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You definitely shouldn't need to replace the control board if the heater goes bad---in fact I have never had to do so on a GE refrigerator. There are usually only 2 parts that affect the defrost function and that's the defrost heater and the defrost sensor clipped onto the top of the silver evaporator coils (1" white plastic bullet). You can check the heater for continuity and if that checks good you can test the white plastic bullet for resistance. The resistance should be 16.3 KΩ's in ice water. Replace whatever one doesn't read properly. If both read properly, then unfortunately you'd need a new control board---but again you shouldn't need more than 1 part.
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