Monday, August 29, 2016

Fixing a Samsung Ice Maker

One of the most popular posts on this blog is the “How to Defrost a Samsung Ice Maker” post.  In that post I outline how to defrost your Samsung Ice Maker using a “secret code” on your control panel.  You shouldn’t need to do that every week, but a lot of people do, because the Samsung SZAB001TA1 ice maker (which exists in refrigerators like the RF263BEAEW) had serious issues when it left the factory.

Fortunately, the issues can be remedied.  Unfortunately, Samsung is keeping the information under wraps, and it is extremely difficult to find any information on the subject.  Hopefully this post will help those of you looking for answers.

So first, here again are the steps for defrosting your Samsung Ice Maker using the control panel on the front of your fridge:

  1. On the front panel display, press the Energy Saver and Refrigerator buttons at the same time for 8 seconds.  The display will switch to the Test Mode and the display will go dark (all buttons, etc., will go dark) .
  2. Press any button within 15 seconds after the display has gone dark to scroll through the Test Modes as follows:
    • Manual operation 1 (FF)
    • Manual operation 2 (0F-r)
    • Manual defrost of fresh food compartments (rd)
    • Manual defrost of fresh food and freezer compartments (fd)
    • Cancel (display goes completely dark)

“fd” is the one you want.  The defrost mode will cause the refrigerator to beep the entire time it’s in effect (pretty annoying) and will shut off after five minutes (I had to do it quite a few times to thaw everything out).

When the Geek Squad Tech came to fix our ice maker, he also used a hair dryer to speed things up, but be careful if you go this route as you can actually melt the plastic housing and components and cause greater issues than you had before by deforming the plastic in your ice maker.

There are four things that need to be changed to make this ice maker work properly.

  1. The water fill tube needs to be adjusted.
  2. The thin gap between the refrigerator wall and the ice maker housing (bottom side of ice maker against fridge wall) needs to be sealed.
  3. The ribs surrounding the ice room fan air duct need to be removed with a utility knife (they cause water to puddle in the duct).
  4. Foam should be installed on to of the ice maker housing around the water fill inlet.
  5. If you have an older control board, the control board should be upgraded.

These issues are covered in a service bulletin that went out to Samsung Service Techs.  I got to take a look at the four page PDF, but our tech was nervous about getting in trouble if I actually posted the document on the web, so he only let me look at the doc. on his phone.

Since then, the document has found it’s way to the web.  An anonymous user actually posted the Service Bulletin document number in the comments of my original post on this issue.  So now I have a copy of the PDF here: ASC20150717001 (if you don’t trust the link, just search the doc. title on Google). 

Looking at the service bulletin is the easiest way to address everything, but I’ll lay things out here as well (though in less detail).

So, issue #1, the fill tube.  In the back of your Samsung fridge you can see the fill tube sticking out the back of the refrigerator.  This tube has a tendencey to slip, and after that happens water starts pouring all over the ice maker instead of just into the ice tray.  Thus, the first step in fixing your ice maker is making sure this tube goes where it’s supposed to, and then making sure it stays put.  Oddly enough, the tube often slips to far in (not out) and causes water to splash all over the place, so usually you have to actually back the tube out a bit and then secure it.

Issue #2.  This is an easy fix.  Simply take a tube of silicone and seal the gap.  It seems hard to believe this would be an issue, but I guess it’s why Samsung didn’t catch the problem earlier, and it really makes a difference.

Issue #3. (see service bulletin)

Issue #4.  With the entire ice maker out of the refrigerator, cut a thin strip of foam and glue it (silicone works well) around the perimeter of the water inlet area.  See photo below.

20160409_121521

Issue #4.  When I got fed up with Samsung “tech” (really just a bunch of people who have NO IDEA what they’re talking about reading scripts on the phone) and went to Best Buy and they put me on the phone with a Geek Squad guy in Minnesota who REALLY knew what he was doing, he listened to what I had to say, realized I had done some research and figure out what was going on, and thus just ordered every possible part that might need to be replaced to fix the issue and had them all sent directly to my house so the parts would already be there when the tech arrived.  Freaking fantastic.  One of the things that got sent was a new controller board.  The board has a lot more ports and resistors and what not.  I took a photo of the new board, but I’m having a hard time locating it.  Here is a photo of the OLD board.

IMG_20160829_091844

For what it’s worth, Samsung “customer support” is not support at all.  I spent hours and hours going through the same process over and over again (the person on the other end insisting on reading their script and asking me irrelevant, inane questions ad nauseum).  Each time, they would tell me someone would call me back soon, and each time, after a couple of days I would call back and there would be no evidence that I had ever called and the number I had been given was linked to no information whatsoever.  It was pretty infuriating.  I had to laugh when weeks after the matter was resolved (via Geek Squad, NOT Samsung) I received a letter from Samsung asking if I would like to purchase extended warranty services from them.  Unbelievable.

Some additional photos of the ice maker problems and fixes…

20160409_11185120160409_11190620160409_11192120160409_121134

44 comments:

Russ said...

Thanks so much for posting all this info. My fridge just started having the same problem about a month ago. Owned it for 2 years. Called a service company to come out but now I think I'll try to solve the problem myself and save some money.

It always blows me away there are people out there like you making the effort to post stuff like this.

Thanks again!!

The Invisible said...

Glad to be of help, Russ. And thanks for your generosity. And yeah, I get so many answers about how to fix my car, my camera, my etc., etc. that I'm happy to post this stuff for others! It's just not always easy to find the "free" time to make it happen. Thanks again.

Kyle Mason said...

What kind of foam did you use for around the water inlet? I'm thinking just some weather strip type stuff from lowes would work.

The Invisible said...

Yeah... he told me he just used whatever he had leftover from other jobs, but weatherstripping would work just fine and it's relatively cheap at Lowe's. I'd probably go with the EPDM (rubber) stuff just so it stands up to the moisture better than foam might. You could probably even use backer rod though (the foam stuff like a "noodle" pool toy that you use to fill in cracks before caulking) or even the closed-cell sill plate insulation (the blue roll that goes between your 2x4 base and the cinder block foundation) you used when framing a house.

Steve Hobbs said...

There's a button on the side of the ice maker at the top. What is this for??
Thanks in advance.
Steve

The Invisible said...

Supposedly it's a "reset" button to reset the ice cycle, but it has never done anything (at least nothing obvious) for me. Basically, it's one of the things you try if your ice cycle stops (and it's not because of an ice block). It resets the ice maker at the control board to make it start again.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! Followed the defrost instructions and worked great. Hoping to get out of all the other steps but reading the posts I don't see it happening. Thanks again for the awesome info!!

Anonymous said...

I've defrosted my ice maker numerous times and replaced the auger and main ice maker assembly on my Samsung in an attempt to fix this problem - all to no avail. Then I found this posting. My ice maker had three of the four problems listed on the bulletin. The water fill tube was pushed in too far and I needed to cut the ribs from the air duct cover. Now my ice maker works as it should - no more ice blocking the air duct, ice build-up in the main compartment, nor water pooling in the crisper!

Thank you so much for finding this solution and taking the time to post it!!!

John Medved said...

Here's my apparently unique situation. My fridge, model RF263BEAESR, manufactured in August of 2015, will only make one "tray" of ice and then stops. I did everything that was included in the 7/17/15 service bulletin (needed #1 and #3 but did #2 anyway). I hit the reset button on the ice maker, it makes one "tray" of ice (about 8 cubes) and stops. If I hit the reset button again it will make another 8 cubes and stop.

Is anybody else having this problem? So frustrating. The problem literally started 1 week after the warranty ran out.

ronb said...

Anonymous: your comment " I needed to cut the ribs from the air duct cover. " where is this, the fins at the front of the ice maker? thanks! And if ANYONE has a part number for the new control board I would REALLY appreciate it! I've been wrestling with this monster for almost a year now, done everything cited here, and need to get it fixed.

Bruce Williams, Cary, NC said...

Thanks so much to you and all for the multiple posts on this vexing problem!

About once a month when the ice maker quit, we were defrosting the ice and frost build up on the bottom of the ice maker.

We have a Samsung RF30BED8SR/AA frig with ice maker Model Number SZAB001TA1 DA97-12317A. It is about four years old and this problem just started about six months ago.

Based on the advice from you and others on the blog, we pulled the ice maker and there was a HUGE block of ice around the refrigerate tubes coming from the back of the frig. It was so big it extended around the side of the enclosure.

Working on the fixes now and have contacted the class action lawsuit.

Thanks again!

Danielle said...

First, thanks for your post on what to check. After defrosting , removing ice maker, and ice lodged in the back and in the ice maker itself, put it all back together, came home from work and same issue. Water is going into the ice maker and over edges and freezing.
Any suggestions?

The Invisible said...

After defrosting and removing the ice, did you complete *any* of the other suggestions (the way you actually *fix* the problem)? ;-)

Danielle said...

Yes, checked all and reset ice maker
I even took that apart to check reset button
Still same issue

Danielle said...

Btw, I have a rf267abrs model

The Invisible said...

It's not a matter of just checking something. You need to make modifications.

From the post:

1. The water fill tube needs to be adjusted.
2. The thin gap between the refrigerator wall and the ice maker housing (bottom side of ice maker against fridge wall) needs to be sealed.
3. The ribs surrounding the ice room fan air duct need to be removed with a utility knife (they cause water to puddle in the duct).
4. Foam should be installed on to of the ice maker housing around the water fill inlet.
5. If you have an older control board, the control board should be upgraded.

ronb said...

Still hoping someone can provide part number for new control board. Thx!!

The Invisible said...

Hi, Ron. I just found the biz card for the tech who repaired ours. I'm gonna e-mail him and see if there's anyway he can send me the part number.

Danielle said...

My fridge is 5 years old
This just started??

Daniel said...

Hello thank you posting this information. I have a Samsung RF28HFEDTSR and I've removed the ice maker before to reset it but of course it's still messing up and now I can't even pull the ice maker bucket out. Has anyone had this issue and if so, what did you to fix it? I want to try the fixes detailed on this page but I can't even get the stupid bucket out. I've tried heating it up with a hair dryer but it still won't come out. Help please!

Daniel said...

Also, is there a picture of the ribs that need to be cut off? Where are they at exactly? Thanks.

The Invisible said...

Yeah, mine froze completely shut once too. I just had to go through the defrost cycle a million times until I was able to remove teh bucket.

Regarding the ribs... there are pictures of everything in the Samsung service bulletin.

Daniel said...

Thank you very much for the reply. I think my fridge is slightly different than the specified directions for the defrost cycle. I can't get the test mode to show up to start the defrost cycle.

Anonymous said...

I just took mine apart. Same issues, etc.

I found that my problem was problem #3 - there was a big block of ice blocking the fan in the opening just below where that frozen u-shaped bar came out. I took the main ice-making section out, then if you just lift that tab on the back part (above the part that turns the ice crank) you can pull the whole bottom back section out, then clean everything out, dry it all, put it back together.

My unit doesn't really have the ribbed parts that are mentioned. Looks like this may just end up being an annual job that I have to do. Thanks, Samsung.

Meanwhile my Samsung VRT dryer is broken for the 100th time as well. I would not recommend Samsung appliances to my worst enemies. Junk.

Consumerized said...

Dan, does your new circuit board have a new part number? My ice maker stopped working and it smells like something burnt out on my refrigerators circuit board.

ronb said...

after last defrost, left maker and auger out of icebox, shut off ice maker, and 1 week in have ice allover base of refrigerant coil and into vent area above where defrost fan would be. appears to have nothing to do with making ice.....

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I have the almost $4,000 model with built-in sodastream for sparkling water.
My ice maker showed these symptoms after 1 year--out of warranty so you can imagine how upset I am. I bought a new ice maker on Amazon and it lasted 6 months before doing the same thing again. Obviously several design flaws and not the actual ice maker are the problem.

I look forward to checking and applying these fixes. Thank you so much for this info as Samsung was useless and wanted $600 to extend my warranty. What a joke.

Anonymouse said...

Update:Guy with $4000 Sodastream model.

I had a noticeable 1/16" gap when shining a flashlight from below. My Home Depot did not have RTV silicone but I bought food grade "fish tank" silicone. Worked great! This should solve my slushy ice and the fridge "peeing" into the cup before dispensing ice.

My fill tube was also inserted too far. I also used weather seal foam as you suggested for intake on the ice maker. Thinking back, you probably only need it on the right side as the left side has pathways to the drain.

I shaved off the "ribs" with a utility knife. The air tunnel above the fan was frozen solid. It took me several hours of chiseling and a hair dryer to remove the ice.

It has been 5 days and my ice is now nice and "dry". I keep checking and there is no ice/frost buildup on the ice maker so far! THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this info.

Anonymous said...

I have a Samsung model RF25HMEDBSR/AA and have noticed slushy ice for about 2 weeks. today the water dispenser stopped working completely. I pulled out the ice maker and saw the dreaded frost! I guessed the frost had something to do with the water line to the dispenser - so I googled and found your blog! Great place but so sad to see this is such a common problem. My problem is that I'm trying to get to the "test mode" on the control panel to attempt to thaw out the area. Holding the energy saver and fridge buttons doesn't work. I do that and then press any button and the display with temp comes back up. Nothing to scroll. Do you have any idea of another way I can get to the defrost mode on my model? Thank you!!!

Unknown said...

I have the RF23HCEDBSR model, and also can't get it to go into the test mode. After 8 seconds on Fridge and Energy Saver buttons together, it goes dark, but as soon as another button is touched, the standard panel comes back. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Bill MacFie said...

Similar to above...have the RF23HCEDBSR model. Slushy ice...all as already stated.

However, same problem, can't get into the TEST MODE. Follow directions, panel goes out after 8 sec., but as soon as a button is touched, standard panel comes back on. Any help greatly appreciated.

Bill MacFie said...

Follow-up to my previous comment regarding my RF23HCEDBSR Samsung Refrigerator. I went through a chat session, and the only way to defrost according to the tech as to press the Freezer, Alarm and Fridge buttons all at once for about 5 seconds, and it displays "0 FF" which is apparently the Demo mode.

He said there is no "forced defrost" setting....don't know what to believe now.

Anyway, to take out of Demo mode, same buttons again resets.

Melodious said...

The defrost code is very interesting, but there is a much simpler way to do it. After struggling with this problem for quite a while, I tried turning off the ice, I then took the ice bin out of the fridge. It takes a couple of days but the ice softens and one can use a thin spatula or a wide implement of some sort and the ice is easy to get off. I have found I must do this every couple of weeks.
I too chose this machine after much research. It was the best available in my price range (I had hoped to find one much cheaper but they do not exist.) If you let it freeze up too much, the ice will actually get stuck after a dump, between the maker and the wall of the ice box. That is a problem.

Michael Thompson said...

Thank you for all the information! I have been defrosting mine for a while now. I have a question about the tray. When the unit was new and you switched from ice to water you could hear what sounded like a flap or door close (assuming to seal the ice tray) Now I don't hear it and after closer examination it looks like the door/flap is staying open allowing the warmer refrigerator air to frost things up. Any thoughts?

The Invisible said...

Hi, Michael. My old fridge had that same issue, and I ended up purchasing a part off the web. Actually... now that I think about it... we actually had a guy out to do some repairs on our 1960's oven, and I mentioned the issue with the ice dispenser door. He looked up the part and had it sent to us, no charge. Local, independent businesses rock. Anyway, it ended up being a whole little motorized part, not just a spring, so it may unfortunately be more involved on these Samsungs.

The Invisible said...

I made an appointment with Geek Squad two weeks ago, and today is finally the day they come out to the house. We haven't had *any* ice for two weeks. I couldn't take the beeping sound of the defrost cycle any longer. I had been defrosting the fridge every couple of days for several months. It just got to be too much for our nerves to handle. There is usually a puddle of water on the floor in front of the ice dispenser flap (it has ruined our floating cork floor). There is almost always a pool of water in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator as well. It's great for disintegrated any cardboard or paper packaging on the food in that drawer. :-\ When the Geek Squad guy called this morning, he said there were some updates to the Samsung Bulletin that he would implement, so I'll update this post with those "official" Samsung updates when I have them. I'll also try to get a pic of the controller board (and the part number) while he's working on the fridge.

Steeve said...

Thanks for posting this information. I discovered the fan chamber completely blocked with ice. I have cleared the opening and applied the field fix listed in the manual you provided. Hope this solves my issues.

Kaitlyn Bone said...

I've done all the steps to manual defrost. Do I need to do anything to get it out of this mode?

Anonymous said...

Hey so to confirm @TheInvisible you are still having issues even after applying these fixes? We just ran into this issue this on a new "outlet" version this past week and it's been tons of fun. Wondering whether we should just return it or chance it.

The Invisible said...

Definitely return it while you have the chance! There is no fix. All of the "fixes" on the bulletins from Samsung will never provide a permanent fix. Luckily I bought the 5 Year qeek squad protection and was able to return the fridge under the "lemon clause" after Geek Squad came to my house 4 times within one year. Get rid of the Samsung and buy a Whirlpool (or anything but Samsung).

Bill MacFie said...

Really sad that the ice maker is soooo bad, because I really like pretty much everything else about the refrigerator.

I finally just broke down, turned the ice maker off completely and bought a separate ice maker. We had considered putting one in when we had the kitchen re-done last year, but thought we would be OK. Well, we know how that turned out. Fortunately, the laundry room right off the kitchen had room, and I ran the water line off my utility sink.

So now I have all the ice I need.

Will definitely do more research next time I buy a refrigerator.

Nicolas Ross said...

To @John Medved, I have the same issue. I have a RF28HFEDBSR, and started having issue with the ice maker after it froze solid in a big block of ice. I did the fd defrost, and was able to take it out. Let it thaw completly, dried out all parts, and put it back. At the time, I didn't knew about this thread and the service bulletin.

After putting it back, and hitting reset, it did a single tray and then stops. Reset, and then sometime it'll make another single tray and stops. Most of the time it doesn't.

I don't think I have an issue with the SB issue #1 (water line inserted too far), I am not able to check, I haven,t found a mirror that'll help me see.

I have no ice arround the square duck, I will do the ridge cutting anyway.

Still, no ice on a regular basis.

I won't bother to call samsung or any repear man, from what I've read, it's helpless...

Michael Thompson said...

As I posted earlier I am having the same troubles. I read the posts here and went thru the service bulletin. I sealed the seam between the bottom left corner of the ice maker and the refrigerator wall as described in the bulletin. I sealed both inside and outside the ice maker along the seam. I believe it has helped although it still freezes up. It isn't as bad. I now schedule a half hour once a month and defrost the ice maker. It isn't the greatest solution but by doing it on a regular basis it is easy and simple to do, short of replacing the frig.

samsungFAIL said...

Has anybody been able to get hold of the update to the service bulletin that The Invisible said the Geek Squad told him about??

Anything new on this? my model starts with RFED28 (that's from memory so it could be off!) I had mine “fixed” at about 1.5 years old but in about 6 months the problem came back. When I think of it I scrape off the frosty layer that accumulates above the ice bin, then the day comes when I realize I am out of ice, then I have to scrape it all off and stick the hair dryer in there. Sometimes it last longer than others. Is it possible that I get some of the ice out but not all (from behind the icemaker)? I have never actually removed it. Also, when it is building up I do get water that dribbles from the ice dispenser before the ice comes. That is now my clue to check it. One time it was so frozen that I think the fan stopped turning because the fridge compartment itself got warmer but was normal after I melted the ice. I do use the dryer on high because it takes so long!!

The repairman told me that there was a problem with them originally but the new control board he was installing was supposed to have fixed it. Sounds like it is not fixable because it’s just a design flaw right?

Is it best to remove the maker to thaw it? How long of a project is it and what are the parts of the process where I could go wrong?

OH yes, the repair guy I used was good, problem is he doesn’t do Samsung or LG anymore. Said Samsung parts took too long to get and too many call backs! I had trouble finding him and doubt I could even find someone now. He said Samsung is fine for electronics, but stay away from their appliances. I would sell it if I could think of a good reason to give a buyer as to why I’m selling a 3 yr old fridge…

Any news on a class action suit because I am so in....There was one on Sony TV's that failed....they were Sony Wega from approx 2005 (google sony blue blob). Some people sued in small claims as well...Those TV's got a problem in only a few years. Sony did extend the warranty for that problem to approx 4 years. This seems like it would be similar type of case. I got half of my $800 repair covered even though it was after 4 years because I didn't receive notice...