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No cooling either compartment, compressor and all fans sound normal

Sudden complete loss of cooling both compartments, despite that (multi-speed inverter) compressor, consenser, and both evaporator cooling fans run and sound normal continuously. Test modes produce no error codes on control panel nor inverter control board (solid compressor L.E.D., no blink codes). Condenser never gets warm and neither evaporator ever gets cold. Wondering if leak caused total loss of refrigerant, but then wouldn't compressor sound unusual, not run, or run only for short intervals? Or could refrigerant flow be restricted somewhere (perhaps at the 3-way stepper-motor diverter valve) without causing compressor to sound or act abnormally? Or is this just the way these compressors (Samsung MKV190C-L2B E01) fail? I'm puzzled, and would appreciate any knowledgeable help in diagnosing my problem. Want to know for myself what's most likely wrong before I call a technician. I have control system background, but in electro-mechanical systems vs. refrigeration. Thanks!

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Samsung’s are notorious for bad inverter boards. Is the compressor hot? I usually pull the inverter board out and look on both side for signs of overheating or burnt areas. When you pull it off, look at the area it is up against. It might even looked burnt examine the main board too Unplug the refrigerator before removing the boards The inverter has 300V or more in some places

If it was a leak, you would see signs of oil. Look around all the refrigerant lines, confessor coils and evaporator. Ther is a refrigerant line that runs under the condenser coils. This line sits in the water from defrost. I’ve seen it erode and leak. The pannwill have oil in it. If you don’t see any oil, the only thing left is to tap the system to check the pressures. That will determine if there’s a restriction, a leak or if the compressor failed. That three way valve is a pain

with it plugged in, tough the compressor with the tip of a screwdriver. Is it vibrating.? Is it warm, hot or extremely hot?

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Compressor is NOT hot, just barely warm (85°F) even after running continuously for hours at high speed and "normal" sound. Inverter board is fine. I might junk this 2011 model because I don't want to invest much in what a local parts house says is often troublesome and parts are getting scarce and sometimes take weeks for them to get for local technicians. But for my own understanding, I'm trying to determine if it's possible that the compressor could be fine and sound "normal" even with either low refrigerant or obstructed flow, or if there's more likely no other problem besides a bad compressor that sounds OK but just doesn't pump? Anyone familiar with the reliability and "history" of the Samsung multi-speed inverter compressors? Can they suddenly just go bad but continue to run and sound normal?

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JPB, the difference in the two compressors that you might notice is the variable voltage. The compressor receives up to 300v plus. At start up it should have at lest 200v (depending on model). You’ll hear it running faster or slower depending on if the voltage is stepped up or down. I usually feel the compress for heat and vibration. If it’s hot to touch and condenser is cool/room temp then compressor it’s not pumping properly. A proper diagnosis at this point needs to be done by checking the pressures on both side of compressor. A certified refrigeration technician must do these test. If the side pressure is in a vacuum, add a little gas and see if the pressure rises and stays there. If it rises and falls back down it immediately it usually isn’t a leak. Probably a restriction. You need to be sure the compressor is getting the correct voltage. There should be a chart on the back of the refrigerator with test point and voltages. I’d check the voltage before checking the pressures.

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Ok, thank you, I'll check the voltages tomorrow, but suspect they're ok . Note that this compressor runs at 3 speeds, and will at each of the 3 if set to do that via Test Mode (FF1 = high, FF2 = medium, FF3=low). If in normal operation mode, it sounds like it's at high speed forever, presumably to try to cool things down, even though that's not happening. When it runs, it hums and vibrates gently and only gets warm to touch, under 90°F, and that's about as warm as the condenser gets as well. The two evaporators only cool slightly below room temp (about 70°F), to no cooler than 64°F, all as measured by my laser spot digital temp gun. So I'm unsure if compressor just isn't pumping effectively, there's too little refrigerant, or there's an obstruction.

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Ok, thank you, I'll check the voltages tomorrow, but suspect they're ok . Note that this compressor runs at 3 speeds, and will at each of the 3 if set to do that via Test Mode (FF1 = high, FF2 = medium, FF3=low). If in normal operation mode, it sounds like it's at high speed forever, presumably to try to cool things down, even though that's not happening. When it runs, it hums and vibrates gently and only gets warm to touch, under 90°F, and that's about as warm as the condenser gets as well. The two evaporators only cool slightly below room temp (about 70°F), to no cooler than 64°F, all as measured by my laser spot digital temp gun. So I'm unsure if compressor just isn't pumping effectively, there's too little refrigerant, or there's an obstruction. FYI - I have no refrigeration training, but used to manage installations of material handling and sortation control systems, so I'm electro-mechanical savvy.

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The voltage is very important. The tests for ff1, ff2 and ff3 should say what the voltage should be for each one. I just replaced an inverter board Friday. I was really sure it was a bad compressor until I checked the voltage to it. Voltage doesn’t lie. I only had 42v but It sure sounded like 110v. LoL I laugh cause I had a boss that would have asked me “and what exactly does 110v sound like?” I’d reply “Ummm....Yea it sounds like a ummm. “. He’d say, “check the voltage so you know for sure!” Good man he was!

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Compressor

The compressor is a pump which compresses the refrigerant and circulates the refrigerant through the evaporator and condenser coils. If the compressor is not working, the refrigerator won’t cool. However, this is rarely the case. Before replacing the compressor, first check all of the more commonly defective parts. If you have determined that all of the other components are working properly, check the compressor. Use a multimeter to test the continuity between the electrical pins on the side of the compressor. If there is an open circuit, the compressor is likely defective. If the compressor is defective, it must be replaced by a licensed technician.

https://www.repairclinic.com/PartDetail/...

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Note that I've already determined that all the fans, sensors, and switches work as expected, and that the compressor runs continuously at full speed (it has 3, under inverter board control), but no cooling occurs at the evaporators, and no warmth is emitted by the condenser. My experience with traditional AC compressors is that if bad or low on refrigerant, they won't run at all, run cutting on and off, make strange noises, and/or generate excessive heat. But this is a newer design multi-speed inverter compressor, and I'm wondering whether or not they bahave the same as the old type, or whether they run on and sound normal even if there's low refrigerant or restricted flow. Mine runs forever and sounds normal, but doesn't do anything useful to produce cooling, so I'm trying to determine if that's the way it fails (so mine is bad), or that it just better "tolerates" and seems to run and sound normally despite refrigerant leaks, flow obstructions, etc. that would typically create havoc with old design compressors?

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@ladytech Can you help here?

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I had to continue comment cuz I talk too much and only allowed 1000 words. LoL

If you don’t have the proper voltage at the compressor, the Comp won’t run properly. Either one of the boards could be bad and not providing the comp with enough voltage.

I hope this helps. You sound like your knowledgeable on refrigerators. These linear compressors tend to overwhelm techs. Don’t let it. Think of it as a variable fan. It pumps like the others. The results are the same.

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Thx! No signs of oil. Altho the compressor DOES audibly run at 3 different speeds, can't tell if they're correct. Tested 3 windings in compressor motor, and they're neither shorted nor too much different resistance (all 8.6-8.7 ohms, spec is "about 10"). Tried to check voltages, but can't find values online nor on stickers incl wiring diagrams on refrigerator. Noted 0vAC when compressor stopped and constantly fluctuating voltages on my digital meter when running at any speed. Noted that power input terminal (wired from main board) on inverter board has sold 120vAC when compressor is STOPPED, but this reading ALSO changes to unreadable fluctuating values whenever compressor is RUNNING, REGARDLESS OF SPEED, just like the power feed to compressor motor does. I'm confused - is this normal, or does it mean inverter board might be bad even tho it always gets compressor running, and produces no error codes nor LED blinks? Sure wish I had an oscilloscope to see what's really going on with power!

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It sure sounds like the compressor is bad. If the LED isn’t flashing and continually on, then the board is sending correct voltage to the compressor. The only test left is to check the high and low side pressure on the compressor. Only a EPA certified hvac/refrigeration tech can do that.

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We know that all the components are working, the fans fun when compressor is running. There are no blinking led on inverter and the compressor is running, but it’s not cooling. Bad compressor. Diagnostics doesn’t test the compressor on this model, it only test the voltage to compressor, if the voltage is good you’ll have a steady led. So the board is providing the voltage needed

This model has confused me several times before. The way Samsung lists the LED diagnosis with a solid led to be “compress normal” I understand it to mean the compressor is good. But what they really mean is everything else is good and the compressor has the voltage needed, so it should be running. It is running, but it’s not pumping the refrigerant. Failed compressor

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