Maytag Refrigerator Control Panel Problems and How To Fix It

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Most refrigerators, those from Maytag included, are usually built pretty well and are designed to last for a long time. That being said, modern fridges are a lot more complicated than they used to be, and nowadays fridges come with features like internal cameras, the ability to connect to a home network, and a built-in control panel. 

Maytag refrigerators are known to be susceptible to certain issues with their control panels. Usually, these problems are caused by a bad main control board or faulty UI board. However, there are a few other possible explanations for why your fridge’s control panel might not be working the way it’s supposed to. 

In this article, we’ll go into further detail about control panel issues in Maytag refrigerators. We’ll also go over some other reasons why your fridge’s control panel might not be acting normally and show you how to resolve them.

Common Maytag Control Panel Problems

There are a few common hardware issues that tend to affect Maytag fridges, but there’s one issue with the control panel that tends to happen somewhat frequently.

In particular, this tends to affect French door fridges with a bottom freezer, so if you have this model of Maytag fridge you may be somewhat predisposed to this problem.

When this issue occurs, the lights on the control panel will continuously blink and the ice dispenser door may also open and shut itself repeatedly. This problem may persist even if you try resetting the fridge.

What Causes This Issue?

If this is what’s happening to you, the problem almost certainly lies with your fridge’s control board. It’s likely that your fridge has a few control boards; this issue indicates a problem with the main one.

The main control board in your fridge is a circuit board that is responsible for controlling many of your fridge’s functions.

It manages your fridge’s cooling and defrost times, collects information from your fridge’s various sensors, and essentially functions as the medium that connects all of your fridge’s components together.

In general, control boards tend to fail because of exposure to excessive heat or moisture, or because they are inadvertently subjected to a high voltage surge.

Since a control board controls most of your fridge’s functions, as the name implies, the failure of the main control board can cause any number of your fridge’s components to fail also.

In the case of the control boards built for this specific model of Maytag fridge, there seems to be some kind of widespread manufacturing defect, a flaw in the control board’s design, or just something inherently wrong with this particular type of control board.

Regardless of the cause, these control boards tend to fail in a very specific way, causing the blinking control panel lights and the flapping ice dispenser door.

How Do I Fix It?

Before replacing your control board, you should try resetting your fridge and see if that does anything.

While it is likely that you will end up needing to replace the control board in the end, doing so can be a bit expensive, and it takes no money and barely any time to try resetting your fridge as it is.

Reset Your Fridge

To reset your fridge, all you need to do is unplug it from the wall or flip the circuit breaker for the fridge, whichever you prefer to do. Leave the fridge unplugged for 5-10 minutes or so, then plug it back in or flip the breaker back on.

Wait another few minutes, then check to see if the fridge is cooling properly and if the control panel responds to your inputs correctly. If everything is working as it should, then congratulations, you’ve solved the problem!

Replace the Control Board

If this doesn’t work, the control board will have to be replaced. Unless you’ve had experience with this kind of appliance repair before or you just feel particularly bold, we’d really recommend that you leave this process to a professional.

Modern fridges are complicated on the inside and it can be tricky to work on them if you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you are going to attempt to replace a bad control board, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Unplug the fridge from the wall and move it so you can access the rear of the fridge. The control board will be located under a panel at the fridge’s back. This repair should only take you an hour at the most, so there’s no need to empty your fridge out beforehand.
  2. Unscrew the screws that hold the panel in place and remove it from the fridge. The control board should now be exposed.
  3. Detach the wires that connect your control board to your fridge’s other components. You might want to take a picture of your old control board before you do this so you can remember where all the connectors go on the new control board.
  4. Use a slot screwdriver to release the tabs that hold the control board in place inside the fridge. You should now be able to pull the whole control board out of the fridge.
  5. Install the new control board, making sure it snaps into place inside the fridge. Reconnect everything as it was, and reinstall the cover.

Now that you’ve installed the new control board, you’ll need to reprogram it to your fridge. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Look for the program code on your fridge’s serial plate. You’ll need this code shortly.
  2. Press and hold the “Door Alarm” button on the control panel.
  3. While holding down the “Door Alarm” button, press and hold the “Freezer Temperature Down” button.
  4. Release the “Door Alarm” button and wait three seconds. The control panel should display “PE” meaning it is about to enter programming mode. Press the “Freezer Temperature Down” button once more to confirm.
  5. The screen should then display the current program code. If it displays the same code as the one on your serial plate, you don’t have to do anything else. You can exit programming mode by holding down the “Door Alarm” button for three seconds. 
  6. If the screen displays a different program code, you’ll have to change it to match the one on your serial plate. To do so, use the “Freezer Temperature Up” button to select the digit in the code you want to change, and use the “Refrigerator Temperature Up” and “Refrigerator Temperature Down” buttons to change the digit value.
  7. Once you’ve entered the right code, press and hold the “Freezer Temperature Down” button to confirm the code. When the code on the screen starts flashing, this means it has been successfully saved.

Why Else Would My Control Panel Not Be Working?

There are a few other reasons why your control panel might not be working as it is intended. Fortunately, these reasons aren’t caused by any electrical or mechanical defects, and can usually be resolved pretty quickly.

Here’s what else can potentially cause issues with your control panel:

There Was Recently a Power Outage

If your home experiences a power outage, obviously your fridge is going to stop working, since your fridge needs constant power to run.

However, Maytag fridges may remain in a power outage mode when the power is restored, in which the control panel and the dispenser functions are disabled until you acknowledge that there’s been a power outage.

When the fridge is in power outage mode, a red power outage icon will appear on the fridge’s display and it will also repeatedly flash the message “PO“.

The power outage icon only appears if your power goes out, but also if your freezer temperature has risen to above 18°F (-8°C).   

If this happens, just use the control panel to confirm that there’s been an outage, and you should regain control. Otherwise, you can try resetting the fridge using the steps listed earlier.

The Fridge Is in Demo Mode

Many Maytag fridges come with a demo mode, also known as “Showroom Mode“. When the fridge is in its demo mode, all of the fridge’s functions will be disabled except for the interior lights.

There’s obviously no reason why you would ever put your fridge in demo mode on purpose, but it can potentially happen by accident.

Some Maytag fridges (but not all) indicate when they’re in demo mode by showing “Showroom” on their display.

Since the method used to deactivate demo mode depends on what model of fridge you have, you should consult your owner’s manual to find out the exact procedure required. 

The Fridge Is in Sabbath Mode

Many modern appliances including fridges come with a Sabbath mode. In Judaism, the Sabbath (Saturday) is a holy day of rest, meaning that practicing Jews are forbidden from doing “work that creates”.

This includes doing anything that results in electrical activity occurring, such as opening a fridge door (which usually causes the fridge lights to turn on and the compressor to start). Therefore, a fridge’s Sabbath mode disables many of its features, including the control panel.

If you want to take your fridge out of Sabbath mode, the correct way of doing so once again varies depending on the model of your fridge, so you’ll also want to consult your owner’s manual for this.

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