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Whirlpool Refrigerator WRX988SIBM01 Ice Maker Very Slow (E5)

Salingway

Premium Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florida
Model Number
WRX988SIBM01
Brand
Whirlpool
Age
6-10 years
Hi all,

I've been trying to fix my ice maker for the past few months, and haven't had much luck. I'm hoping that the experts here can shed some light on the problem. First, a brief history: a little over a year ago my ice maker stopped working, and simply replacing the ice maker fixed the issue (it was getting E5 but service test 58 was reporting 03 = Short). Everything was great for awhile and then the freezer was making some serious grinding noises, which turned out to be the evaporator fan (the fan was rubbing against a big block of ice that had formed on the coils in the freezer). Replacing the fan and letting the coils thaw out fixed the issue. Now, about two months ago we started running into ice maker issues again. I once again got E5 with 03 = Short, so I replaced the ice maker. However, this didn't fix the issue. I was now getting E5 but all other tests seemed to be passing normally. It was recommended elsewhere that I try replacing the main control board, so I went ahead and did that. Oddly enough, for a period of a week or two, the ice maker seemed to be working fine, but then is stopped working again, initially with no error codes, but now it has once again settled back to E5.

At this point, I have E5 code, but all other tests seem to work fine. Test 57 can successfully complete a harvest. Test 59 reports no errors, either. Test 45 will successfully fill the tray with water. Test 15 shows the bin isn't full. Test 36 shows the fan is in working order. The unit dispenses water properly. It makes ice fine if I manually control the process, but because it is in E5, it is only producing 1-3 trays of ice a day. I've unscientifically tested the ice making process and the ice seems to be forming quite quickly.

After reviewing other similar posts, most notably these two:
It seems like at this point the most likely culprit may be a cooling issue. However, we haven't noticed any issues with the cooling (not like we did when the evaporator fan had previously started failing). Additionally, I've been testing the temperature in the freezer, and it seems to hover between 5-10 deg. Perhaps this is an early indication of some cooling issue? Where would you recommend I go from here?

Thanks!
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
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Messages
43,245
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
the most likely culprit may be a cooling issue. ........ it seems to hover between 5-10 deg.
E5-The error code indicates the ice maker Thermistor is warmer than 16 degrees and the Ice bin Thermistor has been BELOW 45 degrees for 3 hours. An E5 can be the result of a defective Thermistor, loose Thermistor circuit connection or a cooling issue in the unit. Enter Test 58 to check Thermistor.

The optimum ice maker temp is 0° . Make sure the ice maker fan is working. What's the temp of the ice box, not the freezer.

WRX988.jpg
 

Salingway

Premium Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florida
Hi Rick,

I just stuck a thermometer up into the ice box (i.e., up by the ice maker) and it was hovering right at 15-16 degrees. I also ran Test 58 and it reported 01 = Temp cooler than harvest temp. There is currently ice frozen in the ice maker that hasn't been harvested yet.

Hope that helps.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
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Messages
43,245
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Murray, Utah 84107, United States
hovering right at 15-16 degrees
So what it boils down to is this; Everything is working correctly because it makes 1-3 trays a day, but it's too slow. The E5 error is saying the ice maker thermistor is warmer than 16° and you're saying the thermometer says it's 16°. That could be in the thermometer accuracy so that sounds about right, thermistor too warm.

Theory of Operation:
When the unit begins cooling, the fan in the ice box draws air from the freezer. When the Thermistor on the ice maker senses a temperature of 16 degrees the ice maker will begin to cycle. The ice ejector fingers will move around until a switch inside the ice maker head closes. When the switch closes a signal is sent to the high voltage board; the board then supplies voltage to the fill valve and the ice maker fills with water. NOTE: At the same time as the ice maker is filling with water, the fill tube heater will be energized for 45 minutes to prevent the fill tube from freezing. After fill, the ice maker will go into “Hibernation” for 45 minutes. During this time, no power is supplied to the ice maker motor. After the 45 minutes hibernation period has expired, the board will monitor the ice maker Thermistor circuit and corresponding temperature. If the temperature is below the 16 degree mark the ice maker will harvest and start the process over again.

Make sure the ice maker fan is working.
Yes? No?
 

Salingway

Premium Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florida
Yes, I believe the ice maker fan is working properly. Under normal running conditions I can feel a consistent movement of cold air coming out the front of the ice box. Additionally, if I run Test 36, I can hear the fan speed up and then I can feel a lot of cold air blowing out the front of the ice box. Let me know if you think any additional testing would be helpful.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
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if I run Test 36, I can hear the fan speed up
Hmm..... The ice box fan is a 14 VDC single speed fan. I think you hear it turn on. On the main control board check for 14 VDC across P9-2 to P9-3
Oddly enough, for a period of a week or two, the ice maker seemed to be working fine,
Sounds like your new board might be bad. If you replaced the board and everything worked properly for any amount of time would indicate the board was the problem. Then it slowed down to 1-3 trays per day because there's a cooling issue in the ice box. Ice maker works, ice box fan works (in service mode) so that just leaves the board. Where did you get the board? Was it new?
 

Salingway

Premium Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florida
I think you hear it turn on.
You must be right. I assumed that the ice box fan was two speed (low/high). Important point is that it definitely kicks on in service mode. :)

Where did you get the board? Was it new?
I ordered the board from AppliancePartsPros.com (part number W10807590). I certainly thought it was new. Fortunately, it is still under warrantee, so if you think it could be the control board, I should be able to get a replacement.
 

rickgburton

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Did you check the voltage for the fan? APP is a good company to work with. You shouldn't have any problems exchanging it.
 

Salingway

Premium Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florida
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance last night to check the voltage. However, I should have time tonight. Just to confirm, I pulled out my old control board and took the following picture:

2021-05-27 06.32.35.jpg


So, am I correct that, with the refrigerator running, I'm going to unplug the wires plugged into P9 (identified above), and then measure the voltage across the second and third pins? Seems straightforward enough, I just want to make sure I'm measuring the correct thing (and that I'm not going to do something stupid ;)).

Thanks!
 

rickgburton

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Leave the connector connected and go in through the back of the connector. If your meter leads are too big do this:
safety pin 500x250.jpg
 

Salingway

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Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florida
So, I think I may have really caused a problem...first things first, the voltage across the two pins was hovering around 9.3-9.4 VDC, NOT 14 VDC.

The bad news is that while I was pulling out the makeshift leads (with the safety pins), I happened to touch them together and I think I may have shorted something out. Now, when I try to start up the refrigerator, the compressor struggles for a minute and doesn't kick on. The rest of the electronics seems okay (I hear the startup cycle of the main control board, etc.), but the compressor just seems like it isn't getting the correct power. Just to check, I tried re-installing in the original control board and I'm seeing the same behavior. Did I just kill my fridge? :cry:
 

Salingway

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May 25, 2021
Messages
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Location
Florida
Okay, so I left the fridge unplugged for about 10 minutes and just tried turning it back on and it seems to have started up the compressor now. Jeez, that was scary. 😨
 

Salingway

Premium Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florida
So, I wanted to give a quick update having given it the weekend to stabilize. As is typical with these sorts of things, the refrigerator has been making ice all weekend :rolleyes:. To recap, after I thought I fried the fridge last Thursday, I replaced the "new" control board that I had installed with the original control board. Around the middle of the day on Friday I started seeing ice production again, and ever since it seems like it has been reliably churning out ice.

I'm honestly at a complete loss. Without question, this original board was NOT making ice before I first replaced it, and I haven't done anything else to the fridge (except nearly frying it, of course). Any ideas with what might have caused the change in behavior?

I'm assuming that at some point this is going to stop making ice again; after all, the "new" board also made ice for several days after being initially installed before slowing down and reverting back to timed ice making. If that does happen, is it an indication that both control boards are faulty? Thanks!
 

Salingway

Premium Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florida
So, after several weeks of glorious, uninterrupted ice production, I noticed last night that our ice bin was getting low. Checking service test 56, sure enough, the fridge had reported E5 (timed ice making). I reset the error code by unplugging the fridge, but I expect that it will quickly return to the error state. @rickgburton, where do you think I go from here? Do you think it is worth replacing the control board again (since it is still obviously under warrantee), or do you think there might be a different diagnosis at this point?
 

Jake

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Rick, does it sound like he has a cooling problem?

E5-The error code indicates the ice maker Thermistor is warmer than 16 degrees.

Take the temperature in the ice maker compartment and see what it reads, also do you hear the ice maker fan running?

Jake
 

Salingway

Premium Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florida
I just measured the temperature in both the freezer and at the front door of the ice maker compartment (i.e., where the ice comes out into the ice bin) and I measured the following temps:

Freezer: 6-7 deg
Ice Maker Compartment: 15-16 deg

Please note that I'm using one of these to measure the temperature: amazon.com/gp/product/B005KDEFNK, so it probably is isn't the most precise measurement.

I just tried running service test 36 (Ice Box Fan) and could hear the fan kick on and could feel a definite increase in cold air coming out the front of the ice box. Also, I just checked service test 56 again, and once again it is reporting E5.
 
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