I'm happy to report that my gasket repair continues to be a success after more than four months. The evaporator is not freezing up. The defrost cycles remain about 25-45 minutes roughly twice a day. When I check for error messages, there are none.
I'm quite convinced that raising the front wheels is NOT a universal fix.
My analysis stays the same: Wires were routed wrong at manufacture and they crushed the evaporator cover gasket. This resulted in air circulation in the evaporator fan system and the ultimate icing up of the evaporator, fan interference noise, etc.
One forum member asked how bad wire routing could take (in my case) 18 months to cause evaporator icing and a failure. I don't know the answer for sure. Perhaps the evaporator cover gasket lost its elasticity over time and many thousands of heating/cooling cycles while trying to conform to the very uneven contours of the wires. I suspect that the air circulation got worse over time as leaks around the wires and gasket increased. As more and more ice built up due to poor circulation, it was only a matter of time before the problem showed itself.
All I know is that my gasket repair experiment has been successful for four months. I'm disappointed that Samsung does not recognize this as a problem.
(See my detailed posts on page 3 and 23 of this lengthy discussion.)
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Look at IMG_0009.JPG and IMG_0010.JPG in the original post. These images clearly show wires extending into the area of the evaporator cover seal. As I found out, a damaged cover gasket leads to disrupted fan air flow, ice buildup and even a defrost timeout. What follows is my full story, previously posted in its own thread but removed after a month or so. I have posted a partial account on page 3 of this thread. Here is the rest of my story. It is long but has good photos and power use graphs.
Several weeks ago, I posted a much more detailed account of the issue with more photos, graphs, explanation, etc., in a new thread. Unfortunately, the thread and the post were deleted.. So, I'll recreate the message here. My fix has been in use since 4/12/19 and so far no problems. Defrost cycles seem to have normal spacing and duration and there have been no error codes. I think the original problem showed up because of a manufacturing process control failure (bad wire position crushing gasket) and Samsung should accept responsibility.
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Model RF26J7500SR/AA Evaporator Cover Seal Is Critical to prevent freeze-up
Various models may have different, even multiple causes and different solutions to deal with evaporator freeze-up and fan noise.
Here's my information and experience
S/N: <hidden serial number>(Parts supplier says this is the 4 th revision of the model)
Problems began 9/29/17 (loud fan noise, back of fridge compartment)
Problem solved 4/12/19 (Replaced crushed gasket section, right side of evaporator cover near the defrost sensor location.)
There are some good videos that show you how to open up the evaporator compartment in the back of the main fridge section. I have done this several times while trying various recommended solutions that didn't work.
For now, I'll get directly to the point. A week ago, I had removed the evaporator cover again. I noticed a problem on the back of the evaporator cover near the defrost sensor location. The gasket on the evaporator cover had been crushed.
I found some .05 mm thick foam sheet in my packing supplies. I rolled the sheet material into a compact sausage to match the dimensions of the remaining intact gasket. I loosely taped the rolled foam to the evaporator cover in the gap and reinstalled the cover. The fix was a success. I may not know for months if it’s a good long term fix. But in the short term, it's a resounding success.
How do I know it was a success without the use of extra test equipment? There's a control panel pad push sequence that can reveal any error codes. Here's how to do it:
Briefly press Fridge. That lights up the display
Press and hold simultaneously Freezer and Fridgefor 9 seconds
While you are holding, the entire display will flash all elements a couple times, then go dark.
If everything is okay, you'll hear two tones descending.
If all is NOT okay, you'll see one or more error codes.
If you see -25E, then you have a defrost problem.
This is a really BIG problem! Once there has been a -25E code, the refrigerator section defrost WILL NOT RUN AGAIN until you unplug the power and plug it back in again! The freezer defrost will continue to work. Ultimately, with no defrost happening in the fridge section, ice builds up in the evaporator area and the dreaded fan buzz starts up.
Anyway, after fixing the gasket, the -25E error code has not returned.
Below are photos of what I found and what I did. After the photos are my thoughts about what went wrong and how the problems started.
First time the evaporator was opened following loud fan noise and several hours of defrosting, 9/29/17
Gasket Crushed- Bad Cable Lead
Patched gasket section Wires repositioned to not interfere with gasket
What went wrong?
The first photo shows what I found the first time I opened the evaporator compartment on 9/29/16. What drew my attention at the time was the hard ice buildup even after I had turned off the fridge for several hours. I missed an important detail at the time. The defrost sensor and heater wires had been positioned in the path of the gasket sealing an air distribution channel. This gasket is supposed to keep air from leaking to and from the inner part of the evaporator compartment.
The foam seal was designed to mate with a flat surface, not conform to an uneven surface such as wires running under it and even crossing it. You can see from the photo of the gasket that it did not recover from getting crushed.
The seal must have worked somewhat because the refrigerator took 18 months to fail. Unfortunately, I did not know how to read error codes before the evaporator cover came off the first time and changes were made. Over many months, perhaps the defroster wasn't running long enough and ice built up gradually. Perhaps moist air was leaking into the evaporator compartment depositing more frost and increasing the defroster load beyond what it was capable of managing.
Failure that started with a leaking seal
My theory is that with warming and cooling cycles, expansion and contraction, the seal got worse over time to the point that the defroster had to run until it timed out, and registered a -25E error. That would shut off the defroster entirely, so it was only a matter of time that frost built up on the evaporator and interfered with the fan.
What determines the length of a defrost session?
The defrost sensor is a thermistor. Resistance increases as the thermistor gets colder, and resistance decreases as it gets warmer. The refrigerator control circuits monitor the thermistor while a defrost cycle is running and when the temperature is "warm enough", it recognizes success and turns off the defrost heater. In some units, that cutoff temperature is 63ºF. If the heater circuit is bad, the thermistor is bad, or control circuits or wiring are bad, then the defroster doesn't work normally.
Look at the photos. The defrost sensor is close to the problem sealing gasket. The sensor was designed to measure the temperature with the fan off, the heating coil on, and the chamber sealed from drafts. If the seal was bad, that could lead to so much ice build up that the defroster couldn't handle it. Or, air moving from outside the chamber might prevent the air near the sensor from warming up adequately to reach the defrost shutoff temperature.
What triggers the -25E defrost error?
It is simple. If the evaporator chamber doesn't warm up to 63º F within 90 minutes, the defrost system times out. How do I know that timeout occurs at 90 minutes? Advanced test equipment!
Power use graph shows dramatic change after gasket was repaired
I have the ability to monitor refrigerator power use moment-by-moment and see a graph of the results over time via a web-based interface. That made it very easy to show the before-and-after when I made changes. As soon as I realized that the crushed gasket and the position of wiring had caused the damage, I rerouted the wires away from the gasket and improvised a gasket repair. The graphs mostly speak for themselves. The refrigerator compartment defrost wire uses a steady 108± watts. The freezer defrost often starts a cycle, showing a spike to about 480 watts (108 watts of that for fridge). I think the refrigerator defrost starts at the same time as the freezer. Sometimes the refrigerator has its own defrost cycle without another freezer cycle. The flat profile at 108 watts is easily recognized as is the long plateau if the defroster times out.
In early January, a well-respected independent appliance repair person made several adjustments to the fridge for me. I had previously adjusted it to lift the front wheels off the floor. The tech checked the drain tubes and added a probe carrying heat to the drain opening under the evaporator assuring it wouldn't freeze. The defrost sensor was moved to the refrigerant outlet tube, a standard recommendation. By late March, the fan noise returned.
New Defrost Sensor and first graph
In early April 2019, I installed a new defrost sensor in the preferred location on the refrigerant outlet tube. At that time I set up the power use monitoring. As shown in the first graph below, the defrost ran for 90 minutes and timed out. Clearly the defrost circuit was working because it was drawing the expected amount of power.
Defrost timeout after new sensor installed
After this failure, I wondered if the sensor needed to be closer to the defrost heat source and back to the factory location. Then I noticed the crushed gasket on the evaporator cover panel. I repositioned the defrost sensor wire and the defrost coil away from the path of the gasket and improvised the gasket repair. Below is the graphed result showing no more defroster timeouts. After 9 hours to cool the fridge to a steady state, there was one long 56 minute defrost cycle. Ever since then, defrosts have ranged 30-45 minutes a few times a day. See below the graph for more discussion.
Power and defrost after gasket repair
Was it necessary to replace the defrost sensor?Probably not. I tested the resistance of the old thermistor at about 65º and in ice water at about 32º. The observed resistances were correct within my measurement error.
Was the gasket leak the original source of the ice buildup and fan noise?
That is impossible to prove since I did not have power use data from the time before I opened the evaporator chamber the first time. I also did not know how to test for error codes. I cannot be completely sure that the path of the electrical leads wasn't disturbed when I removed the cover, resulting in the gasket getting crushed after I reinstalled the cover. My theory is that the gasket got crushed during assembly at the factory, but in such a way that it created only a small problem causing ice accumulation over 18 months.
Will the gasket repair remain successful over time? Indeed, time will tell. I can watch for changes in the length of defrost cycles over time, and I have the ability to review literally years worth of power use to spot when trouble returns.
My disappointment Why did it have to be so hard to get useful information. Why did Samsung not tell me how I could check the error codes? Why did they not tell me how to initiate a defrost cycle? I know how to do that now.
Why did the official repair company for the Seattle region not give me any useful information without insisting on an $80 service fee for a just a phone call? Why does Samsung claim that raising the front of the fridge is the complete solution to the ice buildup problem?
How to force a refrigerator defrost
Briefly press any button to light the display
Press and Hold simultaneously “Freezer & Lighting” for about 8 seconds
until the screen goes blank and you hear a beep. Release the buttons.
Now press the Freezer button repeatedly until “rD” (refrigerator Defrost) appears.
You'll hear continuous beeping when in this mode.
When the rD defrost is active, the power use graph shows at about 108 watts. When the defrost is working normally, the load drops to near zero after about a half hour or so, indicating that the defrost has finished.
The beeping continues even after the defrost has finished. You can rid yourself of that annoyance by cycling off the power on the fridge.
Or you can go through the key press sequence starting again with Freezer and lighting buttons. When the screen goes dark, press the Freezer button to cycle through the defrost options until the choice shows blank. That turns off the forced defrost as well as the beeping noise.
The gasket problem seems like the critical one for my fridge. Condensate (water) draining could be the most important for some fridges. I suspect that moving the defrost sensor may help some people, but I'm guessing that strategy is really just compensating for another problem like a bad evaporator cover seal. Whatever works…. WORKS!
For now, I'm delighted to check the power use graph daily. The defrost cycles may vary a bit due to our usage and ambient temperature changes, but the defrost times are remarkably consistent, thank goodness! I wish I had camera to peek inside to check on ice buildup while the cover is on. Such fiber-optic cameras are available for the iPhone!
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Further explanation for graph of power use, etc.
Following the gasket repair, a typical day of power use looks like this. The two spikes on the left and right are combined freezer and fridge defrost cycles, each about 33 minutes. The flattened peak at 3:51 pm is a refrigerator only defrost cycle, also about 33 minutes. Defrost cycles vary between about 25 and 55 minutes with around 35 minutes most common. My kitchen is usually about 65 degree F and does not get opened many times in a typical day.
With the gasket section crushed, the fridge compartment defrost ran for 90 minutes and then time out with a -25E error code. After that, there were NO MORE DEFROST attempts and ice built up from then on. The only way I know to clear that error so defrosting can happen again is to unplug the fridge. But that just leads to another 90 minute effort and timeout!
Question: Does anyone else have power use history measurements? How long and frequent are defrost cycles in healthy refrigerators supposed to be?
Q2: Has anyone else observed misplaced wires and crushed evaporator cover gaskets?
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I used 0.5 mm foam sheeting for wrapping around stuff to be shipped. It is quite squishy. I rolled it into a fairly tight sausage a bit larger than the intact gasket, then taped it loosely in place over the crushed gasket.
It has lots more information and analysis, power use data, error code stuff, and more!
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Below is power use and defrost cycles under normal operation.
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A REAL SOLUTION A REAL SOLUTION A REAL SOLUTION A REAL SOLUTION!
This a followup and I have a solution for the defrost timeout problemI posted a few days ago! The root cause is a manufacturing defect that I photographed the first time I took the evaporator chamber cover off the fridge on 9/29/17. Here are the specifics of my fridge which was purchased 3/30/16 Model #RF26J7500SR/AA S/N: <HIDDEN> )
I realized that the defrost sensor and the defrost power wires passed along and across the gasket that is supposed to keep air from passing where it shouldn't. This crushed the gasket and made it less effective. Apparently there was enough movement, perhaps from changing temperatures, that the air leaked more and more.
Once I realized the problem, I fashioned a section of foam-type material to fill in where the gasket had been crushed at manufacture. The results were dramatic! Now the defrost cycle runs anywhere from about 30 minutes to just under an hour. There are no more error messages either.
I have photographs to show what happened as well as samples of the power graphs. I have no doubt that Samsung was at fault and that it would be proper for Samsung to do the honorable thing and repair units like mine free of charge
Gasket Crushing Cable Lead
Gasket Crushed- Bad Cable Lead
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There is something very flawed with my Samsung french door fridge. I have been using an automatic power graphing monitor to track what is happening.
Back when my troubles began, it all started with the fan noise. That was from a large buildup of ice in the evaporator compartment that eventually grew into the path of the fan blades.
Why does this happen? The refrigerator ices up because the defrost system times out. The defrost system depends upon the defrost sensor to tell when the evaporator chamber has warmed up sufficiently, thus indicating that any ice has melted. Once the temperature threshold is reached, the defrost cycle ends.. If it does not detect a warm enough temperature after 1.5 hours, the defrost times out and will NEVER RUN AGAIN until you shut off the power to the fridge. That resets the error.
How do I know the defrost timed out? First, I can see from the power use graph a drop from 108 watts to near zero, followed by the compressor resuming and power use spiking back up. To verify, if I hold down the Fridge and Freezer touchpad buttons simultaneously for about 8 seconds (until all of the entries on the display light up and flash), then it flashes "25E" for a minute or so. That is the defrost error indicator. As far as I know, the only way to clear that is to remove power from the fridge. Then it can defrost until the next timeout.
Are my wheels off the floor? Yes
Is the defrost working? Yes, my monitor shows 108 watts being used during defrost. That is correct within measurement error. Furthermore, when I open the cover to expose the evaporator compartment, it is free of ice. And the gutter at the bottom has no collected water. The drain is working fine.
Is the sensor bad? I doubt it because I just installed a new one.
Is there anyone who can give me technical support? As far as I can tell, that sort of thing doesn't fit Samsung's belief system.
What is wrong? The last time I cycled through the Samsung "support" system, I was given a trouble ticket number and referred to the only official Samsung repair location in Seattle. They told me I could not talk with a technician over the phone unless I paid something like $80 for a service call. This is to talk with a technician!!!
I am very reluctant to spend money on a service call on a refrigerator that's had so many reports of refrigerator defrost problems. I am simply not convinced that the repair folks can fix this fridge.
Back at the beginning of the thread, there was a claim that all you need to do is tilt the fridge back. Bogus!
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I'm very frustrated with this refrigerator. Raising the front doesn't stop the problem. Customer support is unhelpful. I may try one of the remedy hacks such as moving the sensor. I don't have a lot of hope doing that. I'm really not keen on spending $500+ for a repair unless I get a guarantee that the repair will work for a year or more. The local service center refuses to let me talk with a person who knows the technical issues without spending nearly $100 up front. I think this is HORRIBLE customer service!
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I have raised the legs jamming a flat blade screwdriver into one of the vertical slots in the round rubber foot pads. That doesn's work very well, but does get the rollers lifted off the floor. I have thought about prying on the refrigerator frame, to take the weight off the round foot pad/legs. That might work. Next time, I will try putting a wide set of channel lock pliers around the round pad and twisting it that way.
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