Refrigerator Problem - Loses Cool GE TFX24S

ETA2, if you can hear the timer grinding and making noise like it’s struggling or rubbing or working hard to turn, I’d wager that that’s the problem, replace it and see how things go. Like I said, it’s just a bunch of plastic gears. When the fridge is (in normal circumstances) not running, because it’s cold enough, the only sound you should hear are the internal fan(s).


I just realized: If it isn’t the tstat or timer, I am probably going to junk it. My back is not in shape to disassemble the compressor area.

I’ll just replace the tstat and timer and see if it is cured.
still dies I may or may not call a tech - what would it cost to have a tech replace the compressor?

A bit more info:

The wiring harness into the console with lamp, timer, tstat:

Purple - goes to only lamp (do we switch the neutral for lamps? Looks like)
Red: to lamp AND timer
Black - only timer
Brown - to only tstat
Blue - timer only

There is a wire from tstat to timer

If Blue is the power to the compressor, this runs power to tstat which then powers the time.

I’m going out on a limb and thinking the Red is used for hot - which means the lamp really does have its neutral switched.
This also assume the grounding wire is not used as neutral.

This would leave the black and brown to power the timer’s motor, and red is power in and blue power out.

Does this sound reasonable?

I’m overdue for a shower
Kitty did get her extended tummy rub. Priorities are priorities.

(the poor thing was running all day with me opening the door continuously)

Too late to edit.

Scratch the proposed wiring, try this:

If Blue is the power to the compressor, this REFER* runs power to tstat which then powers the timeR.

If the red is neutral (a sweet bit of confusion) as it should be for lamp and timer, the red and the wire from the tstat power the timer motor, leaving black as power in and blue as power out.

I have no device that can detect hot without its neutral. My fingers can do it, but I’m kinda past the age where deliberate electrification sounds like a fun thing to do.

Thanks again and again.

I promise to google (I’m actually kinda fond of bing)

    • insert these capitalizations to avoid confusion

This also assumes the timer runs continuously, and cutting out every once in a while.
If true, this is the missing part - it answers the question of how it knows when to defrost.
I had been assuming it only ran during defrost cycle and resumed running the compressor when it detected “Time’s Up!”.

List of things I have learned that I never wanted to learn:

A whole bunch of things medical
How a furnace/AC system works
How a self-defrost refer works

A lifetime of buying crappy cars means I know way too much about them.
As a child in the 50’s, I never Dreamed there would be an OBD system on cars, let alone that I would have a tool to read and reset the damned thing.

As Pepe LePew says:

“Le sigh…”

JoeyP, slight hijack. For months I have been trying to figure out why my freezer builds up so much ice on the bottom yet the walls stays ice free. Stupid me! The Girl friend spills water whenever she makes ice. About 5 times a day. This is a new fridge, old fridges over the past 20 years didn’t do this that I remember. Do I have a problem?

While waiting for a grown-up to answer:

AIUI, the “defrost” is intended to only PREVENT real ice - it stops cooling long enough for any frost that may have accumulated on the coil(s).
It is not intended to melt ice.

Once you get solid ice, the defrost will do nothing.

Its entire philosophy is to PREVENT ice in the first place.

You could put a drain in the freezer compartment, but where would the water go?

Easy: Replace the fridge with one that has an ice dispenser; or replace the girlfriend with one with a more steady hand.
Aside from that, I was trying to think what a refrigerator that lost its cool would look like. Dark glasses and a bobble hat maybe? Or just full of healthy stuff like veggies and fruit with no beer.

The defrost cycle turns on heaters (in most cases), so it can melt real ice. If your freezer is creating solid blocks of ice on the coils in 8 hours, you have other issues though. Typically either poor seals or you’re low on freon. You also do have a drain at the bottom of the freezer. If you didn’t all that moisture that just melted wouldn’t turn into a ever growing block of ice at the bottom of the freezer and that would cause a lot of problem. Also, some of it would just continually re-condense over and over on the coils.
As for what happens to it, it just drains to a pan under the the fridge. When you were poking around down there you may have seen it and old dirty dusty pan with a hose hanging over it. That’s the condensate pan. Some have an electric heater in them to evaporate the water, some run a section of the hottest part of the lineset through them, but most of them just rely heat from the condenser coils and compressor blowing around down there to evaporate it.
This is why when you try to move a fridge and you tip it forward it dumps a puddle of water on your foot. In fact, didn’t you mention that you had a puddle on your floor in the earlier posts? This was ice melting, going down the drain and over flowing the pan.

As for measure voltage without a neutral. “Common” is your neutral, that’s where your black probe should go. You can also ground it if it’d easier. Just touch it to a metal part of the frame.

Well, ACs and fridges use the same ‘refrigeration cycle’ look that phrase up. The cycle is very simple and relies on a compressor and a TXV. It’s the controls that make things all complicated.

Furnaces, totes simple. Just remember, the t-stat calls for heat and you need to listen for:
3)flame staying on for about a minute
4)main blower

when the t-stat doesn’t want heat anymore:
gas shuts off, main blower remains on for about a minute or so to blow remaining hot air out of plenum and ducts.
Furnaces really aren’t that difficult, but IME, it’s getting the homeowner, especially over the internet to tell you what the problem is. There’s a world of difference between ‘it won’t come on’ and ‘it comes on but shuts off’. Turning on and turning right back off, but they won’t tell you if it’s 2 minutes of (literally) 5 seconds, are two different parts that can be replaced.
The nice thing about a furnace is that, other than the board, it’s mostly just a bunch of mechanical switches.

Yeah, my exposure to furnaces was a 1947 natural gas with pilot light and thermocouple with two wires to an on/off Honeywell tstat.

(like my current water heater uses)

A modern furnace with flue blower, flame detector, electronic ignition represented quite a learning curve.
And: the current detected by the flame detector has a square voltage pattern.

And don’t ask my opinion of the “sugar cube” 120VAC relays. I’m not impressed.

The fridge continues to run, albeit with a new, deep pitched noise when the compressor runs.
I have decided "I must have bumped something which now vibrates in sync with the compressor.

My puddles were the ice maker’s ice melting. I have not detected an actual heat cycle - the worst this one does is come to room temp.

Another “I probably am going to regret asking this”: If the defrost cycle can melt unwanted ice, how does it NOT melt:

  1. Ice that I want
  2. (what passes for) food that is supposed to stay frozen?

I’m old enough to remember “defrosting the fridge”, so anything that eliminates that ritual is welcome.

The defroster is just a small piece of wire right in the coils. The heat is right next to there next to the ice you’re trying to get rid of. There’s probably a piece of plastic between the coils and the food. When the heater comes on the fan shuts off, specifically to prevent heat from blowing around in the box. Also, there’s often a defrost thermostat right in that area that turns off the defroster when it gets hot enough (implying that the ice has melted).

So, all the heat is concentrated where it needs to be and they do what they can to keep it from spreading. However, when there’s problems that cause excessive amounts of ice build up, the defroster usually can’t get to that.

This thing is running almost continuously. I am going to put it down to the fact that the conduit from the tstat box to the freezer is not a very good seal, and it’s getting confused.

I did find the timer running when the compressor is on, so I see why the little things wear out frequently.
It would be unreasonable to expect the makers yo engineer a part which lasts as long as the rest of the parts.
Come up with a design that fails by ruining all the food in the refer - this will generate income for the repair folks, making them love us and refer all their friends to our units.

(I’m getting good at becoming a “crotchety old man”)

That’s easy to check, there’s two quick methods (for a home unit)
a)close a dollar bill in the door and pull it out, there should be some resistance. Do that all the way around and make sure there aren’t any spots where the bill just pulls right out
b)if it’s running non stop, the you’ll may end up with a buildup of ice, especially if it’s a seal issue. It’ll start on the coils, but your food will get covered in frost as well, especially near the door.
…also, depending on the setup, you may find that your fridge starts to freeze as well.

However, even if it runs non stop, it should still stop every X hour for Y minutes for the defrost cycle.

Kinda, maybe. I’ll bet dollars to donuts, the one you replace it with isn’t the same as the OEM one so it’s not like GE (or whoever made it) or the company that collected the money for the timer in the first place will make money on the replacement.
Also, a lot of people end up with something simple and easily diagnosed, breaking and not only put the whole thing on the curb but say ‘screw this brand, it only lasted a few years’ and get a different brand. Granted, many of them are just rebadged, but still.
Also, just to reiterate, until some actual testing is done, the timer is just my working theory.

As for it running non-stop, it could be the seals, but if it’s totally empty (you said you moved all the product, believe it or not, it’s harder for it to maintain temp, so it’ll run longer, especially if you’re opening the door. Of course, OTOH, that could point to the t-stat (fail-safe?) going bad as well. But again, some testing is in order. I know you’re gunning to toss this, but we’re talking about a few minutes with a meter to, at least, rule out a few things (but I’m well aware that diagnosing HVAC units is what I do on a regular basis so I can kind of visualize it).
PS, one last thing, if you’re feeling really confident, the next time it’s not working, you can pull the harness off the timer and jump it to see if the compressor fires up. Again, it could be the relay, but this would also help to diagnose the timer without messing around with a meter.

I managed to get it to shut itself down (funny how the numbers read differently when you pay attention to the way the knob fits on the t’stat shaft :o )

Just ordered the timer and t’stat, expected here on the 12th (Now I discover the tray with the parts comes out easily).

I do love putting the part numbers:
On the back of a screwed down part (timer)
Under the tightly coiled tube - they could have at least turned the sticker around and hidden the meaningless stuff (t’stat)

I thought about replacing the lens cover for the freezer side - should have known that one would be a profit center - $60 for a piece of plastic 4x14".
Decided the bare bulb isn’t such a problem after all.

And the plug on the timer is not a std Ampex. It is asymmetrical.

I was planning to use a jumper cable (I have crimped on male and female connectors for various types of connectors - I can create a jumper across all kinds of connectors.
So the blue lead is output to compressor - which is the input to jump across?

Blue (hot) to Orange (Compressor).
You’d unplug the wiring harness to do this, and just use a small piece of wire (or appropriate) gauge) to short those two terminals. What I normally do, to prevent sparks, is unplug the unit, get the jumper in there however it needs to be (I have used a paperclip on occasion), then just plug it back in for a second. It’s hard for me to say this for sure without a proper wiring diagram, but even with the t-stat wired in there, it should be calling for the compressor to turn on.

Also, you can confirm that those are the correct wires to jump by checking for continuity between those two prongs on the timer (with the wire harness unplugged) when it’s in the regular part of the cycle. When it’s in a defrost cycle, there shouldn’t be continuity between those two prongs.

I’ve given up on the thing until the parts arrive.

Turns out the only reason I got the compressor to stop was by turning the tstat all the way to “Off”.

As far as I can tell, all I did was disconnect the timer and remove it.
Since the connected is asymmetrical, I’m pretty sure I re-connected it properly.

I notice that there is a red knob which protrudes through the case and looks like some kind of (professionals only) adjustment. I don’t think I touched it.
(love the part number being on the back of the unit, requiring removal to ID it).

Anyway, if the orange is power in and blue is power out to compressor, that leaves the tstat with the brown from the harness and a grey to the timer.
So, does the tstat power the timer or vice versa?

The door seals are in surprisingly good condition.
This looks like it was used as “swing” by small children - the chiller door is sprung - it sets about 1/2" below the freezer door, and the chiller handle was deformed outward to the point of breaking.

It looks like replacement cams and hinges are cheap enough, but I suspect my arms aren’t strong enough to lift the door and replace it with any degree of control.
Is the sprung door worth worrying about?

There are places where the dollar bill still fits tightly, and the points of weakness are not the worst I’ve seen.
I’ll keep the control console out - it’ll remind me to turn it back on before bedtime.

When (if?) it’s stuck in defrost, you could try turning that knob to see if you can force it out of defrost.

Based on the colors you gave me and a wiring diagram I found, from up thread this is what I posted "White=common, Blue=Hot, Yellow=Defrost heaters, Orange=Compressor. ".
You just mentioned a grey wire now for the first time. Either way, Blue would be ‘power in’ (to the timer) and orange sends power to the compressor when the timer is in the normal part of the cycle.
I’m not sure what you mean by ‘brown from the harness and grey to the timer’, you’ll have to explain that further.

As for whether or not the t-stat powers the timer, it’s really up to how it’s wired. It could be set up so that the blue wire is energized 100% of the time, the dial always turning and it cuts power to the compressor every X hours, period. OTOH, I’ve seen some set up where in such that that it goes into defrost after X hours of compressor run time. In that case, power would flow through the t-stat, then into the timer (as the blue wire), then to the compressor. That way, for example, the fridge won’t go into defrost as often if you don’t open the door as many times.

However, I wouldn’t worry about that. If you want to test that kind of stuff, it’s easy enough. Leave the door open, tape the little button shut and the compressor should kick on within a few minutes.

As for the seals, if there aren’t any gaping holes and you don’t see frost on your food or ice building up around the door (inside or out), the seal probably isn’t the problem. You’ve been playing with the t-stat, you may just have it dialed in too cold. If you have kitchen thermometer, put some a glass of water in the fridge, wait 4 or 5 hours and check it. If it needs adjusting, move the dial just a hair and give it several hours before checking again. Air for about 35 degrees F (by law we just have to get ours, at work, below 41).

Also, upon re-reading you post, you’ll have to explain what you mean by your “chiller door is sprung”, if that in any way means it’s open to the point of air moving in and out of it, that could be the cause of a lot of this.

Small kids were apparently swinging on the door - the handle was bent so far outward that it pulled off the door.
As a result, the chiller door’s bottom is 1/2" below the freezer door when both are closed.

I’ve had this for over a year and it has just been the last 4-5 months that it got wanky.
I found a gallon jug of milk frozen during the time when the ice was melting.

There is no indication of a circuit board or any heater. This apparently was the last of the 100% line voltage designs. o transformers to produce any other voltage.

There are only 5 wires in the harness to the box containing the lamp,timer and tstat:

The purple goes only to the lamp
Orange goes to lamp and timer
Blue and Black go only to timer
Brown goes only to tstat

The wire connecting the timer and tstat is grey

No big problems with the unit until roomie told me of the puddles, so I"m guessing the timer is probably the culprit, with an outside chance of tstat.
Once I replace both, I really, really want it to be “All Better”.

The ice maker and a cover of some sort are on the other side of the chiller/freezer divide.

There may be some wiring in addition to the ice maker, but I really don’t want to open up the assembly. Playing with a 25 yr old water line is not my idea of fun.

Again, thanks!

Regarding the door, if the seal is making contact all the way around and the door is still hitting the button so the unit knows that it’s closed, then I wouldn’t worry about that.

As for the rest of the post, some of the back and forth, I think, is causing more confusion than it’s worth since you ordered replacement parts. At this point, you should probably just drop those in and see what happens.

However, if there’s a wiring diagram on the unit somewhere, that would be worth looking at, that would say exactly what everything does.

As for a defroster, it’s just a little wire, barely noticeable if you don’t know what to look for, in this picture, it’s that small black wire at the bottom.

But even if you don’t have an actual heating defroster, you could still have a bad timer.