Refrigerator Fan not working Fix


If your refrigerator fan is not working , You are in the right place to learn how to fix it . Refrigerators have a fan inside to keep the cool air flow throughout the system. It not only keep the air flow but also prevents the ice building up inside the refrigerator freezer compartment by allowing cold air to flow throughout the system. If the refrigerator fan doesn’t work ,Refrigerator will no longer have the ability to cool and also it will cause the ice build up in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator. Because , There is no air flow to consume the cold generated from the evaporator.  So , It’s quite easy to detect if the fan inside the refrigerator is not working. Place your hand in front of the air vents inside the freezer compartment when the refrigerator is in cooling circle . If you don’t feel any air flow , Your refrigerator fan is not working.  Refrigerator fans are durable electrical devices . But , These fans can malfunction and stop working due to many reasons . Here is why and how to fix it.



Refrigerator Fan

Refrigerator Fan not working - Refrigerator fan parts

Refrigerator fan parts

Most of the refrigerator fans are made using a shaded pole motors . This shaded pole motors have some advantages that suits it to use inside a refrigerator.

Reliable – Since shaded pole motors have few components , these motors are very reliable.

Durability – These motors can last for decades without any repair.Because there are less mechanical parts that can wear over the time .

Simple design – Unlike other motors these motors are very simple. Less parts and few moving components .

Doesn’t require additional components – Unlike other motors these shaded pole motors doesn’t require any additional components such as capacitors and centrifugal switches.

less weight – Less components means less weight and easy fit in . That is why most of the time this motor is mounted on a plastic support .

Small size – Absence of  stator winding and brushes allows smaller motor design . This is very important . Since , There are not much space inside the freezer compartment .

Working Principles of Refrigerator Fan

Refrigerator fan Rotor and poles - Refrigerator Fan not working

Refrigerator fan Rotor and poles

Unlike many other motors , These motors doesn’t have two windings .Instead , These motors have single winding that act as two separate windings with the help of a shaded ring or band . This ring is usually made out of copper . Most of the refrigerators uses two pole shaded pole motors . Each pole has a cutout potion with a copper ring inserted to it . This copper ring act as a secondary winding . This shaded poles creates rotating magnetic fields (by causing main flux to shift across the pole surface) .

This changing magnetic field will cause the rotor to rotate . The rotor in this case is a squirrel cage type . The squirrel cage rotor made out of aluminum or copper laminated together. A electrical current will be created due to the the aluminum or copper parts exposed to stator poles changing magnetic fields . This current field will create an opposite magnetic field to the original magnetic field  created by the stator pole. Since , It’s an opposite magnetic field this will repel creating a torque .Thus , rotating rotor shaft .



Testing Refrigerator Fan

Checking refrigerator heater

Checking the refrigerator heater

Since , Refrigerators uses shaded pole motors. There are not many parts inside the refrigerator fan that can go bad . The only part that can go bad is the coil . It’s at the bottom of the fan . The two ends of this coil is connected to the fan connector using wires. You can’t check the condition of the coil with a standard multi meter .But , you can get a basic idea about the condition of it . Put your multi-meter in ohm scale and  touch connector pins with each probe . You should get ohm reading that near to the resistance calculated with the ratings mentioned in the motor [ Resistance of the coil = Voltage rating /  Current rating of the coil ] . If your readings shows far more low value comparing to the calculated value , you may have a shorted coil. However , You can use a E.S.R meter to get a better idea about the coil’s condition and it’s impedance value .

Causes of Bad Refrigerator Fan

There are several reasons for a malfunctioning refrigerator fan. Some of them can be easily repaired. But , Others may require fan replacement . Not because you cant repair it  , Some repairs not worth money and effort .Here are some of the causes and how to fix them.

Burned Fan Coil

As we have mentioned in the Testing Refrigerator fan section. If your multi meter doesn’t show values that we mentioned in that section , You may have a burned or shorted coil. The only way to fix this is by replacing it or rewinding it with same gauge wires.

Stuck Bearings

Refrigerator Fan not working - Refrigerator Ball bearings

Refrigerator Ball bearings

The rotor shaft of the motor are on one or two ball bearings .This bearings allow the rotor to rotate freely .However , This bearings can stuck due to the rust and the wear (due to friction) . Try to move the fan blade by your hand if you feel any friction inspect the bearings . See whether the bearings have rust on them.

Fix – If you can see the rust in the bearings ,Spray lubricant like WD-40 while spinning the motor shaft .Do this few times until you don’t feel any friction while spinning the rotor shaft.Then plug the fan and check if it spins when refrigerator powered on .

If The balls inside the bearings are deformed due to wear , the only way to fix it by replacing the bearing. Make sure to but the bearings with exact dimensions.



Oxidized Connectors

cleaning refrigerator connector pins

Cleaning refrigerator connector pin

The copper pins inside the connectors of your refrigerator is very venerable to corrosion and oxidization. Which creates layers of oxide layer in top of the copper pins. Thus, breaking the connection between pins. Which results open circuits.

Fix – Unplug and Clean refrigerator connector pins using a tooth brush soaked in Isopropyl Alcohol or spray contact cleaner and brush the pins with tooth brush. Then , plug it back .

Conclusion

In conclusion

Refrigerators have fans inside them to keep the cold air flow through out the system. These fans are made using a shaded pole motors . These fans can go bad due to electrical or mechanical problems. Multimeters can be used for check and get a basic idea about the motor coil. But , You need special tools to know the exact condition of the motor coil such as E.S.R meters . Some of these problems can be fixed with the help of simple equipment.However , If you are replacing a refrigerator motor , replace it with a fan which have the same model number . But , If you cant find a matching fan , You can replace it with a shaded pole motor that have same physical and mechanical characteristics.



Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I replace a Fan with different one ?

    Yes. But , The physical structure should be the same as the original . If not , It wont fit . Also ,  You must match the electrical characteristics .Specially the voltage ratings should match . If you replace it with a low voltage rated fan , The higher voltage from the supply will fry the motor coil . If you replaced it with a higher voltage rated fan , The fan will spin slowly . The replacement fans R.P.M also need to be matched (You can use a fan that have a R.P.M close to original ones R.P.M). If not , Air wont circulate properly inside the refrigerator.You can use the original parts connector .Make sure to insulate the soldering areas properly.

  • Can I replace a Fan with different one ?

    Yes. But , The physical structure should be the same as the original . If not , It wont fit . Also ,  You must match the electrical characteristics .Specially the voltage ratings should match . If you replace it with a low voltage rated fan , The higher voltage from the supply will fry the motor coil . If you replaced it with a higher voltage rated fan , The fan will spin slowly . The replacement fans R.P.M also need to be matched (You can use a fan that have a R.P.M close to original ones R.P.M). If not , Air wont circulate properly inside the refrigerator.You can use the original parts connector .Make sure to insulate the soldering areas properly.

  • Can I replace a Fan with a different type Fan ?

    Yes. But ,There is a reason why refrigerator manufacturers uses shaded pole motor over other motor types . Near constant speed, Noise free operation  , Durability ,low current consumption are among the reasons to use such motor . This motor is used so that , It can provide constant airflow throughout the refrigerator . Also , You cant use brushed motors inside the freezer , Because of the moisture can cause brush and copper contact points of the rotor to short circuit . The ice can create a layer between copper contact points and the brushes . If you are intend to replace the fan with a different type one make sure to use any motor that uses squirrel cage type rotor .

Disclaimer – The contents of this article may change anytime.This tutorial involves working with high voltages . In order to work with such voltages , It requires special tools and protective equipment. Make sure to take every safety measure necessary . If you don’t have any experience working with high voltages .Please , Get someones (Someone who have experience ) help to follow this tutorial.If you are not a experienced technician , Don’t work on the refrigerator while it is connected to the mains.Depending on the measuring equipment you are using readings may vary . Please , Use good quality measuring equipment to take the readings.

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