Refrigerator won't start, was transported on its back!

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I just inherited a fridge that won't start. It was working find before the transport, but not anymore. This is my dad's fridge, and it was placed on its back in the trailer (the fridge, not my dad!).
Nothing seems to be broken or bent (from a visual-only inspection). However, when I plug it in I hear a muffled "buzz" for like 3 seconds then a click and nothing. The buzz seems to be coming from the compressor. It's like its trying to start but can't so it gives up.
Since I'm flat broke, between jobs (and cheap :) I can't afford a technician and I would rather not buy another fridge. Anyone with experience or an idea can give me a few clues as to what I could do to diagnose the problem?
Thanks,
James
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This is Turtle.
well James if you transport a refrigerator and lay it down , you should stand it back up and let it sit over nite unplugged and letb the oil drain back to where it should be in ther compressor and itvshopuld crank properly. So stand the feeezer up right and try it again tomorrow. If it still don't cranbk post back and we will start another set of work deals.
TURTLE
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Hey Turtle, thanks a lot for the reply!

back to > where it should be in ther compressor and itvshopuld crank properly. So > stand the feeezer up right and try it again tomorrow. If it still don't cranbk > post back and we will start another set of work deals.
The fridge has been upright for several days now. I tried it again just now, and it still does the exact same thing I described in my first post.
BTW, it's a normal fridge. Not an electric/gas combo or anything fancy.
What could prevent the compressor from starting?
James
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This is Turtle.
Here is the list of item that would stop the compressor from starting.
***Bad Start relay. ***Bad Run Capasitor or start capasitor in combo. ***Low Voltage like Jeff said, On a exterention Cord too long. Never put a Refrigerator on a Extention Cord of more than 6 feet. ***Bad Compressor like stuck and jaming the motor of the compressor.
TURTLE
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James Jones wrote:

Hi,
Certainly sounds like the compressor may have gone sour :(

That sure is a compressor trying to start but cannot.
Low voltage ( extension cord ), bad start relay/overload, bad compressor would be prime suspects.
http://www.applianceaid.com/refrigerator.html#clicking http://tinyurl.com/dpdqd
jeff. Appliance Repair Aid http://www.applianceaid.com /
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Compressors usually have starting relays that fail. Techs have special testing devices to bypass the starting relay. This is the only way to test the compressor for sure. Most older refrigerators (make? model?) had very good compressors and usually the problem is that the starting relay fails. It's not very easy for a homeowner to test the relay by bypassing it.
When the compressor is off, the main winding in the compressor will draw more current, which causes the relay to kick in the start winding to help out and get the compressor running. Sort of like a turbocharge to overcome the heavy startup resistance. When it has started to run, the main winding draws less current and the start winding will be disconnected by the relay, which is sort of like an overdrive in a car. Since less energy is required to keep it spinning once it's started, the compressor only needs the extra boost for a few seconds.
Also, the hotter a compressor gets, the more power is required to start it. Leave plenty of times between starting attempts. Air conditioners usually have a timed interlock that prevents them from restarting immediately upon unintentional loss of power for just that reason.
If the starting relay is bad, the compressor usually hums but doesn't start. If the unit fails to start in a few seconds, the circuit protector cuts the power to the relay so the compressor isn't ruined. Sometimes, but rarely, the overload kicks in too soon, but it's far more likely you dislodged dust into the relay contacts during the move and as a result, there's no extra "jolt" going to the compressor. (It is seldom the case that the overload is bad, though. It seems to be working fine in your case, since the humming stops before your panel breaker or fuse trips.)
I'd look for the starting relay and clean it and test it, but I'd also try to find a wiring diagram for the unit before I mucked around with it much. NEVER bypass the overload switch! You could melt the wires or cause a fire. I'd also thoroughly blow out all the dust and inspect the evaporator fan as general maintenance, but I wouldn't expect them to be the cause of this problem. Not cleaning them now will likely lead to future problems, though.
You also may be plugging it into a bad outlet that isn't able to supply enough startup current. That's pretty rare, though, and it would probably trip a circuit breaker. Where is the box plugged into and how many amps are available at that outlet? Do you have a meter of any kind? One with a clip-on amp probe rated at least 20A is what I would consider the minimum type tool to do refrigerator trouble shooting.
If you don't have a meter, plug a small TV into the same outlet and see whether the picture shrinks dramatically when the refrigerator starts up. If it does, you're circuit's inadequate. And, please don't take this personally, but if you don't have a meter, you probably shouldn't be mucking around the unit's wiring. By the time I felt confident enough to tackle such repairs, I owned at least three volt/amp meters of various capabilities. There's more than enough current in a refrigerator to send *you* to the refrigerator at the county morgue if you're not careful!
-- Bobby G. (still keeping my Westinghouse going at age 28!)

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Robert Green writes:

Has nothing to do with temperature. Hotter would tend to make it start easier since the oil is thinner.
The purpose of the delay is simply to let the head pressure equalize, against which the compressor motor does not otherwise have enough start torque to avoid stalling.
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The hotter it is, the higher the pressure inside the system which does have a bearing on the amount of energy used to get the compressor going.
That's one reason why a compressor would kick off if you unplug it while it's running and try plugging it in right away. It will simply draw too many amps and shut off with the thermal overload switch. You have to wait a few minutes for the pressure in the high pressure side of the system to come down a bit before it will start again..
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Rich writes:

No. The absolute pressure doesn't matter. It's the differential across the compressor input and output, which is zero no matter what the temperature or pressure is in the system, after a delay.
Furthermore, the pressure in a vapor-liquid system reflects the *coldest* part, not the hot parts at the compressor.

No. It will stall because the motor is designed with little starting torque, and it therefore cannot overcome any significant pressure differential. Heat has nothing to do with it. history everything. The thermal overload is just a mechanism to detect stalling and impose a delay before another try.
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: Rich writes: : : > The hotter it is, the higher the pressure inside the system which does : > have a bearing on the amount of energy used to get the compressor : > going. : : No. The absolute pressure doesn't matter. It's the differential across : the compressor input and output, which is zero no matter what the : temperature or pressure is in the system, after a delay. : : Furthermore, the pressure in a vapor-liquid system reflects the *coldest* : part, not the hot parts at the compressor. : : > That's one reason why a compressor would kick off if you unplug it : > while it's running and try plugging it in right away. It will simply : > draw too many amps and shut off with the thermal overload switch. : : No. It will stall because the motor is designed with little starting : torque, and it therefore cannot overcome any significant pressure : differential. Heat has nothing to do with it. history everything. The : thermal overload is just a mechanism to detect stalling and impose a delay : before another try.
Just wanted to say; This poster is correct; many of the others sound like myths and guesses, unfortunately.
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When the compressor is running it pumps a high temperature high pressure gas which is then condensed to a high pressure high temperature liquid which then is pushed through a expansion valve or tube to expand or flash, if you will, to a low temp low pressure gas which is then sucked into the compressor and cycles again. If you shut off the compressor and turn it on right away while the pressure is still too high in the condenser it will draw too many amps and "click" off. There are two sets of windings in the compressor's motor one for running the other to provide more torque for starting and if the "start" winding draws to much current, due to whatever reason, it will heat the thermal overload and shut the thing off. The heat I was referring to is not ambient temperature in the room but rather the heat in the high pressure side of a running compressor. The higher the pressure the higher the temp would generally be in the high side of the system. The "delay" the thermal overload provides is to give the unit time to lower the pressure in the high side of it's system or rather equalize the pressure some between the condenser and the evaporator by way of it's expansion valve before trying to start the compressor again.
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have
wait
Correct. It's impossible for the pressure to drop without the temperature to drop as well. Boyle's Law. A time delay helps prevent the motor from burning up. Without it, the thermal overload in the motor would cut the power after the motor overheats and stalls. Those types of protectors are designed for occasional emergency protection, not for frequent or continuous duty. A delay timer does not potentially decompose through use and is the inherently safer way to deal with predictable motor stalls.
If you cycle a thermal overload protector too many times, it may fail. In that case the compressor motor's windings would get red hot, the insulation on the windings would melt or burn and all that garbage vapor would enter the refrigerant lines. Soon after toxic sludge enters the lines, the compressor enters the garbage dump, its insides coated with stinky tar!
I think what Mr. Kinch wants us to know that even if you start up an A/C compressor for a brief time, even if it's not very hot, you'll still face potential stall issues because pressure has built up in the system. I think we differ on whether a hotter compressor is more likely to stall than a cold one. I believe that's true, but I am not sure our distinguished colleague agrees.
I believe that in addition to allowing the internal Freon pressure to equalize, there are other very important reasons for a timed delay start. A delay timer keeps a customer from short-cycling either an over-heated, undercharged or otherwise troubled system to the point where the motor's thermal overload fails and the system burns up. The 15 minute delay is to ensure that the unit has time to both discharge *and* cool down. The pressure equalizes because the heat generated by the act of compression is slowly released to the surrounding atmosphere.
How this all helps the OP find out why his refrigerator won't start isn't nearly as clear! :-)
-- Bobby G.
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Robert Green writes:

You misunderstand the elements of the system. The pressure equalizes because it eventually all flows through the high-to-low side restriction (capillary tube or expansion valve). It will do this regardless of the temperature.
Heat has nothing to do with it. If you start a refrigerator, and stop it after a few seconds, no significant heat will have accumulated, yet it will not restart immediately.
Compare to an ordinary air compressor, which has an unloader to release the head pressure for starting, so it can restart without a delay. Temperature is irrelevant.
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-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1
On Mon, 5 Sep 2005 17:30:55 -0400, "Robert Green"

Huh???
You mean Charle's Law. Furthermore, this refers to ideal =gasses=, without the phase change (latent heat).
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: PGP 7.1
iQA/AwUBQx3umwIk7T39FC4ZEQKXagCferJ5IBske7ym/47iTFSN+CUEy7YAn0Ng yTt3+gPHpPi9qo+6KLCDZeKd =HBZe -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
--
-john
wide-open at throttle dot info
  Click to see the full signature.
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Could be a bad start capacitor.

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: Could be a bad start capacitor.
Caused to go bad by laying it on its back? Please stop guessing.
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No jerkoff not by laying on it's back like your mom but by coincidence.

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RSIR-CSIR-PSC-CSR

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I feel as an ENGLISHMAN with a long tradition of helping the LOWER ORDERS The poor and especialy COLONIALS that i should elucidate on YOUR PROBLEM A PROBLEM created by poverty and Sloth The dear old Single phase, squirrel cage induction motor is inherently non starting. So the motor has two windings. A START winding with a low inductance and a high resistance and a RUN winding with a high Inductance and a low resistance. The high resistance of the start winding places it electrically 30 degrees out of phase with the RUN winding and this SPLITS THE SINGLE PHASE and starts the motor. At app 78 % of maximum speed the start winding is then disconnected. RSIR resistance start induction run The methods of disconnecting the start winding are - Current relay - Potential relay Hot wire, PTC and Centrifugal switch. RSIR Has a very low starting torque so it's applied to small domestic systems which equalize on the off cycle through the capillary, the refrigerant charge migrating to the evaporator. WOTS WRONG WITH POPS DEAR OLD FRIDGE Well i suspect that a wire or connection is loose or the current relay is stuck ( Take it OFF and shake it )
HAVE A NICE DAY and rejoin the british empire

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When i was young and waiting to inherit daddies "MONEY " I did all kinds of naughty FINGS with daddies GOLD plated FRIDGE
The naughty little fridge had a compressor with three terminals marked R - S - C. checking the resistance between these three terminals will give S High - R Low - S High + R Low so C to S is High C to R is low and S to R is the sum of the high and low readings of the stator windings. Once you have identified the Terminals C - S - R WITH THE POWER OFF put Active on R and S and Neutral on C. TURN THE POWER ON FOR NO MORE THAN THREE SECONDS TO JOG THE COMPRESSOR THEN TURN THE POWER OFF. Restore the starting relay and original wiring. THIS IS VERY NAUGHTY but not as naughty as the things i did to Fenella Brownsmythe BUT THAT IS ANOTHER STORY HAVE A NICE DAY and god bless George the third

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