KitchenAid Fridge No-Cool, Board NLA– the Samurai Fix

In this excursion into Appliance Repair Awesomeness™, the Samurai was called in to fix an expensive KitchenAid KSCS25INSS00 refrigerator that was warm in both compartments. The other complaint was that the mullion between the compartments was very hot to the touch.

If you know about Yoder loops, a hot mullion is a big clue that there’s something wrong with the airflow over the condenser. So the next stop was the machine compartment in back of the fridge to get some eyeballs on the condenser fan and condenser.

The condenser fan was not running. Checking the voltage supply to the fan motor showed no voltage. That explains why the fan wasn’t running but why no voltage?

In the video, watch the Samurai use the schematic to identify which component is supposed to send voltage to the condenser fan motor. Turns out the condenser fan motor voltage is supplied by a board that is No Longer Available (NLA). This fridge was only 12 years old when this video was made! So how stupid is that– a customer owns an expensive 12 year old refrigerator that’s not getting cold because the condenser fan motor can’t run. And the reason it couldn’t run is because its operating voltage is supplied by a borked board that is NLA.

“It seems so lame to trash a nice fridge just because the condenser fan motor isn’t getting its 120 VAC power supply,” the Samurai thought to himself. “I have a good 120 VAC supply coming into the fridge, seems like there must be a way to tap into that supply and restore function to the condenser fan.”

So the Samurai read the schematic as any good tech would do. Ideally, the 120 VAC supply could be picked off the compressor so the condenser fan would only run when the compressor was running. But since this was a 3-phase BLDC inverter-driven compressor motor, that was not an option.

Using a patented Samurai Fix™ technique, he bypassed the main board at a fraction of the cost of either replacing the entire fridge or an expensive rebuild of the control board. This fixed the fridge not cooling problem in both compartments. Yes, the condenser fan would run all the time but the refrigerator would be able to keep food and beer cold again. The downside is that the life of the condenser fan motor would be shortened and would probably need to be replaced more frequently. All this was explained to the customer and he quickly opted for the Samurai Fix™.

The thing to notice is that the repair was identified and implemented only by reading the schematic. Reading a schematic does not mean simply “looking at it” or merely reading the words. Reading the schematic means reading the CIRCUITS to understand how electrons move around them. And it’s electrons, amps, driven by a voltage difference between two points in a complete circuit that makes loads, such as the condenser fan motor, do their work.

Want to learn how to use the schematic to troubleshoot more efficiently and accurately and to see when field fixes like this are possible? We teach you all this and much more in the Core Appliance Repair Training course. Beyond that, you can master refrigerator repair with Master Samurai Tech’s Advanced Refrigerator Repair Training course. All our courses are online and on-demand.

“But what about hands-on training?” Common question in the appliance repair trade, for some reason. All the other skilled trades require in-class training along with applying that training though hands-on practice on the job.

“Hands-on training” is not a substitute for classroom training. Does an electrician apprentice just spend all his or her time wiring houses and generators in the field? Of course not. Why is that? Because there are things they need to know in their head that are taught in the classroom while they are apprenticing on the job.

As an appliance tech, there are things that you need to know in your head as you ply your trade on service calls. And an instructor teaches you these things in a class setting, such as at Master Samurai Tech. Your job as a technician is to apply these principles on service calls and gain proficiency in them through practice. This is the reality for all skilled trades because the skill begins first in your head and is executed by your hands. That’s why it’s called, “knowing what you’re doing.”