Tuesday, November 5, 2013

GE GSS25LGMB compressor not working - DO NOT PANIC!

Synopsis: This article will teach you how in 15 minutes you can fix your  I fixed my GE GSS25LGMB which is melting because its compressor is not working. It will also explain why it takes 90 minutes to do a 15 minutes job. To make it more accessible and appealing to the masses it also includes a subtle reference to Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, which, in case you do not know, is/was/will be the best selling book ever published by the great...oh never mind!

Exactly 90 minutes ago, at 11 PM on a usually busy Monday during which we received yet another truckload of TV boards to repair, it finally dawned on me during my last quick visit to the kitchen that the floor water I've been running into during the past few trips and bravely ignoring wasn't there from the usual suspects.

Everyone is asleep at this God blessed hour and I feel almost like Head Of Household. Those of you married with kids would know what I mean, the rest can just take it as a tasteless attempt at humor.

Anyway, there were water leaks to the front, right and under the fridge which left little room for confusion as to the source and when I opened the freezer door and saw the action there there was no doubt: the packs of expensive, organic and spouse purchased meat was starting to melt and I was about to get in big trouble as soon as the real Head Of Household would have the ability to assess the facts.

The symptoms: melting ice, leaking fridge, suspiciously quiet.

I knew I was onto something there with it being quiet. It's a 10+ year old GE GSS25LGMB  and lately it hasn't been overly quiet.
I could hear the fan, but nothing else.

The compressor was definitely dead.

Oh no!!!

After quickly considered my options I reasoned that:

1) Calling a tech in the morning is probably not a good idea. I've blogged before about my opinion of TV technicians who come to your house and it isn't high and it isn't any different for any other people who come to your house to work on it (lawn mowers excluded).
99% of the time they charge you tons of money for something they could have told you over the phone and have you fix by yourself.
Like I am doing here, only I'm kind of making you read through my attempts at creative writing.

2) Getting up early and catching a plane to Alaska or elsewhere then playing no consent to the rotten meat case. I knew they would eventually catch up on me though, so that was also off.

3) Going to HomeDepot or Frys and buying the first discounted fridge that would fit the bill. Brand new, after all, discounted and I'd be in and out by 10:20 AM, which, with some help from God, could actually save the meat and my head.

So I went to bed and was almost happily falling asleep when it hit me: how could I possibly buy a new refrigerator without consulting my spouse?!
And if I did how on Earth would that end up in time for the meat to be saved?!
We'd have to go to every appliance store in the greater Dallas area and find all the bargains, then research the reviews for each of the available models, weight the data, go out again, find that the model we've almost chosen is no longer available, go back home, do some more research, feed the baby, go to work, have sex argue a bit, and what not.

So I got up, got to Google and found this:

(you should note I am an honest and decent person giving credit where it's due!)
If you are lazy, here is the above article in pictures:

1) The label on the inside of my fridge as a proof that this story is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

 2) The main control board AP4436216 located behind a cover in the lower right section at the back of the fridge. Taking out the plate was easy enough and fetching the board required long pliers to press a little the two plastic holders that held the board in place.
In order to get access I had to disconnect the water line from the wall, which even I could do since there was a faucet in the wall that stopped the water. With an adjustable wrench I just unscrewed the blocking bolt and the water line was off the wall in no time!

3) Another look at main control board AP4436216. It is sure used in other GE fridge models and it is going to have the same issue there.

4) Getting closer and closer to the problem. Can you see it from here?

 5) You MUST be able to see it now!

So long story short, I used a sharp screwdriver and cleaned the track around the burned pin.
It turned out there was actually NOTHING left around the hole so I had to scratch off the protective layer above the track for a good 5-8 millimeters, then cleaned it well, soldered it and soldered some thick wires to the hole where I soldered them to the pin of the relay.

Sorry, no picture for that...it was getting late and it's a trade secret anyway :-)

It took a total of 90 minutes, pretty much 75 of which was cleaning, pushing, emptying, turning, unscrewing and reading on Internet.

Actual job of taking out the board, finding the problem and fixing it was no more than 15 minutes.
Granted, I am handy with soldering.
You should be too, this is a TV repair blog after all!

Now, in conclusion I'll add two things:

1) I've had another article about a problem with the AC in the house failing.  Here it is:

It is amazing how the problem is exactly the same!

It is easy to see how those problems must be all around the place and field technicians are making sweet and easy money on your back just coming to the house and charging you hundreds of dollars for something you can do in 15 minutes.

You really can, even if you have to spend another 15 minutes watching videos how to solder!

2) I've had another problem with my GE GSS25LGMB fridge lately: it would not dispense water.
After reading on Internet I found that this is a common problem caused by water freezing near the dispenser and the solution to which is to install a warmer so that the water (in the freezer) does not freeze.
Installing stuff sounded even worse than paying money for it so after some experimenting I ended up with the following simple solution, which has been rocket solid ever since I implemented it:

Pictured are the open freezer door and a piece of thermal insulation. It is attached by the widely popular and never aging system involving Scotch tape and some more Scotch tape. The material itself would have been Styrofoam if I had one handy , but I didn't so it is the stuff we use to put large ICs on to protect their pins.
Don't know what is its name, always been curious to learn, but it's also good for cushioning.
As I said the water never froze ever after put it there.

Well...it wasn't even 90 minutes and it's totally free..what more could you possibly want?!

If you're in the DFW I'd be glad to come and do it for you for a standard flat rate of $400.

Your fridge will My fridge work like new in no time!