Top critical review
30 people found this helpful
Better Be Handy with Repairs/Buy Extended Warranty
on September 2, 2013
I purchased this from Lowes 2 years ago and brought an extended five year warranty.
My first comment is if you have dont have tile or linoleum floor, you need to make sure you have good water proofing under this. I would not put this unit on any carpeted surface.
These energy efficient appliances come with adaptive defrost controller that is microprocessor based and is quite complex. This is the source of a lot of problems with this design. Energy 'efficient' at least with Whirpool refrigerator is a 'bad' thing as Whirlpool/Maytag despite a lot of years of complaints about this model still cant produce a reliable high quality unit due to the Jazz controller board.
At $1300 that is really a shame. These guys don't have USA engineers on staff 'but outsource' the controller design, often to the low bidder. That is the problem, outsourcing design work to the low bidder in communist china. Whirlpool /maytag in general seem to be bring most everything back to the USA for their new products.
After six months I noticed very unusual frost/defrost cycles and over flowing water, which I just mopped up. They claimed there was a new defrost drain check valve that was needed. but when I looked in the back of the unit they had already replaced this (on my model) crummy rubber valve with a solid plastic piece that went from the condensate drain to the drain pain.
So I just unplugged the device and it reset it self. I continued on in this mode of 'mop' and reset the power for about another 18 months, when both the refrigerator and freezer stopped cooling properly.
I found out where to download the schematic and programming manual for the 'Jazz ' Controller' board for the Maytag/Amana/Whirlpool. This is a very valuable link giving part numbers and schematics and most importantly the complete programming guide and debuggging guide which allow limited remote trouble shooting before disassembling the unit. if you don't have the programming manual and service checks you will be 'hit or miss' replacing parts.
The best thing about this manual is how to put your refrigerator into a manual defrost mode as if there is icebuild up and the refrigerator will not work. if you get lot of ice you will freeze the fan that is used to blow the cold air to the refrigerator unit and the refrigerator wont cool and freezer also probably wont cool. if you cant hear the fan when you open the freezer door its frozen or not working. a lot of time you can keep your ref going by freezing some ice in gallon jug, putting that in the refrigerator, then hitting defrost manual mode ( and programming it for the normal defrost setting until you get cool air blown from the bottom to the top (assuming your damper control and timer are working).
I determined I had a bad 'Jazz' board after running the self tests. It is not enough to just replace the board you MUST add a 1000 Joule+ surge protector to the back of the Unit or every two years you will probably be buying a new Jazz board at $100 a pop.
I found out my warranty would not replace a bad board due to power surge. So I replaced it myself and added the surge protector. The controller board is easy to replace as it is in the top of the fridge under the light. You power the unit down, pull the light cover back. Then there are two tabs you press down in front of the lights with screw driver in the horizontal position, then pushed down. The housing for the controller pops right off and the rest is easy. i should note my unit used a Jazz version 7 and they unit i purchased was at rev 14, so 7 revision to the board design in 2 years. not good.
The unit worked for a while but I think as the controller was bad and it was cycling too often it must have damaged the thermostat. The programming test mode indicated that was a potential problem. Unfortunately replacing the thermostat requires quite a bit of disassembling of the freezer section, but not a lot of tools, 1/4 nut driver, screw driver, hair driver.putty nice, wire strippers, and some quick connect electrical connects, silicon and a plastic tie. make sure the power is of when you do this.
In general the Jazz controllers tend to die due a lack of proper surge protect. if you have lights getting blown, and neither the fridge or freezer working, i would enter the self test mode and replace the jazz controller board as the self testing mode will probably indicate it is bad.
now if you have the more common problem of the refrigerator not working but the freezer works with some ice build up. just try a couple of manual defrosts that might fix the problem alone
if not then run the tests on the system from the programming guide to determine what part of the defrost unit is bad.
in general in these units the thermostat seems to go out, then the heater element. then the defrost timing controller, and that presumes your controller board which controls these units has not gone out.
i decided to 'save' my warranty for the compressor and deal with these minor electrical issues myself. while they are
minor' they take a lot of time to repair and I doubt the svs tech would have told me i need a surge protector. that was only obvious after i got a hold of the schematic for the jazz controller which is another subject.
whirlpool/maytag was no help and they go to extraordinary links to hide the manual you need to debug your refrigerator problems. this is poor engineering caused by a very complex adaptive controller and poor quality control/components on the Jazz controller board.
if you're hubby aint handy unless you buy the extended warranty I would not get this unit. sadly I can't really recommend another unit as all these refrigerators now seem to be designed to be serviced by a tech every two years.
your initial purchase is your down payment all but the top end appliances, and that is probably by design. you probably have to buy a $2000 dollar plus model to get a reliable refrigerator these days and one made in Europe or the USA. and i mean everything made in the USA especially the electronics.
this Jazz board had all made in cheap made in china electronics on it. I was disgusted by the quality of components. i used to design electronic controls so i know the deal wit the devil Whirlpool made rather than use high quality made in the USA capacitors, ICs, relays.
whirlpool/maytag should apologize to me for this poor controller board design needing a surge protector and how quickly the controller board got blown out.
the only good thing it has going for it is the limited diagnostic tests you can program in, if you can find the programmers manual like i did. print the manual out as you will need it.
Good luck whirlpool maytag fans on this one we will all need it.
I updated this product to 3 stars based upon the new controller board and new thermostat that had to be installed as the loss of control by the Jazz controller popped the thermostat open by freezing it in solid ice.
over all this is a neat design with the freezer on bottom, and ex the controller the quality was very good for the money and it is very energy efficient over my old whirlpool unit.
i would say the new Jazz controller board is much more stable and improved over the one in my unit, IF you put a 1000+ joule surge protector to protect the microprocessor on the Jazz controller. that is probably 'the' key thing you need to do to get a 5-10 year life before needing some repair.
I would recommend this now if you get the extended warranty and add a surge protector or if you are your husband are handy at fixing things and just add the surge protector. The 'hidden' link to the programmers manual which should have come with the unit is your 'secret' to get full functionality and debug capability out of your refig.
i guess I should mention I got this unit on a big sale a lowes and consumer reports gave it a very good review, which they should not have at the time I purchased it. its been working flawlessly since the new Jazz controller board was installed along with the surge protector and the thermostat destroyed by the failed controller. on the plus side the unit is very easy to work on, although time consuming to defrost with a heat gun if the controller or theromstat or heater goes out.
with this unit, i feel the devil i know is now better than the devil i don't know.