Usual Story - Fridge Freezer Tripping RCD

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by ic31420, Nov 7, 2020.

  1. ic31420

    ic31420 New Member

    So. We have a relatively modern 3 and a bit year old Hotpoint Fridge Freezer. Wouldn't have been my first choice but ticked the boxes size and layout wise.

    During the first 12months the PCB failed and was replaced by a grumpy hotpoint man in van who spent 90% of the time telling me he didn't change many of these.

    All was well until yesterday. SWMBO arrived home to find the sockets all off and the RCD in a stripped condition.
    After a bit of problem solving she tracked it to the FF.

    Fault is thus.

    Power is restored and FF does its usual start up process of making some ticking noises. Not sure exactly what is happening, possibly fan running. Little else happens. About 90-120 seconds later when I'd perhaps expect the motor to run the rcd drops. Though I'm not certain the motor would normally run at this point as I have a suspension that switching it off and on would force a defrost heater cycle, so it may have been the defrost heater coming in.

    Interestingly if you try to immediately reset the rcd it drops again and will not stay in until you leave it 10-15 seconds.

    I've had the fridge out and with the fridge unplugged the rcd stays in, wiring and sockets checked.

    Now its defrosted have had it to bits, both the heaters are giving some resistance but I cant megga them. The evaporator heater shows 460ohms and the drip tray heater 1.6kohms. I can't find anything to earth but that's only with my multimeter.

    Which brings me to the motor prior to it failing it was running as quiet as ever. it's one of these

    I was hoping to find a failed smothing cap or something, but there doesn't seem to be one.

    So what to do.

    The house and wiring date from 2002, there is no history of nuisance trips.

    Part of me says replace the rcd with a 80a 100ma unit and see what happens. Ff are notorious for nuisance trips and some folks run an unprotected circuit for them and their noisy motors. But that seems a bit wrong and putting the cart before the horse. Replacing the rcd would probably be cheaper.

    Try and run the ff with the heaters disconnected to see if there are any hot faults, might have to build some dummy loads to fool the PCB.

    Replace the damned thing as replacing the motor/compressor at £180 plus labour and regassing doesn't make sense. But then again scrapping a 3yr old fridge doesn't either.

    Anyway my point of posting here...

    Could this be an Rcd fault? Do they get more "trippy" with age? It's getting on for 20yrs old (wylex) it seems to cope well with other big loads kicking in and out, cooker, toaster, kettle, dishwasher, washer etc and Ive trid runing a 2kw fan heater from the same outlet.
  2. ic31420

    ic31420 New Member

    I should add that changing the rcd to a 100ma model would be temporary measure not a proposal for a permanent solution.
  3. The Happy Builder

    The Happy Builder Screwfix Select

    RCD trips because it detects a fault, so you remove the RCD.

  4. jonathanc

    jonathanc Screwfix Select

    Replace the FF. hot point are a pile of ****
    sparky steve, unphased and Astramax like this.
  5. Bob Rathbone

    Bob Rathbone Screwfix Select

    I agree with jonathanc on this one, my Hotpoint upright freezer, 7 years old has just dropped the gas, compressor running all the time, freezer defrosting. Brought a Bosch to replace it. It will be a long time before Hotpoint see any of my custom. I also have a Hotpoint washing machine, that is over 20 years old, made during the time when Hotpoint collaborated with Bosch, that has never thrown a fault, getting a bit noisy now, but it is reliable. As for the fault and the issue in hand. My freezers are fed through a non RCD protected socket, I know this is not the 'done thing' but I don't want to find a silly minimal leakage or an iffy RCD has defrosted the freezer. Try changing the RCD or running the FF on a non protected outlet (a temporary socket and extension lead) it may work but I do think that the current issue is a vision of faults to come. When freezer compressors 'burn out' it is usually a short between run and start windings in the motor, not an earth fault.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
  6. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    Inspect fused spurs. Tighten all screws and are fuse seated. Any lose connection will cause trip. Are power sockets sat flat not bent as on uneven surface. My mate had socket that would random trip out power and it was on tiles and bent. Swapped for new and made packer and several years later not one trip.

    I'd also run extension lead and run fridge on different ring / fuse for a few days and see if it trips.. Is it definitely fridge?
  7. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    A non inverter fridge/freezer uses a lot of power to start, if there is a neutral to earth fault on anything on same RCD then the power surge on starting can take out the RCD when there is nothing wrong with the fridge/freezer.

    I would always try unplugging everything else, and also seeing if I could plug in to a supply from a different RCD. That is assuming I did not have my insulation tester to hand. @Wayners clearly has the same idea, however a warning don't run a non inverter fridge/freezer from an extension for an extended time. Again it is in-rush problem, any non inverter freezer has a limited time to start, the motor needs to be up to speed before the pressure builds up, if it fails there is an overload which will switch off motor and restart it once cooled, these unit do not like repeated use, which is likely if there is a volt drop, so every fridge/freezer I have seen says don't use an extension lead, this is because of the volt drop caused by both the lead and the extra fuse. Only really had a problem in Algiers with that, but clearly must be a problem hence warning do not use extension leads, but using one to test if trips a different RCD is not really a problem.

    I suspect it's not a neutral - earth fault, but worth checking, had it with a bit of damp toast in a toaster tripping the RCD when kettle is used, as anything high power is used the voltage between neutral and earth will increase, as voltage increases so with any current leakage between the two.

    An inverter fridge/freezer does not have the same inrush on start, so is unlikely to have same problem.
  8. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    It's done my head in on jobs with tripping rcd. I turned off power just for safety and couldn't turn power back on. Just tripped. Unplugged everything in house and still could not turn power back on. Posted about this here or other forum so not going over again. Turned out lose screw in fused spur and melted a bit. No short. No problem other than it been heating up with spark for months if not years and just happened to be me that finally go caught. Swapped melted fused spur and all good.
    Not the first time this kind of thing happened. Of course. He who touches it's owns it rules and I'm not a sparks. What do I know. I do end up fiddling trying to fault find though. Amazing that everyone what's to put new fuse in. Must be oversensitive they say. No. Its telling you something is wrong... Well that's what I think...
    Good post above @MGW
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
  9. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    It would be cheaper, quicker and easier to buy and install a new FF. It is pointless trying to outwit a faulty fridge. That is just barmy.
  10. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    What happens if fridge has no fault? I know someone that replaced bosch dishwasher for new one. Dragged old dishwasher outside for scrap man wrecking it. Paid £500 for new dishwasher.
    Turned out bread bin was against isolating switch causing dishwasher to stop start at random. There was no fault but only when new dishwasher was fitted and showing same symptoms and thank god sparks had a brain and worked out what problem was. Moved bread bin. Fixed. £500 plus sparks call out fee though
    sparky steve likes this.
  11. quasar9

    quasar9 Screwfix Select

    “Now its defrosted have had it to bits, both the heaters are giving some resistance but I cant megga them. The evaporator heater shows 460ohms and the drip tray heater 1.6kohms. I can't find anything to earth but that's only with my multimeter.”

    if it is the heater, testing them cold with a megger, may not show the issue. When they are hot, the metal tubing bends or twists a bit, enough to produce a leakage to earth.
  12. jonathanc

    jonathanc Screwfix Select

    It’s a hotpoint. So almost certainly faulty or going to burst into flames at some point.

    their washing machines are know for grumbling bearings, tumble dryers for catching alight and same for fridge freezers.
  13. Arthur Dent

    Arthur Dent Member

    Only one answer, go out and buy a Bosch or something similar.
  14. The Happy Builder

    The Happy Builder Screwfix Select

    We replaced a fridge freezer we had had for many years with a Zanussi, within weeks the plastic salad doors split and we were told they are excluded from the guarantee, but we could buy replacements from them.

    Years later they still have duct tape over the splits as I wasn’t going to replace them like for like, I should have a look to see if someone is making replacements other than the original manufacturer as they may be better quality.
  15. Banallsheds

    Banallsheds Well-Known Member

    The Consumer Rights Act is your friend. Goods are expected to last a reasonable time, generally 6 years in England, 5 is Scotland, never just weeks.

    If it was less than 6 months old (sounds like it) you could have rejected the whole thing.
  16. Banallsheds

    Banallsheds Well-Known Member

    If there ever was a reason not to have the unnecessary isolating switch you have found it.
    Wayners likes this.
  17. Coloumb

    Coloumb Screwfix Select

    This guy has me on ignore but for the benefit of everyone else there simply is NO 6 year timeout under the S of G act. It does not work like that. Here is a good example...
  18. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    This was interesting I thought regarding what to buy. Dual cooling is the way to go vs having just one cooler for both sections. Bit off question but just incase a new one is needed get a dual cooler.
  19. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    My friend had a compressor my multi meter showed no problem, but returned with insulation tester and showed short circuit.

    There really only one sure method and that is to use a meter to test it using either 230 volt or 500 volt, 9 volt is not enough to test something that runs on 230 volt.

    However swapping the RCD it is powered with can help, also using a large load in same socket like a kettle, we await results.
  20. ic31420

    ic31420 New Member

    So. Thanks for the ideas guys. Just to address a few of the comments.

    When fault fining it is important to consider a fault in the detection and protection hence my thoughts on changing the rcd and trying one with a higher fault tolerance. As alluded to by another poster would hate to buy a new ff and find the rcd was actually going faulty.

    I've checked the spur isolator and replaced the socket (why not I had it off and a replacement go hand). All tight and in good order. I've been running the kettle from the ff outlet all weekend with no trips.

    Unfortunately I don't have a non rcd protected circuit to try the ff on (other than lighting and smoke detectors)

    I don't think fault finding on a faulty fridge is barny, if say it was a faulty heater repaired at a cost of £30 then that is a whole lot less barmy than replacing the whole thing without at least looking into it. My dishwasher sprouted a leak last December which caused the pump to constantly run. Was fault finding on that and cutting an inch of a breather tube and adding a jubilee clip to repair that fault barny too?


    While browsing new *** I was comparing brand warranties and noticed Hotpoint have 10yr parts warranties.
    Turns out they come and fix it for £120 incl all parts or £180 for unlimited 12months call outs). If they cant fix it you get a portion (or all) of that back.
    They reckon that with it being so young it'll be repairable with parts availability the killer of older stuff.

    So while I'm not happy at having to drop £120 on it it's a better option than £500 on a new Bosch at the moment and extracts a bit more value from this ff.

    I'll see what they say when they arrive on weds and report back.

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