GE Refrigerator/Freezer not cold enough

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  #1  
Old 10-29-08, 07:03 PM
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GE Refrigerator/Freezer not cold enough

I have a GE side-by-side fridge/freezer Model GSS22IBMC and noticed yesterday that the food wasn't very cold. It was colder on the bottom of both the refrig. and the freezer.

I read another thread on this forum and took off the panel and sure enough, the coils were covered with ice. We recently had the power go out twice due to windy conditions, and I read that this often can affect the defrost timer.

I was wondering what this part looks like, where it's located, and if I can easily replace it. Was looking on another site and couldn't find a part under the name 'defrost timer,' but thermostat defroster came up instead. Is that the same thing?

Or do you even think the defrost timer is the problem? Everything in the freezer was defrosted, but cool, and the milk was bad in the fridge.
 

Last edited by Deannado; 10-29-08 at 07:04 PM. Reason: forgot something - I alread defrosted the coils and started it back up to keep the food cold for now.
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  #2  
Old 10-29-08, 07:43 PM
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The defrost timer is likely the cause. It is simply a clock motor that stops the compressor after a few hours of run time. It also turns on the defrost heaters in the freezer section. If you pull the grill off the bottom there may be some technical information attached. This is sometimes attached to the back as well. If you can find this data sheet, it may direct you to the timer. Sorry for my lack of knowledge but the timer can be located in many locations. When you find it look for a sightglass. Through that you may see that the motor has stopped. Otherwise, you may can hear the motor or not.
 
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Old 10-29-08, 08:14 PM
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Thanks Tater. I can access the coils (that I defrosted) either through the back or from the inside of the freezer. Unfortunately we bought it from a guy who reconditions refrigerators, so I don't think I have any paperwork.

Do you know what a defrost timer looks like? Do they all look pretty much the same or not?

I appreciate the help!
 

Last edited by Deannado; 10-29-08 at 08:15 PM. Reason: I can hear the refrigerator motor, is that the motor that you meant?
  #4  
Old 10-30-08, 06:46 AM
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It could be the defrost timer, the defrost thermostat, or the heater itself. The defrost timer is usually located either at the same location the refrigerator thermostat is, up on the ceiling of the fridge compartment, or is located behind the toe-kick of the fridge.

You can observe by the slot on the timer clock dial if the timer clock advances, with just observation. You can test the defrost stat and defrost heater by disconnecting the appropriate wires to these, at their locations at the cold freezer coils, and ohms test these.
 
  #5  
Old 10-31-08, 06:24 AM
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Now if only I could locate the defrost timer! I looked near the coils, and under the kickplate. There isn't anything in the top of the freezer. Any other ideas? I also removed a panel on the back at the bottom.
 
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Old 11-01-08, 05:48 AM
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this site has a lot of info and they are very helpful using email.
I have ordered several items from them and they ship fast.

Appliance Parts From RepairClinic.com - Guaranteed Same Day Shipping.
 
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Old 11-01-08, 03:59 PM
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Top of the fridge compartment. Not the top of freezer compartment. Often it is right by the thermostat control. If it is there, you would be able to see the turn dial for it, that is in size between that of an eraser on the end of a pencil, and a dime.
 
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Old 11-01-08, 08:50 PM
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Mystery May Be Solved

I Googled the mod # you listed. Google came up empty but suggested "gss22jfmc". This one hits about 300 times. When I look for it at GE they want to add "CC" to the number. This model has an electronic control board.
 
  #9  
Old 11-02-08, 07:21 AM
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I found a diagram of that model too, and that's exactly what the back of the unit looks like. I opened the panel on the back of the freezer and there appears to be a mother board. Does my unit have that INSTEAD of a defrost timer?

So far, it hasn't frozen up again since we defrosted it on Thursday. I'm hoping it was just a fluke. I know that isn't likely, but I can always hope, right?
 
  #10  
Old 11-02-08, 07:23 AM
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What you could have if it is a newer refrigerator is an adaptive defrost timer (ADT). There is no knob to turn, but you can make it go into the defrost mode manually, without removing it. I don't know the process, as there are much different way, depending on make and model, check with factory on how.

H.
 
  #11  
Old 11-03-08, 06:37 AM
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Angry

It iced up again! When I woke up this morning the refrigerator was getting warm (about 40 degrees) but the freezer still seemed to be cold. We just finished defrosting that again with a blow dryer. Is this electronic control board something that takes the place of a defrost timer, or an adaptive defrost timer, and if so, is that what we should replace? I guess I have another few days before it frosts up again.
 
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Old 11-03-08, 05:52 PM
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Have you located any kind of schematic? On at least older fridges, they often stuffed the papers in the bottom side track where the legs are.

If your defrost runs off some control board, let's say, at least you still should be able to test the heater and the stat to find out if either of these has power to them, or continuity. That way you would know if the problem stems from either one of these, or if it is at the board instead.
 
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Old 11-03-08, 06:32 PM
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Can you tell me how to test the heater and the thermostat? It'd be a lot cheaper to replace those than to replace the control panel thing.

We bought the refrigerator reconditioned, so unfortunately, it doesn't have any papers with it.
 
  #14  
Old 11-03-08, 08:11 PM
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My ignorance is about to show. I am not a refrigerator tech but I have worked on a few. I have seen this or similar problems on several refrigerators but never a side by side. If this were an over/under style I would examine the frost/ice. My first question would be; is this true frost or is it ice? Frost will be attached to the coil and fins only. Ice will be a solid block attached to everything in the coil compartment. The next question would be; does the melt water drain to the bottom? The last refrigerator I touched had a clogged drain. The melt water stayed in the coil compartment and re-froze. I suspect side by sides have a coil compartment similar to over/under units. Weed-Eater cord works great on clogged drains.
 
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Old 11-03-08, 10:24 PM
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That's a good question. The first time it was frozen with very thick frost on the coils, and ice had formed at the edges. Today, it was mainly frost.

There is a drain, and most of the water did go down there last time, I have no idea where it goes, lol, I guess that shows my ignorance. We sopped a lot of it up with a towel because we thought it would leak on the floor. It could still be in there refreezing.

Where on earth do I look for a clog? I have no clue how I can get underneath the fridge.
 
  #16  
Old 11-04-08, 05:07 AM
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The melt water drains to an evaporation pan. You will find the drain at the bottom of the coil compartment. Just rod that out with anything that is stiff enough to be pushed. Trimmer line works well. Just push until you feel bottom. If you do find a clog chase it with hot water. Your latest description doesn't sound like a clog but this is a good thing to do since you have things apart.
 
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Old 11-04-08, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Deannado View Post
Can you tell me how to test the heater and the thermostat? It'd be a lot cheaper to replace those than to replace the control panel thing.

We bought the refrigerator reconditioned, so unfortunately, it doesn't have any papers with it.
I post all over this board and in case I did not post this already here - You can tell if your defrost cycle works or not, if you turn all circuit breakers off in your house except the refrigerator circuit breaker.

Then look at the electric meter. If it is turning, unplug the refrigerator and then go back out there and see if it has stopped. This test only will work well, if it does indeed stop, with all circuit breakers off in the house except the fridge one, AND the meter completely stops when you unplug the fridge.

Then wait about 10 minutes, to let pressures equalize in the fridge.

Then plug it back in.

Then advance the defrost timer dial until the firdge shuts off, to where the compressor is no longer running.

Now go out to the meter again and see if the meter is spinning now. If the defrost heater and it's circuit is working, the meter will be turning at a decent clip, as the defrost heater may be putting out from 450-600 watts, about.

The described above test allows you to determine if it works without even having to take anything about, nor test with handheld electrical testing meters.
 
  #18  
Old 11-05-08, 09:58 AM
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I can't locate the defrost timer in order to do this. I thought, from what somebody else said, that instead of a defrost timer, I had a mother board/computer control looking panel on the back of the fridge. Do I still have a defrost timer somewhere, because I can't find one in the places that everyone suggested.
 
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Old 11-05-08, 03:18 PM
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Time to call up a shop and ask them if they'd be so kind to tell you.

I don't think it is too embarrassing to ask questions like that, as you are nto asking how to specifically repair something yourself. In fact, people call up mfg. tech support with such questions. You are simply in the "checking things out " stage. Ask them if you have a separate defrost timer mounted where defrost timers are normally mounted (and where that might be), or if yours is incorporated on some motherboard (and where might that be). And if it can be manually advanced.
 
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Old 11-05-08, 08:15 PM
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Thanks ecman, I'll give that a try. I did locate a sheet with technical data inside of the compartment with the temperature controls. I don't see a defrost timer on here anywhere, but there is a control panel. It's located on the back of the fridge.

Listed under defrost control, it says 'adaptive system.' I don't know if this helps, or if any of the information on this sheet would be helpful. I'm sure it would make a lot more sense to you guys than it does to me. Still, none of these parts looks like the images that I've seen of defrost timers.
 
  #21  
Old 11-05-08, 08:32 PM
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The adt does not have a knob to turn, it is controlled by several things other things, if you can see it, there will be a plastic plate where the knob would normally be. If you can find a nice repair company or factory tech, you can find out how to make this self defrost. There are so many different way on different models, you need a service manual to refer to to make it happen. Or if you can find and remove the adt, there is a way use a jumper to make it defrost.

H.
 
  #22  
Old 11-06-08, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by himeros View Post
The adt does not have a knob to turn, it is controlled by several things other things, .......
I have not had to deal with these yet. Too modern I guess. It is the motherboard era that seems to be causing everyones grief. F1 and all sorts of error codes and all that. I am still dealing with things when they made stuff where you can figure the stuff out.
 
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