How To Fix Refrigerator That Will Not Start | Fridge Repair
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How To Fix A Refrigerator That Will Not Start

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  • Rated as EASY
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Overload Or Relay-Start Capacitor

The overload relay is a protection device used in the compressor circuit on your refrigerator. Power is applied to the compressor motor windings through the overload device, and the relay is used to add the start winding in the circuit until the compressor is at running speed. If the fans are running and your compressor won’t start or if you hear a clicking sound from the unit, check the overload relay for signs of overheating or arcing.

On modern refrigerators the overload relay is usually a combined part and plugs directly onto the side of the compressor. The overload and relay can be checked for continuity with a multi-meter. There may also be a start capacitor attached to the relay overload assembly. The start capacitor provides increased starting voltage to the compressor windings. If the start capacitor is defective then the compressor may not start. Check for signs of overheating or arcing and replace if necessary. If the overload, start relay and capacitor check ok, then you may have a defective compressor which should be checked by a qualified technician. These are live electrical circuits and power should be removed before servicing.

Cold Control & Temperature Control

The cold control is a temperature controlled switch that supplies power to the compressor and fan circuits in the refrigerator. If your refrigerator won’t start and no fans are running, then you may have a defective control. The temperature adjustment knob is attached to the control and is normally located in the fresh food section control panel. You can check the control for continuity with a multi-meter. You will need to remove power from the appliance first, remove the control from the housing and disconnect the terminal leads. As you adjust the control to a colder setting the switch should close and you should have continuity between the terminals. If not, then the control is defective and will need to be replaced.

Electronic Control Board

Some newer refrigerators are controlled by an Electronic Control Board that monitors temperatures and controls the compressor, fans and defrost system. If your refrigerator will not start, the control board could be at fault. Electronic controls are complex and expensive. You should first verify that there is no power being supplied to the compressor, that you have incoming power to the control board and that the external controls are functioning properly before condemning the electronic control. Look on the control board for signs of arcing, burnt connections or damaged foil. Remove power from the appliance before inspecting the control board.

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