I have a GE chest freezer FCM11PHBWW. It simply stopped working after having been moved to a new house. It was not dropped or not turned on end. It was simple moved. It was then plugged into a live circuit and was dead. I have tried other outlets, have traced all wires for continuity. The compressor checks out OK with the meter. I replaced the OPL and PTC since they were cheap. The only thing left was the thermostat and it is OK too. The ONLY thing left is the LED ‘on’ light.

As far as schematics go I understand straight lines and can see what they connect to. Not a lot beyond that.

So this LED light does not have continuity. Inside it has an LED lamp and a resistor. It can’t get the freaking thing apart for fear of breaking it although I may have to. A replacement one costs about $30.00! That seems a bit exorbitant for little green light. My thought is “to cost that much this thing must be pretty damn important”. Could it be my problem?

Photo of bulb

Freezer schematic

  • a defective indicator lamp will not prevent the freezer from working
    – jsotola
    Apr 10 '20 at 19:47
  • Did you plug it in and wait 24 hours to see if it's working?
    – Jeff Cates
    Apr 11 '20 at 5:56
  • Plugged in for 48hrs but nothing happens.
    – JerryP
    May 26 '20 at 14:03

An LED won't show continuity. You could test it with a diode checker though. Or, since the module is designed to be powered from mains directly, just (carefully) hook it up to mains power to test it. In any case I can't imagine that a failed lamp is going to prevent the freezer operating.

Rather than test continuity of things, plug the freezer in and check for voltages. Attach one meter lead to a known-good neutral then start tracing hot wires and checking voltages with the other meter lead. Sooner or later you'll have to find a place in the circuit that should show mains voltage but doesn't, or a place that should show 0 volts (because it's supposed to be wired to neutral) but shows mains voltage instead. Either of those things indicates an open circuit: a control switch that should have closed but didn't, or a connection that has failed.

Also, the schematic photo is just a little too small to be legible. Try a little higher resolution.

  • Thanks. I’m FINALLY back onto this. With the unit plugged in the hot wires at the thermostat show 120v when it’s in the “on” position. When it’s unplugged with the thermostat “on” the thermostat shows continuity. When the unit is unplugged and the thermostat is “off” there is no continuity BUT with the thermostat off and the unit plugged in it is showing 80v. Bad thermostat?
    – JerryP
    May 23 '20 at 19:38
  • When you measure "the hot wires at the thermostat show 120v" what is the reference point for the measurement -- one meter lead is used to check one thermostat terminal and then the other terminal; where was the second meter lead held?
    – Greg Hill
    May 25 '20 at 14:16

No the led is not your problem! An led will only show if there is voltage. Try putting a load on that outlet a volt meter may show good but plug in a curling iron and nothing. This happens with backstabbed receptacles all the time , sometimes a loose screw or wirenut . Try a load test and you may find the power goes way.


IT'S NOT AN LED! It's neon.

I don't mean to shout, but there are a lot of folks who will assume this is an LED these days, so I figured this should be an attention grabber. We all dislike misinformation, right? It runs on the 120V AC voltage, and is a neon lamp. Yes, it still has a current limiting resistor.

You can get replacements for pennies, and just replace the neon lamp w/ resistor inside that housing. I just did this on my own chest freezer.

Neon indicator lamps are very commonly used for 120VAC power lights, or lighted wall switches and such. They're more practical than LEDs in this application.

As for the non-running condition, have you checked your PTC? Read up on their operation. They should have certain resistance values at certain temperatures. When they go bad, they can get "marginal" and cause some funny behaviors. It makes it hard for the start windings on the compressor motor to get proper voltage. My chest freezer would run fine sometimes, depending on the temperature. A new PTC disk from a donor PTC assembly had it fixed right up. I know you replaced your PTC, but did you check it's actual resistances and different temperatures? Did you ohm out the start and run windings on the compressor motor?

You can also pop the thermostat apart and check for signs of carbon buildup, arcing, or heating. Sometimes the contacts can be filed or cleaned with a fiberglass scratch pen to restore proper continuity.

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