The ClimateKeeper dual evaporator system is incorporated on some GE energy star
refrigerators including GE Profile refrigerators, GE Café refrigerators and
Monogram refrigerators. What this means is there is two evaporators rather than
one so the fresh food section and the freezer cool independently from one
another. Traditionally, refrigerators have one evaporator in the freezer so all
of the cold air for the fresh food section comes from the freezer. This is good
and works well but there are huge advantages to a dual evaporator system. Have
you ever said or heard someone say that their ice taste bad? This because
airflow from the fresh food section mixes with the air in the freezer causing
the ice to taste like food in the fresh food section. In other words, what you
taste is the onion from the fresh food section. Another good advantage is that
the humidity of the fresh food section is significantly higher. This allows
fresh produce and unsealed foods to stay fresh longer. Moisture sensitive foods
can be stored on open shelves without a lot of moisture loss.
Some of dual evaporator refrigerators use a variable speed compressor. What this does is allow the compressor to slow down and speed up when the situation calls for it. This also gives it the energy star rating because this compressor uses far less energy.
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As we know in the ClimateKeeper dual evaporator system, the fresh food section and the freezer section cool independently from one another so when repairing them we treat them as two separate refrigerators to a certain extend. But when both the fresh food section and the freezer section are not working you must treat it as one refrigerator. This page will discuss how to diagnose these refrigerators when this happens.
If this is not what your refrigerator is doing, here are other pages on GE ClimateKeeper refrigerator repair.
GE ClimateKeeper Freezer Not Freezing
GE ClimateKeeper Fresh Food Not Cooling
The main board controls temperature in the fresh food section and the freezer on a GE dual evaporator refrigerator by monitoring feedback from the thermistors in various locations of the refrigerator, then “decides” when to turn the fans on/off, when to turn the compressor on and when to shut off refrigeration flow to one of the evaporators. Therefore, the main board can cause both the fresh food section and the freezer section to stop cooling.
One way the board can cause this type of problem is the low voltage side of the board can fail. When this happens the fans will not run properly and if you are dealing with a variable speed model (talked about below) the compressor may not get the correct “commands” from the board. Typically when this happens you will see problems with the dispenser such as when you try the dispenser, the light dim or the controls will dim. Sometimes the control lights will not eliminate when you have this type of problem. The best way to check this type of problem is to check the fan supply voltage.
To check this, locate the board on the back of the refrigerator. On the board you should see a connector marked J2, this is the fan motor plug. Set your voltage tester to read 14 VDC (most meters have a 20V scale). Test for voltage by probing pin 3 (third pin from left) with your black lead and your red lead on pin 8. You should get 12-14 VDC and if not replace the board.
The main board can also cause this type of problem by failing to run the compressor when it should. This is talked about in the sections below.
Compressor Not Running
I said before that when repairing a GE refrigerator with the ClimateKeeper dual evaporator system, you treat the freezer and fresh food section as two separate refrigerators. This is because there are separate refrigeration systems. But both are ran off of one compressor, therefore if both sections are not cooling then there is a good chance the compressor isn’t running. There are two types of compressors on these refrigerators, single speed compressor and variable speed compressors. To tell which compressor your refrigerator has, look for the clues below. On refrigerators with the variable speed compressors, there will be a sticker on the back that says, “this refrigerator is equipped with a variable speed compressor”. Also if it is a variable speed compressor, there will be an inverter attached to the side of the compressor and if it is a variable speed compressor the main board will have a plug marked J15 with a wire connected to it. If your refrigerator does not have these things then your refrigerator has a single speed compressor.
Single Speed Compressor
If your GE ClimateKeeper dual evaporator refrigerator has the single speed compressor It will be easy to tell if it is running or not. You will be able to hear it running and it will be hot. Also you will feel vibrations on the refrigeration lines. If the compressor is not running, the condenser fan can be the problem. Look to the right of the compressor and you should see a fan, if the compressor is running (or supposed to be running), the fan should be running. If not refer to this page for fan motor testing GE Fan Motor Diagnostics
Read the section on condenser fan motor.
If the fan is running but the compressor is not, then the main board is more than likely the problem. But it could also be start relay. If the start relay is bad the compressor will try to start every so often (every 3-5 minutes). If this is happening replace the start relay and if not the main board is the problem.
Variable Speed Compressor
It can be very hard to tell if the variable speed compressor is running on the GE ClimateKeeper dual evaporator refrigerator because it runs so cool and quiet. The best way to definitively tell if the compressor is running is to access both the freezer and the fresh food evaporator. One or both of them should be frosty if the compressor is running. You can unplug the refrigerator and place your hand on the compressor then reconnect the power and you should feel the compressor vibrate when it comes back on. If you determine that the compressor isn’t running then the problem can be the main board, the inverter-board, the compressor or the thermistors. If both the fresh food section and the freezer section are not cooling then it is unlikely the thermistors are the problem because you would have to have at least two thermistors bad at once for the compressor not to run. Locate the main board on the back of the refrigerator. On the board there will be a plug marked J15. Check for voltage coming from the J15 plug and there should be 4-6 VDC (wires must stay connected) if the main board is calling for the compressor to be running. Note that you will only see the J15 plug on GE ClimateKeeper dual evaporator refrigerators with a variable speed compressor. If the main board is not calling for the compressor to be running, the problem is the main board or the thermistors. Like I said before, if both sides are not cooling, two thermistors would have to be bad to cause this problem so I feel like it will be the main board but this page tells how to test the thermistors.
If you are getting voltage at the J15 plug but the compressor is not running then you have a bad compressor or inverter. Disconnect power to the refrigerator and remove the inverter. Using an ohmmeter test for continuity from each of the three terminals on the compressor. There should be 9-11 ohms across each terminal and if not the compressor is bad. Replacing a compressor is not a do-it-yourself repair job. If the compressor checks ok, replace the inverter. Note that this is not a 100% accurate test but there is no good way to definitively test the inverter due to the fact that a lot of voltage testers will not read output voltage from the inverter because of the variations in frequency.
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The most commonly used diagnostic tool is the ohmmeter check out this page.