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Whirlpool Refrigerator not Dispensing Ice

Model #GS6NBEXRL00icon, this side by side refrigerator with a fast fill dispenser, was no longer dispensing ice in either the cubed or crushed modes. When the ice paddle was pressed, the motor to open the ice door would activate, but nothing else. The customer tried to clean out the ice bucket thinking the auger may be stuck, but still no ice was dispensed.

Ice is usually stored in a bin of some type that will utilize an auger system to move ice toward the ice chute when the paddle is pressed. Many refrigerators will use a mechanical paddle and door system which then actuates an electrical switch starting the auger motor. Some newer designs, this one included, will be completely electronic and when the paddle is pressed, the switch will alert the control board which then activates the appropriate motors to open the door and dispense the ice.

Oftentimes, a problem with ice not dispensing or getting crushed instead of cubed ice is due to the ice or components freezing up. Yes all this stuff is designed to be cold, it’s in the freezer after all, but when air is allowed to migrate into the freezer, say through a partially opened ice door, frost will build inside the ice bucket and other parts making it difficult to dispense the ice. I mention this because a little visual inspection can be helpful before calling for service.

This particular refrigerator is a little different than the traditional Kitchenaid models in that it uses what they call a fast fill dispenser. This dispenser uses larger water lines to dispenser water faster and a smart water valve which allows for precise water measurements. This is only important to the problem I was called out for because with the new dispenser also comes a change in how the dispenser operates and where the components are located.

Behind the dispenser assembly, which is held in place by two screws, is the dispenser control board and ice auger motor. The housing itself is where the paddle switches are located and each part works together to dispense water or ice. Unlike many older designs which simply power an AC auger motor to dispense ice, this motor is controlled by a board which can make things more difficult when troubleshooting a problem.

Once I had the dispenser panel removed and could see the board and motor, I did a visual inspection of both, as seeing visible damage is going to help find the problem. The board provides power to the motor, but at 120 volts DC instead of the expected AC voltage. The board looked good with no evidence of damage, but the motor coupling showed signs of water leaking and rust from the auger drive shaft. With water getting to the motor, this was the likely failure point and the reason for the ice not dispensing.

After removing the auger shaft through the top allowing me access to the motor, I installed a new auger motoricon to the mount and then secured it back to the dispenser wall. A quick test while I still had everything readily accessible showed the motor turned in both directions depending on if cubed or crushed was selected. I reattached the dispenser face with the two screws and left the refrigerator in working order.

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