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I have a refrigerator which cycles off and on fairly rapidly, about once every two seconds. This has been occurring intermittently for some time. Today it finally failed to come on.

I finally got it to come on by unplugging the condenser fan for 30-45 seconds. The compressor comes on then I can plug the fan back in. The fridge appears to run fine after that. It did shut off but I had the doors open to do some cleaning.

I have taken the additional triage steps based on advice from around the internet:

  • tested compressor for open windings by checking for resistance between each pair of three terminals. They came out at ~4, ~6, and ~11 ohms.
  • tested the starter relay, this unit has a combined starter + overload. One pair of terminals had continuity, the other two pairs did not.
  • inspected for loose terminals and connections
  • examined the controller board for loose components, swollen capacitors, or missing electrical smoke (carbon scoring)

I suspect there is an electrical issue with this fridge because of the behavior seen in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw-W7UabD1E

Using the water dispenser would cause the compressor to shut off and no water was dispensed. When taking the burnt out bulb out of the water dispenser, water is issued and the compressor does not shut off. This does not appear to fix the issue but is clearly related.

What components should I test further or replace to fix my fridge?

I believe this is generic to many models but mine is a GE PSC23MSTCSS.

Update: Fridge ran overnight and cooled down to normal temperature. The ice cube dispenser does not work and causes the compressor to click off. It is as if any additional electrical load causes the compressor to turn off. Removing a load by unplugging the fan allows it to start.

Update 2: I found a diagnostic process. During normal operation, this shows everything as passing. During the failure mode it fails at least the fan test. This leads me to believe that the condenser fan needs a detailed cleaning or replacement. The other electrical gremlins, such as fault modes occurring when dispensing still makes me suspect the board.

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The fridge now works perfectly. I had to replace the main logic board. On closer inspection there was a resistor which had charring on the back and front of the board. Perhaps I could have replaced the resistor but I don't know what else might have been effected and I was running out of time.

This fits with the symptoms in that there were seemingly unrelated sub-systems effecting each other.

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