Ultimate Fix-It-Yourself Manual: Large appliances--Refrigerators -- icemakers

An icemaker uses water tapped from a nearby pipe to provide a constant supply of ice cubes. The water flows through a tube to an inlet valve on the back of the refrigerator. When water is needed, the valve lets the water flow into an ice cube mold, where it freezes.

When a thermostat senses that the ice is cold enough, a heater melts the ice surface so ejector blades can push the cubes into a bin. The cycle repeats until a shutoff arm stops it when the bin is full.

Symptoms of malfunction include no ice or too much ice. Cubes with watery or hollow centers result from too little water; a layer of water or ice in the bin, from too much water. Each half-turn of the water supply screw changes the water flow by about 9 cubic centimeters (½ ounce); don’t make more than 1½ turns in either direction.

Gaining access:

To remove front cover of icemaker, unplug refrigerator and take off knob, if any. Insert a coin into slot in lower back edge of cover and turn coin to pry off cover.

To unmount ice-maker, unplug refrigerator and take out ice bin, shelves, and vertical partition. Remove top and bottom screws. Disconnect ice- maker wires from harness connector or socket; remove unit from freezer.

To reach water inlet valve, unplug refrigerator, pull it away from wall, and remove back access panel. Then take out screws holding inlet valve to refrigerator.

Servicing the water inlet valve:

This valve controls the water supply to the ice cube mold. Reduced supply may indicate a defective or clogged valve or filter. If you replace the valve, throw out the first few batches of ice. They may be discolored or have an off-taste.

1. Turn off water supply at saddle valve on pipe. Disconnect inlet valve from refrigerator; unscrew tubes from valve, draining excess water into a bowl. Unplug wires from valve.

2. Test valve solenoid. With VOM on RX1O, probe both terminals. Look for a reading between 200 and 500 ohms. If significantly higher or lower, replace the solenoid.

3. Take off plate. Remove filter screen from water inlet with needle-nose pliers or small screwdriver. Wash clogged screen with tooth brush under running water. Replace if rusted.

Modular controls:

An icemaker’s motor and switches may be in a module that must be replaced as a unit if any one part is bad. Holes in the module let you test the parts.

CAUTION: Unplug the refrigerator before testing the icemaker motor or heater. Don’t touch the jumper wire when testing the thermostat.

To use test holes in module, take off the ice- maker cover and insert VOM probes in the holes. The components to test are usually listed inside the cover. When testing, shutoff arm should be down and ejector blades should be in normal resting ( 2 o’clock) position.

To replace module, take out screws and pull off. Replace entire module. If heater tests faulty, unmount icemaker, unscrew housing from ice cube mold unit, and replace entire unit.

Test module motor with VOM on RX1. Insert probes in test holes Land M. Look for a reading indicating significant continuity. Test heater in holes L and H; look for reading near 72 ohms.

Test thermostat with freezer cold. Unplug refrigerator. Insert bare ends of an insulated wire in holes land H. Without touching wire, plug in refrigerator. If motor runs, replace thermostat.

To replace thermostat, unplug refrigerator and unmount module and housing (above). Slip thermostat out of housing. Replace thermostat, using special metallic putty where it touches mold.

Separate controls:

---Thermostat; On-off switch

In a non-modular icemaker, the motor, switches, and thermostat can all be tested and replaced separately. To reach them, unplug the refrigerator. Then take off the front cover of the ice- maker and the mounting plate under it. There are usually three switches: The on-off switch is activated by the shutoff arm. The holding switch keeps power flowing to the ejector blades during the ice release phase. The water inlet valve switch controls the flow of water from the inlet valve. When replacing the thermostat, use the recommended heat- transferring metallic putty j it and the ice mold.

To test on-off or holding switch, unmount it and take off leads. With VOM on RX1, probe COM terminal and other two terminals in turn. Look for zero reading on one terminal, infinity on the other. Push button in; test again. Look for reverse readings.

To test thermostat, unmount it, disconnect its leads, and let it warm to room temperature. With VOM on RX1, probe both leads. Look for infinity reading. Place thermostat in a working freezer, and test again. Look for zero reading.

To test water inlet valve switch, unmount it and take off leads. With VOM on RX1, probe both terminals. Look for zero reading with button out, infinity when you push button in.

To test motor, trace and disconnect motor leads. With VOM on RX10, probe both leads. Look for a reading indicating significant continuity. Replace if infinity or zero.

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