July 20, 2015

How to replace a dispenser core control board in a side-by-side refrigerator

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dispenser core control board in a side-by-side refrigerator

This DIY repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for replacing the dispenser core control board in a side-by-side refrigerator. The dispenser core control board is part of the fast-fill ice and cold water system; it connects to the dispenser motor, ice door motor and ice door heaters. The core control prevents water and ice from being dispensed if the freezer door is open. If ice and water are dispensed when the door is open, it's most likely that the core control board has failed. Replace the core control board using the manufacturer-approved replacement part that fits your model.

Use this procedure on Kenmore, Whirlpool and KitchenAid refrigerators. The basic procedure for disassembling a dispenser also works on some GE, Samsung, Maytag, Amana, Frigidaire, Electrolux and Haier refrigerators.

Quick links
Tools required
Phillips screwdriver
Slot screwdriver
Work gloves
Grounding strap (optional)
Repair difficulty
Time required
45 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
45 minutes or less

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Disconnect the electrical power

    Properly store food that could deteriorate while the refrigerator is shut off and then unplug the refrigerator or shut off the circuit breaker for the refrigerator.

  2. 02.

    Remove the drip tray from the dispenser

    Slide the bottom drip tray out until it stops at the locking tabs. Lift the back of the tray to free the lock. Slide the drip tray out. 

    Remove the drip tray.

    Remove the drip tray.

  3. 03.

    Remove the dispenser housing

    Remove the 2 screws at the back of the dispenser housing. To remove it, carefully pull on the bottom of the housing while lifting the top.

    Remove the dispenser housing base screws.

    Remove the dispenser housing base screws.

    Pull the dispenser housing out.

    Pull the dispenser housing out.

  4. 04.

    Disconnect the wires

    Release the locking tab and disconnect the wires from the back of the dispenser housing. Remove the dispenser housing.

    Turn the housing around to access the wiring connections.

    Turn the housing around to access the wiring connections.

    Disconnect dispenser housing wires.

    Disconnect dispenser housing wires.

  5. 05.

    Remove the core control board

    Lift the plastic flap that covers the control board and tape it out of the way. Take a digital photograph of the wiring connections or otherwise document them so you can connect them correctly later.

    Release the locking tabs and disconnect the wires from the core control board—use a slot screwdriver to release the locking tabs if necessary.

    Release the mounting tabs and pull the core control board from the door.

    Lift the plastic cover.

    Lift the plastic cover.

    Take a digital photo or the wiring connections.

    Take a digital photo or the wiring connections.

    Disconnect the wires.

    Disconnect the wires.

    Release the control board locking tabs.

    Release the control board locking tabs.

    Remove the control board.

    Remove the control board.

  6. 06.

    Install the new core control board

    Position the new core control board in the door and snap it into place.  Using your labels or digital photograph as a guide, correctly connect the wires to the new core control board. Reposition the plastic flap.

    Warning: Before handling the new core control board, touch the metal refrigerator cabinet or wear a grounding strap to prevent static from damaging the component.
  7. 07.

    Reconnect the wire harness on the back of the dispenser housing

    Reconnect the wire harness to the back of the dispenser housing. Push the dispenser housing into the door and secure it with the 2 mounting screws.

    Tip: If your model has a green ground wire, reconnect it.
  8. 08.

    Restore electrical power

    Push the drip tray into place and snap it into the locking tabs. Plug in the refrigerator or turn on the house circuit breaker to restore power.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all refrigerators

Choose a symptom to see related refrigerator repairs.

Main causes: leaky door gasket, defrost system failure, evaporator fan not running, dirty condenser coils, condenser fan not running
Main causes: blocked air vents, compressor problems, condenser or evaporator fan not working, control system failure, sensor problems
Main causes: jammed ice cubes, broken ice maker assembly, dirty water filter, kinked water line, bad water valve, freezer not cold enough
Main causes: water valve leaking, frozen or broken defrost drain tube, overflowing drain pan, cracked water system tubing, leaking door seal
Things to do: clean condenser coils, replace the water filter, clean the interior, adjust doors to prevent air leaks, clean the drain pan
Main causes: damaged door seal, faulty defrost sensor or bi-metal thermostat, broken defrost heater, bad defrost timer or control board
Main causes: control board or cold control failure, broken compressor start relay, compressor motor failure, defrost timer problems
Main causes: blocked vents, defrost system problems, evaporator fan failure, dirty condenser coils, bad sensors, condenser fan not working

Repair guides common to all refrigerators

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your refrigerator.

How to replace a refrigerator temperature control board

If the temperature in your refrigerator doesn't match the temperature you set, the problem could be the temperature control board—a service technician can give you a definite diagnosis. If the board is at fault, follow these steps to replace it yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to clean refrigerator condenser coils

Help your refrigerator run more efficiently by cleaning the condenser coils. It's easy and takes just a few minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a refrigerator water valve

Replace the water valve that feeds water to the ice maker and water dispenser if it no longer controls the flow of water.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all refrigerators

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your refrigerator.

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