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Buttons Not Working = PWA problem = SPDT switches on control board not responding
Last Updated: 11/25/2019
When BUTTONS on PWA ( control board ) are not "responding", it may be possible to "clean" the board,
and get them to work ( at least long enough to program or set up time ).

CUSTOMER wrote to us about "solving" his problem with non-responsive Program ( Select ) Button.


what I tried next:

I unplugged the softener.
I then removed the circuit board from its mount and removed its metal shield.
My intention was to override the Program switch by shorting its leads, to see if the switch was not functioning.
I determined it was a SPDT switch, so I was using an Ohm meter to figure out which of the four contacts were the pairs to close.
In doing so, I noticed the board had some corrosion, so I cleaned that off with some alcohol.
I powered up the softener, and it went into its programming mode. But this time I was able to operate the Program button to complete the programming.
Thinking I had found the problem, I unplugged the power again, and put everything back together.
I powered up, but then the programming button wouldnít work, I was again stuck at the first step of programming.
I took it all apart again, powered up, and again I was able to complete the Programming.
I put everything back together, and powered up. The unit started up in normal mode (not programming mode), and the softener appeared to be working.
I left well enough alone, and started a manual recharge. Which seemed to work. The recharge took the expected two hours. The interface showed the time remaining, etc. All seemed OK.
Once complete, I drained the water heater and let it refill with soft water. I then flushed out all the pipes in my house and then fired up the water heater. An hour later I was showering in hot, soft water.
So the softener is working. Sort of. I didnít attempt to try programming it again.
I donít know if I fixed anything by cleaning off the corrosion, or if the board, for some reason, only lets me program it while it is free of its shield and mount. ???
Thereís clearly something going on with the board. Iíll replace it when I canít repeat the above procedure.
For now, Itís working and I can live with the added steps for programming because I virtually never have to...

Other PWA issues ( that result in Error Codes ) are:

*** Error Code 01, 02, 03 or 04 can be the SWITCH, the wiring connection to the switch and back of circuit board,


it could be a weak motor

OR it could be "drag" on the motor because the Rotor Disc is worn

OR it could be the Seal Kit and Rotor Disc need replacing.

* It's not "cut and dry".

Any of these or a combination of these can be the reason.
see: Trouble Shooting List

An Error Code means the circuit board is not getting the "signal" from the switch ( that is riding the Cam Gear ) that it has reached the next Cycle in the proper amount of time.

The circuit board is telling the motor to turn ... sending it power, and the circuit board is programmed to wait for the next "signal" from the switch only so long before it will "sense" there is a problem.

Result is you see an Error Code.

I always recommend checking each component involved, starting with the switch.

Best case, you've got a loose connection in your wiring or the switch is bad.

Worst case, you need a new motor, rotor and seal kit.

** Wiring harness is critical, so be careful to inspect the connections to the Switch or Motor ( if it is failing to move ) as there could be a poor connection.
Problem can be corrosion of the harness or the pins on the back of the PWA ( timer ) circuit board.
This could include a "cold soldier" joint at the pins where they "attach" to the circuit board.

* All the items and prices can be found on our website. SEE: NORTH STAR, SEARS, GE, WHIRLPOOL

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