GE Refrigerator Motherboard Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by scirocco_enrique, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. scirocco_enrique

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2016
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    I am trying to troubleshoot the motherboard in my GE Profile Arctica Stainless Steel Side by side refrigerator. The motherboard (Part Number WR55X10942) was scorched at the top and it was obvious that the R6 resistor was blown. It is a 110 Ohm resistor right at top of the board next to the 47 mFD Capacitors on top.

    Note this is NOT the 2 Ohm 1/4 W resistor which blows when something is wrong with the evaporator fan.

    I checked the Compressor Relay. No blown out soldering and it checked OK. I also checked the 4 or 5 Kettler SPST Relays. They check out fine too.

    So I replaced the R6 (110 Ohm) resistor and was hoping that it would work.

    But no luck. The Compressor does not kick in. I know that the COmpressor OLP and Relay are good because I have checked the refrigerator with amother motherboard and it works fine. The refrigerator side interior light comes on. The Freezer Side light does NOT come on. And all the LCD displays for temperature controls are black - not lit up.

    WHat other component should I check? What else could be worng. I have the fridge with me for a few days so I want to fix the motherboard just for fun...
     
  2. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    The problem with circuit boards in cars and appliances is that their purpose is to be cheaply made and un-repairable. Even if you know what each part does, How you gonna program a new microprocessor chip?

    The best I can do is verify the peripheral parts and pray I don't have to buy a circuit board...except for those lucky moments when I see a bad solder joint.

    I recommend you replace the board as a matter of life or death for the refrigerator. As a matter of study and curiosity? Go for it. That's how I learned.


    I bet you saw my Thread on side-by-side refrigerators. That would explain a lot.
    I don't remember what brand I was talking about that day, but I remember the owner.
     
  3. scirocco_enrique

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2016
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    **************************************************

    What thread are you talking about? I would like to read it. And it is just a matter of study and curiosity. If it is a peripheral, I would replace it and enjoy the awesome feeling of "I fixed it". That is why I want to know what else to check. If it is a processor, I would just give up.

    Here is the story. The GE Arctica in my house started acting up. So of course, I paid an arm and a leg and the tech replaced the motherboard and evap fan. Upon closer inspection, I found the bad solder joint on the compressor relay in the motherboard. So I re-soldered it and kept it as a spare. I own an older property in Tampa Palms (New Tampa). The tenant was hoping that I would replace her refrigerator which was an old beige colored Kenmore. I found this pristine stainless steel side by side unit on Craigslist. The owner let me have it for free. So I hauled it back home to New Tampa in my van all the way from Westchase. And I swapped the motherboard. It started working great. Despite that, since this was going to a rental unit, I ordered a new motherboard and fan from GE as I do not want to be bothered with service calls. In the meantime, I thought I would fix the original motherboard and see if it works. But no it did not work. I do not do this professionally. Just as an interest.I work in Citigroup finance and do not have time to do this. But I love fixing stuff. And I handle HVAC units for myself and friends once in a while. As you know, mostly it is a blown capacitor. I would love to meet you but do not know how to contact you - do please suggest a way.

    So, in a nutshell - 110 Ohm resistor replaced, all relays on the board checked and found to be good. Cannot check the 47 mFD caps as they would need desoldering, I would guess. But if your guess is that it is one of these caps, I will de-solder and test them. If you think it is something else, I would appreciate advise on what else to check. THe internet just talks of how to replace the board - nothing component level. And swapping a board is no fun - not challenging enough. Also, do these boards suffer from overheating, do you know? They are in the back and covered with a solid metal plate. If lack of cooling is an issue, I would drill some holes in the cover and hope for air circulation to cool it down. Even hook up a computer fan if that would help.
     
  4. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/ge-refrigerator-failures-update.59684/

    I do not allow my Internet activities to convert to physical proximity. If you can find me in person, you are either a Hacker or The Government. That's how I want it to be.

    Aluminum electrolytic capacitors are famous for going bad. Heat is their worst enemy. Sometime they swell up or puke. Sometimes they quit without showing any physical evidence. If Radio Shack still existed, you could replace both of them today for $2 or $3. I don't believe you can order them on the Internet and receive them in 2 or 3 days.
     
  5. scirocco_enrique

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2016
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    I am in no hurry. But its a pity Radio Shack does not exist. I wanted to hire somebody local to teach me more on component level troubleshooting. That is why I asked. Just as a hobby. And because I hate paying $100 plus for boards when a $1 part is bad. Next project it to diagnose the motherboard on a garage door opener that quit. But again, electronics stumps me somewhat. To learn troubleshooting, I even got meself an oscilloscope which is collecting dust.
     
  6. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    A scope, like a voltmeter, can only be useful when you know what to expect before you do the measurement. If you don't know what you're looking for, you won't know what you're looking at when you see the new information. You must have an idea of how things work before you measure them. Your mental model might be sketchy or frankly wrong, but you must have a mental model before you measure or the results are worthless.
     
  7. Roderick Young

    Member

    Feb 22, 2015
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    If it's a rental, there is no time to troubleshoot the refrigerator. That said, if it's been replaced, and the bad one is in your garage to troubleshoot at your leisure...

    When our refrigerator went intermittent, it was a relay. Note that you can't tell a relay is good just by listening for the clicking sound. Contacts can go bad over the years. Additionally, try tracing the wires to the compressor, and wire a physical switch to provide power to the compressor. Does the compressor start? The answer to this will isolate whether it is really the motherboard, or somewhere else. If the compressor doesn't start, about all you can do is look at the start and run capacitors on it. A compressor is not worth the trouble to replace, in my opinion.
     
  8. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    This was addressed when TS said the compressor works when he replaces the motherboard.
     
  9. scirocco_enrique

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2016
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    Anybody local in Tampa who can get me started on electronics component level troubleshooting? I will pay of course. IWith an MS in Mech Engg., plus years of tinkering around - even with electronics, I would pick up the nuances, I am hoping.
     
  10. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I believe I'm the only other on this site near Tampa, and Tampa is outside my natural range of movement. We have one near Miami called joeyd999. Look for ITT Tech. See if they have a beginners course. I did a year at that school in 1969, but that might all be gone after 45 years. See also local tech schools.
     
  11. scirocco_enrique

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2016
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    Wish you would agree to give me an hour or two and get me started..help me buy test equipment, etc...I have enough theory and that is the problem. Its all book knowledge. I wanted some hands on knowledge. All that I find useful now are what I learnt hands on - not in Engineering school.
     
  12. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Search for, "How to get started" Threads. They mostly come down to: Get a $4 meter at Harbor Freight, some parts, and a little board you plug wires and transistors into. Build some dreadfully simple circuits, get them working, rinse and repeat.
     
  13. scirocco_enrique

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2016
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    I would think I know more than that (hope to God). I do have a DMM, a Power Supply, a Scope...just poor knowledge. I sometimes manage to fix some boards when it is obvious.
     
  14. Roderick Young

    Member

    Feb 22, 2015
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    168
    My bad.

    I have found that fixya.com sometimes has syndrome information on various models of refrigerator. That's another possible route, see if someone has already solved a similar issue on the web.
     
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  15. debe

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2010
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    A good clear picture of the board & components & the track side is a good start when asking for help. If the displays aren't litup could be a power supply problem.
     
  16. scirocco_enrique

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    9
    1
    Here is the final status. I replaced the 110 Ohm resistor on the main board. But I replaced it with a 2W instead of the blown out 1/4 W resistor.

    I also replaced the two 47 mFD 400V Capacitors right next to the blown resistor.

    This worked and the refrigerator is working perfectly. I had already checked the relays and they tested out OK. But I went ahead and re-flowed the solder in all the relay connections - just in case some had dried out.

    End result. Refrigerator works perfect now. But I had a question.

    The 110 Ohm resistor was glowing red hot when I plugged it in. Then the glow subsided after about 2 mins. And everything was OK. Why was it glowing hot? Had I replaced with a 1/4 Watt resistor instead of the 2W, it would have surely blown. Any advise on why this was hapenning?
     
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  17. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    If I remember correctly, that resistor is in series with a fan motor. I think a slow starting motor would cause this concern. Ohm the entire circuit for resistance in the wiring harness. If that checks out, suspect the fan motor.
     
  18. scirocco_enrique

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2016
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    Thanks for your reply #12. Which fan motor? The evaporator or the condensor?
     
  19. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Again, This depends on my memory. I think it is the evaporator fan motor, but SOMETHING is the real load after that small resistor. Find it!

    Edit: It might be those two bad capacitors. Problem is I don't have the schematic, therefore, I am guessing.
     
  20. scirocco_enrique

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    9
    1
    Many Many Thanks #12. I will check. I think you are 100% correct about it being the evaporator motor.

    But I am not understanding your statement "it might be those two bad capacitors". Are you saying the two capacitors are causing the resistor to glow ? These are two new 47 mFD caps I put in. Although these are Chinese Caps I ordered on ebay. THey measured OK. And being in parallel, they even read about 100 mFD when connected on the board.

    Also, any idea where I can snag a few parts for a GE Side By Side refrigerator in Tampa/St. Pete? Do you know of a junkyard or something like that?
     
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