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GE Monogram refrigerator ZISS360NRSS compressor running hot


Premium Member
Aug 21, 2017
Model Number
More than 10 years
I have a GE monogram fridge that has a compressor that runs very hot. Too hot to touch more than about 5 seconds. But it's definitely running, so not triggering the overheat protection. I inspected the condensor fan, and it is running. The frame in between the 2 compartments is warm, not hot.

Today, GE Appliance Service technician came to my house and said everything looked ok. He blew out and vacuumed the condensor coils, didn't even charge me for it. He does not think any repair is necessary. I asked him if it could be a sealed system problem, but he said that the refrigerator wouldn't get cold like it is.

I asked him if could be evaporator defroster malfunction, and showed me that if that were the case, you would be able to feel ice on the coils by putting your fingers through the vents in the ceiling of the freezer compartment. Also, since he shut off the power and turned it back on, the defroster was on, making the evaporator coil hot.

The reason I was inspecting the fridge was because the freezer compartment temperature started rising over the weekend, to about 15 deg F. I opened the top door to inspect the compressor, and the compressor was hot, but running, and the condensor fan was blowing. After shutting off to inspect the motherboard, which had no burn marks and caps all look intact, I plugged the fridge back in. It took a couple of hours, but the freezer did go back down to 0 deg F and the fridge to 37 deg F as set.

To summarize:
Freezer not cooling enough, but then working after shutdown/restart.
Compressor running hot to touch.

What do you think? Everything ok? Or possible mainboard malfunction (not running the condensor fan fast enough?)

You will need to do an amp meter test, sounds like the compressor trying to pull too many amps, thus its getting the compressor super hot.

You will want to take an amp reading on the wires to the compressor , if the compressor is running above 3 amps all the time, then your compressor is on its last legs.

I use a clamp style amp meter.

You'd need an clamp style amp meter. Like this one here: Craftsman Digital Clamp-On Ammeter

Thanks for your response, Jake. I didn't measure the amps from the compressor, but decided to try swapping the mainboard since it's relatively cheap and easy.

I was having repeated instances of the freezer compartment warm up to 10 degrees with the compressor running, which seemed to reset after turning off the refrigerator using the breaker. Could mainboard malfunction have caused the evaporator defroster to stay on too long, and compressor running hard to keep the compartments cool??

So far, the problem has not come back, fingers crossed. Compressor still feels hot, but not as hot. I can hold my hand on it without burning myself, and the cover panel is noticeably cooler.
Yes, a bad motherboard can cause those problems.

Here's the motherboard for your model:
WR55X10560 Board Asm Main Contro

Sometimes just looking at the board you can see burnt spots on the board, if you do see that, then the motherboard is definitely the cause.

Is it normal for there to be a large difference in the temperature between the top and bottom of the freezer compartment after the freezer door has been open for a few minutes?

I installed an "external" temperature monitor, the cheap kind that you run with a wire to a digital monitor on the outside of your refrigerator. The probe sits near the top shelf of the freezer. Whereas the freezer compartment "internal" thermistor that reads out in the refrigerator panel sits near the bottom of the freezer.

Before the installation of the external monitor, the internal monitor read 0 deg F. Right now, it's about 30 min after installing the external monitor. The external monitor reads -0.3 deg F and the internal reads 8 deg F.

I'd like to know if this is normal operation, or if this indicates internal freezer thermistor needs replacement.
Now, it's about 1.5 hours after, external monitor reads -3 deg F, internal monitor reads +3 deg F.
When checking temperatures with my infrared thermometer there can be as much as a 8-10 degree difference between the top of the section and the bottom of the section. The evaporator fan motor is pulling warmer return air from the fresh food section at the bottom, then across the evaporator and blowing the now much colder air out into the top of the freezer and through the damper into the fresh food section. Some of the less expensive thermometers have a 3-5 degree margin of error. Measure the resistance of the thermistor at the J1 connector on the motherboard. This may help:

In your first post you mentioned the compressor was very hot. That machine uses an inverter compressor. Inverter compressors are very quiet and operate at room temperature or barely above room temperature. If it's still running hot after 24 hours then leave the machine plugged in and running and remove the evaporator cover to check the frost pattern on the coils. You should see a very light coat of white frost on all the coils top to bottom, no ice or snow.
On inspection of the old mainboard, I do not see any burned spots.

It is 2 days later since I replaced the mainboard, and the difference in temperature of the compressor is remarkable. I don't know the exact temperature of the compressor -- It feels warm, but I can leave my hand on it without it feeling uncomfortably hot. It runs very quietly. I think the problem is solved.

I had attempted to removed the evaporator cover from my freezer, when I first started noticing problems, but even after removing all of the screws, I couldn't remove the cover. There seemed to be some kind of adhesive keeping it in place. The GE repairman said he usually checks for frost/defrost problems by feeling the coils through the vent holes in the freezer ceiling for snow/ice. Since I didn't have that, he said a problem with the evaporator thermistor, defroster timer, or heater were unlikely.

Thanks for that awesome image of the mainboard. That will help me with testing if I ever have problems again!
Here's both sides, high voltage for checking defrost and auger motor and low voltage with J15 Inverter:
GEMB-05 120 VAC.jpgGEMB-04 With Inverter.jpg
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