Sub Zero 700 bf Control Panel Inoperative...But Unit works fine??

etbrown4March 23, 2012

Sub Zero 700 bf Control Panel Inoperative...But Unit works fine????

Go figure. This unit is running and cooling perfectly however, none of the buttons operate. Heck, you can'r even turn it off!

Anybody had this experience with A Sub Zero?

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Try flipping the breaker. Count to 30. Flip it back on. It may just need a cold reboot.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Tried that.

It does switch the unit from 'off' to 'on' but the control panel is still inoperative.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 9:23AM
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Goggling your title for this posts, I've noticed you have been on several web-sites trying to get the problem resolved.

I believe this:
"Top lights off and keys inoperative
Black, white or yellow wire of display cable is unhooked or faulty" was on the SZ web-site under trouble shooting guide.

If the top lights are on, but controls inop, another web-site suggests checking the red wire to the display.



    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 10:26AM
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Thanks Gary.

For seeing what you can find. You know, google used to crawl all sites monthly, and now they are way faster!

I had noticed the quote you found in the SZ troubleshooting. It's sure worth checking black, white, and yellow. Other than checking these for continuity, any idea what to check on the red wire?

I'm not too optimistic. The way it by itself, shuts down completely and says 'off'. on the display is spooky. Then when it's running it will turn the icemaker on without warning.

Sure it could be bad wires or loose or corroded connections, but the way it's acting so unpredictably, sounds more like a bad brain to me,

A guy on ebay sells them for $200 and I guess it could be worse, even if it is something else like the control panel.

It is surprising that there is so little tech literature even for the pros and really no trouble shooting for the main board - for those who don't get an error code.

I am hoping to bump into someone who has had this particular problem, and that's looking less likely each day, esp since SZ techs don't seem to troll these repair forums!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 9:11PM
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It would be nice to find a drawing or Schematic, but I did not stumble upon one in my search. I would think they would use connectors to the display board and the CPU (brains board) rather that a hard (Soldered connection) to same, but without diagrams or even a good description, your guess is as good as mine.

Be sure to unplug the fridge whilst you are working on it and see if you can find the dislplay and cpu boards and if there are connectors , see that they are clean and tightly connected. A wire itself is not likely to be intermittent, unless it's very small, most of the time it will be the connection at either end of the wire.

SZ does poke in here, but usually their "Marketing Types", alto they do offer to help---usually they encourage you to call SZ!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 10:17PM
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The stiffness in the control panel buttons, and the failure to 'click' seems to have been a build up of ice, somehow.

Once the control panel was allowed to reach room temp you could see water streaming out.

I can see the colder and warmer buttons working and the ice button, but the 'on' and 'off' still does nothing.

After powering won and back up, one time, if did briefly get a 'service' indication and also the alternating letter of E and then F. The service light is off again as are E and E. For now it is doing nothing except the ice indication will come on and go off on its own.

Maybe it's a problem with the black, white, yellow, or red, however the connections at the control panel look clean - in spite of the water coming from around those buttons.

So I'm about ready to take the plunge on the brain board, unless anyone else has another idea. I figure I have a 50-50 chance.

The E and F codes are gone, but good old sub-zero was not kind enough to tell us what they meant anyway!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 12:06PM
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Finally found some drawings and instructions for replacing the Display/control panel as well as replacing the
"CPU board".

I would carefully examine the display control board first, look for water damage on both sides of the board, also there seem to be a number of Connectors going to both the Display/control board, as well as the CPU board, so check all of those carefully too for tightness as well as corrosion.

It's hard for me to believe that SZ would design the panel in such a way that ice or ultimately water (Once the ice melts) would accumulate in it, I would certainly give them a call and ask if this is "Normal Operation" for the display board , and perhaps the CPU board --(full of ice) is

Like you said, You have a 50-50 chance, but my money is on the Display/control board, but we see who has the "Better chance" in Vegas, after you change one or the other, but do look for water damage on both boards!

Click the link below to see the drawings and instructions that I found.


Here is a link that might be useful: 700 bf Drawings

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 8:46AM
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Thanks for the link Gary....

I have chatted with the owner of that firm who supplies that link several times and amazingly he is pretty open and pretty helpful to guys calling him from the Internet! He said he suspected the main cpu board.

I agree with you that it's likely to be one board or the other! Once I defrosted and drained the visibly streaming water from the control panel, those buttons began clicking nicely though the on and off button never worked.

I'm pretty sure the buttons are impervious to water reaching the contacts, though it is nearly certain that there was some frozen condensation in there which stopped the buttons from clicking. You could feel they were stiff.

I think the board and most components are covered in epoxy so there seems like little risk of moisture damage, as best I can tell! All the contacts appear clean.

It's a shame that there is no trouble shooting guide for the main control board., and no explanation of what might be those R and F error codes!

As I mentioned, at one point, and for a little while, I did see the service message, and the likely error codes of E and F. Gosh only knows what that meant, anyway!!!

After all the drying out and powering up and down and moving the connectors on and off to improve the contacts, I finally ended up with the unit off, and could never get it to come on again. Sometimes the crazy icemaker light would briefly show on, and then off - even without pressing that button at all. You could hear a relay clicking.

They say it's "lonely at the top". I would paraphrase that, and say that "it's lonely to work on a crazy subzero and get no help from the manufacturer." I'm told they refuse to give advise, except to authorized service centers.

There is an ending to all these stories, thankfully, and I will post the answer.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 12:02AM
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So far none of 3 SZ techs contacted, have ever heard of ice build up under the contact buttons on a SZ two drawer freezer!

As mentioned before, I have seen lots of water sitting on top of this control panel, with the unit found mysteriously off. You have to figure that resulted from a freezer that became warm after shutting down on its own - perhaps a number of times - accidentally. I have seen it re-start on it's own, too.

Upon re-freezing, I've felt the ice, and watched the water stream from the contact button area upon defrosting. (Now not as sure that the SZ control panel is actually impervious to ice or condensation)

(it is possible, though not yet proven, that the ice building up in those button contacts could even be causing the unit to turn itself off. The ice raises the contact noticeably) Hard to tell if this is the chicken or the egg!

Likewise, though not proven, it is possible that there is a problem with the main board which is shutting the unit off, and then back on.

Either way we'll start with the $258 control board. If that does not work, we'll have to follow with the $205 main board.

Though unlikely, it is possible that there could be problems with both, or even something unrelated. Time will tell, and either $250 later or $455 later, we hopefully have an answer - or a lot of new parts!

The only consultation is that this small 2 drawer unit retails for $5000, and if successful, we'll come out at about 10% of the new cost. Still a lot of money...but no guarantees.:(

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 2:08AM
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Dear etbrown4,

I'm sorry to hear that you are having that problem with ice build up around the control panel of your 700 Series freezer drawers. We can offer technical assistance from the factory at 800-222-7820. Please let our Customer Care group know you are working on a unit with a possible control board issue and you would like to troubleshoot with a technician. They will need your serial number to provide correct information and advice. Have you repaired appliances in the past? Our concern is that just replacing the control panel may still result in ice build in the future. We would be happy to have our Tech Line discuss it with you over the phone to help determine the best way to proceed.

It is preferred to have a Factory Certified Service company out to your home since they have been factory trained to be experts on our products. Let me provide you with the information to contact a Factory Certified Service company in your area. Our Factory Certified Service companies can correctly diagnose the unit and make any necessary repairs. You will find those nearest you by following the link to our Locator. Enter your zip/postal code, select 'Service, Repair and Parts' for a list of companies in your area.

You can also find a Factory Certified Parts Distributor via the same link.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding this or any other issue, please contact us directly. You can contact us via phone Mon-Fri. 8:00-5:00 CST at 800-222-7820. We can also be reached via email at

Thank you,

Customer Care Team
Sub-Zero/Wolf Appliances

Here is a link that might be useful: Sub-Zero:Wolf Service/Parts/Dealer Locator

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 1:48PM
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Fix it yourself.

The Subzero "Factory Certified Service" in Brooklyn, NY is abysmal requiring multiple all day waits for a single repair (they never have the part when they come the first time). I purchased a 700 new and from day one it has required service and for major fixes so I have lots of experience with their so called "service". It is now out of warranty and still breaking regularly. I now use an HVAC mechanic who got a hard time from SZ when he ordered a part (a failed fan - it just never ends).

Contacting SZ for additional servicer options just got me names/numbers who did not come to Brooklyn.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 10:36PM
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The answer is the replacement of the control panel mounted in the top of the freezer drawer.

I had earlier removed the control panel to take a closer look. After it defrosted for a while, I noticed water streaming from it. A fair amount.

It appears that somehow the moisture seal had been lost, and moisture or condensation was able to collect inside. Several of the buttons had become inoperable.

Subzero tech support has an ohm test for the 5 contacts on the ribbon cable on that panel. They may or may not help you or even tell you about that test over the phone. (The first tech there, failed to mention that test to me, though it should be as obvious as the nose on one's face, and it's not in the subzero trouble shooting guides!) I had a shorted contact internally - apparently caused by the moisture and corrosion.

The control panel was $300, but it saved a unit that costs $5000 new.

Many thanks to Gary a poster on this site, who helped guide me away from the main brain and to the control panel, and a cracker-jack tech at subzero who helped with the ohm test!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:08AM
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Glad to hear it all worked out.Any fridge that has a problem is obviously a pita, but those of us that have built ins or "Integrated" just about hafta get them fixed, as the last thing we want to do is to have to replace it and keeping our fingers crossed that not only will the new one fit, but the expensive panels we bought will fit the new one, but, at least "to me" the built ins or Integrated are worth it, both for the look and the ease of keeping them clean versus Stainless or painted ones.
Fortunately my Jenn-air has been trouble free for over 5 years now, except for having to replace an ice maker that cost me about $150 and a half hour of my time to replace it.

Hope all stays well with yours for a LONG TIME, Now!!!


    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:23AM
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