1940’s GE Refrigerator Relay

Comar

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
40
Location
Tennessee
I don’t have a red from the compressor. Just black/white/green. Are you saying I need to have black from compressor to white from relay, and then white from compressor to black from the relay?
What does the other black from the relay wire to? I should’ve been an electrician!
 

Comar

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
40
Location
Tennessee
Rick, here’s a picture of what I have. The wire to the compressor doesn’t run to terminals. It runs straight into the compressor. Thought it best if I just start completely over.
 

Attachments

  • 1623A67F-782C-43C8-8B27-130B7E6D2837.jpeg
    1623A67F-782C-43C8-8B27-130B7E6D2837.jpeg
    303 KB · Views: 19
  • 241B3836-4777-4495-A5B1-5EEA85B0C262.jpeg
    241B3836-4777-4495-A5B1-5EEA85B0C262.jpeg
    382.9 KB · Views: 19

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
38,959
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
I don’t have a red from the compressor. Just black/white/green.
OK, You need to understand that wire colors are not important and are not always connected the same way across manufactures on those older machines. I'll redraw the wiring diagram so it matches your set up.

First, remove the three wires from the compressor and discard that length of wire. The three wires from the relay, black, white, and red, will be connected direct to the compressor. I'll tell you how in the last step.
remove wires.jpg

Now, you only have the three wire going to the light and thermostat. The green wire is probably the thermostat wire but you need to verify that first. So, first set your meter on the lowest ohms setting and measure from the green wire to ground to make sure it's not a ground wire. Your meter should show 1 or open.
ground.jpg

If your meter shows anything other than 1 or open, STOP.
If your meter shows 1 or open, turn the thermostat on the middle (or highest) setting. Connect your meter to the white wire and the green wire. Your meter should show 0 or closed. Turn the thermostat to the off position and your meter should show 1 or open. Anything else, STOP
cold control.jpg

If everything checks out good to this point this is how your machine is wired:
R-Hotwire-Solid State-no fan-2.jpg

Now, connect the black wire from the power cord, the black wire from the cabinet, and one of the black wires from the relay, together with a wire nut. Connect the white wire from the power cord to the white wire from the cabinet. Connect the green wire from the cabinet to the other black wire from the relay with a wire nut. (See above diagram). Now you have the three wires from the relay you need to connect to the compressor. Because we can't go by wire color you need to determine which compressor pin is common and which is the start pin and which is the run pin. Here's how:
R-Vintage Compressor Windings.jpg
 

Comar

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
40
Location
Tennessee
Rick, I’m unable to remove the wiring from the compressor. The wire runs inside of it. But I did get the following readings from the wires if that helps.
Black to white=18.2
Black to green=5.4
White to green = 22
 

Attachments

  • E3D31EED-D1B7-4E22-824A-31B4E8893176.jpeg
    E3D31EED-D1B7-4E22-824A-31B4E8893176.jpeg
    456.6 KB · Views: 15

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
38,959
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
Can you take a picture of the entire compressor and post it here? According to your measurements, black is common, white is start and green is run. The start windings seems a bit high at 18.2Ω. If you were running the compressor on the start windings for any length of time you may have damaged the compressor. Here's how you would connect the wires to the compressor
R-Hotwire-Solid State-no fan-3.jpg
 

Comar

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
40
Location
Tennessee
Here’s the best pictures I can get.
I’ve got it wired up. The light will come on but the compressor doesn’t turn on.
 

Attachments

  • E21FE23D-8BB9-496B-B992-24D3B292100E.jpeg
    E21FE23D-8BB9-496B-B992-24D3B292100E.jpeg
    381.2 KB · Views: 19
  • AEE09C38-D158-4443-9CD1-8AFAB9C4C4DD.jpeg
    AEE09C38-D158-4443-9CD1-8AFAB9C4C4DD.jpeg
    368 KB · Views: 21

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
38,959
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
Wow, that is old. Question: Where was the old relay located? The one you're replacing with the new relay.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
38,959
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
How did you connect the AC straight to the compressor? Did you follow my instructions in poist #23 exactly?
 

Comar

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
40
Location
Tennessee
The original relay was mounted just to the right of the compressor. You can see the rectangle mounting in the first picture.

I had it all wired per the post and the compressor never kicked on. (Light worked) So I removed all the wiring and connected the black AC wire to the black compressor wire, and connected the white AC wire to the white and green compressor wire and it came right on.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
38,959
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
connected the black AC wire to the black compressor wire, and connected the white AC wire to the white and green compressor wire and it came right on.
Oh man! Say it ain't so! LOL Well, I found your problem. You were running the compressor on both the start windings and the run windings. The compressor is shot, sorry. The start windings are no longer capable of starting the compressor and the new relay can't switch off the start windings and onto the run windings.
 

Comar

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
40
Location
Tennessee
Just to be clear, the compressor wasn’t running wired like that but just a few seconds.
I hate that it is shot, but I’m so confused.
The way I had it wired before, the refrigerator cooled right down but just wouldn’t turn off.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
38,959
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
The way I had it wired before, the refrigerator cooled right down but just wouldn’t turn off.
I'll try to explain it. The compressor has two sets of windings, start windings and run windings. That's why you have a relay. The relay sends 120 VAC to the compressor through the black wire (common) and the white wire (start). The compressor starts and this causes the (self heating) relay to switch off the start windings and now the relay is supplying the compressor with 120 VAC through the black wire (common) and the green wire (run). There is no voltage across the black and white wire. Now the compressor is running on just the run windings. The compressor will run on the start windings only but not for very long. The compressor will get very hot and eventually the start windings will burn up. To direct test the compressor and manually take the place of the relay you connect your test cord to the black wire and the green wire (run windings) on the compressor. Plug your test cord in and touch the white wire to the green wire. When the compressor starts, remove the white wire from the green wire and the compressor will be running on just the run windings, black wire and green wire. I can draw you a picture if needed.
The way I had it wired before, the refrigerator cooled right down but just wouldn’t turn off.
Tell me exactly how you had it wired and I'll tell you where you went wrong. I suspect you had the white and green wire connected together. If that's the case, the compressor wouldn't turn off because the start windings would be constantly energized.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
38,959
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
38,959
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
Compare your wiring to my wiring diagram and you'll find out where you went wrong.
Maybe it’s a Frankenstein.
No such thing my friend.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
38,959
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
but that is how it was working!
Ahh... but it wasn't working correctly. You're starting to get off track a bit. You have all the information on how everything works. We're down to a bad compressor. Do the direct test the way I explained it
To direct test the compressor and manually take the place of the relay you connect your test cord to the black wire and the green wire (run windings) on the compressor. Plug your test cord in and touch the white wire to the green wire. When the compressor starts, remove the white wire from the green wire and the compressor will be running on just the run windings, black wire and green wire. I can draw you a picture if needed.
Compressor starts, it's good. Compressor doesn't run, it's bad. It's as simple as that.
 
Last edited:

Comar

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
40
Location
Tennessee
Thanks Rick. I’ll be back home later and give it a shot. Thanks again for all your help with this.
 
Top