Frigidaire chest freezer not getting cold

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Old 03-26-16, 02:19 PM
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Question Frigidaire chest freezer not getting cold

I have a Frigidaire chest freezer (FFFC07M4NW) that is about 6-7 years old. It has had no issues at all, with the exception of some ice buildup at the back, near the top, that first occurred about 3 weeks ago. I took it for granted, as I use a temperature controller with the probe going through that area, and simply thought that some outside air had gotten in from an improper seal. However, the buildup occurred over the course of a day or two, and after adjusting the probe and checking the seal, it didn't get any worse. I left the ice there with the intention of defrosting eventually, but then the freezer stopped working about 2 days ago.

Symptoms: the condenser runs but does nor produce any cooling within the unit, and will continually run with the condenser getting hot

Troubleshooting done: Checked the condenser area and found very little dust, brushed the area free of dust with no change; checked the condenser resistance (8.6 ohms and 4.7 ohms between S/ M and ground, and 13.0 ohms between S and M), checked solid state relay female connections (~7 ohms between S and M), and checked capacitor resistance (increases to infinity); also left the unit unplugged for a day with no change, and then placed a small fan blowing on the condenser and ran it for a couple hours with no change

Conclusion:
1) I don't think it is a refrigerant problem since the unit was working fine and had not been moved or damaged in any way before it stopped working (only exception being the remote possibility that a small leak caused the ice to form as mentioned, and it took nearly 3 weeks to escape completely)

2) The compressor runs, resistance checks were good, there is no compressor fan, and the condenser is contained within the unit itself, so I do not think it is a coolant system problem

3) The solid state relay is questionable only because I don't have much experience troubleshooting these, but the condenser starts fine

4) The capacitor appears to not be a problem, based on resistance checks indicating good and the condenser starting without problem, but I do not have a meter to verify its capacitance is good

5) The temperature thermostat appears to be fine, as it turns the condenser off when placed in the off position, and continuously runs the condenser at any other setting (which is continuously since the unit never gets cold)

So, I'm stuck...
Anyone have any other ideas what I can check to nail down the problem, or maybe a more definitive way of checking parts like the solid state relay? All other online help has been too generic, always referencing condenser coils or fan, and only having standard troubleshooting for relays (rather than this specific style of solid state relay).
 
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Old 03-26-16, 02:39 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Unfortunately it sounds like your freezer is low on refrigerant. Any type of small leak in the gasket will allow warm moist air in which will turn to ice quickly but if the system is low on refrigerant you could see spotty ice formations like that.

As long as the compressor is running then you don't have a start relay problem.

If you had a current probe (amprobe) you could check the compressor current draw which tells you how hard the compressor is working.
 
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Old 03-26-16, 03:29 PM
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Is there some way to verify low refrigerant? I've had the probe in the unit for as long as I've owned it and this is the first time it has formed any sort of ice. It was centralized only at the one spot though, that's why I thought it was maybe just a bad seal with the probe.

I just find it odd that it would all of a sudden have a leak without any warning. It hasn't moved in about 2 years and the bulk of its contents hadn't been moved in more than a month. I only put stuff in and took stuff out every other day in the bottom corner away from where I observed the ice forming.
 
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Old 03-26-16, 04:50 PM
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The sealed system is just that.... sealed. It can't be checked without cutting into it.
Measuring the current of the compressor is the only test that can be easily done.

It may have been leaking a while and just got to the point where it doesn't cool anymore.
 
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Old 03-26-16, 05:23 PM
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What kind of amperage am I looking for then, and between what points should I be measuring from?
 
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Old 03-26-16, 05:36 PM
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The amperage is on the compressor ID plate.
You'd need to use a clamp on ampmeter over one of the wires.

This would be the least expensive meter I know of.....
Commercial Electric LCD Digital Clamp Meter-MS2033C - The Home Depot
 
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Old 03-26-16, 06:14 PM
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Yeah, I have a couple multimeters but nothing that will measure that high of an amperage...

I was afraid it might be a coolant leak when I failed to notice any of the usual hissing sounds in the system, and the condenser sounded a little off while running (sounded a lot quieter than usual with no resistant "push" to its tone). I just can't understand how it developed the coolant leak in the first place. I mean, just looking at the inside and outside, it looks very durable and in very good condition...and now it's just usable as a storage container unless I decide to use my other freezer to swap out water bottles or something...

I'll just save the money for another freezer later on down the road. Thanks for your help PJ.
 
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Old 03-26-16, 06:31 PM
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The typical place for a leak to develop is in the evaporator coil which is embedded in the walls of the chest. The leak is usually minute and you would never had heard it.
 
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