• Please note, some of the links on our site are affiliate links (Learn More)

Kitchenaid icemaker (stand alone) blows breaker

johninraleigh

Premium Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2008
Messages
5
Location
NC
I have a Kitchenaid icemaker, model KUIS18NNJSS manufactured in 2004. For the past several days, it has been blowing the GFI breaker on the circuit after about two minutes. I could use some help diagnosing the problem.

First some background. I ran the "clean" cycle with Nu Calgon for 45 minutes two days ago. Afterwards, I slid the maker out from the wall and cleaned under the icemaker. When I moved it back and set it to "on" it began making ice. About two hours later the breaker blew and I noticed water on the floor--a ruptured supply line. the leak had probably been going for a few hours, soaking the floor and the back/internals of the machine. I replaced the supply line, installing a Calgon filter at the same time. When I set the machine to on again it blew the breaker after about two minutes. When I run the clean cycle, it blows the breaker after about 25 seconds.

Having looked at the diagnostics chart, which says that at 21 seconds, the system turns on the recurculating pump, I suspect that may be the problem. Am I on track here? Does anyone have any suggestions for isolating/testing the pump? Does anyone have a picture of the pump? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

TechnicianBrian

Appliance Tech
Joined
Nov 16, 2007
Messages
349
Location
Portland, OR
It is possible the pump is your problem, but more likely one of the connectors under the unit got wet and has either arced to another wire, or is still damp and is shorting when power in running through the pump harness. You can try unplugging the pump (connector should be near the pump) and see if it lasts more than 25 seconds. If it has been a couple days or you are sure the unit is dry, you may need to start checking the wire bundles for possible damage. You can also do a continuity check on wires, but most likely you don't have a complete short, but just enough to trip the GFCI. I know it's not much help, but hopefully you have a place to start. <!-- -->
 
Last edited:

johninraleigh

Premium Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2008
Messages
5
Location
NC
Thanks Brian, I am going to let the machine dry out until this afternoon (it is already dry to the touch on all visible areas oncluding the cardboard cover on the back) and will then try to run it with the pump disconnected.

Hopefully that will work. I'll repost once I can declare victory or share more information.
 

johninraleigh

Premium Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2008
Messages
5
Location
NC
Well, I tried unplugging the pump and restarting the unit. On the clean/diagnostic cycle, the GFI breaker blew again. Certainly seems like it is not the recirculation pump, I pulled the panel off of the back of the machine (a heavy metal plate), then removed an access panel for wiring running from the base of the unit to the top. All of the connectors (only one behind the access panel) looked good. It doesn't appear that any water got on the wiring at the back of the unit, or on the wiring at the base area.

For a continuity test, I could pull every plug and check the connectors for faults to ground. Any other suggestions?
 

TechnicianBrian

Appliance Tech
Joined
Nov 16, 2007
Messages
349
Location
Portland, OR
Doing a continuity check on all the wires is about all you can do at this point. Have you tried plugging the unit into a non GFCI plug and see how it behaves? The GFCI can be sensitive so you may not find a dead short in your wiring. Also, have you gained access to the control panel or front access to look for gremlins? This is a sticky problem that may take some wire tracing with a meter so keep us informed of what you are finding and I will keep trying to help.
 

johninraleigh

Premium Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2008
Messages
5
Location
NC
Progress - machine works on non-GFI, still blows GFI

Sometimes the simplest answer is the best. I have plugged the unit into a non-GFI outlet and it is working perfectly. When I plug it back into the GFI breaker, the breaker blows.

My technique for continuity testing has been to unplug the various plugs and test each contact for continuity to ground. So far, I have had no luck identifying a short. The next step I would take (and I would love advice here) would be to probe individual wires for continuity to ground. There is also a residue (gritty/oily) on some of the metal surfaces inside the machine. I think this is related to the recent flush with Nu Calgon (phosphoric acid). Not sure if the reside is conductive, but that could be a potential problem spot. I haven't had a chance to clean it yet, but will.

Is continuity testing best done by probing each individual wire for ground or is there a better way to do it?
 

TechnicianBrian

Appliance Tech
Joined
Nov 16, 2007
Messages
349
Location
Portland, OR
Well if it works on the non-GFCI, you don't have a dead short to ground otherwise your circuit breaker would trip. You could probe each wire to ground to try and find which component is causing the GFCI to trip, but without a dead short, you will most likely not find anything out of the ordinary. GFCI's are very sensitive for a reason, but often they trip because they sense a short that really isn't a potential problem. The Nu Calgon residue could be a problem and should be cleaned as well as possible as it does have some conductive properties.

Sorry not much of a help here, but you are on the right path.
 

johninraleigh

Premium Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2008
Messages
5
Location
NC
Problem solved

My icemaker is now working properly and is not tripping the GFI breaker. On a hunch, I relocated the power cord and it stopped tripping the GFI.
There is a large metal plate on the back of the unit which appears to be a counterweight to stabilize the machine. It probably weighs 25 pounds and is screwed onto the sheetmetal back. I had used a wire tie to secure the power cord and the water line to the back of the machine. In so doing, the cord was in contact with the full length of the plate. I **think** the GFI breaker was sensing minor current flow (inductive?) from the power cord to the plate and was tripping. Relocating the cord so it was not touching the weight solved the problem.

Thanks for your help, Brian!
 
Top