How to Manually Start the Defrost Cycle in Frigidaire Refrigerators

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on January 17, 2007

in Refrigerator Repair

Dear most knowledgeable one. I am almost as bad at computers as I am Frigidaire Side by sides.

Am trying to find out how to make this bad boy go into defrost? (something like clap my hands two times, spin aound in a counter-clockwise circle while hitting the light switch 15 times in two seconds?)

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Mechanical Timer or ADC?First thing to do is figger out whether your fridge uses the good ol’ mechanical defrost timer or the new-fangled and problematic Adaptive Defrost Control (ADC) board. The wiring diagram will show which it is. If you’re wiring diagram-impaired, then you’re going on a little safari to find the defrost control, be it mechanical timer or control board.

Click for DefrostYeah, I miss the good ol’ days when refrigerator defrost cycles were controlled by simple mechanical defrost timers. Used to be a man could go out on a refrigerator service call and make an easy $150 replacing a silly little $25 timer. The old mechanical timers would simply click the fridge into defrost mode every six or eight hours and fire up the evaporator defrost heaters for 21 minutes or so whether it needed it or not. And you could always start the defrost cycle by just turning the knob on the timer to the big click (click the pic, Slick). But life never stays simple, does it?

Alas, initiating the defrost cycle on fridges with ADC is a little less intuitive. It’s still very simple, but you have to know the Secret Handshake. When I converted to the Appliantology faith, I took an oath not to divulge the Secret Handshake to the Great Unwashed Illiterati (GUI). However, since you are reading this website, you cannot possibly be a GUI and so Lord Fixus has given me his blessing to disgorge this sacred information upon you.

To initiate the defrost cycle in most Friggidaires (not a typo) with ADC:

To initiate defrost, depress the fresh food light switch 5
times in 6 seconds (light bulb must be working). To terminate
defrost, depress the fresh food light switch 5 times in 6 seconds.

If the refrigerator won’t go into defrost, verify that you have continuity in the defrost heater and defrost thermostat. If they check out good, but you aren’t getting 120vac from the ADC board, replace the ADC board.

If your refrigerator uses a mechanical timer for defrost control, then you still need to check the continuity of the defrost heater and thermostat. If they’re both good, replace the defrost timer.

BTW, all the foregoing applies to other brands, too. Even the part link for the mechanical defrost timers can be used for all brands so equipped. The only real difference is in the ADC control and the procedure for initiating defrost. For more about that, see this page.


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