Thread Number: 85180  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
GE 2800 Dishwasher Repair Help (Twenty-Eight Hundred)
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Post# 1096955   11/13/2020 at 17:51 (869 days old) by 2800 (Austin, TX)        

I have a 1984 GE 2800 dishwasher that is dying and I would like to give it a new lease on life or at least try to keep it alive a bit longer. It is a very nice dishwasher, no doubt the best I ever have owned, and it seems like a shame to give up on it.

The "Systems Monitor" portion of the control panel stopped working maybe seven or so years ago (not long after I got the dishwasher as a part of buying an old condo), but a few months ago, it started beeping about a minute or so after beginning the wash cycle. Because it does not display a visible error message, I have to guess the error, but I believe that it thinks the wash arm is blocked. Modern GE repair info ( says that this is a "malfunction in dishwasher circuitry" and this seems probable. The wash arm is not blocked.

Pressing “Start” again originally would solve the problem and it would complete the duration of the wash and dry cycles without a problem. Now, after pushing Start the first time, it will again stop and beep after another minute or so two or three times, before finally finishing its work without complaint. It seems that the problem is getting worse.

There was a clog in a shared drain line that backed up into the dishwasher and I do not think this error occurred previously, but given the age of the dishwasher, this could be a coincidence rather than the cause. The dishwasher seems to drain without any problems. The GE 2800 manual ( mentions an "air gap" to protect the dishwasher from water backing up into the dishwasher, but notes that it is optional and I do not believe this installation has an air gap. If nothing else, presumably water would not have backed up into it if it did.

This post from Automatic Washer mentions a problem with the GE 2800 dishwasher after a water backup as well as the possibility of a missing magnet:

Where would the magnet be located? Would it be visible? Is it supposed to be in the end of the spray arm?

This very helpful forum post from Automatic Washer ( sounds like this user had the exact same problem and was able to fix it, but did not post the specific parts/part numbers that were needed. From its sound, I did not notice the spray arm hitting the side of the dishwasher, and if it stays level when rotating, it might go over it rather than hitting the side, but maybe it does hit the side. Is there some reason why it would hit the side in the beginning of the wash cycle, but not continuously?

Can someone post the specific parts that are needed? From this previous post, it looks like it might be a teflon sealing washer and the wash arm bearing sleeves, but I am not familiar with dishwasher repair. Also from that post, here is an actual diagram of the parts that might be useful for someone with experience with this dishwasher:

This second Automatic Washer post also suggests replacing the Pump Motor before it “takes out your control board.” Because the control board in my 2800 likely is already shot, is it too late to consider other repairs? Is it possible to just disable the sensor that is checking for a blocked wash arm?

I have attached a couple of photos that might be useful, as well. Thank you for any assistance that you can provide. I look forward to the possibility of keeping my GE 2800 dishwasher in service. Thank you very much!

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size

Post# 1096958 , Reply# 1   11/13/2020 at 17:59 (869 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Beeping GE GSD2800 DW

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It probably thinks the detergent cup is not closed,


Is the WA turning, [ check by opening the Dw and checking WA position and then recheck a few times ]


Is the DD opening properly durning the cycle ?


If everything is working OK just push start when it keeps beeping and keep using the machine.


John L.

Post# 1096959 , Reply# 2   11/13/2020 at 18:00 (869 days old) by Pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        

pierreandreply4's profile picture
do your dishwasher fills with water when starting it and do the wash pump engage normaly?

Post# 1096965 , Reply# 3   11/13/2020 at 18:28 (869 days old) by 2800 (Austin, TX)        

Thank you for the replies. The wash arm is not blocked, it seems to spin freely, although as the second cited post also mentioned, it could be striking the right side of the dishwasher every few rotations. It also could be that a magnet has fallen out of the spray arm if there is supposed to be one in the photographed end.

The detergent dispenser is working properly; no problems there. The dishwasher fills with water without a problem. I believe the wash pump is functioning normally, as well. As best as I can tell; there is no unusual noise, the water pressure is fine, and the dishes are cleaned properly.

The issue is that it requires pressing "Start" repeatedly once a minute or so for three minutes at the beginning of the wash cycle. It once was not required at all, then it was one push, now it is three. It would be good to resolve this issue before it becomes worse and/or takes out the machine entirely. Thanks, again!

Post# 1097012 , Reply# 4   11/14/2020 at 07:43 (868 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Beeping GE GSD2800 DW

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Hi Kyle, There is a switch on the Electronic Control assembly that detects whether you have closed the Det Cup or not, this switch is the malfunction, The problem will not get worse, you can try and fix it or disable it or just keep using the DW as is.


Your problem is not caused by the arm rotation sensor or the DW would be stopping much further into the cycle.


John L.

Post# 1097018 , Reply# 5   11/14/2020 at 08:52 (868 days old) by 2800 (Austin, TX)        

Thank you very much, John; that's very helpful for troubleshooting!

There doesn't seem to be a problem with the detergent cup; is there anything in particular I should look for to see why the sensor might detect a problem? Could it be properly detecting a soon to be more significant problem? Why would it start happening once and then escalate to happen repeatedly?

Is there a good diagram of the switches on this specific electronic control assembly available online? I didn't find one that I was confident is correct with a search. How would I access the electronic assembly to see if I could spot the problem and/or disable the specific switch?

I have essentially no experience with dishwasher repair, but I have quite a bit of experience with upgrading and repairing computers, so that might be something I could tackle. I would prefer to avoid soldering, but if it is possible to find a refurbished control board, I probably could swap it out entirely if one can be found for a reasonable price, etc. If I need to open it up and monkey around with it already, it would be great to get its "Systems Monitor" display back up-and-running, too.

Thanks, again!

Post# 1097059 , Reply# 6   11/14/2020 at 14:17 (868 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
I parted ours out to help a collector who loved them

panthera's profile picture

I preferred the older style with the multi-orbital arm.

Here's what I learned in the two years we worked with it:

On the far right side, roughly at the same height at the washarm, there is reed-switch sensor. It shorts on when the magnet passes by it. No good putting a magnet next to it, GE considered the possibility of the arm blocking right next to the sensor, too.

That reed-switch is a bog standard reed-switch, nothing special and I replaced ours with a standard one used for door alarms, problem solved.

The detergent cup motor is overly complex and often (always) ends up either jamming or failing or gets knocked out of alignment when the plastic panel is removed for cleaning.

That can, indeed, as John mentioned lead to the stupid switch getting upset. I don't think that would cause a problem at the beginning of the cycle.

These dishwashers clean very well, however, any GSD 1100 or better will clean just as well and without the hysterical 1980's bad logic.

The magnet is not going to fall out of the washarm, so I wouldn't worry about that.

Post# 1097116 , Reply# 7   11/15/2020 at 08:46 (867 days old) by reactor (Oak Ridge, Tennessee-- )        
detergent dispenser

reactor's profile picture
Hello Kyle,

Yes, your 2800 is certainly worth saving. Keep your eye our on Ebay for a control board, or sometimes you can find the entire control panel and escutcheon.

I agree with John, that you may have a detergent cup sensor fault. On my parent's 2800, the one and only service call they ever had was for a detergent cup sensor. The repairman said that was the #1 problem on the 2800. They removed it on their later units, if I recall correctly.

Also, when you have the inner door off, are you re-bending the detergent cup motor arm straight down, as General electric tells you to do in the schematic/service packet?. GENTLY straighten it so it is perfectly horizontal (parallel to the sides of the door) This has to be done every time you take off the inner door panel. It doesn't take much adjustment.

The control board actually uses the signal from magnetic and reed sensor to count the rotations of the wash arm. If the rpm's are not within the specified range it will shut down the machine and send you an alarm. But, as John says this does not occur early in the cycle. Early cycle alarms are for detergent cup non-trip, open cup, or incoming water under-temp conditions.

Considering the advanced sophistication of the 2800, there are surprisingly few problems that develop....even after nearly four decades.

Try straightening the cup arm and check the sensor for a loose wire, loose mount, or corrosion on contacts. I'll keep an eye out for 2800's in my area on Craigslist and FB, as well as the thrift stores, every once in a while, one shows up. If I find one, I'll get it and send you the control panel and detergent cup assembly.

Post# 1097117 , Reply# 8   11/15/2020 at 08:46 (867 days old) by 2800 (Austin, TX)        

Thanks, again, John and panthera for the feedback. No doubt it would be helpful if the "Systems Monitor" display still worked so I could see error codes instead of having to guess.

I've generally had newer dishwashers and often don't bother using the detergent cup at all -- just throw the detergent pod in the machine and start it up.

The GE 2800 is very "picky" about its detergent cup, though; the machine won't start at all if you leave the detergent cup open, so it wouldn't surprise me if the issue is related. The modern GE repair info says that if the blocked wash arm sensor is failing it will sound a warning 45 seconds after the fill cycle. If it is related to the detergent cup, my guess is that the sensor thinks the cup is open or closed when it shouldn't be. I'll pay specific attention to what the machine is doing the next time I use it.

If anyone has a link to a photo or diagram of the control board, that would be helpful. If these sensors are controlled by switches or jumpers, it might be straightforward to just turn the complaining one off. Especially if the issue is just a faulty sensor related to whether or not the detergent cup is open. It would be a shame to have to junk a working machine for such a trivial reason!

Post# 1097119 , Reply# 9   11/15/2020 at 09:18 (867 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
I didn't remember that -

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If it's any use, we had the 'C' revision of the control board and it still used the detergent dispenser sensor. I had forgotten that the dratted thing does check right at the start. Which makes sense, of course.

I do remember that the whole assembly has to be absolutely straight and true and you have to put the inner door back on exactly right or it doesn't work.

Do keep an eye out, as others have advised, they show up.

I don't know whether this machine checks that sensor constantly, but I'd guess it doesn't as, unlike the wash-arm sensor, it needn't. Perhaps, if you have no choice, you can just short the sensor?

Post# 1097186 , Reply# 10   11/15/2020 at 19:12 (867 days old) by 2800 (Austin, TX)        

Thank you, Barry and panthera, for the additional info. Barry, if you have a copy or can point me to a copy of the GE schematic/service packet, that could be helpful. I've never taken off the inner door of the dishwasher.

If this is an accurate parts list:

It doesn't seem to have a part number for the control board, though.

Is it this control board?

This one looks too modern:

After accumulating a normal load of dishes, I ran the dishwasher again this evening, and my intuition that the problem is getting worse was correct. In general, my experience has been that when something goes from happening once consistently to happening more than once, there is a bigger problem and you are running out of time to make a repair.

This time, it stopped *eleven* times early in the wash cycle like this:

1:56 after starting (detergent cup still closed)
0:41 after starting again (detergent cup still closed)
0:46 after starting again (detergent cup still closed)
2:47 after starting again (detergent cup still closed)
0:43 after starting again (detergent cup still closed)
0:43 after starting again (detergent cup still closed)
0:39 after starting again (detergent cup still closed)
2:51 after starting again (detergent cup still closed)
0:41 after starting again (detergent cup open)
0:38 after starting again (detergent cup open)
0:37 after starting again (detergent cup open)
*Finally finished wash and dry cycles without issue*

So, maybe it is a faulty sensor, maybe it is the detergent cup motor, maybe it is a combination of factors, but it seems headed toward technically working... if you have nothing else to do but restart the machine every minute. :-D

Any thoughts?

Post# 1097193 , Reply# 11   11/15/2020 at 20:08 (867 days old) by reactor (Oak Ridge, Tennessee-- )        
Schematic/troubleshooting guide

reactor's profile picture

General Electric ships each of their dishwashers with a schematic/troubleshooting guide. It's in the lower part of the dishwasher, tucked in between the frame and tub. Remove the lower access panels. Look or feel up on the right hand side. It's folded in a little back envelope. On the 2800 there are two schematics folded in the little packet. One for the electronics and one for the mechanics.

I know it seems odd for it to be there after nearly 40 years, but the average consumer does not know it's tucked up there. (They wouldn't know what to do with it if they saw it anyway. lol)

Most GE dishwashers I find at the thrift store or buy from owners, still have this little packet in place. You will probably find yours there.

Post# 1097195 , Reply# 12   11/15/2020 at 20:28 (867 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
A couple of thoughts - for what they're worth

panthera's profile picture

1) We know the system does not immediately react to an error. Sometimes it can run for 30 seconds, sometimes a few minutes. This is why opening a door or turning it off and back on can lead to the system running again for a while.

2) It appears as though the error occurs only during the parts of the cycles when the detergent dispenser/rinse-aid dispenser system is involved?

3) Even though you can't see it on the display, one of those schematics lists how to trigger a step through diagnostic - and the one for dispensing detergent/rinse-aid does make a nice sound if it's working. That might help you, regardless of what you can see.

My board had also had repairs on several components prior to my buying it - my general impression of the board was that GE used the same really poor quality PCB material they used for their last tube radios and it just wasn't holding up well.

4) Is an intermittent connection possible? Most of the sensors are wired with super thin cable, even for logic systems - could there be an intermittent break or a loose connector?


Post# 1098601 , Reply# 13   11/28/2020 at 21:12 (854 days old) by 2800 (Austin, TX)        
Detergent Cup Bypass Method

Thank you, again, for the help. Just to help others that may run into this post in the future, from the troubleshooting guide tucked in the machine and trial-and-error, I learned that if you press "Start" twice *very* quickly at the beginning of the wash cycle, it will skip the detergent cup check and go through without a problem.

I know this dishwasher won't last forever, but it definitely is silly to get rid of it for this essentially irrelevant problem and I'm happy to be able to keep it going for a bit longer. Hope this tip is helpful!

Post# 1098621 , Reply# 14   11/28/2020 at 23:32 (854 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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I don't recollect having read about that one. How very useful!


By the by, if you reach the point where you can't fix the electronics/sensors, etc. - It is possible to fit the controls from a mechanical GE to run this dishwasher.

Given that it has the multi-orbital arm and the really effective filtering system, even the most basic GE with temperature boost will clean perfectly with this unit.

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