Saturday, April 8, 2017

Today's Excitement

Today's excitement started with a simple question, first thing this morning. 

"Why is there water in the ice bin?"  The ice bin in the freezer.  With an ice maker that should have merrily been filling it with ice for the previous 12 hours.  That quickly turned into, "this frozen package is soft".  Which turned into, "my remote thermometer says it's almost 50 in the refrigerator". 

Kind of went downhill from there.  The refrigerator is about 10 years old.  We've spent the day trying to fix it without accomplishing anything.  I pulled the cover off the controller board and looked at it, which is much like raising the hood on a car when you know absolutely nothing about it, but are hoping for the Spark Plug Fairy to suddenly make things work. 

Thankfully, we have a larger freezer and a backup refrigerator, which is the one the broken one replaced.  There might be a lesson in there.   Time to find parts, a service manual, and turn into the appliance repair fairy.


  1. Kudos for trying to fix it. Most people would just head out to Home Depot or Best Buy for a new one!

  2. Post your model number and let another old graybeard appliance master help ya out. I have all the service info at my disposal.

  3. First place to look is for a frozen up evaporator coil located in the freezer section which is typically located behind a panel in the back inside of the freezer box. Remove the panel and expose the coil. If the coil is a solid block of ice and frost youve found the problem. This assumes the refrigerator has remained powered up until the time you begin disassembly Either the defrost heater is bad or the defrost timer has failed. Less likely is a cooling fan failure. Older refrigerators used synchronous timer motors and micro switches and current day models control electronics for the defrost cycle control. Defrost Heaters are either calrod or quartz glass lamp types. The freezer coil must be defrosted every 24 hours or it eventually freezes up which prevents air flow across it and without air flow proper cooling cannot take place. One need only a basic VOM to troubleshoot the problem. And if the coil is not frozen then it's likely a problem in the refrigeration loop such as low refrigerant gas ( unlikely) or the electronic controller. Some refrigerator models have damper servo motors that control the air flow between the food side and freezer side for fine tuning the food side temperature. But a damper control failure wouldn't stop overall cooling. My bet is that the defrost heater has failed. I have left out specific test methods and steps, things you already know. But assumptions can make asses. I know. I'm one.
    Perhaps you already know these things. I follow your blog as we have similar interests and backgrounds. My comments are based on experience working on my home refrigerators over the past 40 years and not as an appliance tech.

    My current refrigerator has electronic controls and an interface for a technician to connect a diagnostic computer. The refrigerator has been an expensive piece of junk made by idiots at GE. My wife talked me into buying an extended warranty on it at the time we purchased it and as always her intuition was correct. I've placed 5 service calls in as many years after the factory warranty expired for either cooling failures or water dispenser failures. I should write a treatise on the design defects on my model GE refrigerator. And the explanations given by the GE factory techs might make for a best seller. Designed by Monkeys. Now made by Monkeys in China.

  4. Thanks for the offers of help, and it's always good to meet more readers. The box is an LG LFC25770ST. I got the age wrong; we got it in July of '08, so it's not quite 9 years old. It has got a drawer freezer on the bottom and "french door" refrigerator on top.

    There was no ice visible anywhere, and we both think there has been a gradual build up to this problem over the last few weeks. About two weeks ago, I dumped the icemaker bin into a pan to cold smoke some more cheddar, and later that evening, there was no ice coming out of the ice maker. After fooling around trying to figure out what might be going on, it started working. We also noticed more ice crystals on some of the packages than there should be in the freezer. Looked as if it had perhaps thawed and then refrozen.

    Friday night, Mrs. Graybeard noticed the icemaker bin was a block of ice and dumped it in the kitchen sink. We expected it to have some ice by the morning, but there was none 12 hours later.

    By late in the day, we found that the system is barely cooling. The freezer was 60 and refrigerator was a couple of degrees cooler.

    Here's an odd thing that we realize has been going on for a while. There is click audible from other rooms that appears to follow a regular timing. This sounds like a relay. There are two clicks, about 20 seconds apart, and cycle repeats every 2-1/2 to 3 minutes.

    At the moment, I'm leaning to thinking it's the controller board.

  5. It is incredible how "sensitive" our modern appliances are. I've had washing machines quit after a year. Refrigerators after 8 years. Coffee makers after a couple of years. My gas stove won't work unless we have electric (which in MHO is stupid). There is a computer chip and it's associated control electronics in everything. It is almost as though the goal for the last 30 years has been to make the least reliable appliances at the highest cost possible. Why does my stupid coffee maker need a computer chip. Why does my gas stove need electricity? Why don't they at least offer an option without out all the bells and whistles? My dish washer has numerous settings but no clue to why? I can't even stop the heating cycle I have to listen for the last pumpout and go openn iit to avoid that. My clothes washer has numerous settings all of which are meaningless since I wash everything on the regular cycle and as far as I know most people do as well. Yet all those options create a more fragile less dependable design (more things to go wrong).

    1. The one that torques me off the most is the EPA regulations they force on the machines.

      Our washing machine is a few years old. When we got it, we found it wouldn't put out warm water, but the hot and cold taps worked fine. Warm fills it faster, which makes the job go faster. We called the service place; after all, it's a brand new washer that isn't working. They came out, checked it, and said it was fine. The EPA defined Warm to mean a specific range of temperatures, so if the tap water is in that range, they're not allowed to turn on the hot water tap. Saves energy, doncha know. Prevents global warmening.

      We have to be going through a prolonged cold spell for the water out of the tap to not qualify as "warm" to the EPA.

      Where does the get the authority to tell me what temperature I can set my washing machine to??

      I don't want any smart appliances.

  6. Check the condenser fan for operation/obstruction, such as, oh, I don't know, perhaps a piece of junk mail.

  7. Run for office. After you fix the EPA appliance stupidiy you can remove the ban on low flow toilets and the 100 watt incandescent lamp ban. I am sure "The Blog" will back you.
    (Dave Berry, but SiG knew that)