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Dishwasher throws blocked drain code only after adding rinse agent

jeclose

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
15
Location
New York
Model Number
GSD2800L03
Brand
GE
Age
More than 10 years
This has baffled me for years, and I still don't have a resolution to the problem. First of all, this dishwasher is about 24 years old, so please yell at me;) and then we'll move on.

The dishwasher will throw the C2 blocked drain code after I have re-filled the rinse agent dispenser - this happens all the time. I have done all the usual recommended "fixes" such as checking the hoses, the check valve, cleaning the filter screen, etc, and none of these resolve the problem. Something about the rinse agent is causing this to happen. It usually resolves after I have attempted cycling the dishwasher numerous times - almost as if I need to "burn off" whatever is causing the problem. The dishwasher has a technician error guide on the inside of the door (supposedly for technicians only), which suggests, among other things, replacing the "drain sensor switch", but I don't see such a thing listed as a part for this model.

I've carefully observed the dishwasher drain solenoid while running, and it seems to be operating properly. The control board was replaced back in January 2010, so it's fairly new. I'm at a loss as to what is causing this - but the key to a solution is the rinse agent - it only happens after I add rinse agent. Any ideas or clues? I need new eyes and neurons on this problem.

A very cold beer to whoever can solve this!
 

jeff1

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 10, 2004
Messages
24,712
Location
Ontario, Canada
Hi,

The dishwasher will throw the C2 blocked drain code after I have re-filled the rinse agent dispenser - this happens all the time.
Spill any? Bubbles or sudz created from the rinse aid could be hampering the draining....or the spray arm turning.

which suggests, among other things, replacing the "drain sensor switch", but I don't see such a thing listed as a part for this model.
That was often a micro-switch that was activated by the drain solenoid.

jeff.
 

jeclose

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
15
Location
New York
The rinse agent dispenser always seems to sort of spill out somewhat after it's been filled, but how exactly would that hamper the draining?

The "micro-switch" you refer to: is that the switch with the metal arm that gets pushed down by the solenoid when it activates?
 

jeff1

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
24,712
Location
Ontario, Canada
The "micro-switch" you refer to: is that the switch with the metal arm that gets pushed down by the solenoid when it activates?
Yupper, that would be it.

The rinse agent dispenser always seems to sort of spill out somewhat after it's been filled, but how exactly would that hamper the draining?
Bubbles or sudz created from the rinse aid
Bubbles are little pockets of air. D/w will drain a liquid, but not air.

jeff.
 

jeclose

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
15
Location
New York
So the question is:

- Is the "flood switch" (what you refer to as a micro-switch) the problem, and why would it be a problem only when the rinse agent is added and the dishwasher started?

or,

the "air" theory - perhaps more plausible if in fact the rinse agent is creating unpumpable "air". I do note that when I open the door of the dishwasher after this has happened, there are a lot of frothy bubbles and foam inside - perhaps that is a clue.

Any further ideas, thoughts, or theories?
 

jeff1

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
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Messages
24,712
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So far *I* think the switch is likely ok or the error would occur at other times.

I do note that when I open the door of the dishwasher after this has happened, there are a lot of frothy bubbles and foam inside
Sounds like our trouble maker.

jeff.
 

jeclose

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
15
Location
New York
Jeff,

I would agree. The next question would be, "Is there a fix?" One possibility is that the rinse agent dispenser is malfunctioning - dumping all the rinse agent in at once, causing the excessive foaming/bubbling. I'm thinking that (following your line of thought) that this causes cavitation in the drain pump - where the pump can't "grab" anything but air. The rinse agent dispenser is entirely mechanical. Inside the door, there's a little arm that comes off the rinse agent dispenser that gets kicked by the soap dispenser arm which opens on a timer. However, if that isn't working right (and I don't know how to tell if it is or isn't), then maybe it's dumping too much rinse agent in at once. I do know that when I fill the dispenser, a lot of it seems to drip and drool into the dishwasher right away; not sure if that's normal.

I'm still trying to get this thing to complete a cycle; it usually will do so after cycling several times after going into the blocked drain mode. I'm thinking that if I keep this going, I should perhaps go with a detergent (such as Quantum) which has the rinse agent embedded in the soap itself.

Any ideas?
 

jeff1

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
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Messages
24,712
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I'm thinking that if I keep this going, I should perhaps go with a detergent (such as Quantum) which has the rinse agent embedded in the soap itself.
Might be the best idea....flush out any rinse aid from the dispenser, don't use any liquid and use a soap with rinse aid added in.

jeff.
 

jeclose

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
15
Location
New York
That might be it, barring some other explanation. Still throwing the C2 drain blocked code.
 

jeclose

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
15
Location
New York
Just one final question: So do you think the "cavitation" theory holds water (so to speak)? That the foam created by the rinse agent fools the sensors into thinking that there is a blocked drain because it can't pump air?
 
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