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Author Topic: Replacing both evaporator fan motor and motherboard on GE SXS Refrigerators  (Read 53002 times)

Offline rickgburton

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REPLACING EVAPORATOR FAN MOTOR AND MOTHERBOARD ON GE SXS REFRIGERATORS

This is a rewrite of a thread I started in 2011 in an attempt to make it easier to understand how to determine whether the evaporator fan motor should also be replaced with the motherboard on GE refrigerators with failed motherboards.

Iíve had to replace both the variable speed DC evaporator fan motor along with main control boards or ďmotherboardsĒ on GE side by side refrigerators, mostly the GSS HSS and PSS 20-22-25-27 cubic ft. models with both metal and plastic liners. Iíve found around half of these board failures were partly due to a faulty/shorted DC evaporator fan motor.


Moisture gets inside the fan motor or thermistor thatís attached to the fan motor and causes shorts in the motor.


Replacing just the motherboard and not the fan motor will only result in another failed motherboard in a short amount of time.


To determine whether or not the fan motor should be replaced with the motherboard, first look at the two resistors below the J2 connector.
If they are burned or discolored you should replace the fan motor.


Remove the J2 connector and check the resistance in the harness between the J2-3 white wire and J2-8 red wire. There should be approximately 1.5K to 3.0K Ohms. If it reads open or shorted you should recheck it at the motor. If the readings are the same replace the fan motor.


On the mother board, check for 13 VDC between J2-3 and J2-8 and check for between 8-13 VDC between J2-3 and J2-4.
When no voltage is measured at the motherboard check for a short in the fan motor between the yellow and white wire and the red and white wire. A short in the fan motor will damage the motherboard.


If either of the following symptoms exists, freezer section thawing and refreezing, fan motor speed erratic or makes noise, or water stains and/or rust on the fan motor, then I would recommend you replace the fan motor.


While replacing the motherboard on GE refrigerators is common on all models, I have not seen this particular problem on top mount, bottom mount, french door, or inverter models.


Iíve marked the image and picture of a failed motherboard for easy reference.


rickgburton



GE Refrigerator Main Control Board Part # WR55X10942

Note: Due to manufacturer changes replacement board may appear different in configuration compared to the original.
Instructions are included with the replacement board.



GE Refrigerator Evaporator Fan Motor Part # WR60X10185
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 08:10:27 AM by rickgburton »
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Offline AJ

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Great information, awesome post!  O0

Offline rickgburton

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Thanks AJ! You should make it sticky.
OWNER/SERV TECH: RICK'S APPLIANCE REPAIR
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Offline AJ

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Thanks AJ! You should make it sticky.

Good idea, done.  O0

Offline go400

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Replacing the motherboard is probably not required if it is the new WR55X10942. To GE's credit,they isolated the sensitive drivers with relays.

Offline generaltech1

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Does this only apply to the SXS refers?

Offline go400

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It applies to any GE refigerator with the motherboard and 12 volt evaporator motor.

Offline generaltech1

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Just to be clear, would this apply to a "GTH22SBRARBS"? The board looks completely different but there are quite a few discolored resistors on the one that I'm currently getting ready to replace the motherboard.

Offline shillion

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Hello Rick,you have done a great job of illustrating the job to be done.I am sure many of us will learn a lot and save lots of frustrations and time and money.Thanks!

Offline rickgburton

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Anytime my friends! Here's some motherboard tech information for anyone that can use it. I just finished it and found one small mistake but corrected it. If any one sees any mistakes, please let me know. Thank you!
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Offline AJ

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Nice, great addition to a already awesome topic!  O0

Bet you spent a little time making them diagrams.

 :thanks:

Offline rickgburton

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Thank you! The original diagram was one page (1500x1500) but where ever I uploaded it to re-sized it and then you couldn't read the words. I originally started making diagrams for a friend of mine in the appliance business just starting out. I have a few more diagrams but they're designed more for the service tech than the DIY'er. I'll post a couple if I can figure out the secret handshake...LOL
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Offline rickgburton

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I have enough information and diagrams to make a Service Tech Reference or Quick Check handbook. I don't know if there's any interest for one though. Now days, unlike 27 years ago, there's more to remember. We went from 30 page service manuals to 300 page manuals and from simple voltage tests to enter the service diagnostic cycle or test mode. To this day, I still don't know how my VCR works..LOL
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Offline AJ

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Quote
I have a few more diagrams but they're designed more for the service tech than the DIY'er.

I think a lot of times the DIY'ers are not given enough credit. Got to remember a lot of DIY'ers maybe in similar trades as us and are able to read and understand our diagrams just fine and for the ones who can't we are more then happy to help.

Our appliance repair forum is a community of both tradesman and DIY'ers, people helping people. :)










Offline generaltech1

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Great diagrams there Rick! O0

Offline rickgburton

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Thanks, and since I'm still in the refrigerator forum, here's a couple more I made on using the touch method to diagnose sealed system issues. This is old school but it worked great for me and doesn't take very long to become quite accurate using it.

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Offline AJ

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Nice, you need to start writing a book for us.  O0

Offline ZZZ

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Offline archibald tuttle

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Rick and company,

I too wish to thank you for the diagram which ought to be pasted to the back of every one of these fridges.

Two questions on these GE SxS.  How can you tell if you have the new board.  assume the relay might be obvious or . . .  date code or?

I've been through two boards in two years on one of these SxS and now its down again.  seems like defrost symptoms but could be evap fan, i.e. freezer is refrigerator, refrigerator is oven . . .

fixyourboard.com has a pretty good logic schematic for the defrost circuit
http://www.fixyourboard.com/techzone/refrigerators/ge_fridge_nodefrost/defrostflow.html
but calls for ohming the "bimetal switch".  i don't thing these have bimetal switches. I thought they have thermistors which vary resistance with temperature.  maybe they are still bimetal, and maybe the reading they are looking for - under 10 ohms - indicates a range, e.g. 0 to 10 that is within appropriate operating characteristics.

first problem is, identifying the "bimetal switch" which I assume from your diagram is the evaporator thermistor which is also used to terminate the defrost cycle. (I'm a little hazy on that terminology relative to good old analog defrost operation because the defrost cycle was operated by a timer and the bimetal switch turned the element on and off to prevent overheating during that timed cycle but did not terminate the cycle.)  Assuming I have the right thing to test you show ohming J1 pin 5 to J1 pin 4 and then I'd refer to the thermistor values to see if the ohms vaguely correspond to current evap temp.  One thing not mentioned, is such a test reliable if the junction is still plugged in? if so, maybe this is a slight advantage to the PC board control as in most analog versions you had to unplug everything and test it on its own - although that also highly logically confirmed what was working and what wasn't.  no black box to deal with.

And , I'm still black box as to whether the new and disimproved model responds to the thermister by reentering refrigeration mode or it simply turns off heater and the processor is running a timer (and if all this utter nonsense overcomplicating fridges in order to cost people money and grief is actually aimed at some miniscule energy savings and I can blame this whole disaster on EPA -  who are pretty much singlehandedly responsible for most problems I encounter in life - you'd think they would have a relative humidity sensor as well to change the cycle timing rather than a knife edge algorithm of how fast the evap warms but maybe that is a reasonable surrogate for it being iced out and I'm only complicating what is already too complicated, but I digress).

As to the evap fan, I'm not clear what the real benefits are of two or three speed operation.  you list 12V high 8 V for low although then I see a listing of 4V low, 8V med, 12V high. I've generally found good ole fashioned AC evap fans to be virtually bomb proof.  I'll come across them completely iced up or gummed up with locked rotor.  clean em up, little lube on the shaft and back in business.  water don't hurt 'em, ice don't hurt 'em, food gunk don't hurt 'em.

If I read your first diagram right, after observing resistor condition and checking for open or short condition J2 pin 3 to J2 pin 8 and then following up at motor if either is observed, I would test for voltage between J2 pin 3 and J2 pin 4 during operation.  And if I'm not getting voltage at all to J2 pin 8 this is an indication of damage to the board possibly resulting from some misoperation or misapprehension of the evap fan.  Now, you say this should be less likely with new boards because of relay style operation, although I'm wondering if these guys every heard of a fuse.  We used to used those to protect DC control circuits as well as mains, just sayin . . . 

I guess in the bigger picture while I'm thanking you for your extensive work to help crack the black box a little bit -  what is the point.  I've got plenty of work without these headaches.  I suppose if we are trying to cure unemployment by turning 30 million more people into appliance repairmen it would be more efficient to keep writing unemployment checks and not have all our food spoil - maybe that explains the increase in food stamps.

Maybe I can ask if there is another thread to discuss what manufacturers have actually got this figured out best and will move the the bottom of this post there, but can't avoid asking when I'm on the 3rd go round in 3 years for this fridge whether there are better options. Can I still buy an analog controlled fridge or one with minimal printed circuit work, or small circuits devoted just to the icemaker for instance which have been prevalent for years but if the icemaker goes, you don't lose all you food.

I will certainly plead guilty to not having cracked the depths of the problems the way that rick has and maybe once you really understand a board, the GE isn't any worse than anybody else's - or perish the thought, maybe it is better.  (although fixyourboard.com also identifies their 13.5 volt power supply as fluky.
  http://www.fixyourboard.com/techzone/refrigerators/ge_fridge_testload/ge_fridge_testload.html.
don't know if they fixed that on the 'new' versions.)

and fixyourboard warranties their repairs for 2 years which is nice but to me the gold standard is 22 years not 2 years.  I've got an analog SxS Estate brand (think I once figured out it is a whirlpool but not sure) fridge I bought from Sam's club 22 years ago for 500 bucks and done nothing but clean the condenser grid a couple times prophylactically.

if there is a modern manufacturer who can take those guts and wrap some stainless steel around 'em and sell 'em for a grand they'd be in the money from my perspective.  I'd tell everybody I know to buy one.

And I'm now faced with the decision whether to fix this GE again (maybe better than I did before by buying a new board without really knowing why the old one failed, maybe Rick's work will help me to know why it failed) or to throw in the towel and choose another manufacturer or different GE control strategy because counter-depth would be better in this setting anyway. If so, what manufacturer should I choose?

if you made it to the end of this post you were able to suspend the ADD that has you being an independent entrepeneurial serivce person (e.g., for extreme example see my screen name) long enough in favor of ARD - (i.e the retentive disorder) when it comes to appliance repair. thanx for playing. thanks for any service ideas and any observations on brands which seem to have more analog or better worked out or separated digital control regimens.

brian

aka- the man who refuses to buy a washing machine with a digital main controller.




Offline ZZZ

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Rick and company,

I too wish to thank you for the diagram which ought to be pasted to the back of every one of these fridges.

Two questions on these GE SxS.  How can you tell if you have the new board.  assume the relay might be obvious or . . .  date code or? .....

/quote]
The bimetal is made by TOD and is an L140-30, if memory serves me right.  This means it will open at 140 deg. F. and close at 30 deg. F.  To test one, cut the leads and remove.  Cut the leads about an inch from the bimetal because you will have to reinstall it with very little extra wire slack).  A new one comes with long leads.  The connectors must be sealed with RTV silicone I to keep moisture out of connector. Heat shrink or tape will not be sufficient.

 Tape the thermocouple from your temperature meter to the side and clip your ohmmeter to the leads.  Put some water in a pan on the stove and heat to 160 degrees. Place in water, the device should open when the meter indicates 140 + or - 5.  Then move it to a working freezer, it should close at 30 + or - 5.  Do this four or five times to be sure. It will not have a variable resistance, it will be zero or infinity. Or, you can just buy a new one for $9.00.   Here is a link to TOD, they make most of the bimetals out there:
http://www.thermodisc.com/en-US/Products/Bimetal/Pages/39T.aspx
You did not state how your boards are failing, that would be the best indicator of what is going on.  Do you have a surge protector on your electric service or refrigerator outlet.  I would invest in a good one for the panel as voltage spikes (dute to lightning and utility switching) are the number one killer of boards in A/C, furnaces, washers, audio and video equipment, and refrigerators.  The newer style board has the two resistors in Rick's photo in a different location from the older boards.  There is no date codes on most boards. 
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 10:11:19 AM by ZZZ »