Appliance Repair

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
Bigglez
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Post by Bigglez » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:16 am

philba wrote: I had the bad misfortune to buy a fisher-paykel washer. Their controllers burn out if the motor jams.
...
I'm giving up on the FP.
...
By the way. never ever buy an FP product. what a nightmare. There are similar stories to mine all over the internet.
Our neighbour has that brand today. Their
previous washer failed immediately after road
work on our street, apparently the water pressure
surged and blew out a hose that flooded the
electronics. (Insurance paid out).

They have also had an FP motor controller fail, I
did some technology gazing on the PCB, which
is water cooled! Had sone sort of low R wire
wound resistor with heatsink and many (six to nine)
TO-220 devices on a rail (FETs?).

I don't recall what they did to get a spare - my
neighbour is quite capable of module level
trouble shooting and repair. He did source other
parts at a local (third party) parts emporium,
not sure if those parts were for the FP or it's
predecessor (a US brand).

Had I been offered the defective PCB I'd have
enjoyed reverse engineering and trouble shooting it.
OTOH, I'm glad I wasn't distracted from my other
projects.

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philba
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Post by philba » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:41 am

it was a blown mosfet and looked like a low side driver so I could have replaced it. However, the design is fragile and I really don't want to deal with having to repair the thing every 18 months. My whirlpool works just fine and doesn't make me prove my technobones. Some things are just not worth messing around with.

Bigglez
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Post by Bigglez » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:53 am

philba wrote:My whirlpool works just fine and doesn't make me prove my technobones. Some things are just not worth messing around with.
The Speed Queen equipment at the local coin-op
is maintanined by the owners. I don't spend
anymore time in there than necessary, and if one
machine is down I have a whole row of back ups
to choose from. Some things are just not worth
messing around with
. Ditto.

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haklesup
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Post by haklesup » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:33 pm

I've fixed a good number of washers, dryers and refridgerators in my days. I find the sears parts website to have many diagrams from all sorts of brands and prices that are beat only by eBay in many cases.

If your washer/dryer is of the traditional design (top loader wash, front load dry) you should find that the designs across all brands are somewhat standardized. Later years models have lots of new features and electronic controls making them much harder and more expensive to repair.

In any case, for dryers, 85% of the time its either a thermal fuse or thermostat. These are typically sold in kits of 3-5 parts to cover all models. Though I have also seen motor rotors decouple from the shaft and even a timer go bad once.

Washers have a greater range of failure modes, theres not a heavy hitter failure mode like in dryers. Give me a symtom and I can make a good guess though.

For fridges, its usually an open defrost coil (heating element actually) or a locked up timer (ceased gear motor). Though I have had one compressor go and my current model had a freeze up of an air baffel (that took some investigation). I understand motor cap problems are a bit common but I never saw one.

Appliances are just electronic systems with very complicated chassis and a classical user interface. As usual, the schematic is key to rapid troubleshooting. If its not in with the users guide you can often find it tucked in the top of the dryer behind the timer or stuffed near the leveling feet in washers and fridges or just glued to the back of the appliance in plain view or in an envelope. internet may not be needed. I've often had schematics just fall out when I open the cabnet.

I don't do air conditioners because I never saw the need to own one for the 20 or so very hot days a year here in the SF bay area when I would be inclined to use it.

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Bob Scott
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Post by Bob Scott » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:16 am

haklesup wrote:I find the sears parts website to have many diagrams from all sorts of brands and prices that are beat only by eBay in many cases.
I also noticed that Craftsman parts are inexpensive. However, I can't get a replacement hose for my Kenmore vacuum anymore. Just when they get old and parts start wearing out.....
haklesup wrote:If your washer/dryer is of the traditional design (top loader wash, front load dry) you should find that the designs across all brands are somewhat standardized.
I think that may be due to Whirlpool owning just about every brand available including Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Roper, Acros, Estate, Inglis, Bauknecht, Brastemp, Gladiator, GarageWorks, Admiral and some Kenmore.
haklesup wrote:In any case, for dryers, 85% of the time its either a thermal fuse or thermostat.
That's good to hear. I finished repairing my Maytag washer leak yesterday. It needed a special $12 piece of rubber tube (injector) and it's good to go.

I will investigate my Dryer problems today. The Maytag tumbler drum THUMPs every time it goes around and the timer ($175) doesn't move. I think the power to the clockwork in the timer is enabled by a thermostat that detects exit air temperature. When the clothes are dry, the air gets hotter? Anyway, I hope the $40 thermostat is the problem, not the timer.

My dishwasher is a "Regency" brand from Australia. I bought that one because it was the quietest I could find and it had a stainless steel interior. The layout of my house is sort of "open plan". No Doors in the living/dining/kitchen area and the old GE was so loud it drowned out the TV sound, and at the time in ~1990, North American appliance makers all made noisy dishwashers.

I looked inside the Regency to find out why it is so quiet. Besides the fact that this so-called built-in model has an insulated and painted outer shell, the motor is mounted on a two foot square concrete slab inside the dishwasher. I bet shipping from Oz was a killer!

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haklesup
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Post by haklesup » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:55 am

I think the power to the clockwork in the timer is enabled by a thermostat that detects exit air temperature.
Close but not quite. When the thermal fuse goes, sometimes you can still hear the clock in the timer spinning away and ticking as the switch contacts roll by.

First note that dryers are a negative pressure system, the fan is the last thing in the path, the heating element is the first, the drum is in the middle.

Most dryers have 2 thermostats and one thermal fuse. One thermostat is mounted near the fan output and controls the main temp of the air in the drum. Another is mounted near the heating coil and controls the high limit and is the primary safety device keeping the burner from going full blast.

The third is the thermal fuse (which looks just like the thermostats) and is also mounted on the heating element frame but before the heat. It should be cool all the time because fresh air should be flowing over it before being heated. If airflow is blocked due to excessive lint in the trap, the hose or a kinked hose, the temp at the fuse rises quickly and it blows. The dryer will not work until you both clear the obstruction and replace the fuse.

Gas and electric are similar but the temp rating on the thermostats is different. The parts are color coded with a dot and look similar to a TO-3 transistor package with different leads.

If you do not regularly clean out the lint inside the dryer which requires some disassembly or a special brush, you can almost certainly expect the fuse to blow eventually.

As for the bump while turning. Simply pop the lid (it should tilt back with the rear edge still attached and the two front corners having spring catches to hold it closed) You should be able to turn the drum by hand and look for the cause, it may be a worn belt or a flattened pully or just a dent in the drum or a missing portion of the felt ring that forms the bushing between the drum and frame.

I've had quite good luck with dishwashers having only to replace an odd wheel from the basket periodically. I do generally get better quality quiet models though. Not true for washers and dryers. I can outlast one $400 washer compared to one of those new $1000 jobbies because they are so much more serviceable.

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Bob Scott
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Re:

Post by Bob Scott » Thu Feb 05, 2009 5:31 pm

Hey Hackle,

You were right. The diagrams were behind the control panels.
haklesup wrote:
Bob Scott wrote:I think the power to the clockwork in the timer is enabled by a thermostat that detects exit air temperature.
Close but not quite. When the thermal fuse goes, sometimes you can still hear the clock in the timer spinning away and ticking as the switch contacts roll by.
.........................................
Most dryers have 2 thermostats and one thermal fuse. One thermostat is mounted near the fan output and controls the main temp of the air in the drum.
The first reaction when I noticed that the dryer ran all night and the timer knob didn't move was that the timer is defective, and that's $175.00 up here. It's a good thing I looked at the diagram. The cycling thermostat (the one near the fan) does indeed disable the timer motor until the clothes are already dry, and that thermostat was not operating, but it was not defective either. I bought a new one anyway. You'll be surprised at why the old one stopped working:

There was a light pasty coating about 1/16" thick completely covering this thermostat where it contacted the dryer air. It looked like it was made out of fine lint and it felt GREASY, just like the Bounce fabric softener sheets. This gunk was insulating the thermostat from the heated air. So I figure anyone using Bounce is going to have a dryer problem every 10 years or so if they use it every day like we do.
haklesup wrote:As for the bump while turning. Simply pop the lid (it should tilt back with the rear edge still attached and the two front corners having spring catches to hold it closed) You should be able to turn the drum by hand and look for the cause, it may be a worn belt....
Oh, it quit turning the day after you suggested this. Belt was worn out and cracked up, with a chunk missing and it finally broke.

Both washer and dryer are working fine now. Thanks.
-=VA7KOR=- My solar system includes Pluto.

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haklesup
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Re: Appliance Repair

Post by haklesup » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:33 pm

I could have predicted that too. I actually decided not to make the following comment

In many cases the AutoDry sensor gets gunked up from primarily dryer softning sheets. This sensor is often mounted in the rear of the drum and consists of a pair of parallel wires that sense the dampness in the clothing. You might even find a statement in the owners manual about wiping the sensor clean periodically. But who reads those things anyway.

Your description is a little different but it matches well enough. Frankly, I never use auto dry and always use timed dry. Happy to hear your back in clean clothes :razz:

psycho
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Re: Appliance Repair

Post by psycho » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:33 am

I will never shop at sears again - here is why...

We had the "extended" service plan on a kenmore washer. It was ~10 years old and we payed up the nose for the plan on all of our appliances (new and old) - my wife's idea. When the thing finally needed service, the guy came, looked at the thing and basically said it had lived it's life. Didn't even open the lid. He left without looking at it. The problem with it was that it wouldn't spin. I gave it a looksee and there was a lighter jammed between the drum and tub. I removed it and it worked fine - we still have it. That was years ago and I have not even stepped into a sears store since then. After that day, I have fixed everything we have myself.

Kevin

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