Refrigerator Troubleshooting Diagram

Refrigerator Current Relay

with 4 comments

This can best be described as a magnetic switch. It comprises a small solenoid coil around a sleeve and an iron core. Inside the sleeve is a plunger to which the switch contact bridge is attached; the contacts are normally open.

When the coil is energized, a strong magnetic field of force is created because the current will be high during the starting phase. The magnetic force will move the plunger upwards and bridge the switch contacts, completing the circuit to the start winding. The run winding is wired through the relay so that it is always in circuit. Figure 34 shows a typical motor and control arrangement for a current relay, and Figure 35 shows the completed relay circuit.

Current relay arrangement

Current relay arrangement

A high starting current is drawn when the compressor motor starts. The current reduces as the motor gathers speed; the magnetic field through the relay then becomes weaker so that it can no longer hold the contact bridge on to the switch contacts. The plunger then drops down by gravity to open the circuit to the start winding.

Current relay circuit

Current relay circuit

It is not uncommon for a start capacitor (see later) to be fitted when a current relay is employed. This is wired in series with the start winding (Figure 36).

Start capacitor in circuit

Start capacitor in circuit


Written by sam

November 10th, 2009 at 9:52 pm

4 Responses to 'Refrigerator Current Relay'

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  1. I want to create a circuit, so my refridgerator and hot water heater are never running at the same time. When the refrigerator switches on, I want it to switch a relay to interrupt the flow to my hot water heater. When the refrigerator is done with its cycle and switches off, the relay controlling the water heater is closed and power to it restored.

    I thought I could do this by simply replacing the relay with a two position relay, but apparently this is not a simple relay circuit, but one that simply controls power to the starting coil to get the motor going, which switches off due to gravity once the motor has gained speed. I don’t understand what switches off power to the motor though because in these diagrams power is always going to the running coil.

    Where would I put my detection circuit.. into the running coil circuit, and is there a simple straightforward way to do this… to insert a second relay that would switch power to the hot water heater on and off depending on whether the refrigerator motor was running.

    This also doesn’t seem optimal, because apparently the refrigerator has a defrost circuit that could be running with the motor not running. What is the best way to detect that the refrigerator is drawing a load / power, and trigger a relay based on that to switch some other 120v AC plug device (a water heater) off.

    Mark Starr

    2 Jan 11 at 6:10 am

  2. Using a current sensor you could do this with any device and not have to modify anything. It would be as simple as a shunt on the ac input plug on the hot side and tap off that shunt to a transistor to drive a relay connected to the hot water heater. the voltage off the shunt taps would need a diode, cap, and resistors to get the triger voltage correct to the base of the transistor. But remember the taps would have 120 volts ac to ground EARTH so it is something to be careful with.

    Mike Morris

    3 Feb 11 at 12:39 am

  3. Can this circuit work without capacitor?

    Palitha Rupasinghe

    12 Jan 17 at 11:16 pm

  4. What is the name for the terminal in the current relay diagram?

    Mark Sanders

    15 Mar 18 at 5:40 pm

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