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Not Cooling Again – GE Profile PFCF1NFW Refrigerator and Freezer

It’s been a few years since any repairs were made to my GE refrigerator so I wondered out loud how luck I was last week, only to have the refrigerator and freezer stopped cooling couple of days ago.

After making so many repairs, here is the skinny on this GE appliance:

  • #1 – Thermistors (temperature sensors that provide data to the primary computer) rarely, if ever, go bad
  • #2 – If lights and door alarm is working, it probably means the primary computer is working fine but the inverter board is bad
  • #3 – If the compressor is slightly vibrating and hot to touch but the lights and/or door alarm do not work, it probably means the inverter is working fine but the primary computer is bad

Why do inverter boards go bad so frequently?

Having dealt with computers and electronics for over 30 years, I am well aware that heat is the primary killer of all electronic components.

GE engineers did a poor job of designing effective air movement, resulting in poor heat management. The inverter board is designed to convert AC (alternating current) to DC (direct current) power because a compressor requires a constant power curve. For some reason, GE decided to attach the inverter unit directly to the compressor. As you may know, the compressor is almost always on and is hot to the touch. The only cooling method is the air movement from a condenser fan. To make matters worse, the inverter unit sits “behind” the compressor, meaning it doesn’t get any direct air movement, and the little air it does get is hot.

On May 2024, I replaced my inverter board for the fourth time so the lifespan seems to be around 3-4 years.

Why do primary computer motherboards go bad so frequently?

The primary computer is responsible for collecting data (e.g., temperature data from thermistors) and controlling the temperature for the refrigerator and freezer compartments.

I have noticed that primary computers tend to fail when there are significant power fluctuations, such as during frequent power outages.

A telltale sign of computer failure is when the lights, temperature indicator LED panel, or fan sound are absent.

What to do?

To reduce the downtime caused by a failed computer or inverter board (and waste food), simply keep extra primary computer and inverter board on hand. You can spot some great deals when you don’t have to buy them at the last minute.

When my GE Profile refrigerator failed, I noticed the symptom right away so it was a breeze to get it back up and running again. It was certainly better to spend $120 on a new inverter unit than spending $3,000 on a replacement refrigerator!