How to Repair a Kenmore Ice Maker When the Red Light Is Flashing and it Won't Make Ice

by Cecilia Harsch

A Kenmore ice maker with an in-door ice bin uses a built-in control module and an electronic ice-level sensor. When the ice level breaks the infrared beam between the control module and ice-level sensor, the ice maker stops making ice until the level drops and the beam is no longer interrupted. When the ice maker fails to make ice and the red status light on the ice maker control flashes in a series of patterns, it can indicate a blocked infrared beam or electronic control damage. A diagnostic test can indicate what steps to take to repair the unit.

1. 2001 or Earlier Models

1 Test the ice maker by emptying enough ice from the door bin to ensure the ice level is at least an inch below the U-shaped cutouts along the top of the bin. Make sure the ice maker control switch is in the “On” position.

2. 2001 or Earlier Models

2 Close the freezer door of your Kenmore refrigerator. Leave the door closed for at least 10 seconds.

3. 2001 or Earlier Models

3 Open the freezer door. Use your finger to depress the light switch immediately after opening the door. Hold the switch in the closed position for 1 second. Depress the light switch two more times.

4. 2001 or Earlier Models

4 Close the freezer door after depressing the light switch the third time. Wait at least 5 seconds before opening the door again.

5. 2001 or Earlier Models

5 Look at the LED light directly above and to the right of the switch on the ice maker control. If the light flashes twice, pauses for 1 second before again flashing twice, remove the ice bin from the freezer door and ensure the ice maker control switch is still in the “On” position.

6. 2001 or Earlier Models

6 Press inward on the emitter switch on the freezer wall opposite of the ice maker control. Use painter’s tape to hold the switch in the freezer wall.

7. 2001 or Earlier Models

7 Close the freezer door and wait at least 10 seconds before opening it. Press the light switch three times, holding the switch with your finger for 1 second each time. Close the freezer door.

8. 2001 or Earlier Models

8 Wait at least 5 seconds before opening the freezer door. Observe the LED light on the ice maker control. If it flashes twice, rests for 1 second and flashes twice again, clean the surface of the infrared emitter on the emitter switch and the infrared receiver on the ice maker control, using a damp cotton swab. Wipe them dry with a lint-free cloth.

9. 2001 or Earlier Models

9 Repeat the test to ensure the red light no longer flashes. If the light continues to flash, replace the ice maker control and the emitter switch.

10. 2002 or Later Models

1 Open the freezer door of your Kenmore refrigerator and observe the red status LED on the ice maker control. The light should flash twice, rest 1 second and flash twice.

11. 2002 or Later Models

2 Depress the freezer light switch with your fingers. Observe the red status LED. The light should flash once, rest 1 second and flash once.

12. 2002 or Later Models

3 Ensure the ice maker control switch is in the “On” position. Push in the emitter switch on the freezer wall opposite of the ice maker control. If the light continues to flash twice, rest for 1 second and flash twice again, clean the surface of the infrared emitter on the emitter switch and the infrared receiver on the ice maker control, using a damp cotton swab. Wipe them dry with a lint-free cloth.

13. 2002 or Later Models

4 Repeat the test to ensure the red light no longer flashes after you clean the infrared emitter and receiver. If the light continues to flash, replace the ice maker control and the emitter switch.

14. Replace Ice Maker Control and Emitter Switch

1 Unplug the Kenmore refrigerator's power cord from the electrical wall outlet.

15. Replace Ice Maker Control and Emitter Switch

2 Remove the screws holding the emitter switch to the freezer wall. Save the screws. Unplug the wire harness from the back of the switch.

16. Replace Ice Maker Control and Emitter Switch

3 Plug the wire harness into the back of the replacement emitter switch. Use the screws you removed from the original emitter switch to secure the replacement switch.

17. Replace Ice Maker Control and Emitter Switch

4 Remove the screws holding the ice maker control. Save the screws. Unplug the wire harness from the rear of the control.

18. Replace Ice Maker Control and Emitter Switch

5 Plug the wire harness into the rear of the replacement ice maker control. Use the screws you removed from the original ice maker control to secure the replacement control.

19. Replace Ice Maker Control and Emitter Switch

6 Plug the Kenmore refrigerator's power cord into the electrical wall outlet.

Items you will need

  • Painter’s tape
  • Cotton swabs
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Replacement ice maker control
  • Replacement emitter switch

Tip

  • If the light flashes four times, rests for 1 second and repeats, the emitter switch and ice maker control have failed and need replacing.

Warning

  • If the light flashes three times, rests for 1 second and repeats, the refrigerator no longer senses the ice maker and a live electrical test must be performed on the ice maker. Contact a Kenmore service representative to perform the live test.