The dishwasher is one of the most important appliances in any kitchen, so it’s always a big deal when there’s a problem with it. If the control panel on yours doesn’t light up, it’s unlikely to wash anything. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do on your own before you call in the professionals.
If there are no lights on the dishwasher control panel, there could be problems with the connection to the power source. The machine could also be in child lock. This is especially true if the machine is responsive in other ways. If it is completely inactive, however, there could be deeper issues.
The rest of the article will take a closer look at how you can fix the problem, with a little bit of DIY effort.
No Dishwasher Power Connection
If there’s no light in your dishwasher’s control panel, the first thing you should do is to check that the machine is connected properly to the power source in the wall. If it’s properly plugged in, you should confirm that the outlet works by plugging another appliance into it.
How to Fix
If the outlet is not working, you can use a voltage tester screwdriver like the Finder 1000V to troubleshoot the connection and repair the outlet. Once this is done, your dishwasher control panel lights should come on. Everything should go back to normal from here.
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Active Child Lock on Dishwasher
Many dishwasher brands add a child lock feature to make sure your little ones don’t go fiddling around the machine. If such a lock is enabled, the lights in the control panel won’t come on as the machine will be unresponsive.
It’s worth pointing out that this is an option if the machine actually powers on but just doesn’t show lights on the panel and doesn’t work either. The child lock mechanism will also vary from one brand to another. So, while one brand’s control panel may not have lights when the child lock is on, another could have lights but won’t start working.
How to Fix
Check to see if there’s any such information displayed on the panel and disable the lock. You can use your user manual to deactivate the lock if you’re unsure.
Damaged Electronic Control Panel or Timer
The electronic control and the timer are responsible for determining the power used in the various parts of the dishwasher, including the lightings. They also control the heating circuit, water inlet valve, drain pump, and so on.
How to Fix
If the lights aren’t coming on, set your multimeter to Rx1000 to measure for ohms resistance, with a reading falling between 2000-3500. The exact reading will vary from one brand to another, but a reading well outside this range or the recommended reading in your manufacturer’s manual suggests deeper issues. You may have to replace the control panel or the timer.
Damaged Dishwasher Thermal Fuse
The thermal fuse in your dishwasher is designed to blow if it overheats. When this happens, your machine won’t come on, and thus there won’t be any lights on the control panel.
How to Fix
You can find the thermal fuse around the control panel. Once you’ve found it, you can test it for continuity to be sure it still works. The test process is straightforward. Here’s what you have to do:
- Unplug the dishwasher to avoid electric shocks in the process.
- Detach the inner door on your appliance to expose the control panel. You’ll find the thermal fuse attached to the panel by two wires.
- Disconnect the wires carefully and then remove the thermal fuse for testing.
- Set the multimeter to Rx1and then touch the contact on the fuse with your multimeter’s probe.
- Check for a reading of zero or near zero to confirm that the fuse works fine.
Damaged Dishwasher Door Latch Assembly
If the control panel lights are only designed to come on when the door latch and latch switches are working well, you should check to be sure the assembly is perfectly aligned. The door latch assembly is important as it ensures there’s no water leak when the appliance is working. It also features the door latch switches, which communicate with the control panel.
How to Fix
If the door doesn’t close well enough to activate the latch switches, the dishwasher won’t receive the trigger to start working, which means the lights in your control panel won’t come on. The same applies if the door latch switches are damaged. To rule out damage, you’ll have to test the assembly using a multimeter by following the steps below after disconnecting the appliance.
- Remove the inner door panel and look towards the top of the door to find the door latch assembly.
- Insert the catch into the assembly to be sure the catch activates the latch switches.
- For switches activated mechanically, remove them and check for continuity with a multimeter.
- Probe the switch’s terminals after setting the multimeter to Rx1. As is the case with the fuse, check for a reading of zero or close to zero.
- A different result suggests that you need to get a replacement door latch assembly.
Damaged Dishwasher Main Control Board
If you’ve used all the approaches above and your dishwasher still doesn’t work, it is possible that you’ve got a damaged control board. If this is the case, the appliance will only work after you’ve bought a new board. The replacement process for these boards isn’t always easy, so you should make sure it’s something you can do before you embark on it.
Tips to Keep in Mind
Do Not Hesitate to Call In a Professional
If you’ve done your best to bring back the lights to your control panel with no success, you should call in a professional. Go for experts that are known to repair your dishwasher model. If your dishwasher is still within its warranty period, you may be able to get your dealer to send a technician to your home.
Consider Using the Appliance Without the Lights
It’s highly unlikely to find a newer model dishwasher working without the control panel lights on. If that’s the case with yours, however, you can consider using the dishwasher with external lighting. Grab a flashlight, and you can use the appliance easily. This is a lesser hassle than going through the troubleshooting process, which can inadvertently lead to more serious damage.
Think About the Cost of the Repair
Dishwashers cost around $300 for countertop models like the Farberware Professional and Danby DDW621WDB. Standard options like the Bosh 300 series can cost around $800.You should, therefore, be able to know when it makes more sense to just get a new appliance instead of spending money on replacement parts and technician fees.
If your dishwasher has seen up to a decade of use, replacing it might be a good idea, especially if your basic troubleshooting hasn’t yielded any results.
If there are no lights on the dishwasher control panel, but it works, the repair process is generally a bit more straightforward. However, this is rare, so in many cases where the lights are off, the machine won’t work.
In this case, your troubleshooting should focus on checking for factors that are preventing the appliance from working and trying to rectify the problem. Once that is done, the lights will come back on, and your dishwasher will return to normal.