DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > Appliances > General Appliance Discussion > GE Hotpoint CTX14WAYCTH Cooling..but not enough!





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Old 07-01-2006, 12:23 PM  
brewski
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Default GE Hotpoint CTX14WAYCTH Cooling..but not enough!

OK here's the situation, we got this fridge from friends who were moving to Florida about 3 years ago. Never really had a problem with it. I believe this is a frost free, it mentions some defroster stuff on the schematic on the rear label (and we've never defrosted it :-)
Abruptly last week I noticed milk, water, etc in the fridge was not as cool as usual.
Noticed things in the freezer were frozen but not rock solid like usual.
My wife tends to overstuff the thing (the freezer side especially) so we took some things out and I cranked up the thermostat (was set to around 3, bumped it up to around 7).

The fridge is running about 40-41 degrees F now, The freezer still doesn't seem to be freezing things hard solid like it used to. I did a brief webearch before finding this site, they all said to clean the coils "which will be on back or underneath behind a door". I pulled the fridge out, didn't see any on the back, and dont see any way to open a door on the bottom.
It looks like the coils may be in the lower back corner behind a cardboard(!?) grille. I havent taken that off yet but it's next on my list right after posting this message.
I also checked here
http://www.applianceaid.com/faqfridge.html#notcold
which also said to clean the coils. The seals are OK. The light goes on and off correctly. I'm not sure how to tell which fans are running and how. Unlike my window AC, I dont really hear the fridge so I'm not sure when it's going on and off.
I don't get the feeling that this is a dirt buildup on coil problem because it happened very abruptly one day. Nonetheless, I am going to clean the coils now. Will repost if they turned out to be very dusty.

The thing of it is, this is supposed to be a closed loop system, right? The thermostat tells the compressor to run until the thermostatic setpoint is satisfied. I dont see why turning up the thermostat would fix this problem.

I took apart the little tray with the controls in it, seems clean and OK. I didn't electrically test any of it, but the compressor does cycle on and off.

PS my wife wants to "just buy a new one" (of course) so please let me know if there's anything I missed before I waste over $400 on a new fridge :-)



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Old 07-01-2006, 01:35 PM  
jeff1
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Hi,

Quote:
I pulled the fridge out, didn't see any on the back, and dont see any way to open a door on the bottom.
Some of these units have the hot condensor tubing inside the cabinet walls.

Quote:
I'm not sure how to tell which fans are running and how.
Can often hear it running in the freezer and try a match/lighter to check for air flow into the FF section from the freezer.
No air flow can be bad fan, frost build up ( frost free faulire ).

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The thing of it is, this is supposed to be a closed loop system, right?
Refrigerant wise, yes it is.

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The thermostat tells the compressor to run until the thermostatic setpoint is satisfied. I dont see why turning up the thermostat would fix this problem.
Correct, it won't.

If everything is running, best to remove the access panal in the freezer and inspect the cooling coils....all covered in frost, 1/2 frosted and 1/2 bare, ball of ice, etc.

jeff.


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Old 07-01-2006, 02:17 PM  
brewski
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Wow Jeff thanks for the fast reply! I was half expecting to have to wait until next week for someone to see my post and reply. I was just coming back to post on my results of pulling the rear cover off.

So, here's what happened:

I pulled the rear cardboard cover off, all I see coil-wise is a small loop sitting in a plastic pan of runoff water. (bottom left of pic 1-rear). The red connector threw me for a loop mometarily until I discovered it was for an optional ice maker's water valve (connector is in upper right in pic1)
The compressor (80164232 C-BZN142LG M Thermally Protected V115HZ60PHT V100HZ50PH1 R134a LR52236 (*)) was fairly warm, and sounded like it was running. But then again I've been messing with this thing for a few days now, setting the thermostat high and all.

I was able to see under the fridge, and saw no "coils that needed dusting" at all, also obviously the back didn't have any; it was plain sheet metal. I didn't see anything that looked like the big network of coils I remember on my old fridge.

At the time I hadn't seen your post yet, but I did notice certain locations around the sides getting warm. I guess this must be one of those fridges with the coils inside the case (so I assume there's no dust buildup)

So then, based on the tutorials I saw, I figured I'd check the freezer for a panel that would reveal a fan and cooling coils.

After removing all the food I found a few panels secured by screws. pic 2-freezer shows the first step, removing a tower like item. The yellow part is sponge rubber type foam. The white block at the bottom is a hard foam like what they make coolers out of. Note that there's a baffle plate type structure in this 'tower' that was set at setting "B". When I plugged the plug back in, the fan spun with no problems.

Pulling out the bottom tray (3 freezer pic) I could see a little frost on the coils, but not a big block of ice. Also I had fast-forwarded the heater control after messing with the fridge so it skipped at least one cycle. Based on that. I don't think this amount of ice is characteristic of a defrost problem but I thought I'd post the picture for the experts to see.

I ran a hairdryer on medium heat over the coils, and then pulled the back panel off (picture 4) exposing more coils. As you can see there's not a lot of ice here. I fully defrosted the coils after removing the back panel though. I also noticed the bracket holding the coils up was broken (top left- directly behind the green wire you can see the broken off bracket piece still hanging by a screw) so I drilled a hole in the remaining bracket and re-hung it on a piece of copper wire.

I buttoned everything back up and am waiting to see what happens. I'm trying to keep my wife from monkeying with it but she keeps opening to door to look at the thermometer I put in there (and get food out).


P.S: from a date code I found on a tag on the wiring, it looks like this was made in 1997... under 9 years old, I've never had a fridge die on me that young.

(*) From the CSA file number I was able to determine this was a Sanyo 801- Series compressor: http://directories.csa-international.org/xml_transform.asp?xml=certxml\052236_0_000-1224-81.xml&xsl=xsl/certrec.xsl









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Old 07-01-2006, 09:19 PM  
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I buttoned everything back up and am waiting to see what happens. I'm trying to keep my wife from monkeying with it but she keeps opening to door to look at the thermometer I put in there (and get food out).
Time will tell....to bad you took to hair dryer to it before you got the whole panal off....kinda appears it might have been a frost build up/frost free problem....if it is, the frost will slowly build back up again after a few days.

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I guess this must be one of those fridges with the coils inside the case (so I assume there's no dust buildup
Correct, it is.

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Old 07-03-2006, 10:07 AM  
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Yeah I think you're right. I will watch it over the next few days and see.
Not looking forward to determining what went bad... the heating element, the timer, bad connections...

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Old 07-03-2006, 01:14 PM  
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Quote:
Not looking forward to determining what went bad... the heating element, the timer, bad connections...
Heating element - mildy common ( heating element on these often has a thermal fuse built into the element as well )
Defrost timer - very common
Defrost thermostat - very common
Connection - rare.

If the heater is ok, timer and stat are often changed together as they work together.

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Old 07-03-2006, 08:50 PM  
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Thanks again- having a plan of attack from a professional is helpful.
I put a mark on the defraost timer so I could see if it was actually moving, and it looks like it is.
I didn't really realize there was a seperate defrost thermostat. I assume it is used to turn the heating element off when it's defrosting? If it goes bad, the heater burns out?

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Old 07-03-2006, 09:48 PM  
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I put a mark on the defraost timer so I could see if it was actually moving, and it looks like it is
They can fail electrically or mechanically and be intermittant.

Quote:
I didn't really realize there was a seperate defrost thermostat. I assume it is used to turn the heating element off when it's defrosting?
Off is correct.

Quote:
If it goes bad, the heater burns out?
If the stat sticks closed the heater can get too hot and fail or the stat can stick open and prevent the heater from comming on.

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Old 07-26-2006, 11:28 AM  
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I promised to come back and say what happened. So far, the fridge has been operating normally. Perfectly in fact. It's back to around 39F and no more warm milk. My guess for now is the defrost timer got stuck. At least now I know what to look for.
Thanks again for all the help!

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Old 07-26-2006, 12:24 PM  
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