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Ice maker not working

Whirlpool Model WRX988SIBM00 refrigerator ice maker not filling nor dispensing ice. Water dispenses just fine. Have checked water pressure, have replaced water inlet valve to ice maker. Temperature appears fine as we have unplugged refrigerator to reset and are sometimes met with once cycle of ice cubes. Ice cubes will mysteriously appear once or twice every couple of weeks. Suspect it might be the infrared emitter board or the receiver board, but have no idea how to test them and unwilling to willy-nilly replace them for $400+ (emitter board around $80 and receiver board $300+) . Does anyone have any idea how to narrow this down and/or test the emitter and receiver boards. Many thanks in advance.

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4 Answers

Most Helpful Answer

Cause 1

Low Water Pressure from House Supply

The home may have insufficient water pressure. The water inlet valve supplies water to the ice and water dispenser. The water inlet valve requires a minimum of 20 psi to function properly. Check the water flow and test the pressure to determine if it is at least 20 psi.

Cause 2

Ice Level Control Board

Some refrigerators use an infrared beam to sense the level of ice in the ice bucket. When the ice level reaches the top of the bucket, it interrupts the infrared beam. The control board then shuts off the ice maker. When the ice level drops below the beam, the control board signals the ice maker to make more ice. If the ice level control board fails, the ice maker will stop making ice. Ensure that the ice level control board is getting power. If the ice level control board is getting power, but the ice maker won’t work, replace the ice level control board.

Whirlpool Refrigerator Ice Level Control Board W10870822 $79.15

Ice Level Control Board W10898445 $316.10

Also try cleaning both the send and receive lens. To test use your finger and see if it is putting out a beam.

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The water pressure in the house is above 20PSI.

Ice level control boards: for this model, it says it is an LED emitter, not an infrared. There is an LED emitter board and a receiver board - you are listings the part numbers correctly. If this is truly an LED emitter, then shouldn't I be able to see a light beam if I place a piece of paper in its way with the door switch engaged? I don't see any beam. If it's an infrared beam isn't infrared beyond the human sight spectrum? How would I test that to see if there's an infrared beam?

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@ladytech can you help with this one?

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Hi @scrowi14 ,

Usually digital cameras can "see" infra red.

Try the following:

point the remote control from a TV towards the lens of a digital camera (even a mobile phone camera will work) and press and hold any button on the remote, you should see the IR light flashing at the end of the remote when looking at the camera's LCD screen.

Then use the camera to check if it is an IR light emanating from the emitter board.

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I'll try later today. Thx for the suggestion.

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It is LED, not infrared. I actually see it, red, periodically, just not all the time. Still unsure how to determine if it's a bad board.

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Scott Williams, in 34 yrs I’ve never replaced an optic sensor, This model has had several issues that have caused little to no ice. Before spending all that money do these checks. I’ve started with the easiest checks first

Get an exact temperature of the ice room. The ice maker wont advance if the temp. is above 9*F

Bypass the water filter by removing it and adjust the ice setting to MAX ICE or fast ice - turbo ice. Check ice production in 24 hrs. If you have ice then you need to replace the filter and flush the line at the water dispenser at least one gallon of water to remove air.

Clean condenser coils. Dirty coils cause refer temperature to rise, thus, effecting ice production.

Look for signs of frost on back wall of freezer and fresh food section. Remove food, and even the drawer so you can feel the back wall. If you see any frost on any walls, floor, ceilings, then you need to completely defrost the unit by unplugging, remove all food and leave doors open for 2 days. Once you plug it in, allow 48 hrs for ice production. If everything works fine, for a few weeks then ice slows again, you have an issue that many have had. Diagnosing the defrost circuit and all fan motors to find the issues.

Do these checks in the order I listed. Let me know what you find.

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Thanks @ladytech. This always happens, but the ice is working again after unplugging. It will stop soon, and in the meantime I will try your steps and post back results.

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Are the condenser coils in the lower back of the fridge? I found ice on the back wall behind the ice maker assembly, so I'm suspecting that I've got a defrost issue. Not convenient to defrost right now, but I will try that. When you say diagnose the defrost circuit, what do you mean? I will look for all fans - I think the only one I'm aware of is on the lower back though, right?

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Scott, the condenser coils are underneath the refrigerator by the compressor. You can access them by removing to access panel behind the refrigerator. Some models you will need to remove the panel at the bottom on the front too.

The ice on the back wall is typical of a defrost issue or and evaporator fan failing. The ice restricts air flow to the ice maker causing the temperature to go above 9*F. The i/m won’t cycle over 9*F. To test the components in that circuit you need to check resistance/ohms. You need a multimeter. But you won’t be able to get to the components until all the ice has thawed. I don’t suggest to thaw with a blow dryer. The liner is thin plastic and melts very easy.

The defrost circuit has a heater, defrost thermostat (round disc type bimetal), a sensor and evaporator fan motor. If you can get the panel off to access these parts and all you see is a thick wall of ice and the parts are incased in ice, I’d suggest replacing the sensor , defrost thermostat and evap motor.

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Scott, please disregard my last comment. I had the wrong model pulled up.

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You have the i/m on the door. Your getting ice behind the ice maker, correct? If you pull the ice bin out do you notice frost/ice near the ice chute, where the ice drops out into your cup? If so, the ice dispenser chute door isn’t sealing good. You also have a seal around the access door to the i/m. There is a gasket where the refrigerator and door meet. That gasket is where the air from the freezer enters the ice room. If any gasket is worn replace it.

Do you notice frost/ice on the back wall of freezer? If so, then my earlier comment applies. The defrost circuit is behind the rear panel in freezer.

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I have a similar fridge. It was one of the worst purchases I’ve ever made. The icemakers are prone to failure and sometimes it makes sense to replace it. But before you do that, make sure you check the obvious and other components before replacing it. I doubt there’s anything wrong with the controller. If it fails, then usually a bunch of other things will fail too. As for sensors, most ice makers have sensors built into the actual ice maker mechanism.

First, check the ejector arm. Sometimes it gets stuck from ice or it can get dislodged or misaligned. Make sure it moves freely. This is an easy check.

Second, reset the refridgerator using the front panel, instead of unplugging it. Once reset, perform a diagnostic to check for any error codes. Also, check the temperature of the icemaker from the diagnostic panel and your own reading using a thermometer. You can also just fill the ice tray with some water and check if it freezes in a few hours.

Third, make sure there’s no ice build up in the back of the ice maker’s compartment. If you see ice, turn off the icemaker using the front panel for several hours. If the ice has cleared, then turn on the ice maker.

Fourth, if you can’t find anything wrong, then it’s time to purchase or try to repair the ice maker. As a strong suggestion, don’t pay for a branded part. It makes no difference in quality and you can save a ton of money. A new aftermarket icemaker is around $50 or less on eBay or Amazon.

Here’s the manual if you need help performing the front panel.

https://www.searspartsdirect.com/partsdi...

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Bud, I think your maker is the first thing thing to replace…it creates demand and the emitter controls it when its full….

Update (07/12/2019)

emitters have come down in price significantly and there is nothing wrong with the generics….https://www.amazon.com/Whirlpool-4389102...

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Scott Williams will be eternally grateful.
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