Portable ice maker not making ice and other common issues - the self-check list

You’re all set for a nice back yard party but notice that your portable ice maker is not working. It’s supposed to create ice automatically, but your ice machine is weirdly low on ice, and you’re not sure why. You think why is my portable ice maker not making ice, why won’t it function properly, and form ice for you? Let’s see what’s wrong, and get it fixed.

Portable ice makers will fail to work if they are low on water, if there’s a leak or a clog in the water hose, or if they need to be manually reset. While all models are slightly different, all portable ice makers need electricity, a supply of water, and a clean internal system of hoses and pumps to make ice. If any of these components are malfunctioning, your portable ice machine won’t work.

Keep reading to find out how to troubleshoot your portable ice maker, and keep your guests happy and cool throughout a party, get-together, or night in.

Why is my Frigidaire Portable Ice Maker not Making Ice?

To understand what’s wrong with your portable ice maker, it may be helpful to understand how the ice maker does its job. The ice maker uses the following components:

  • Electrical Power. This supplies energy to the interior mechanisms of the ice maker that allow it to work.
  • Water Reservoir. The water reservoir holds the cool water that will become ice. It is pumped via tubes into a partition where refrigerant-cooled metal prongs chill the water into ice.
  • Ice Reservoir. This section stores the ice that’s been formed for use, and enjoyment.

Under ideal circumstances, you would fill the water reservoir with cool water, plug in your portable ice maker, power it on, press menu buttons to configure settings, and sit back while ice is made.

Let’s go through each section of what powers the ice maker to help troubleshoot and get it working again.

Check Your Power Source

This may seem very simple, but have you check to see if your portable ice maker is plugged in? Check the power chord for damage, make sure that the chord is securely plugged into an outlet, and make sure that the chord is seated properly in the ice machine.

A damaged chord will need to be replaced, which will be easier to do if your power chord plugs in separately to the ice maker as well as to the outlet. Fully detachable chords like this can be replaced easily, and if this is the problem, you’re good to go.

Also, make sure that your device is turned on. If your power chord looks fine and is plugged in the ice maker may simply need to be turned on. Alternately, you can manually reset the ice maker.

Manually Reset Your Ice Maker

Your portable ice maker may need a manual reset. This clears out any old data or messages in the ice maker’s very simply computer system and can help your ice maker “get its head on right” and function properly again.

One way to do this is to simply unplug your portable ice maker for 15 minutes. This should put it in a hard reset, and allow you begin afresh. If your icemaker is plugged in, you can also long-press on the power button and manually reset the plugged-in ice maker this way.

Check and Refill Your Water Supply

Another possible culprit is low water. Check your water reservoir and refill with cool water if it’s low. Check the reservoir often throughout the day or evening to make sure the machine isn’t straining to work with no liquid. This can put added stress on the ice maker’s components and cause it to break down sooner.

Use Cold or Cool Water

To keep your ice maker functioning well, be sure to fill it with cold or cool water, not hot water. The refrigerant in the portable ice maker will struggle to cool down and form ice from hot water, and hot water can also damage the internal components of your ice maker.

To keep this from happening and to make things easier on your ice maker, use chilly water to refill the reservoir, and keep the ice maker away from hot areas such as a running stove or bright, warm sunlight. If the area surrounding the ice maker is too warm, it will struggle to make ice.

Clean Your Water Hose

The internal hoses that run the water through your portable ice maker may be choked with mineral deposits. Take these steps to clean your hoses:

  • Empty the portable ice maker of all ice and all remaining water
  • Run a solution of one part vinegar or lemon juice and one part water through the ice maker
  • Remove the vinegar ice and dispose
  • Run a second cycle of clean water through the disposable ice maker to get rid of any of the vinegar residue and odor

This should help clear out mineral deposits and bacteria and can be done twice a year as a part of routine maintenance. This can also cut back on the common problem of ice tasting “funny” or odd. You may also be able to unscrew and unhook tubing and clean it manually. Make sure to flush the tubing with clean water afterwards and before re-attaching. 

If you notice any damage or leaking to your water hoses, this is a great time to replace them. New parts can generally be ordered from the manufacturer and can be installed quickly and simply. 

If you water hoses are clogged with ice instead of mineral deposits, simply unplug your ice machine for three hours and allow the ice to melt naturally. Then, use the ice machine as normal. Make sure not to over-fill the ice machine and keep the ice reservoir at moderate levels.


If your portable ice machine isn’t making ice, be sure to check the power supply, electric chords, and electric display to be sure your ice maker is on and receiving power. Do a hard reset by pressing the “on button” for a continuous ten seconds, or by leaving the ice machine unplugged for 15 minutes.

Refill the water reservoir if it’s low and be sure to use only cool water to refill the machine. Finally, check the water hoses in your ice machine for mineral deposits, damage, or clogged ice. These hoses can be cleaned out with a water and vinegar solution, or replaced if damaged. Unplug your portable ice maker and let clogged ice melt, and be sure not to over-fill the ice reservoir once it’s up and running again.

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