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FIXED GC5SHEXNS05 Fan in fridge keeps cycling on and off

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iskoos

Premium Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
5
Location
Orlando, FL
Model Number
GC5SHEXNS05
Brand
Whirlpool
Age
6-10 years
Hi,

I am an avid DIY guy; enjoy fixing pretty much anything in/around my house.
Seems the next in line is my Whirlpool Gold Side by Side.
I have been out of town and upon my return, I realized the fan in my fridge keeps cycling on and off. My roommate cannot tell me how long it has been like that because his ears aren't as sensitive as mine I guess:3:. But I know there was no cooling issue otherwise he would have called me:) So the fridge is cooling no problem. The compressor is working fine and doesn't stall (at least for now).
I did some research online and realized it is the fan issue. Just to make sure it is what I think it is, I opened the lower rear panel and reached the compressor compartment. It was pretty clean for an 9-year-old unit.
So I started the fridge and compressor kicked in and the compressor fan came on immediately after that. I reached inside the fridge and felt that the cool air was blowing so the evaporator fan was also working. I waited for about a minute and the fan started cycling:(. It goes off for one second and then comes back on. It stays on up to 5-10 minutes max and then cycles again. Sometimes it cycles several times in a minute. It is totally random. I would say the most it goes running without an interruption is about 10 minutes (and this happens rarely). But when it is off, it is off for only 1 second. And this is the reason why I still have cooling inside the fridge and freezer. But this continuous cycling not normal and worries me that the fan motor will go out and then I will start having serious issues.
When I was cleaning the compressor area, I also found out something which I think could be a lead to determine the possible cause!..
When the fan turns off, it ISN'T only the evaporator fan inside the cabin ,it is both the evaporator AND the compressor fans!!! Up until I opened the rear, I was thinking only the evaporator fan was having issues.
Now I know both fan units stop. I think both fans are controlled by the same circuit. Anyways they both stop for only a second; It is never more!.. it is so quick that you won't even see the blades slowing down, you just feel it when you touching the motor body. And during the cycling, you hear the distinct relay noise. I think the noise coming from the box that is located right next to the compressor. The gray plastic box labelled as Embraco vcc3 1156 (09 A 52). I checked online and it seems this is the inverter box. However, I am not sure if this is the problem. Most of the posts I read shows the culprit as the control board in similar cases.
I am not sure if this issue (fan cycling) happens all the time or only when the compressor is running. The compressor I have must have some variable speed because sometimes I hear it clearly and sometimes it runs so quietly that you need to touch it to make sure it is running. So it is possible that once the compressor turns off, fan cycling will stop as well. I couldn't determine this for sure yet.

So I would need your help to determine the faulty part and once I figure it out, I am sure I can do the replacement. I just don't want to waste time and money by replacing the wrong part.

I can provide any additional info (test/reading etc.) if needed.
I would appreciate if any of you experienced techs steer me into the right direction...

Thanks in advance...:)
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
39,805
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
Control board W10219463 has been discontinued by the manufacturer and is no longer available. However, there is a service kit that replaces that control board.

Here it is: W10823804 Cntrl-Elec
 

iskoos

Premium Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
5
Location
Orlando, FL
Thank you Rick for taking your time and replying to my thread. First of all I am really disappointed that a 9-year-old fridge is considered it has served long enough that the manufacturers discontinued this important part (especially since the part is known for this infamous issue).

Asking all these because I am trying to figure out if the fridge needs to be emptied out for the replacement or it could be done without. With the normal settings, the fridge can keep everything cool for hours if the doors kept closed.

Also I am wondering if my compressor is variable rpm type since it seems to work at different levels. Sometimes it is impossible to hear but it is working.

Thanks again Rick
 

iskoos

Premium Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
5
Location
Orlando, FL
I am still curious about my compressor question though. If it isn't variable speed type, I wonder why it is loud sometimes and very quiet the other.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
39,805
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
The inverter compressor is a reciprocating, variable-speed, 4-pole type. It operates on 3-phase, 80 to 240 VAC within a range of 57 to 104 Hz. The use of 3-phase power eliminates the need for the relay, capacitor, and individual start and run windings; therefore, the start, run, and common pins found on conventional compressors are not applicable on this 3-phase model. Compressor pin functions are identical and compressor lead wire configuration is of no importance. The compressor is controlled by the inverter, which receives its signal from the main control board. Varying the frequency to the inverter changes the compressor speed. Compressor speed is based on the temperature set point in conjunction with the specific cabinet temperature. Speeds are selected according to cabinet temperatures, with freezer temperature being the primary. A resistance of 9 ohms to 11 ohms should be read between any 2 of the 3 pins. Should an opening occur in the compressor winding or should one of the compressor lead wires become open or disconnected, the inverter will stop voltage output to the compressor. Compressor operation is extremely smooth and cool. The compressor exterior may be slightly higher than room temperature while operating; therefore, it may be difficult to detect a running unit.

iskoos said:
I wonder why it is loud sometimes and very quiet the other.
When the compressor is running at high speed it is possible to hear it working. However, it's not loud. There is no reason to think that's a problem as our definitions of loud could be different.
 

iskoos

Premium Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
5
Location
Orlando, FL
Thank you again Rick for the prompt reply.
The term loud I used is relative. I didn't mean it is loud to the point it gives someone a headache. It is just that you could sense that something is running. But when it operates at low speed, it is impossible to hear that.
So then I was right in thinking it is a variable speed compressor.:)

In the meanwhile, I have to figure out how to go by several days without a fridge. Never happened before:eek:

May I ask one last question? I have been closely inspecting the operation of the fridge during the past couple days and I realized that the compressor and the fan units (both of them) never completely stop working. I always hear the fans running very quietly and the compressor is always on at low speed mode even in the night times. Is this the normal operating behavior of this kind of fridge or this is also the result of my current bad control board?
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
39,805
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
Hmm... before you order the service kit can you take a picture of the evaporator and frost pattern and post it here? I would like to see if there is a different problem first.
 

iskoos

Premium Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
5
Location
Orlando, FL
Hi Rick,

I have been thinking about how to picture the evaporator today as I believe it is inside the freezer cabin and to get to that, I need to empty the freezer and so some disassembly; and that means stopping the fridge most likely. I have been trying not to open the fridge doors much these days so it doesn't have to work hard. The fan (both condenser and evap.) stop & go keeps going unfortunately:( Sometimes it gets worse and it stops & go maybe 15-20 times in a minute and sometimes it goes running for over 5 minutes.
This afternoon the fridge scared me a bit. I walked into the kitchen and it was super quiet. I heard neither the compressor nor any fan running. I thought it finally stopped working for a second, then I started hearing some thermal expansion kind of sound like something was moving slowly. I went behind the fridge and I saw the compressor and the condenser fan were completely off and some water was dripping into the pan. Then I realized that it got into defrost mode and I relaxed a bit:eek:. It took about 10 minutes during which about a cup of water drained into the pan. I checked the temps and freezer rose to 13F (from 0F set point) and fridge was around 45F (from 37F). After the defrost, compressor started working at high speed for about 25 minutes. During this 25 minutes, fans ran for 5 and 8 minutes (not consecutive) without any interruption. Then stop & go started again at a random pace. Compressor temp was at 145F at the end of the 25-minute high-speed run. At low-speed, temp gets down to 115F level and stays there.

So far every forum post I read, indicates that this is a control board issue. But I am not an appliance pro like you. If you are saying we need to look at something else, I do my best to work with you. The worst part is going through a while week without a fridge:nightmare:
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
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Messages
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Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
I agree with you. The board is definitely the problem. I just wanted to be sure that was the only problem. It is.
 
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