Kenmore 596.69962011 Bottom-freezer fridge - running continuously

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Old 07-19-14, 11:00 PM
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Kenmore 596.69962011 Bottom-freezer fridge - running continuously

Hi, the compressor in my freezer seems to have been running non-stop over the last few days. I got out the service sheet and ran the diagnostics, but everything passed.

Ambient temperature is between 20C-25C, fridge and freezer are both set at the recommended setting of "4", the fridge temp is normal, but the freezer is around -28C (if my IR gun is accurate that low).

This fridge already had an issue with the drain-hole into the defroster area getting plugged with grease and dust (presumably from manufacturing/assembly) causing ice build-up on the freezer compartment's floor and eventual overflow into the kitchen. There is bit of ice there now but I'm guessing that's due to the ambient humidity combined with people who don't close the freezer while they dish up ice cream.

I would suspect the freezer thermistor, though as I said the diagnostic did pass. Any suggestions?
 
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Old 09-28-14, 01:41 PM
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Bump.

Temperatures here have been around 22C-25C the past few days, and the motor seems to be running non-stop again. Everything in the freezer is rock solid.
 
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Old 09-28-14, 06:06 PM
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It was good for two months and now the freezer is freezing up again ?

The thermistor needs to read actual ambient air inside the freezer. If it's encased in ice it will only read 32F or 0C and keep the compressor running to try to get lower. You will need to check the evaporator coil. If it's frozen over with ice then you may have a defrost problem.
 
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Old 09-29-14, 01:27 PM
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Hi PJmax, thanks for replying. Last night I went through my old photos and found the ones from when I disassembled the freezer compartment the first time:

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I forgot that in addition to the floor being filled with ice, the evaporator assembly was also iced up. You can see the thermistor hanging in front of the ice block, however I don't believe it was impeded at all from getting the air temperature - as you can see in the next image, when the back wall is in place the thermistor wires run through it and it has its own little grate/cap:

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I'm about to empty the freezer out and pull everything apart again, so I'll see if it's the same issue and get some more photos.
 

Last edited by bunnsion; 09-29-14 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 09-29-14, 03:16 PM
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Yep, same problem, only worse than the last summer. The freezer thermistor is clear, but the evaporator and everything behind the back panel are completely saturated with frosty, snow-like ice:

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Well, almost everything. The top loop and 180 degree bends of the evaporator tube are in solid blocks of ice.
 

Last edited by bunnsion; 09-29-14 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 09-29-14, 05:38 PM
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After:

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I checked the defrost heater, resistance is about 40 Ohm, is that acceptable?
And would that odd black clamp-looking thing on the loop of the evaporator line (which is spliced into the same cable as the defrost heater) be a defroster thermostat?

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Old 09-29-14, 06:43 PM
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Yes.... the thermostat is there to open the heater line if it gets too hot.

I've been looking for the Whirlpool tech sheet for that fridge. We need to put it into defrost mode and see if the heater/thermostat combo is working.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 09-29-14 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 09-30-14, 03:56 AM
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I see. Wasn't sure if it also initiated the defrost cycle. As for the docs, I have them and I'll pull them out of storage tonight.
 
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Old 09-30-14, 09:18 AM
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I haven't figured out which Whirlpool sheet covers your fridge.

The unit needs to be put back onto service so that the thermostat is cold when the unit is put into defrost mode.
 
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Old 09-30-14, 05:14 PM
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It's been running since I posted the last photos - I don't have anywhere else to store the food that's in there. The service sheet appears to be identified as "JZ 19-22 2 door & FD 5/10". I turned it into a (rather poor looking) PDF; this site wouldn't take the upload so it's available here:
Service guide - JZ 19-22 2 door & FD - Kenmore 596.69962011.pdf

I ran the defroster test briefly just now - the thermostat readout was tripped after 20 seconds or so, and after a few more seconds I could hear the evaporator fins expanding so I ended the test.
 
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Old 09-30-14, 08:27 PM
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I'm guessing you didn't actually try to feel the bottom of the coil to see it it was warm/hot ?

Did you put it into service test # 1 ? That will monitor the thermostat until it opens the heating element.
 
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Old 10-01-14, 03:36 AM
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Hi again,

No, I didn't physically check for heat last night. I have just activated test 1 again and used an IR temperature gun pointed at the vents on the back panel, the reading rose to 4C so I'm fairly certain the defroster is working in some capacity. The thermostat display changed from O to S in a few seconds.
 
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Old 10-02-14, 07:59 PM
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The good news is, I can confirm that there are now times when the freezer is not actively running. On the other hand: Almost every time it is opened and no matter how briefly, it turns on again and runs for what seems like an excessive amount of time...
 
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Old 10-11-14, 08:35 AM
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The freezer is back to running non-stop, and the contents are at -35C again.

I have spoken to the people who were leaving the door open for minutes at a time and they've agreed to stop this behavior. I've also felt around the door for any issues with the gasket, but it seems to be well-sealed. The noise is incredibly irritating and I'm sure my electric bill is ridiculous.

If anyone has additional suggestions I would really appreciate your help!
 
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Old 11-08-14, 08:16 PM
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The cat came back.

This time the fridge fan must have iced over, because the fridge temperature rose to about 12C. I ran the short force-defrost cycle, which alleviated that problem. Unfortunately the drain under the defrost heater was plugged up with ice too. Everything that got melted ran into the bottom of the freezer compartment and freezing again, so once again I took everything apart.

On a side note, I also confirmed the defrost heater works. The defrost thermostat was too warm to allow the heater to run, so I swapped the orange wire that runs to the thermostat sensor with the brown one that passes current into the heater. Steam was visible after a bit, but it didn't do a thing about melting the ice in the drain hole so I pulled the plug and reset everything. Then I dumped warm water through the hole until all the ice melted through into the evaporator tray.

As a test, I left the rubber restrictor-thingy off of the evaporator drain hole:
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It will probably mean more warm air ingress, so more run-time for the freezer... However it was running around the clock so it's not like it could be wasting any more electricity than it already was. And if the drain clogging up is the first in the chain of events that leads to the whole assembly icing up, then maybe this will fix it...
 
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Old 02-14-15, 10:02 AM
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Just a follow-up; the above procedure seems to have corrected the issue. I have not had to disassemble the compartment again, and from what I can see through the louvres in the back panel there does not appear to be any ice build-up.
 
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Old 02-14-15, 08:45 PM
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Thanks for stopping by and giving us an update.
 
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Old 07-09-15, 12:40 PM
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Full of ice again. Called for service this time, so that if it's not fixed we'll hopefully find out before the warranty is up. A friendly tech came out and much to my surprise he went straight to replacing the control board, saying they are frequently failing. He also advised me to remove the rubber restrictor from the defrost drain as they clog (I'd already done this). They normally charge $185 for the board in question, $60 to install it, and $200 for the service call... Making this a ~$500 issue if you're out of warranty and can't do it yourself. I haven't priced the part online, but I did keep the old one. Not sure whether I'll try to find the fault or just keep it around for spare components.

The board is a Jazz Rev. M / TH172 / MA7702278441-TH

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Old 07-09-15, 09:28 PM
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It's very hard to just recommend a board replacement when so many other things can cause a problem. You were lucky to be under warranty. If you weren't you would have needed to parts swap.

Hopefully all is well this time.
 
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