I recently had a new Kitchenaid side by side refrigerator come through my shop that caught my attention because of the new look of the dispenser. I had run across the service update covering these new changes on the Whirlpool and Kitchenaid products some time ago, so it was nice to finally get my hands into one. And with my camera at the ready, I took a few photos to share in this article and thought I would add a few comments 0n things I noticed along the way. Ready or not, lets take a look at the 2008 offering from Whirlpool.
I think overall the new look of this dispenser is a welcome change to the push button design of old, and the addition of a new graphical display (and temperature control on the Iconic LCD version) is a nice touch. And really the best part of it all is you remove the panels just like the old style so the learning curve should be very short. The most notable change to me was the new low voltage display and control board mounted to the back of the dispenser panel. There are three versions of this display as outlined in the update above depending on which of the products you are working on, and the features and functions will change along with these boards. This board (code named Puma) is the heart of the dispenser taking in all control inputs from the user buttons along with the water and ice paddle switch inputs.
A New Dispenser Board....
The Puma board, then interprets and communicates these inputs directly to the appropriate control board (code named Taurus or Gemini) which will then control each of the individual load components. This is a departure from the AC voltage buttons and switches we are familiar with that provide direct control of these machine functions. So the good news is there is no high voltage AC in the dispenser area anymore, and even the lighting has been replaced by a small LED board. The bad news, if I could find any, is all the functions we are used to being controlled from the dispenser (such as the water valve and ice auger direction) are all controlled from the main board, so you will need to be aware of these differences when encountering dispenser related service calls.
....And Control Board
These changes can be seen on the new tech sheet for these units and in usual manufacture fashion, you may notice no pin out voltage or function labels on the boards. So we are left in the dark as to what these wires are used for and what (if any) voltage measurements we should be reading. But because all the operations are being performed on just these two boards, it shouldn't be difficult to diagnose which one is having the problem and get it replaced. Also, along with the usual diagnostic instructions for the refrigerator located on the tech sheet, a series of new dispenser diagnostics has been added that looked interesting, but when I accessed them, I found it to be a neat way to turn on all the display indicators and lights, but that is about it. I guess if something is not working, replace the board.
Overall I liked the look of this new display and the fact of it being just as easy to get to doesn't hurt either. My trouble shooting thinking will need to be modified for this new setup, but as of late, that seems to be a common occurrence as these new models and changes enter the market. If you don't have a chance to see one of these unit anytime soon, here is a link to a simulator that highlights the features of the new LCD display (let me know if you ever get the glass filled with ice) and gives you a chance interact from the comfort of your desk. Now if I could just fix them from here too.