on my multimeter (even after being sure to get rid of the charge). When I turned it up, I got a number that just climbed upwards forever. The number that I was expecting to get if it was good was 12.

Am I right in thinking that the capacitor is the most likely problem? I will replace the relay also, unless I'm wrong. Thanks for any help!

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Hi @todsymons.

Here's the mini manual for the refrigerator that will help.

If the condenser fan is now operating it could be the relay or the overload protector, although given that the compressor was hot it may be a faulty compressor. Hopefully not.

If the condenser fan and the evaporator fan are also both not running, it may be the temp control or the defrost controller. (K2 relay contacts?).

The parts links shown are supplier examples only, of these two parts in your refrigerator

Here's a link to a parts supplier that is useful if there is another faulty part.

Search for the part to find the part number and then search online using the part number only to find suppliers that suit you best.

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Both the fans were running, so I'm hoping it's the relay or the capacitor... The latest development is that it tripped the GFCI outlet.



Leakage current flow to earth is what usually trips a GFCI so hopefully it is not the compressor motor

You may be able to test each of the compressor motor windings to make sure that they're the correct resistance and not that either is shorting to earth.

Looking at the mini manual, if you unplug relay, hopefully you can get to the three connections to the motor i.e. terminal 6 to "C" and terminal 5 to "C" where C is connected to the protector or black wire This is if the terminals appear where the relay plugs in and you can also get to the black wire on the overload protector

Each winding is 6 Ohms.

If you connect the meter between a winding terminal i.e. 5 or 6 and an earth it should test open circuit (infinite Ohms or OL on the meter). Make sure that the black wire on the protector is disconnected (or the protector is removed) when doing this

Otherwise you may need an AC clamp meter to measure the current flowing through the motor and check if it matches what is shown on the motor's compliance plate


Good news- replacing the compressor start relay and capacitor resulted in the compressor turning on immediately when the refrigerator was plugged in. The updated relay for this model won’t fit the old retaining clip. It doesn’t seem like the thing is loose enough to come off. Is that going to be a problem?

Also, the air didn’t feel exceptionally cold in the freezer right after it was turned on, but I’m just going to leave it all for several hours and check back later.



Indeed good news.

It could take up to 4-6 hours for the freezer to get down to the 0°F operating temp from ambient.

Not only does the air in the compartment need to be cooled down but the inside walls of the compartment as well as they would also be at the ambient temp if the compressor hasn't been working for a few days. They would be absorbing a lot of the temperature from the cold air being created by the evap unit and being circulated by the evap fan until the temp had equalized between the two i.e. walls and air inside the compartment

Don't know how the relay is fitted in your model but perhaps you could always lock it in using a cable tie (examples only), just to be sure in case vibrations from the compressor loosen it over time and it disconnects

Only downside is you would need to cut it to remove it if you ever have to replace the relay again


@todsymons it is normal for it to take a while to drop the temp inside significantly. It's under a very high heat load compared to when its at temp. Takes time. I also noticed you said you were using ohms to check the capacitor. Use microfarads instead. That's how to check caps. Start caps can't be checked by alot of the cheaper multimeters though. They often exceed the limits of what it can read. Typically if the cap is within 5% of stated value, it is good. If it is a start cap, they usually have a range (145-174uf e.g.) as long as it is within that range it's good. But I typically replace them if they read at the bottom end of the range.


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