Samsung Refrigerator Error Code 88: How to Fix

Fred's Appliance
September 1, 2021
Refrigerator Repair

An 88 or 88 88 error code on a Samsung refrigerator indicates that there is a communication fault caused by the power to the refrigerator being disrupted during bootup. In other words, there is a problem with the refrigerator’s circuit caused by a power surge. When the 88 error code is displayed, the refrigerator’s temperature will often decrease. However, the issue is not caused by heating or cooling components failing; it is because of the control board.

What Causes the 88 Error Code

The 88 error code is caused by a sharp disruption in the current flow. The error code is more common with refrigerators that have an inverter compressor, as they are more vulnerable to power spikes, voltage variations, power outages, and short circuits in the network. All of these factors can cause an 88 error code.

When the electricity fluctuates, the control board starts sending requests to the various systems to check whether they are working properly, but it does not get any response. The refrigerator then starts the self-diagnostic process; however, this does not produce any results, and the refrigerator’s response is to display the 88 error code.

If you have a Samsung 88 error code, the second digit may change to display an 83, 85, or 86 error code or appear as 88 83, etc. Each error code points to a different issue with the compressor caused by the voltage variation. 83 refers to abnormal current detected, 85 to below voltage, and 86 to too much voltage. Each error code can usually be fixed by following the instructions below.

How to Fix the 88 Error Code

There are three methods to resolve the 88 error code. If they fail, the control board will likely need to be replaced.

  1. Sometimes, the error code will resolve itself if you do not touch the refrigerator for 2-3 hours (this means not opening the refrigerator or freezer or turning the power off). The time will give the refrigerator’s system time to stabilize itself. The error code will keep blinking as the refrigerator goes through the stabilization process.
  2. If you do not want to wait, the refrigerator can be rebooted to try to fix the issue. To reboot the refrigerator, unplug it or turn it off at the circuit breaker for 1-3 minutes, and then reconnect it to the power. If the error code remains, try the third method. Be aware that Samsung advises not to turn the refrigerator off because it can make it harder for a technician to diagnose the correct issue. This is because the self-diagnostic information could be deleted when the power is disconnected.
  3. Reset the system through the control panel. Reset instructions will depend on the model. On some refrigerators, you should simultaneously press the Lighting and EnergySaving buttons. On other models, simultaneously press the PowerFreeze and PowerCool buttons. Press the buttons for 10-15 seconds. You should hear a beep, and then the display should turn off. Wait for several minutes while the system runs self-diagnostics, and then check whether the error code is still showing.

If the error code remains, you likely have a more serious issue than a temporary glitch; the control board has likely been damaged by the power surge.

Diagnosing and Replacing the Control Board

Diagnosing a defective control board is typically a complicated procedure that requires a trained professional. However, it can be examined for signs of burning or a short circuit, which would indicate it is defective and needs to be replaced.

The control board is an important component of the refrigerator, as it controls the various functions, such as when the compressor should turn on. Therefore, it is also recommended that a trained professional install a new control board.

However, if you have chosen to replace the control board and feel confident enough to install it, follow these instructions:

  1. Disconnect the power to the refrigerator.
  2. If the refrigerator is connected to the water, turn the water off and disconnect it.
  3. Move the refrigerator away from the wall.
  4. Locate the control board access panel on the back of the refrigerator.
  5. Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the screws securing the access panel.
  6. Take a digital photo to remember how the various wires connect to the control board.
  7. Disconnect the wire connectors.
  8. Release the upper tabs and remove the control board.
  9. Align the bottom edge of the new control board first, and then fit the top edge. You should hear the board click if it is fitted correctly.
  10. Reconnect the wire connectors to the appropriate terminals on the board. Use the photo to guide you.
  11. Replace the access cover; use a Phillips-head screwdriver to thread the screws.
  12. Move the appliance back against the wall.
  13. Reconnect the water and turn it on.
  14. Reconnect the power to the refrigerator.

The refrigerator should now operate correctly without the 88 error code.

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