July 20, 2015

How to replace the electronic control board inside a top-freezer refrigerator

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the electronic control board inside a top-freezer refrigerator

This DIY repair guide gives instructions for replacing the electronic control board inside a top-freezer refrigerator. The control board is located inside the control box at the top of the refrigerator section.

When the electronic control board senses the temperature in the refrigerator rising, it sends voltage to the compressor and fans to begin the cooling cycle. The control board also controls the defrost cycle, based on temperatures inside the refrigerator and freezer sections. If the electronic control board fails, the compressor won't run and the freezer won't defrost. Because problems with parts other than the electronic control board can cause the same symptoms, a local refrigerator repair expert should test the electronic control board. If the control board isn't working, replace it with the manufacturer-approved replacement part that fits your refrigerator model.

This repair procedure shows how to replace the electronic control board in some Kenmore and Frigidaire top-freezer refrigerators. You can use the same basic procedure to replace the electronic control board in some Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Amana, GE and Haier refrigerators.

Use our repair guide/video How to replace the electronic control board on the back of a refrigerator if that’s where the control board is on your top-freezer, bottom-freezer or side-by-side refrigerator.

Quick links
Tools required
Work gloves
Nut driver set
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
How to replace the electronic control board in a top-freezer refrigerator repair guide video.

Replacing a refrigerator electronic control board video.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Shut off the power

    Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet. Safely store any sensitive food items or medicine during the repair.

  2. 02.

    Remove the control box

    Remove the screw that secures the control box to the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment.

    Pull the control box forward to disengage the tabs at the rear of the control box.

    Pull the control box down and unplug the control box wire harness from the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment.

    Remove the control box and place it on a work table.

    PHOTO: Remove the control box screw.

    PHOTO: Remove the control box screw.

    PHOTO: Pull the control box down.

    PHOTO: Pull the control box down.

    PHOTO: Unplug the wire harness.

    PHOTO: Unplug the wire harness.

  3. 03.

    Release the electronic control board housing

    Pry out the two locking tabs and release the electronic control board housing from the control box.

    Turn the housing over to access the electronic control board.

    PHOTO: Release the control board housing locking tabs.

    PHOTO: Release the control board housing locking tabs.

    PHOTO: Release the control board housing.

    PHOTO: Release the control board housing.

  4. 04.

    Remove the control board

    Pry out the small locking tab and release the electronic control board from the housing.

    Flip the electronic control board over.

    Disconnect the wires from the electronic control board.

    Remove the electronic control board.

    PHOTO: Release the circuit board from its housing.

    PHOTO: Release the circuit board from its housing.

    PHOTO: Disconnect the control board wires.

    PHOTO: Disconnect the control board wires.

    PHOTO: Remove the control board.

    PHOTO: Remove the control board.

  5. 05.

    Install the new control board

    Connect the wires to the new electronic control board.

    Flip the electronic control board over and snap it into the housing.

    PHOTO: Connect the control board wires.

    PHOTO: Connect the control board wires.

  6. 06.

    Reinstall the electronic control board housing

    Position the electronic control board housing in the control box and snap it into place, engaging the locking tabs.

    Route the wires through the channels and into the wire retainer on the top of the electronic control board housing.

    PHOTO: Install the control board.

    PHOTO: Install the control board.

  7. 07.

    Reinstall the control box

    Plug the control box wire harness into the refrigerator compartment ceiling connector.

    Line up the drain tube spout at the back of the control box with the drain hole in the upper back wall of the refrigerator compartment.

    Push the control box back across the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment, inserting the drain tube into the drain hole and engaging the tabs at the rear of the control box.

    Reinstall the screw that secures the control box to the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment.

    PHOTO: Plug in the wire harness.

    PHOTO: Plug in the wire harness.

    PHOTO: Line up the drain tube.

    PHOTO: Line up the drain tube.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the control box.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the control box.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the screw.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the screw.

  8. 08.

    Restore electrical power

    Plug in the refrigerator to restore power.

Warning: Undertaking repairs or maintenance to appliances or power equipment can be hazardous. Should you choose to undertake repairs or maintenance, you are assuming the risk of injury to your person or property. In an effort to reduce the risk, use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the applicable 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 or maintenance, however, should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all refrigerators

Choose a symptom to see related refrigerator repairs.

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

Repair guides common to all refrigerators

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

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.

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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

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