Refrigerator Tripping Breaker

Hi,
We have a GE refrigerator/freezer which is about 5 years old. I woke up this morning and noticed the refrigerator was off, so I checked the breaker and found out it was tripped. I reset it and the refrigerator started to run. Later in the day, I checked to see if the contents of the refrigerator were being cooled, but discovered they were actually warmer than they were in the morning. The fan was running, but the compressor wasn't. The next think I tried was to turn off the refrigerator from the control inside the refrigerator and then turn it back on. This tripped the breaker.
I suspect the compressor is bad. I have previously cleaned the dust out of the coils, so I don't think it was running an excessive amount of time due to poor heat exchange.
Any ideas on what I might try before having it repaired?
Thanks,
Chris
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If you are lucky, it may be the start relay or capacitor. If the relay is bad, depending on the model, it won't pull in the start winding or capacitor and that'll trip the breaker. Unplug the fridge, examine contacts on start relay. The relay is usually located on the side of the compressor. Much cheaper than a compressor.
Bob

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Try plugging it into a different circuit, could be a bad breaker or wiring problem. Use a clamp on amp meter to ck amp draw
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I did the following:
With the temperature control inside the refrig set to off:
1) Plugged the unit into a normal circuit. The light inside the refrig comes on.
2) ) Plugged the unit into a GFI circuit. The breaker trips.
3) Disconnected the relay on the compressor and again plugged the unit into a GFI circuit. The breaker did not trip and the light went on inside the refrig. When I turned the unit on using the temperature control, the fan went on and the breaker did not trip.
If the unit is plugged into a normal circuit with the relay connected, and the control unit inside the refrig is turned on, the breaker trips.
Based on the behavior using the GFI circuit, I don't think the problem is with the compressor. I suspect the relay, but it is a bit difficult to access. Getting to it and examining the contacts is the next step.
Chris

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Dont run or test it with a GFI on the circuit, tripping is normal with GFIs
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Hi,
Compressor windings may be grounded and blew the fuse, this can be checked with an ohm meter ( power off ).
A copy...
--First check to see if you have windings in the compressor. Then check to see if they are grounded. If the compressor has windings and they are not grounded, you can find which winding is which. First check for grounded windings by reading from each of the 3 terminals to a good ground on the cabinet.--
Taken from... http://www.applianceaid.com/refrigerator.html#clicking
jeff. Appliance Repair Aid http://www.applianceaid.com /
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I went to www.repairclinic.com, which explained how to check the windings. The measured resistance between the three windings (start, run, common) was consistent with what repairclinic.com described. Repairclinic.com also explained that none of the windings should have a path to ground. However, I found the start winding in my compressor has one when I went to measure its resistance, which probably explains why the breaker was tripping. There evidently is no fix for this, other than a new compressor ($100 + labor).
I'd like to thank everyone for their advice and suggestions ...
Chris

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Yep, buy an ez start or quick start. It is just a big capacitor that attaches to the start circuit. Costs about $15 at an appliance parts store and takes about 1/2 hour to fix including moving the frig out, removing lower back pannel, figuring out how to connect it and making the connection. Should solve your problem. If not, it's probably time for a replacement frig.
You could replace the start switch but it will probably cost more and give out in another few years. I went throught this problem, as the original start switch was poorly designed or manufactured. First I (actually a frig repairman) replaced the original with a new super duper solid state start switch which went bad after a few years, so I got smart and got an ez start, which has been working flawlessly for many years.
Chris wrote:

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