This samsung unit has been running smoothly for a few year. Suddenly it caused a short and the short/ground breaker went down. Trying a test - plugging it in without the ground pin - the fridge turns on but the compressor shuts off after maybe 20 seconds.

everything is clean of dust, and there isnt any ice anywhere.

here is an electric diagram from the back of the unit. enter image description here

  • I was able to reach the thermostat in the freezer part, and when that one isn't plugged in, the fridge doesnt do anything.. if i plug it back it, it trips the short breaker.

  • I was able to reattach that thermostat back and also replace to the regular outlet with ground pin, and luckily the fridge didnt start just then, but when the compressor kicked in the breaker tripped.

Can you anyone surmise anything from this?
Can you suggest any more tests?

thank you

  • 6
    Please do not defeat the ground pin on appliances. A GFCI measures the current on the hot and neutral wires, compares them to each other, and if there's a difference beyond a given threshold then it trips. By defeating the ground pin that difference in current will go through something else, such as through you. I see what you are trying to do but unless you've gone through some serious measures to isolate the refrigerator from other ground paths then you are not testing anything.
    – MacGuffin
    Aug 30, 2023 at 8:36
  • Thank you for your concern. 🙏 I am taking measures. However still looking for an answer to the actual issue.
    – Adeerlike
    Aug 30, 2023 at 8:46
  • 5
    The refrigerator SHORTED and now you tried to diagnose it by running it without ground? You're lucky you didn't die.
    – Nelson
    Aug 30, 2023 at 8:52
  • 1 - Model # of refrigerator? 2 - When the breaker trips, is it GFCI, AFCI or overcurrent? All are issues, but what type of trip may be a useful clue. Aug 30, 2023 at 15:04
  • @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact 2- not sure i know the difference. It is the ground protection breaker on my main electric board. it trips when there is a legitimate sum amount of current going to the main ground line of the house. 1- Samsung RT45masw1
    – Adeerlike
    Aug 30, 2023 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


EDIT: Further testing has revealed that this refrigerator may not have a ground fault, but a thermal overload. This answer addressing a ground fault will remain for future searches of similar problems.

From your description, this refrigerator is toast, but before you scrap it you want proof. I get it.

Can you suggest any more tests?

From this, I assume you have a multimeter and you know how to use it.

To prove that the compressor is shot:

Unplug the refrigerator. Disconnect the M, S and C wires from the compressor, which are probably all in the same plug. Connect your multimeter set on resistance with one probe touching any clean, bright, unpainted point on the compressor itself and the other touching the C terminal on the compressor. If you don't know which one is C, connect to one terminal at a time. All will probably read about the same.

On a working refrigerator, you should read infinite resistance (no reading), or conceivably some very high reading between 1 Mohm and 20 Mohm. But your compressor is bad, so you will have a low reading, perhaps a few ohms to a few hundred ohms. This confirms a bad compressor. It also confirms that when you defeat the ground plug, the entire metal chassis of this refrigerator is electrified at the full line voltage.

In theory, the compressor can be replaced. I actually replaced one that was just out of warranty back in the day when you could buy R-12 over the counter. But the cost today to get a tech to your house and replace the compressor will exceed the cost of a new refrigerator. You're welcome to call around, but that's probably a dead end.

  • great answer!! but wrong guess. So in fact defeating the ground pin did not electrify the body, at least not noticeably.. Multimeter between the plugs of the compressor leads read 11, 11, 0.3 , to the body is nothing! I also learnt that the compressor starts, gets hot quickly, and that it's overload protector trips and disconnects it. Does that give us any new info?
    – Adeerlike
    Aug 30, 2023 at 16:08
  • 1
    @Adeerlike Well, shut my mouth! If the "PTC Relay" is defective and energizing only the S (start) winding but not the M (main) winding, (or both at the same time) that would start the compressor but overheat it within a short time. Start winding is normally energized for only a couple of seconds.
    – MTA
    Aug 30, 2023 at 16:14
  • 1
    @Adeerlike If you let the compressor cool down, then allow it to start, but promptly disconnect the pink wire from the capacitor, the compressor should run continuously without overheating. Don't let the end of the pink wire touch anything, it's energized. If this works, it proves that the PTC relay is defective. If you can replace it, your fridge is saved!
    – MTA
    Aug 30, 2023 at 16:24
  • Tried that.. didnt work =| . The overload protector still got hot pretty quickly, tripped, and the compressor stopped..
    – Adeerlike
    Aug 31, 2023 at 8:16
  • 1
    @Adeerlike Well, that clinches it, sorry: either the main winding of the compressor is shorted to itself within its own windings and therefore drawing too much current or the compressor is mechanically stalled and drawing its "locked rotor amps". In either case, either the compressor or the entire fridge needs to be replaced. If anyone else here has an idea what could cause the thermal overload to trip even with the start winding physically disconnected after starting, they will leave a comment. In my opinion, it's time for a new fridge.
    – MTA
    Aug 31, 2023 at 11:56

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