Fixing a washing machine

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Ryan Wright, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    So, Sunday evening I'm working in my garage and my wife comes out to ask what I'm burning out there. I tell her I'm not burning anything, and she says the whole house smells like something is on fire. I go inside and sure enough, something is burning...

    Turns out it was the washing machine. It was buzzing, like the motor was trying to run but couldn't. I unplugged it, made sure it wasn't actually on fire, and let the house clear of the horrible smell.

    First thought: Bad motor. So I bought a new one. Put it in, started her up, SAME THING! Just a buzzing sound, motor doesn't turn at all. I shut it off right away to protect the new motor.

    Next thought: Gear system is shot and is preventing the motor from turning. Not true; I removed the motor from the gear assembly and fired her up. Same thing. Shaft doesn't even turn with zero load on it.

    Next thought: Perhaps the "solenoid" looking thing attached to the motor is bad. Sears Parts Department says it's a capacitor. I've got a new one on the way, it will be here Friday.

    Note: This happens on the "spin" cycle. I couldn't get a normal wash cycle to run, perhaps because there was no water in the machine - didn't want to fill it with no way to drain it. When it stopped working Sunday I had to drain it with my shop vac. [​IMG]

    I looked over the machine. This is the first time I've seen the inside of a washing machine and it's all very straightforward. I don't see anything else that could be causing this, so I'm fairly confident the new "capacitor" will fix the problem. But part of me isn't sure, so here I am.

    If anyone has experience in this department, I'd love to hear your thoughts. This was an expensive washing machine and is only 5 years old, so I'd really like to get it working again.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Can you spin the agitator? Sounds to me like something's jammed in the tub, which is preventing the tub from spinning.
     
  3. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    I have the same thing happening with my machine. Hangs up on the spin cycle and just buzzes. I traced the problem to timer. When it hangs up, I give the timer a tap and the thing starts right up. Have you tried checking the timer?
     
  4. Dheiner

    Dheiner Gazoo

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    If the motor doesn't work when it's out of the machine, it almost has to be the starter capacitor. It's function is to split the single phase supply to increase the starting torque. Does the shaft of the motor spin freely without power applied? This is not a go/no-go test since there may be some kind of break on the motor, but if it does spin freely, it almost certainly is the cap. Did you save the old motor?
     
  5. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  6. Dheiner

    Dheiner Gazoo

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    Well, what happens is that without the Cemf from the spinning motor, the current thru the motor stays high. Since heat comes from power (Current squared) there's a lot of extra heat. The extra heat causes damage (burning and melting) of the insulation. That's what smells. There is extra insulation in most motors, so, how bad the damage is, is hard to tell without a Meg ohm meter. But, if it works, it's probably ok.
    Will it shorten the life of the motor? Sure!
    How much? I have no clue.

    Edited to add: Melting capacitors also stink to high hell.
     
  7. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Thank you for the additional info. The cap doesn't appear to be melted, in fact it looks fine. The motor did have some black on the coils but I'm unsure if that was due to this or just from running for the past 5 years. I have 90 days to return the new motor, so if the old one still works I'll run it for a couple of months and see what happens. If it's still going strong then I can return the new one.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    So I've got a washing machine repair question...

    My wife starts a load of laundry, and into the spin cycle, the drum starts knocking around really loudly. We open up the top, and the drum appears to be "off" the mechanism holding it in place - it's bouncing around around the sides of the machine, and there's a faint burning smell.

    Any ideas?
     
  9. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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  10. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Turns out it was real simple. My wife was trying to wash a rug that when it got wet, got real heavy & threw off the balance. Simply moving it around to better distribute the weight made the machine work okay again.
     

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