Amana Refrigerator Warm

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I got a call last week, for a refrig warmed up. It turned out to be an Amana 5XD23VW. Side by side, freezer on the left. Has an ice maker, but no water dispenser. I also jotted down that it takes 5.125 ounces of R-134A, and it draws 9.48 amps.
The caller says that the fridge has been "fine" until a couple days ago.
Knew I had the right house, cause there were bags of food on the snow, right outside the house when I arrived. The freezer was dripping onto the floor, and both sides were warm.
I pulled the grille off the back, where the condensor blows out. It was maybe 75% blocked. The compressor was running. Warm, but not hot. The discharge line was hot, but not cooking hot.
The condensor coils had considerable dust, and so I vacuumed them out.
Control knobs were set to 5 and 5, out of a possibe 7 being coldest. The owner reports she had not moved the knobs. One controls a cold control, the other has a temp activated damper to blow cold air into hte fridge.
I forced the timer into defrost, and started to take the cover off the evaporator. The evap was about 1/3 frozen, the top third. The defrost heater was running, I could feel the heat. It defrosted, and drained off.
When the defrost cycle was completed, it was several minutes before the evaporator fan came on. A look at the wiring diagram on the back tells me that the evap fan depends on the defrost bimetal (termination thermostat) being open. Cause the evaporator fan grounds through the heater element.
And seeing as how the evaporator was frozen (top third) I replaced the defrost timer. Had one on the truck.
When the evaporator fan came back on, I couldn't feel any cold air coming through the hole at top of the refrigerator. Well, give it some time. I didn't have that part anyway, I don't stock all the available evap fans (or even a couple tinkertoy Gemlines).
So, she called back the next day, still warm. OK, must be the evap fan was weak (this we know, it wasn't moving air). Went out and replaced the evap fan and she noticed how much better the refrig sounded.
And with a sigh of relief, I drive off, and figure this one for good. Write the bill.
Not so fast! She called back again, still not cooling. I'm about ready to tear out what's left of my hair. I've been mentally takign the fridge apart in my mind, and put it all back together. Now, it's time to ask the guy and gals on AHR what might be the problem.
The possible solutions I consider are: Low on freon. (why the evaporator was frosted only on the top third; would also explain the discharge line off the compressor being warm, not cooking hot). Intermittent condensor fan. (When I first looked at the unit, the fan had been blocked for months, but the discharge line off the compressor wasn't cooking hot, and the compressor itself was only lukewarm). Evil gremlins (Should I call a priest?). Ice blockage in the air passageway. (Not likely, the first time I looked at the unit, it was pretty well melted out). Something blocking the airflow to the refrig? (Doubt it, there wasn't any food or anything visible in the entrance to the air duct at top, adn the duct is protected by a plastic cover anyway).
I've got to call the lady back, and probably go out Monday to work on the refrig, again. Anyone seen this before? What to check next?
--

Christopher A. Young
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This is Turtle.
Well Stormy it sure sounds like your working on a Frigidaire refrigerator. You sure it says Amana on the front ?
Here is your 3 answers or possiblitys.
1) The Blower fan blade has worked it's way back out of the center of the evaperator blower housing to not move the right amount of air.
2) Change the defrost terminator. Now if you look at the wiring diagram of the refrigerator you will see the Evaperator fan and the defrost timer both common out through or pass through the defrost terminator before going to the common to complete the circuit. The defrost timer & the Evaperator fan will not run without the defrost terminator closing. Now the Defrost timer motor will run in defrost mode but when it goes into the run mode it will just stop progressing forward to time out in 6 hours or so.
3) It is low on freon for if the defrost terminator does not get below 22F by the freon system not bring the temp down. It will never close and never start the fan or cool at all and then look back up at 1) to see what is happening.
4) Inefficent Compressor which will give the effect of 1) & 2) .
Now Stiormy check the boxes age and see if the warranty is out on the 5 years sealed system warranty. Now if it is out of warranty. Go with everything here and tap it to see.
TURTLE
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This is Turtle.
Well Stormy it sure sounds like your working on a Frigidaire refrigerator. You sure it says Amana on the front ? CY: That's what I wrote down.
Here is your 3 answers or possiblitys.
1) The Blower fan blade has worked it's way back out of the center of the evaperator blower housing to not move the right amount of air. CY: That is a very real possibility. When I took the fan off the other motor, there was maybe 1/8 of shaft sticking out, and that's how much when I put it back. I didn't check in relation to the housing.
2) Change the defrost terminator. Now if you look at the wiring diagram of the refrigerator you will see the Evaperator fan and the defrost timer both common out through or pass through the defrost terminator before going to the common to complete the circuit. CY: I saw the evap fan went through the heater element. The evap fan is AFTER the terminator. So that when the defrost heater is energized, both sides of the evap fan are "hot".
The defrost timer & the Evaperator fan will not run without the defrost terminator closing. Now the Defrost timer motor will run in defrost mode but when it goes into the run mode it will just stop progressing forward to time out in 6 hours or so. CY: At a couple points in time, the evaporator fan did run, so the terminator contacts were closing at least at some point.
3) It is low on freon for if the defrost terminator does not get below 22F by the freon system not bring the temp down. It will never close and never start the fan or cool at all and then look back up at 1) to see what is happening. CY: It did get cold enough to let the evaporator fan start, and only a couple minutes after the compressor started.
4) Inefficent Compressor which will give the effect of 1) & 2) . CY: Yes, that is a good thought. Well, not good thought, it's a fair piece more expensive than a terminator.
Now Stiormy check the boxes age and see if the warranty is out on the 5 years sealed system warranty. Now if it is out of warranty. Go with everything here and tap it to see. CY: That is a good thought. I'll have to see if there is a date code on there some where. Or if the lady has some of the paper work. With a BPV (bullet piercing valve) clamped on, it oughta be easy enough to tell if it's inefficient, or just low charge. The process stub is long enough to get a valve on, four inches or so. I was also thinking to check the amperage of the box, low amps would indicate underloaded compressor (undercharge). I think the warm discharge line is another clue, most good running fridges it is hot. And the partial frost on the evaporator, shoulda all been frosted.
TURTLE CY: I do thank you for your help. Very good thoughts.
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This is Turtle.
If you wanted to check amps as to low on freon. Fedders years ago would gas up the window units and central units by reading the amp draw of the compressor. They would have a stated amp draw for each type of system or window unit that would say it was full and would involved the ambiant temperature to get the correct amp draw to call it full of freon. Now in most all the cases the units would draw or hit in a range of amp draw of 85% to 90% of the stated amp draw of the name plate of the compressor only. Most of the time the amp draw would be 50% of the stated amp draw of the name plate of the compressor only. Now But a A-1 tap valve never lies.
TURTLE
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Another memory. When the unit was in cooling mode, I did clamp an ammeter on the thermostat leads. It read 3.2 amps, if memory serves. Mighta been 3.4. I don't think I read on the compressor name plate, but most refrig compressors run about 4.5 amps or so, full load. Maybe that's it?
Again, thank you for your thoughts.
--

Christopher A. Young
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The last 2 refrigerator repairmen I had out found the problem, and fixed it first time. If I had you back because you couldnt do it right the first time your second bill would not be paid. You are after all a pro and responsible for your own misdiagnosis. Sorry but thats life.
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Hi Stormin, hope you are having a nice day
On 30-Jan-05 At About 08:51:59, Stormin Mormon wrote to All Subject: Re: Amana Refrigerator Warm
SM> Another memory. When the unit was in cooling mode, I did clamp an SM> ammeter on the thermostat leads. It read 3.2 amps, if memory serves. SM> Mighta been 3.4. I don't think I read on the compressor name plate, SM> but most refrig compressors run about 4.5 amps or so, full load. SM> Maybe that's it?
SM> Again, thank you for your thoughts.
SM> --
I'm sorry but you really have no business working on anyones equipment. as one person already said when someone calls a repairman they expect them to have some kind of idea what they are doing but you have no clue.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
.. John Bobbitt has no hard feelings about what his wife did.
___ TagDude 0.92+[DM] +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ spam protection measure, Please remove the 33 to send e-mail
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

God. That read like a letter to Penthouse without the climax.
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This is Turtle.
You just described the refrigerator repair business up in one sentence. are you a Ice Box Jockey ?
TURTLE
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I'm glad you enjoyed it. Here is the climax. I'm going to call her back and tell her i'm coming.
--

Christopher A. Young
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On Sat, 29 Jan 2005 23:13:12 GMT, "Stormin Mormon"

You scare me. Do you actually charge money for these service calls. If, you came to my house and performed such a service. I would physically throw you out of my home. Do you realize that you are actually supposed to know what your doing when you show up at someone's house to perform a service call. You are not asking technical questions, you are asking elementary stuff. I am embarrassed for you. It must be frustrating as hell trying to fix things that you know nothing about. What do you do when a customer stands over your shoulder and plays twenty questions??? I'd like to be there for that conversation. I don't put you down for trying or asking questions But, your lack of education and experience disqualifies you as a HVAC and R technician.
Barry
PS When you represent yourself to a customer as a qualified technician ( that's what a customer expects when they call for service.) and you are not you are guilty of fraud and more so theft. Because the customer is not getting what they paid for. NOW REPENT
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wrote:

This is Turtle.
Barry , Most What you call HVAC/R Tech that would be able to diagnose the problem the first time would not be working on these refrigerators and freezers. The minute he became good as you say , He would move on up to HVAC and then on to Commercial HVAC/R stuff. These refrigerators and freezers are just the first step in the proving grounds for a real tech to develope. When he gets good he is gone to better pay and jobs. Here is a example of this.
Sears here pays $14.50 a hours for a refrigerator jockey and all he has to know is to look at the date code in the refrigerator and if it says it is over 5 years of age. He tells the customer that it is a bad compressor and it cost too much to fix it and to go buy a new one. If it says it is less than 5 years old. He will have to try to fix it. About 50% of the time he may get it but if he don't. The next call out there to the refrigerator will be one of their $30.50 a hour Jockey who really knows what he is doing. He will fix it because it is under warranty and you can't tell the customer to buy a new one. Sears here has 12 -- $14.50 a hour hands and 2 -- $30.50 a hours hands. All these hands work independent and have their own truck to run calls in. If Sears knows it is under warranty they will just send the $30.50 hand on out there and fix it. If not they send the $14.50 a hour hand to tell them to buy a new one.
Now here is where Stormy comes into the picture. Stormy may get about $25.00 to come over there to try to fix it but Sears will send a hand over there and charge you over $100.00 to just tell you to buy a new one. Stormy can come over there maybe 4 times to just get up to the price of a fellow telling you to buy a new one. The customer has 4 tries to fix it and may get it fixed. If Story fails the 4 th time. The customer will probley just go buy a new one and tell storm hey let's give up and buy a new one.
Everything is not quite that simple in the Refrigerator service game.
TURTLE
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Actually, for me this is kinda the "call from hell" cause it's about an hour's drive from me. I'm not going to make any w here near as much as the work I've got into it, but it will be better than sitting home watching TV. Multiple diagnosis fridges -- well, what can you do? Several things wrong.
When I worked for Sears in 1996, they paid me in the high 8, I can't remember the number, but it was about 8.85 an hour, I was in the heating and cooling mobile service dept.
--

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Are you a repairman, or just a critic?
What do YOU think is the problem with the fridge?
--

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On arrival, the top 1/3 of the evaporator was frosted. The evaporator fan was not running.
Piercing valve on the process stub reveals about 20 inches of mercury. Suggesting a slow leak on the high side.
Went out to the truck, and got my vacuum pump, and cleared out the sealed system. Charge with a very slight overcharge of refrigerant. (6 ounces in a 5.125 ounce system). Frost started to appear on the suction line. Suction pressure running, about zero inches.
Replaced also the defrost termination thermostat. Defrost the evaporator. Now, the evaporator fan comes on after about two or three minutes of compressor run time.
Cold air starting to come out the little trap door up top of the refrig. Put the whole thing back together. Watch it for a couple minutes, and we're good to go. Write the bill.
Special thanks to Turtle. It did float through my mind that the termination thermostat sure was just about useless -- couldn't hardly get the evaporator fan on. I went ahead and replaced it. Much better, now. And like you say, a piercing valve in the right place sure tells you a lot about the system.
--

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On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 22:48:11 GMT, "Stormin Mormon"

Call back number five coming right shortly.
Barry
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What, you got my phone number?
--

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On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 22:48:11 GMT, "Stormin Mormon"

How can you tell where the leak is by placing a piercing valve on the process tube? Let alone the rate of the leak. Now be honest, I bet you left that piercing valve installed in the system. Right, major sign of a Hack.

It's not sealed any more if the refrigerant leaked. Therefore, what kind of a vaccum did you pull. Beware if you have a high volume vaccum pump it can over come a small leak. Vaccum pump is not a means of leak detection. Also, you over charged the system. I have built environmental test chamber for Sub-Zero, Viking, Maytag, etc... their engineers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to determine the exact charge that is optimal for that model do not deviate. If it does not operate at that charge there is something wrong. HINT one time only. Restrictive drier or cap tube.

Another part replaced that may or may not be bad. Along with the defrost timer. Do you know how the defrost termination works??? From your dicription I would bet not.

I hope thet did'nt pay you up front.

mind so thinks stop floating through) that the termination

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wrote:

How can you tell where the leak is by placing a piercing valve on the process tube? CY: I can't tell the precise location, but I can tell if it's high or low side. I know the difference. Do you? No, your ignorance is showing.
Let alone the rate of the leak. Now be honest, I bet you left that piercing valve installed in the system. Right, major sign of a Hack. CY: Yes, I left the piercing valve on. Which is what it's designed to do. Your ignorance is showing, again.

It's not sealed any more if the refrigerant leaked. Therefore, what kind of a vaccum did you pull. CY: Didn't use a micron gage this time.
Beware if you have a high volume vaccum pump it can over come a small leak. Vaccum pump is not a means of leak detection. CY: I know both of those.
Also, you over charged the system. I have built environmental test chamber for Sub-Zero, Viking, Maytag, etc... their engineers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to determine the exact charge that is optimal for that model do not deviate. If it does not operate at that charge there is something wrong. HINT one time only. Restrictive drier or cap tube. CY: Hint one time only: Worked fine.

Another part replaced that may or may not be bad. Along with the defrost timer. Do you know how the defrost termination works??? From your dicription I would bet not. CY: Yes, the evap fan was runnign slow. Read the earlier post, you can tell how I found that out. And, yes, I do know how a termination stat works.

I hope thet did'nt pay you up front. CY: What business of yours?
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On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 22:48:11 GMT, "Stormin Mormon"

How can you tell where the leak is by placing a piercing valve on the process tube? Let alone the rate of the leak. Now be honest, I bet you left that piercing valve installed in the system. Right, major sign of a Hack.

It's not sealed any more if the refrigerant leaked. Therefore, what kind of a vaccum did you pull. Beware if you have a high volume vaccum pump it can over come a small leak. Vaccum pump is not a means of leak detection. Also, you over charged the system. I have built environmental test chamber for Sub-Zero, Viking, Maytag, etc... their engineers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to determine the exact charge that is optimal for that model do not deviate. If it does not operate at that charge there is something wrong. HINT one time only. Restrictive drier or cap tube.

Another part replaced that may or may not be bad. Along with the defrost timer. Do you know how the defrost termination works??? From your dicription I would bet not.

I hope thet did'nt pay you up front.

mind so thinks stop floating through) that the termination

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