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FIXED Whirlpool WSF26C3EXF01 Side-by-Side Won't Stop Making Ice After Door Wire Damage & Repair

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oblivioncth

Guest
Model Number
WSF26C3EXF01
Brand
Whirlpool
Age
1-5 years
Hello,

Currently, no matter what is changed the ice maker on our WSF26C3EXF01 will not stop producing ice. This occurred after troubles with several ice related components started and damage to wiring was found and repaired. Here is the progression of things:

Originally, everything operated as normal expect that the ice dispenser motor would frequently not spin when trying to obtain ice. Because of this a relative ended up replacing the dispenser motor but this did not fix the problem. Soon after, ice production itself became intermittent and it was eventually discovered that moving around a pack of wires contained within a protective mesh running from the freezer body to freezer door would affect these functions, so it was assumed that there was a poor connection at some point in the line. The same relative reported once or twice seeing a faint orange light that was characteristic of arcing and even was slightly zapped while trying to move the mesh around. This is where I unfortunately believe several shorts may have occurred due to arcing between not just one end of the same wire and another, but between several different wires and ultimately may have created the issue with the ice maker we are currently having as noted in the post title.

After this clear evidence that there was an issue with the wiring under this mesh the power to the unit was killed and I proceeded to carefully cut the mesh open and tear back the fabric like wrap that was also shielding the wires. I quickly discovered that three of the six wires contained in this run under the mesh had all been completely severed about 1-2 inches away from where they go up into the freezer door. It was quite strange, there were no signs of fraying or uneven breaks, it looked like someone purposely cut them with a blade as the separations were clean, but I was positive I had not done so accidentally as I was quite careful when removing the mesh since I knew wiring was beneath. Regardless, it was clear that there is more strain on these wires than there should be when opening the door and that these broken connections were clearly causing the symptoms noted above.

The wires found in this conduit were green/yellow, grey/orange, black/white, blue, tan, and white. Other than having ever so slight surface burns from the arcing I mentioned previously blue, tan, and white all appeared fine so I left them alone for the time being, preferring only to touch them if evidence in the future made it clear they also have weak connections. green/yellow, grey/orange, and black/white on the other hand were the ones that had been completely severed.

I believe these correspond to the following connections on what I think is the schematic that applies to this unit:

schem.png


Given the tight working conditions (only an inch or so of each wire available under the freezer door from the one side of the break) and the clear stress these wires are put under I wanted to make sure the best repair possible was made on the first attempt; so, I cut back the wires slightly from where they had separated, stripped them, soldered them back-together cleanly with similar gauge wire and a bit of extra slack compared to before, and then sealed them with 2 layers of heatshrink (one tube per wire and then one larger tube over the ends of all 3). Finally, I wrapped those and the untouched wires in electrical tape as a stand-in for the now cut away mesh lining and used some zip ties to try and keep the bundle together like it was while in the mesh:

BOTH.jpg


After this repair everything at the time seemed perfect as the ice maker and dispenser motor both worked consistently; however, eventually we realized that at this point everything in the unit works 100% fine except that the ice maker now never stops making ice.

Here is what I know so far:
  • Both and optic receiver and emitter for the ice shutoff detector are receiving 14 VDC (if these were broken I'd expect no ice but figured I'd check to be safe)
  • The red LED on the optic receiver does light up red when it sees the emitter
  • Running diagnostic 15 for Ice Bin Status shows BIN_FULL_OR_NOT_PRESENT when the cover is switched to "Off" over the receiver and BIN_NOT_FULL_AND_PRESENT when there is line of sight between the emitter and receiver, so in software at least the Stealth board knows the ice maker should be stopped so it seems to be a signaling/connection issue of some sort
  • If you follow the blue wire up on that schematic it goes to the ice dispenser motor which works so it must be fine
  • If you follow the tan and white wires up on that schematic they go to the ice maker. I have no idea exactly how the ice maker works, but if it is designed so that by default it constantly produces ice while powered and doesn't stop until it sees a signal go high (instead of a signal going low, so a normally open switch) I could see the white or tan wires potentially causing the problem if their connections under the shielding are very weak and one of them is the signal line to kill the ice maker while it has power. tan has a thermal fuse so if anything I'd assume it would be white if this was the case
  • Someone on reddit noted that they had seen shorts between these wires cause the relay that kills the ice maker get fused into the closed position. Not sure if this is true, but it would explain why the software knows the ice maker is off but it continues to run (i.e. if the low voltage signal to the relay goes low (or high, whichever is supposed to turn it off since it could be designed either way) when the bin is full but the relay doesn't change. I'm not even sure if there is a relay on this particular unit, this is just what they mentioned
I was going to start futzing around with checking voltages across the lines going to the ice maker but it seemed like I was going to break the connector at first, so I was going to try and find a video of how to correctly remove the plug just to be safe. Also, I was considering just cutting out a section of the white and tan wires and rewiring them since it wouldn't hurt and may fix the issue if their connections are loose inside the shielding and they are involved in shutting the ice maker off (again I haven't found anything yet that hints at the purpose of those connections, only this schematic uploaded to another repair forum that notes the wire colors).

Before I proceeded with either though, I figured I'd stop and get the opinion of someone much more experienced with these appliances than I since they may have a much more guided intuition with all of this information.

Thanks for your time.
 
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oblivioncth

Guest
Sorry for the delay, suddenly had a lot on my plate.

The potential between J1-3 and J1-4 (black/white and brown on the Receiver Board) is a rock solid 13.9V regardless of whether or not the beam is blocked. It was a bit of a pain to get access to the contacts while the boards were plugged in and to hold them so the phototransistor on the Receiver board got enough light, but I confirmed this several times by checking the voltage when the debug LED on the Receiver was on and off; like I said, it was 13.9V either way.

From what you stated this sounds like the Receiver board is potentially faulty, but this has me confused a bit. According to the service guide that I'm pretty sure is for this fridge (I've attached it below), J1-4 is a constant 14V output to the Emitter for its power (J1-3 on Emitter) and J1-1 on the Emitter is just the ground return path. Not sure what blue is for but it looks like it may be some kind of PWM to keep the IR lamp on the receiver at a brightness lower than its maximum @ 14V. Given that J1-1 and J1-3 on the Receiver are power/GND respectively, it looks like the only way that the receiver has to communicate to the stealth board that the ice bin is full is through J1-2 (tan/black) which fittingly is marked as "Data" in the service manual. I'm inclined to believe this since I briefly sniffed the line with my O-scope and the UI board is able to correctly tell whether or not the beam is broken during diagnostic 15 as stated in the OP.

It seems like the correct signal is making it to the Stealth board, but then either their or somewhere on the main Minotaur board the correct action is not being taken to kill the ice maker. Again, I'm not sure if its power is just supposed to be removed or if another one of the lines going to the ice maker is supposed to become energized when it is to stop running. The ice maker is correctly getting 120VAC across the Green/Yellow (Neutral) and Black/White (Hot) wires. Tan and White on the other hand read 0V at the time I checked them. Tan seems to be related to the water valve for filling the ice maker which obviously works since it produces Ice, and white is connected to the "Ice Maker Neutral Switch". Not sure what the later does unless it stops the ice maker while energized that I just mentioned. I also made sure these two other wires had continuity with the GND/PWR to make sure that damage to those wires under the door was not the issue.

Can you confirm the mechanism through which the Minotaur board is supposed to switch the ice maker off? Does it just cut the power? Or does it close the neutral switch? Is it neither?

If you truly do believe there is something wrong with the IR Emitter/Receiver boards please do elaborate. I have no problem replacing either if we are quite certain they are the issue but want to make absolutely sure since they are stupidly expensive. I'm not sure if there was a revision at some point between models that caused these boards to be utilized differently, but from what I can see on the service manual, from the diagnostics, and from visual inspection of the boards themselves, I believe they are both working correctly and that the issue is the stealth board or main board not responding correctly to the Data line output from the receiver board.

Either way, if there is a fused relay or other component broken preventing the ice maker from turning off correctly, I'm seriously just considering throwing together my own simple IR emitter/detector with a relay that controls the ice maker directly. With some patience I could easily have a PCB fabricated with the same screw hole and IR diode/phototransistor positions so they will fit perfectly in place of the existing ones for a small fraction of the cost of either board new. Additionally, since it would control the ice maker directly it wouldn't matter if there was an issue with the "ice maker kill circuit" on the main board. I just need to know how exactly the ice maker is supposed to be shut off in a working unit, whether it is simply the removal of the 120VAC on the Black/White line or the presense of 120VAC on the white "neutral switch line. So honestly I'm a bit more curious about that than fixing this issue directly unless you are fairly certain you know what the issue is and the fix is something relatively cheap, like replacing a relay on the mainboard (i.e. if we determined that the Main board needed to be replaced I'd much rather go this route). Restoring the ice maker to its correct function in the manner the unit was designed to work is obviously ideal, it's just that from the looks of things I'm somewhat confident that the problem lies on one of two of those main boards (Stealth/Minotaur).
 

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rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
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Messages
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Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
OK, let me make sure this is the right tech sheet and I'll look it over. sb
 
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oblivioncth

Guest
Thanks for the committed assistance, really appreciate it.

Additional note: I'm dumb, spending too much time in DC land where 0 is "Ground". Also, I couldn't make sense of an abbreviation on that sheet, probably because it was nearly 5AM when I posted that lol.

Woke up this 'morning' and realized a few things:
  • On Ice Maker (and probably everywhere else) Green/Yellow is earth ground while white is AC neutral (duh).
  • Since White is neutral and it is what is connected to the "Ice Maker Neutral Switch" (again, durp) it seems like this is how the ice maker is turned on and off, though I'm not sure what has control over that switch as it isn't shown in the tech sheet.
  • The last "unknown wire", Tan, connects to the Minotaur board and "IM SOL" which I now realize stands for "Ice Maker Solenoid", and you can see right next to it the Water Dispenser Solenoid (not sure if this is for user water or the ice maker water valve). I can only guess this is what causes the ice maker motor to dump?
Given that the timing of when all of these things should occur (water added to ice maker, ice maker turning on, and then eventually the motor running to dump the ice) seems to be handled by the Minotaur board I think this unfortunately does suggest that there is damage to that board in terms of it correctly seeing and responding to the Stealth board sensing that the bin is full. Since the ice maker has water added and dumps with correct timing I don't think the solenoids are stuck energized or anything like that, and even if they were that wouldn't explain why water is added to the ice maker in regular intervals since the mechanism that deposits water isn't actually part of the ice maker unit itself.

This also made me realize a flaw with my alternative solution... while I could easily directly control the ice maker itself by killing power to it, that wouldn't stop the water inlet from filling the ice maker and I'd eventually just end up with a bunch of water overflowing into the ice bin. I'd also have to find out mechanism controls that and kill its power too when the bin is full, and probably have the Tan wire behind the same relay as well if it is what cause the dumper motor to run so that it also can't be powered when my circuit detects the ice maker is full. It would be a pain, but not terrible. The lower page on the tech sheet (that is upside-down for some reason) is the only thing that shows "Water Valve" and it seems that it is also powered by the Tan wire. I could see this making sense, as the ice maker does fill just after it dumps so as long as I made sure to also disconnect the Tan wire I'd be fine. Issue is that I'd need to cut into the cable before it separates to the ice maker and water valve so that it disconnects both and I believe that occurs within the freezer door lining since the water valve isn't exposed and there's only the one tan wire going to the Ice maker that I can currently see. I've never liked trying to open refrigerator/freezer doors like that since it mucks up the insulation and they never seem to shut back up cleanly. I could tap it from the run under the door that is definitely before the split but that would be really ugly.

The family is mostly in the camp of just getting a new fridge since the previous owners of our house beat this one up a bit cosmetically, but I just really hate the idea of buying a whole new fridge because the ice maker is malfunctioning (believe it or not there is a surprising debate behind the necessity of ice, at least in my circles, and I personally never use Ice so I'd be fine just disconnecting the darn thing, go figure). So regardless it isn't a massive deal if we can't crack this one. I just was hoping to make sure I did everything I could before having it replaced so I had no regrets.

In terms of the tech sheet being the correct one: I found it as an attachment on another forum in a thread about my exact unit (same model I mean) and everything seems to line up so I'm fairly certain it is the right one. I will note there are two oddities however: Under "VOLTAGE TEST POINTS EMITTER" there seems to be a typo for the wire coloring as it just reuses the same colors just above for the receiver board, brown & black/white when it should be yellow & brown. Second, the connections to the ice maker on the lower page show 4 wires with the colors black/white, white, tan, and white/brown, which are the same as the top except that the third wire is now white instead of green/yellow (which is the actual color on my ice maker). I think this is the case because the white wire at the ice maker connects to the ice maker neutral switch and does change from white to white/brown further down the line, so I think the wire in the lower picture labeled white actually matches the green/yellow wire in the top picture and the white/brown wire matches the white wire in the top picture. Though the lower picture shows the white wire connecting to the same line as the white/brown wire, just after neutral switch which isn't the case in the top image (though tying neutral to earth ground itself isn't weird). Not sure why there are these inconsistencies unless the lower page is from a different sheet and they were combined for some reason, which would explain why the page is upside-down.

In summary, since diagnostic 15 correctly reports the state of the IR beam I'd assume the receiver/emitter and Stealth board are not the issue, and since all of the mechanisms that go into producing ice work fine (water fill, dumping, etc.) and the ice maker is still running at the correct intervals (i.e. the motor isn't constantly running, nor is the water valve) I think the solenoids that trigger these things are fine. This would only leave a failure with the communication between the Stealth board and Minotaur board or the circuitry on the Minotaur board that is supposed to halt the "timing loop" that runs the whole ice making routine. The Stealth board could be the issue if it is a data communication problem (J2-5 from the stealth board to P4-3 on the Minotaur board, tan/black wire) and the damage/fault is on the Stealth board side. Annoying, since both of those pieces are like 300 bucks and I can't be exactly sure which one is the issue, at least at the moment.

Sorry if my responses are a little long winded and a touch rambling, I just want to make sure you have as much information as I can provide and that we are on the same page.

Waiting on your thoughts. Thanks again.
 
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rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
36,468
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
Try not to overthink it. Run the service test for the optics and check the results.
 
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oblivioncth

Guest
Try not to overthink it. Run the service test for the optics and check the results.
That is what I meant by diagnostic 15.

From the OP:
Running diagnostic 15 for Ice Bin Status shows BIN_FULL_OR_NOT_PRESENT when the cover is switched to "Off" over the receiver and BIN_NOT_FULL_AND_PRESENT when there is line of sight between the emitter and receiver, so in software at least the Stealth board knows the ice maker should be stopped so it seems to be a signaling/connection issue of some sort
According to this test the optics are working correctly.
 
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oblivioncth

Guest
New Optics boards installed, It has been going strong and working as intended for a bit under two weeks now.

post edited in layman's terms
 
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