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How to Bypass the Optical Sensor in a Kenmore Ice Maker

Elton Dunn

Optical sensors in Kenmore ice makers raise or lower the freezer temperature to maintain the correct climate, and gauge the level of ice in the bin to control ice production. Manual settings on your Kenmore ice maker allow you to bypass the optical sensor to control freezer temperature and ice production. You can turn the ice maker on or off without the sensor's aid. Do it yourself if your sensor fails or while waiting for repair of a faulty sensor.

Major appliance makers such as Whirlpool and LG make appliances for Kenmore.

Step 1

Open the door to your freezer and look for a manual shutoff switch, which can turn your ice maker on and off, bypassing the optical sensor. In Whirlpool-manufactured Kenmore refrigerators, this should be on the top of the right side. Check your model-specific manual if you don't see the switch.

Step 2

Turn the switch on or off to start or stop your ice maker and bypass the optical sensor.

Step 3

Look for a wire arm that sits on the side of your ice maker bin, which offers manual control over the ice maker while it's in the "On" position. As the ice bin fills with ice, the wire arm pushes up. When the wire arm reaches the top, it shuts off the ice production. As you use ice the arm lowers, triggering ice production. Raise the arm up or down to control ice production without using the optical sensor.

Step 4

Manually adjust the freezer temperature by pressing the up or down arrows on the keypad, or rotating the switch or dial that controls the temperature. This changes the unit's temperature, bypassing the sensor.