When my old fridge cooling unit stopped working but the light remained on we assumed that since it was an old fridge that it was broken, so we replaced it.

Today my new fridge has had the same problem. The cooling unit stopped but the light inside is working. It started working again when I jiggled it, then it stopped again. It started again after I unplugged it and plugged it back in, but then it stopped again. It's a new fridge, so this is pretty unlikely to be a coincidence. I've had this one for about 10 days and it worked the whole time as far as we know.

What would cause my fridges motors to stop running, but leave the lights on? The only similarities between the fridges is it's location and power socket.

It wasn't that the thermostat was registering it being cold enough so that the cooling unit could stop working - in the original fridge everything defrosted.


  • Maybe replace the fuse or circuit breaker?
    – cde
    Sep 8, 2015 at 19:26
  • @cde -- definitely not the fuse or breaker popping since the fridge light is staying on here. Sep 8, 2015 at 21:47
  • Can you confirm what else may be on the same circuit? Also, and I doubt this if the refrigerator is actually only two weeks old, but a friend has a newer Maytag fridge and right after the one-year warranty ran out it stopped cooling but the lights and controls still worked. We thought the compressor quit already, but after leaving it unplugged and off for a few days it turned out there was a frozen blockage in the coolant line. The fridge has been working fine since then.
    – paulmz
    Sep 8, 2015 at 21:59

2 Answers 2


One possible explanation for this would be if you run the fridge from batteries or solar power with too small inverter. Even a small fridge requires an inverter capable of giving at least something like 1 kilowatt when the motor starts. If the voltage drops when the motor starts, it won't be able to start spinning after the initial pressure pulse of the first rotation: the motor will get stuck and the overheat protection will cut the power from the motor. After a few minutes the motor will again try to start, and possibly fail again.

This answer does not apply if the fridge is connected to proper AC mains power.


All fridge compressors have thermal cutoff switches as protection, your fridge works by moving the heat inside of it to the outside environment but if the location is has poor ventilation the heat will be trapped raising the temperature enough that with the normal raise in temperature of the compressor operation it causes a thermal cutoff... This explains why when you disconnected a while, the location cooled off, reconnected it started working and then went in to thermal cutoff again.... most likely poor ventilation in the fridge location is causing it to go into thermal cutoff...

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