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My whirlpool wrx735sdhz suddenly tripped breaker. I tried plugging into multiple other outlets and tripped all. I've confirmed the compressor is good and no short to ground. Start relay and capacitor are good. Condenser fan is good. I found frozen lines above and to the right of the coils in the freezer. Heating element checked out. After ice thawed and dried for a bit, I plugged refrigerator back in and it actually started and ran for a few seconds and tripped again. Any ideas on reason why this happened?

https://imgur.com/gallery/8BoJW5m

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  • Is it tripping AFCI, GFCI or overcurrent? Commented Jan 14 at 19:42
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    Over current. I originally thought breaker was the problem but I tested in on other breakers (with nothing else on those circuits) and it still tripped.
    – Justin
    Commented Jan 14 at 20:06
  • Dried for a bit and tripped later should mean water is getting in somewhere it does not belong and causing a short. How fast is the tripping? As soon as plug in or till compressor/something turns on.
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 14 at 20:25
  • Before I dried everything it was an immediate trip. The last time I tried, the refrigerator came on for a few seconds and then tripped. I just can't seem to find anymore water causing the short.
    – Justin
    Commented Jan 14 at 20:33
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    On a simple/non GFCI/AFCI breaker, an immediate trip is a good short. Hot is touching ground or neutral. Can be a loose wire flopping around or a section of bad/missing/burnt insulation.
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 14 at 21:27

1 Answer 1

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It could be mechanical overload or an electrical failure. To determine which:

Mechanical: A compressor facing too much back pressure will draw too much current and trip breaker usually within 1-10 secs (vs dead short - see below if it trips immediately). Could be because the lines are still frozen (let’s hope so) or because compressor was damaged when it tried to run when they were. Thaw them with warm water or hairdryer and test again. If breaker still trips, do next:

Electrical: Unplug and turn off. Use resistance function on DMM and measure between hot and neutral. Manipulate the cord, especially at the plug and entry point. Should be infinite / open. If less than 10 ohms for even an instant, call it a short. If you’re competent, you can replace the cord.

Repeat the test between hot and ground. Resistance between 10 and below infinite means leakage current, probably something’s still wet. Dry whatever you can with a hairdryer and recheck. If over 100K ohms, don’t worry about it.

Next, turn it on and set thermostat to minimum temp and repeat the tests. If less than 5 ohms, call it a short and call a repair service unless you’re competent to service it.

Note about extension cords and compressors: the cord inserts additional resistance, lowering the voltage it delivers. Lower voltage causes the motor to have trouble coming up to speed, causing it to draw more starting current for longer. That can trip the breaker even if everything else is ok. Relevant if you used an extension when you tested it on other outlets.

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