The Very First Error Code "Vacuum Condenser"
In 1996, I was six years old. Somewhere in America a team of engineers sat down and discussed a new product that would be released in the coming years. A motherboard driven refrigerator that had basic intelligence and would convert a number of previously mechanical functions into electrical operations into one “CPU board.” This board had a small amount of RAM on board, and it could access and store information related to the functions of your refrigerator. Even better, it had a screen that could display the temperature of your refrigerator or freezer. This display had room for other messages as well, an ICE indicator for example. Even cooler, you could program this board to a flash a message. The engineers must have thought to themselves, what an excellent opportunity to remind people to do routine maintenance! Thus, the vacuum condenser light was born.
So you Vacuumed Your Condenser and the Message didn’t go away.
There is a flaw in all of this. The vacuum condenser light was programmed to illuminate when your machine ran for too long. If the compressor ran longer than it should, it would indicate to you that your condenser was full of dust and it was time to “vacuum condenser”.
However, your Compressors can run longer than expected for a wide variety of reasons.
Lets say you have a rip in your gasket and warm air is getting into the food compartment, “vacuum condenser.” Lets say your condenser fan motor fails and doesn’t supply airflow to your compressors “Vacuum Condenser.” Lets say your evaporator springs a leak causing one of your compressors to run indefinitely “vacuum condenser.”
Get The Picture?
By all means, vacuum your condenser! However, do not be surprised if it does not get you perfect temperatures. Vacuum condenser ultimately became known amongst appliance technicians as a general Sub-Zero Error Code. It may has well have been a Check Engine Light.
So did they fix it?
You bet your butt they did. When the “Vacuum Condenser” light was fazed out by 2004, it was replaced with a “Service” indicator. This “service” indicator operated on the same principle, it would more accurately monitor critical components of your system. Compressor and ice maker run times, electrical signals and temperature readings and temperature history.
Sometimes your machine would just outright flash the error codes it would experience, other time you would have to go search for them. Most machines built after 2002 have a diagnostic mode. It can tell a story. Below is a list of error codes that we commonly see in 600 and 700 series units.
EC 40 – Excessive Freezer Compressor run time.
EC 50- Excessive Refrigerator Compressor run time
EC24- Defrost Underheat
EC30- Your ice maker solenoid valve ran too long
EC 05: Fridge Section read erratic temperatures.
EC 06: Fridge Evaporator thermistor error
EC 07: Freezer cabinet thermistor error
EC 08: Freezer Evaporator thermistor error