July 20, 2015

How to replace ice maker optic boards in a side-by-side refrigerator

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace ice maker optic boards in a side-by-side refrigerator

This DIY repair guide gives detailed instructions for how to replace the pair of ice maker optic boards in a side-by-side refrigerator. The emitter optic board on the left wall of the freezer sends an infrared beam across the top of the ice bucket to the receiver optic board on the opposite wall. When the ice in the bucket piles high enough to block the infrared beam, the received board shuts off the ice maker. If the ice bucket is overflowing, check whether the receiver optic board is working correctly by lifting the flipper cover on the left side of the freezer to block the infrared beam; the red LED light on the receiving optic board should blink twice, pause and repeat. Close the flipper cover to allow the infrared beam to travel between the optic boards; the red LED light should stay lit without blinking. If the board fails this test, replace the boards with the manufacturer-approved replacement part.

Use this procedure for Kenmore, Whirlpool and KitchenAid side-by-side refrigerators.

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

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Disconnect the electrical power

    Safely store any 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 emitter optic board

    The emitter optic board is on the left wall of the freezer. Remove the 3 mounting screws and slightly pull out the emitter board. Using a slot screwdriver, release the locking tab on the wire harness and disconnect it from the emitter board.  Remove the screws that secure the emitter circuit board and pull it out.

    Remove the emitter board mounting screws.

    Remove the emitter board mounting screws.

    Pull the emitter board out.

    Pull the emitter board out.

    Release the wire harness locking tab.

    Release the wire harness locking tab.

    Disconnect the emitter board wire harness.

    Disconnect the emitter board wire harness.

  3. 03.

    Install the new emitter optic board

    Place the new emitter optic board in the housing and secure it with the mounting screws.

    Connect the wire harness to the new emitter board, making sure that the locking tab snaps into place.

    Position the emitter optics board in the opening in the freezer wall and line up the screw holes. Insert the mounting screws and tighten firmly.

    Warning: Before handling the new emitter optic board, touch the metal refrigerator cabinet or wear a grounding strap to prevent static from damaging the component.
  4. 04.

    Remove the receiver optic board

    The receiver optic board is on the right wall of the freezer. Remove the 3 mounting screws and slightly pull out the emitter board. Using a slot screwdriver, release the locking tab on the wire harness and disconnect the harness from the receiver board.

    Remove the screws that secure the emitter optic board to the housing. Pull the emitter board out of the housing.

    Remove the receiver board mounting screws.

    Remove the receiver board mounting screws.

    Pull the receiver board out slightly to access the wire harness connection.

    Pull the receiver board out slightly to access the wire harness connection.

    Release the wire harness locking tab.

    Release the wire harness locking tab.

    Disconnect the wire harness.

    Disconnect the wire harness.

  5. 05.

    Install the new receiver optic board

    Place the new receiver optic board in the housing and secure it with the mounting screws. Connect the wire harness to the new receiver board, making sure the locking tab snaps into place.

    Position the receiver optics board in the opening in the freezer wall and line up the screw holes. Insert the mounting screws and tighten them firmly.

    Warning: Before handling the new receiver optic board, touch the metal refrigerator cabinet or wear a grounding strap to prevent static from damaging the component.
  6. 06.

    Restore electrical power

    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
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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.

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July 20, 2015
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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.

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Time required
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