Refrigerator adventures

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Old 06-08-16, 10:30 PM
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Refrigerator adventures

Two or three years ago my refrigerator died. I won't go into the entire story but I ended up with a brand new Whirlpool model WRF560SEYM French door model with water (only) in the door. It was a brand new model so there wasn't any user feedback available.

Well, there is now a whole lot of user feedback and most of it is pretty bad. My own experiences are that the water dispenser is basically useless as the first six to eight ounces is at room temperature. The temperature settings, supposed to be digital, are not in degrees but in "snowflakes" (one through five) yet the temperature span at any particular setting can be as large as eight degrees or maybe more. Getting the refrigerator section to hold at 35-38 degrees is impossible. I haven't spent anywhere near as much time measuring the freezer section but I doubt it is any better.

The biggest problem with the water dispenser is that the supply water first goes to an "isolation" solenoid valve and then to the internal water filter located in the refrigerator section. It then exits the box, goes down about a foot or so and re-enters the box to a heat exchanger to cool the water. From the heat exchanger it again exits the box and then goes to the lower left corner into a dual-outlet/dual coil solenoid valve assembly. When the water dispenser is activated both the isolation valve and the water dispenser valve are opened allowing the water to travel through the filter, through the heat exchanger, outside the box through the dual valve assembly and then through an external tube back up to the top of the box where it re-enters the refrigeration chamber and eventually comes into the door dispenser. For the icemaker it does the same only through the other section of the dual valve and then into the icemaker itself. This means that the pre-cooled water sits in the external piping and regains the ambient temperature.

A few months ago I noticed that I would periodically get a puddle of water on the floor at the left rear corner of the unit. After some observations I found out that it was when the icemaker refilled that it leaked. Not wanting to futz with it at the time I simply turned the icemaker off by raising the bail on the unit. Although it was a pain, I used old fashioned ice cube trays for the next couple of months. About two weeks ago I again tried the icemaker just to see if maybe it had fixed itself. It seemed okay for a few days and then the puddle re-appeared. Finally, a few days ago I had had enough and decided to get to the bottom of it. I got my 1/4 inch socket set and then got down on the floor, no easy task for me. I removed the cardboard cover and didn't see anything obvious so I energized the icemaker. Then I saw it, the push-in hose connection on the icemaker fill valve section of the dual solenoid valve was spraying when energized.

Well, to shorten the story, I did everything I could think of to get it to seal but to no avail. I thought, "Why not eliminate the silly filter, heat exchanger and water dispenser and just pipe the outlet of the isolation valve directly to the ice maker?" I'll add here that I never wanted the filter unit as I have a charcoal filter under my sink that I have connected to the refrigerator making the internal filter redundant. So I make the tubing changes and fire it up. It then decides to leak at the elbow connection through the back wall to the icemaker. But I let that go for a couple of ice cycles and then discover that it is obviously filling too high in the icemaker mold as it splashes water onto the ice in the storage bin, melting it slightly and then fusing into a solid ice mass. I know how to fix this, I need to orifice the water flow to decrease the outlet pressure and flow rate.

BUT, I still have the very real problem of the wildly fluctuating temperatures. I want to keep my refrigerator section between about 35 and 39 degrees. The temperature in the refrigerator section is controlled by a shutter/damper in the air passage from the freezer section and the freezer temperature is controlled by thermostat controlling the compressor. The down side is that the entire unit is controlled by an electronic board called a Minotaur board. I have determined all the functions of this board and I want to eliminate it. I have some industrial relays that will use either thermocouple or RTD inputs and control to VERY close numbers that I want to use to control the air duct damper (and evaporator fan) as well as the compressor itself. I am also thinking seriously about adding a fan or two inside the refrigerator compartment as many of the complaints I have read were concerning uneven temperatures throughout the compartment.

Now here is my question. I need to remove the plastic inner liner so I can completely remove the water filter unit, see if I can re-route the water dispenser tubing completely inside the compartment (solving the room temperature dispensing problem) as well as running the wiring for the thermocouples or RTDs. I see a screw in the side of the water filter cover but I don't seem to be able to do any more than loosen it and it does nothing as far as loosening the filter assembly or even the cover. I did find the wiring diagram and service notes when I removed the cardboard back panel but i can find NOTHING as far as an actual service manual on the Internet. Any help on this part is greatly appreciated. Again, the model number is (Whirlpool) WRF560SEYM
 
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Old 06-08-16, 11:16 PM
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Whirlpool was the leader in fridges. I don't know what happened. They put on a pair of skis and have been going downhill ever since.

The leaking solenoid connection and the room temperature cold drinking water are two big complaints... along with the oversized ice bin.

I have the tech sheet for that unit but it appears you already have one. I haven't seen actual full blown service manuals for a lot of the new appliances. Many times the techs are shown the servicing methods eliminating actual books.

The ice maker water fill time is based on the low flow thru the filter.

Maybe the exploded parts views will help you. Sear's has the best diagrams. When you click on a section you want to see..... there will be a diagram with a + and - . Right click in the diagram and select copy image location. Paste it in a new window. When it opens... click on it for an expanded view.

WHIRLPOOL REFRIGERATOR Parts | Model wrf560seym00 | Sears PartsDirect
 
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Old 06-09-16, 02:26 AM
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Thanks, Pete. I don't know why Sears didn't pop up when I was searching using the Whirlpool number. I need to connect a different monitor as some images just are washed out on this monitor. Sears parts images are one example.

I have no doubt that I can orifice the water to the icemaker and get that working okay and if I can't get the chilled water dispenser fixed to my liking it is no big deal but I just have to fix the wide ranging temperature issue.

I'll see if I can get the inner liner open and let everyone know of my progress. I actually like this unit except for these little problems.
 
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Old 06-09-16, 06:00 AM
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You didn't post the full model number. There are four models in that series.
WRF560SEYM00 - WRF560SEYM01 - WRF560SEYM02 - WRF560SEYM04
 
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Old 06-09-16, 03:34 PM
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Mine is the 02 model. I'm not sure what that means, maybe that it has the stainless steel doors rather than the white painted doors, which actually had a higher price. What I do know is that when I did the Google using the full number the results more often than not dropped those last two numbers.

Nothing is going to happen for at least a week, maybe longer, as I have a fair amount of food in the thing and my "spare" refrigerator is just a table-top model.
 
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Old 06-11-16, 04:24 PM
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I hate temperature measurement!

I've been running for several days with a digital thermometer probe in the refrigerator compartment. It has been all over the place, from a high of about 41 to a low of 32. All this with the door closed for hours on end.

Today I configured one of my relay modules (SPA2 - Site- and PC- Programmable Alarm Current and Voltage, RTD and Thermocouple Limit Alarm Trips (4-Wire)) and used a T/C with special limits. It reads a few degrees lower than my dual-input thermometer, all using type K thermocouples. I am not getting even a trace of ice in my water pitchers so I kind of doubt that I am dropping to below 32 degrees F.

So I decided to add a second probe to my dual input thermometer, now the first probe was reading 35, the second probe reading 34 and the T/C on the relay (which has the least mass) is reading 33. I don't have a mercury thermometer I can use for absolute testing.

Should I try an ice bath with all three T/Cs to see what their inherent error is? I'm pretty sure the special limits T/C is the closest as the two probes on the thermometer are Ebay specials at maybe three bucks each. I'll add that right now (and since last night) I have the refrigerator control set at five snowflakes, the coldest position. The freezer is set to four snowflakes and is running about 8 degrees below zero F. according to the bi-metal refrigerator thermometer of questionable accuracy.
 
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Old 06-11-16, 08:11 PM
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After letting it set for a couple of hours they are reading 35, 35 and 36. I think the special limits T/C was reacting faster to the cold air stream than to the box temperature because it has so much less mass than the other two probes.

Next step is to wire the relay to the air shutter.
 
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Old 09-24-16, 08:50 PM
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Not that anyone cares but I'll add a few notes to this thread.

About a month ago I decided to get the ice maker working. I went to the big box mega-mart homecenter and bought two different needle valves as well as several other fittings, including two "push-connect" refrigerator hose fittings. Of course by the time I got home I found that I didn't buy enough but I ended up tearing all the drawers and shelves from inside the refrigerator section and THEN I found out that I needed to also use some special tools to press in the "snap together" joints on the cover over the internal water filter. Luckily, I had bought a set of such tools a few years ago to use on removing the inner door panels on my car.

So, I got the cover off the water filter and then found two more screws holding it in place. I removed them and then I was able to cut the tubing and remove the filter unit. I stuffed some bubble plastic in the hole where the tubing exited the compartment after running my thermocouple lead through.

Then I started working on the plastic water tubing. This refrigerator uses both 1/4 inch and 5/16 inch diameter tubing and I needed the larger size to go from the outlet of the isolation valve to the inlet of the icemaker/water dispenser valve. Of course the two valves are so close together that the stiff plastic (PEX?) tubing won't bend to fit but I found I could heat it up with my heat gun and then use a tubing bender to get it to make a tight bend. This allowed me to connect the two separate valves. The icemaker outlet from the dual valve assembly was 1/4 inch but the inlet to the freezer (and icemaker) was 5/16 inch so I used the adapter fitting I bought to marry the two different sizes. I re-connected the water supply and then bled all the air through the dispenser valve. Testing the ice maker it now fills properly and makes several batches an hour. Worried about accidentally hitting the water dispenser paddle and blowing water out the open tube in back I found I could electrically lock out the dispenser.

About a week later I wanted to get another thermocouple into the freezer compartment. I had been able to bring the lead wire into the refrigerator compartment and then stuff it down the return air duct into the freezer but it was reacting more to the temperature of the return air when the evaporator fan was running and I wanted to get it clear into the freezer compartment. I had to first remove the drawer front from the slide rails and then figure out how the upper shelf disconnected from the sliding bin lower part. Then I had to fight the lower bin off the rails and remove the rails. That left the icemaker and the back panel to remove which I did, revealing the evaporator coil and the return air duct openings. I fished the thermocouple wire through and added an adhesive wire tie base and a couple of Ty-Raps to hold the T/C in the freezer compartment. Then I replaced the back panel, ice maker, rails, drawer bins and upper bins and finally the drawer front. Now I have working indicators for both the refrigerator and the freezer compartments.

Still under control of the original thermostats the freezer runs between -8 and +3 degrees with the control set at maximum cooling. The refrigerator section will sometimes drop to 34 degrees and a high of about 39 degrees, also with the control set to maximum cooling, when neither compartment has been opened for several hours. If I leave my plastic water pitcher up against the discharge air duct (from the freezer section) it WILL build ice in the water although nothing else in the refrigerator freezes.

I've decided to leave the original control in place for the freezer section as it also controls the auto defrost function and I am satisfied with the freezer temperatures. I need to connect the SPA module to the air shutter, which also controls the evaporator fan when the refrigerator section calls for cooling, through another relay that will disable it when the defrost cycle is running and then I think I will be able to get much closer control over the refrigerator temperature. Along with that I will add a small fan to circulate the air in the refrigerator section to even out the wide temperature variations.

I still need to take down the overhead light console to see if I can peel back the inner liner enough to allow me to run the water dispenser tubing inside the box rather than out the back and then across and back into the water reservoir. If I cannot pull the liner then I will cut the sheet metal on the back, dig through the insulation and re-route the tubing, using spray foam to replace the damaged insulation. Then I should have a decent water dispenser as well as a refrigerator with close temperature control.
 
 

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