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Robert
Robert, Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 1601
Experience:  16+ years of in home appliance repair knowledge.
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I have a GE side by side fridge, MDL: PS123NGNA BB, that stopped

Customer Question

I have a GE side by side fridge, MDL: PS123NGNA BB, that stopped getting cold. The surface of the wall between the doors, mid way up, where the door gaskets seal to the fridge body, is very warm. I'm thinking the auto-defrost is stuck on. What could the the problem?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  Robert replied 2 years ago.

Robert :

Hello.

Customer:

Good evening!

Customer:

To start, I used to fix commercial kitchen equipment in the Navy, so tearing this apart is not a problem.

Customer:

I don't have a repair manual, and I'm trying to avoid unnecessary disassembly

Robert :

Understood

Customer:

The fridge, both freezer and fridge side went warm.

Robert :

Did the unit stop cooling completely?

Customer:

the wall between them is very warm, so I'm thinking the self defrost may be stuck on

Customer:

It didn't seem to stop completely

Customer:

It

Customer:

The compressor seems to be running normally, but I havent played with it much yet. I was actually on line looking for a repair manual

Customer:

How do you access the control circutry on the device?

Robert :

Lets check a few things first.

Customer:

Is this microprocessor based, or is the digital just a gimic in front of traditional controls?

Customer:

Ok

Robert :

Is there any frost on the back interior of the freezer towards the bottom? Also, is the fan in the freezer running?

Customer:

its been off for a few hrs now - it broke during a party.... :)

Customer:

where's the fan discharge?

Robert :

Up towards the top of the unit by the icemaker and in the upper left corner of the refrigerator compartment.

Customer:

It's now on, and seems to be barely blowing cold air at the bottom of the freezer.

Customer:

would the fan be on with the doors open?

Robert :

You may have a bad defrost element. If the element goes out, the unit will not defrost and the coils will turn into a block of ice. The fan will see to blow to lightly but that is caused by the lack of airflow.

Customer:

when I hold the door switches closed (with left hand and right foot) a fan comes on, but the airflow seems low.

Robert :

I can give you a link that will show you how to take that panel off and check the coils.

Robert :

Will that help?

Customer:

if this is a defrost element gone bad, how long before it defrosts?

Customer:

I tech manual is all I need (unless its a compressor/freon problem)

Customer:

would any of these "features" (e.g. turbocool) give me a better indication if its actually cooling?

Robert :

It is controlled by a board on the back of the unit. If the board is bad, the compressor would not run and the board would usually make a repetitive clicking noise. If the relay on the compressor went bad the compressor would get hot by it would click every 2 - 3 minutes.

Customer:

Is that a relay on the compressor, or a thermal protection trip?

Robert :

It is a relay on the compressor.

Customer:

rodger.

Robert :

They have a start relay and an overload.

Robert :

I would really check the coils first.

Customer:

I'm not getting a clicking noise, but my wife stated it was making some noise earlier today

Robert :

That is the most common failure on this unit.

Customer:

check the coils for what?

Robert :

The coils inside the freezer for ice buildup.

Robert :

You would have to pull the shelves and about 4-6 screws to get it off.

Robert :

Let me get you a pic.

Customer:

there seems to be some ice build up below a louvered grill at the bottom of the freezer

Robert :

That is usually the defrost heater.

Robert :

You can confirm that by removing that panel and testing the element.

Robert :

You will have to use a hair dryer to defrost the coils first though.

Customer:

i have the shelves removed, and I'm looking at four hex head (about 1/4") screws for a long panel in the back - is that the screws?

Robert :

That is it

Customer:

rodger - I'm grabbing a driver now to remove them...

Robert :

When you pull that panel, if you see a block of ice, defrost it and test that heater. You can usually visibly see the failure clearly.

Robert :

If not, test for continuity.

Robert :

Verify that model number off of the sticker inside the refrigerator for me.

Customer:

panel is off

Customer:

no ice

Customer:

model number is XXXXX BB

Customer:

continuity of what? Fluke 77 in hand...

Customer:

BTW, In noticed the sound of a fan slowly accellerating as I removed the panel...

Customer:

coils are getting cold, frosting up starting at the bottom

Robert :

If there is no ice then I wouldn't worry about the test. I only had you take the panel off because you saw what looked like ice build up. If you want to, locate the heater(glass tube) on the bottom of the coils and test is for continuity.

Robert :

Just at the bottom?

Customer:

behind the metal shroud?

Robert :

The element has a shroud on it and 2 wires going to it.

Customer:

I see it...

Customer:

it doesn't seem I can stuff the test leads into the connection blocks w/o pulling the wires, and it looks fragile

Customer:

is it worth risking breaking this?

Robert :

Can you see through the coils easy or is it frosting over alot?

Customer:

the coils were completely free of ice, and only now frosting since I plugged it in

Robert :

I wouldn't test it then. You did only have it unplugged for 3 hours, correct?

Customer:

I turned it off around 5:30 EST

Customer:

PM

Robert :

If it were bad those coils would be covered in ice and it would take over 12 hours to clear the coils.

Customer:

ok, what's next?

Robert :

You said the fan started when you were taking the panel off. Ask your wife if that noise was a knocking/squealing noise for me.

Customer:

btw, the wall between the fridge and freezer, half way up, where the door gaskets seal, has a warm spot

Robert :

The warm spot is the 'yoder' loop where the hot line of the compressor runs to prevent moisture build up.

Customer:

she described it as a hum, as if it were working harder then it normally would

Customer:

rodger on the "yoder loop"

Robert :

That could have been that fan locking up. That is another common problem on the unit.

Customer:

where's the fan accessed from?

Customer:

fan motor has bushings?

Robert :

It is a DC motor encased in plastic. Not serviceable.

Robert :

If it fails it has to be replaced

Customer:

the vents below the ice machine seems to be blowing harder then when I first looked at it.

Robert :

I would let the unit run for a bit and see if it starts cooling. If so, order the fan and do it quick.

Robert :

I think you messing with it fired it up.

Customer:

got a part #?

Customer:

lovely - I love chasing a ghost...

Customer:

could it frost up, or does it just get sticky with age?

Robert :

The get hot and lock up. When you shut them down for a bit they come on like normal OR with a bump or two.

Robert :

The fan is right about that panel you took off so you likely bumped and it started.

Robert :

That is the noise you heard.

Customer:

is it behind the ice machine?

Robert :

Just right about the panel you took off.

Robert :

sorry, above.

Customer:

the cover has two hex head screws into the back above the coils?

Robert :

That is it.

Customer:

same cover as the light bulb comes thru

Robert :

Yese

Robert :

Yes

Robert :

Fingers are not working tonight.

Customer:

rodger. so basically I'm looking at a buggy fan motor, behind that cover, not user servicable, and replacable thru this cover, correct?

Customer:

and this fan drives the cold air into the fridge as well?

Robert :

It does. They usually make a noise for a bit before they lock up but not always.

Customer:

with my kids running around, the thing could explode without notice :)

Robert :

The Model number should read as PSI23NGNABB with the third one being an i.

Robert :

understood. I have 4 myself.

Customer:

yes, that could be an "I" - confusing font

Robert :

No problem. I am getting that part number for you.

Customer:

so how do I follow-up with you if necessary?

Robert :

WR60X10185 is the part number for the evaporator fan. You can follow up with me by using the link in your email to get back to this question anytime. It will show up about 15 minutes after the chat is closed. Possibly in the spam folder. I can get you the number to a great supplier if you would like to order that part in the morning.

Customer:

sure - pls provide the number

Customer:

luckily my family is running to my inlaws this weekend, and my second fridge can keep my beer cold.... :)

Robert :

Gotta keep that cold.

Robert :

1/800(NNN) NNN-NNNN They ship out the same day you order if you call before 3PM CST.

Customer:

Thank you! You've been extremely helpful - without your insight into the buggy behavior of that fan motor, I'd have been pulling my hair out...take care!

Robert :

No problem.

Customer:

signing off!

Robert :

Let me know if you need anything else.

Robert :

Have a good one.

Robert, Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 1601
Experience: 16+ years of in home appliance repair knowledge.
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