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- > Do-It-Yourself Appliance Repair Help > The Kitchen Appliance Repair Forum > Is there an easy way to bypass the electronic ice sensor on a Kenmore Elite IDI?

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Is there an easy way to bypass the electronic ice sensor on a Kenmore Elite IDI?  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2006 05:50 am
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mangusta1969
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First, let me congratulate you on having an excellent site and providing clear and witty answers to what is likely to be very repetitive questions in many cases.

Anyway, I have the following, not quite 2 year old, Kenmore Elite SxS Refrig/Freezer that has stopped making ice:

Model Number: 106.54606300 Bought in Spring 2004
Serial Number: SR0852165

Before I found an on-line manual for the Whirlpool version of the in door ice dispenser and east-west mounted ice maker, I performed the following diagnostic tests, removing and disassembling the modular ice maker and its internal components as required:

Thermostat OK cold (1.1 ohm) and OK warm (infinite resistance)
Heater OK LH pins measured 69 ohms
LM pins measurement (drive motor removed) 4004 ohms

When reassembled, the unit will not initiate a cycle when pins T and H are jumpered. The ice maker does not move from its rest position (ejector at about 2 oclock, as viewed from the motor end) and no water enters the ice maker tray.

I should mention that the in door water dispenser works just fine and will fill a glass in about 10 seconds, so I don't think there are any low pressure or clogged filter problems going on.

The local Sears Service Center did not have any tech manual for sale for this new model (very impressive!). Once I found an on line manual for the Whirlpool equivalent of this device, I could easily determine that the electronic transmitter/receiver pair for the ice level sensor was not passing its diagnostic tests.

When the freezer door is opened after a long or short rest, the right side LED blinks twice, goes off, blinks twice repetitively. Closing the left side tab has no effect on the blinking sequence (I believe closing the left side tab should cause the LED to go on steady. The same LED pattern occurs after turning the AC power off and back on.

Based on my limited knowledge and troubleshooting so far, it seems that the electronic ice level sensor is the real culprit. MY REAL QUESTION in this long post: Is there a way to manually bypass this ice level sensor by jumpering some of the wires in the right side receiver unit?

I recognize that jumpering the electronic sensor board/connector could lead to too much ice production, but I would like to verify that the remaining 2 year old components actually work in this design before I invest in two electronic circuit boards for my SxS unit.

Any suggestions/tips would be appreciated. Meanwhile, I am just using ice trays in my $2300 Kenmore SxS, just like I used to use in my twelve year old $2000 Amana counter depth SxS after I tired of trying to fix its even weaker design internal ice maker.

Does any US manufacturer produce an internal/through door ice maker and dispenser that will operate successfully for more than 2-3 years? This should not be rocket science...

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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2006 06:50 am
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bigger hammer



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if you pop off the grill/kickplate there should be 2 folded pieces of paper

one is schematic/wiring diagrams and the other should be diagnostics for ice maker and "blinking patterns" for the optics. theres should be something reffering to manually starting a harvest cycle. part of the optics test also invlove holding freezer door switch closed

very common for these to have failed optics (both boards come in a kit)

another common failure for these is a frozen feed tube to the icemaker. because the water supply runs through the ceiling of the freezer theres a chance the water in it has frozen. the "upgrade when you order a new feed tube is a low wattage heater wire that wraps around the water feed tube



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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2006 07:25 am
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mangusta1969
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Hammer,

Thanks for the quick and informative response.

Sure enough, the two pieces of paper were there in the kick plate, as you indicated. Unfortunately, the diagnostics paper says the same thing that the on-line Whirlpool manual told me: faulty electronics boards for the ice level sensor, based on the continued blinking pattern that I am seeing when I go through the test steps.

From the schematic, it appears that removing the receiver board and placing a jumper across the Black (appears to carry 110 Volts) and Black/White wires might have the effect of bypassing the ice level sensor.

Does anyone have experience with this bypass trick before I fry something on this hardly used Elite SxS? I suspect the icemaker had only made the equivalent of about 40-50 trays of ice before it crapped out.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2006 07:39 am
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bigger hammer



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havent heard of doing that before and usually small boards like that are microvolt so they wouldnt have more than 24volts. although the wiring diagram may prove me wrong.   

but if you have verified the optics are toast why not change them out? the kit is about 80$....i know its ridiculus for such a young fridge but that little chinese kid making 5 dollars a week did his best



 

 

 

 



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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2006 07:42 am
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bigger hammer



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i also forgot....

look for your user manual

the traditional warranty is 1yr bumper to bumper but there may be extended warranty on certain parts 2yrs on electronics, 5 yrs on sealed system/compressor

sometimes its on parts only and sometimes its parts and lbr



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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2006 01:49 pm
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Samurai Appliance Repair Man
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Parts link for the optics boards:

http://www.repairclinic.com/referral.asp?R=154&N=921526



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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2006 05:31 pm
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Pegi
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Remove the board, jump black to black/white to by pass the board and run the ice maker direct..



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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2006 06:57 pm
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mangusta1969
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Thanks for the replies and extra information. BTW, the Repairclinic's prices for these two boards are less than 1/2 what the Sears ServiceCenter wants for these boards.

I didn't measure the voltages on the receiver board connectors, but since the icemaker heater, drive motor, and water inlet valve all operate on 120 volts AC, and there is no power relay in my schematic, it is likely that this is also the voltage level that is present on the receiver board's input connector.

I would still like to know if connecting the black and black/white wires together at the receiver board's connector would have the same effect as telling the icemaker that the ice level was low and that ice should be produced.

Edit: Oops, Thanks, Pegi. Apparently, I was preparing my response while you had already answered my questions. What a great forum, with extremely knowledgeable and helpful experts on it!

Last edited on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 07:01 pm by mangusta1969

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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2006 07:08 pm
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Pegi
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Remember the door switch has to be closed also for the ice maker to harvest the cubes, otherwise they would dump on the floor if the door was open...;)



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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2006 07:55 pm
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mangusta1969
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Thanks for the tip, but my LED diagnostic error persists with the door switch in the closed position. The icemaker also will not initiate anything when I perform the T/H jumper trick, even when the door switch is closed and I have waited out the 50 minute cycle time.

I actually found the on-line Whirlpool IDI manual from one of your previous posts, so thanks on that, too. I was following their test steps for the 2002 and later mfg date for the electronic sensor. The little Chinaman or Malaysian who assembled my boards in 2004 must have used some bad capacitors or something...

To help give back to the forum, I will let you all know what about the required repair procedures and parts needed.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2006 08:00 pm
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When you jumper the black and black/white wires you are bypassing the K1 relay on

the board you must also make sure you make a continuous connection or the ice

maker will stop the harvest cycle.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 14th, 2006 08:22 pm
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mangusta1969
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Doh!

When I finally pulled out my owner's manual on this Kenmore, I noticed that my wife had previously purchased the 5 year extended warranty ($269.99) from Sears at the time that we bought the reefer. So I called Sears for a service visit.

A VERY knowledgeable and friendly tech appeared right on time this morning. He had the emitter and receiver boards with him and immediately diagnosed the most likely problem as a bad set of boards. He did say that sometimes the diagnostic light patterns fail to work on good boards. The failure mode he has seen is no light at all but the boards were still functioning to control the ice level in the door.

Anyway, he replaced the boards in about 5 minutes and all is well. I guess my complete diagnostic disassembly/reassembly of the icemaker (prior to finding this very useful forum and the manual for my modular icemaker system design) earlier was also successful, as it is still making ice.

Parts for this service call would have been $108 and the labor would have been $157, so I am only $15 behind the game at this point and still have three years to run on my extended warranty from Sears.

The repair tech said that replacing the electronic temperature control at the top of the refrigerator compartment would run well over $300 in parts alone. He also said the earlier electronic boards for the ice level sensor were failure-prone, but that in the last 2 years he hasn't seen too many failures with these Whirlpool-built components.

Thanks for the awesome and very accurate help from this forum! I will probably need it in the future for my front loader, electronic-laden Whirlpool washer and dryer units.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 14th, 2006 08:23 pm
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I love a happy ending <sniff-sniff>



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 Posted: Fri Apr 14th, 2006 08:45 pm
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kdog
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nowadays,those are few and far between when sears is involved,guess they still have some real technicians somewhere.



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 Posted: Fri Apr 14th, 2006 09:57 pm
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mangusta1969
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If you are in the Reno/Tahoe/Carson City/Minden/No. Nevada area, tell the Sears Repair guys that you will be happy to wait for service until they can send Jeff out on your service call.

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