How to Test the Defrost System in a GE Arctica or Profile Refrigerator

All refrigerators need to be defrosted every few hours. Older refrigerators used a simple, inexpensive, and very reliable mechanical timer. In many models made today, the defrost cycle, temperature control, and other hoo-hahs are all handled by an over-priced and highly failure-prone electronic circuit board. GE calls theirs a motherboard. I call it a muthaboard. Sometimes mutha-something else.

ge arctica muthaboardOn GE Profile and Arctica refrigerators, the muthaboard is located on the back of the refrigerator, behind the metal panel. Remove the panel and you’ll see the board, shown here (click pic for larger view).

ge muthaboard defrost jumperTo put the refrigerator into defrost mode, use a jumper wire with alligator clips (you can buy a bag of ’em at Radio Shack for a buck two-eighty) to jumper the two terminals shown here in this pic.

This will put the refrigerator into defrost mode and makes it easy to troubleshoot defrost system problems. While in defrost mode, you can check to see if the electric heaters on the evaporator are getting hot. If not, then use your light stick to see if you’re getting voltage to the heater wires. If voltage isn’t making it to the heaters, then the possibilities are:

  • open defrost thermostat
  • bad connection between the muthaboard and the defrost components in the freezer
  • bad muthaboard

OTOH, if you are getting voltage at the defrost heater but no heat, then replace the defrost heaters. You’ll need to order the set based on your model number, which you can do ratcheer.

To learn more about your refrigerator, or to order parts, click here.


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