Gone are the days when people used to spend hours together in washing clothes, by bashing and pounding. Nowadays, it is just dump your clothes, put in detergent, press some buttons, and forget about it. In such a scenario, when one fine day, your washing machine stops working, it is panic time and your life comes to a standstill.
You call up the repair man and he is on a vacation. Don't worry, it is not the end of the world. You have the following four options now. Wash them in the traditional way with your hands, move around in dirty clothes, buy new ones, or go for a DIY repair project. As Robin Williams has said in a movie, 'Self reliance is the key to a vigorous life.' Therefore, personally, I recommend the fourth option, which is to repair the machine on your own.
How Does a Washing Machine Work
The way you operate this machine is as follows. You set the water level, temperature, and the kind of washing procedure you want, put in detergent, and let the water in. After shutting the lid, your job is done and the machine's job begins.
The machine is essentially a huge tub, which has a motor belt arrangement to rotate it, a plumbing system, and a motor to drain out water. The most important part, which you can call the brain of the machine is the timer circuit and its muscles are the motor and gearbox. The timer controls the order in which the various tasks in a machine are carried out.
According to the kind of job you select, the timer switches various small subsystems, on and off. This is done after receiving signals from various relays, about the completion of a previous task. When you press a button in a machine, you activate a solenoid, which gives a signal for a specific task. There is a solenoid for letting cold water in the tub, another for letting in hot water, and so on.
The machine is equipped with water pressure sensors, which instigates the machine to stop filling water in the washer. There is a switch, which automatically switches off the machine, when the lid is opened during the spinning operation.
So, there are two main mechanisms of the machine, which may get into problems. It is the water plumbing mechanism or the electronic mechanism that controls its working. One thing that may come in handy is the repair manual supplied by the company. It is important, as it contains the circuit diagrams and general troubleshooting instructions. There are many types of washing machines. This troubleshooting guide has been written with the most general features in mind, which are common to all.
Problem 1: The washing machine won't start at all.
Solution: Firstly, get a tester and check the power socket in which the machine's power plug is plugged in. If it does not provide any output, you must replace it. Next, check the power plug wire for any discontinuity. For this, you will need a ohmmeter and a voltmeter. You can use a digital multimeter (DMM), which is a combination of both. If it's broken, replace it.
If both these things are okay, then there may be more serious causes like:
- Lid Switch Malfunction: Take a screwdriver and remove the control panel. Look for the harness plug that is connected to the lid switch and remove it. Next, check the connectivity of the wire's probe and the non-green wires, with the DMM, switched to resistance measurement mode. Open the lid and see the resistance reading. In normal circumstances, it should be infinite. Now close the lid and again check the resistance value. Under normal conditions, it should give you a zero value. If any of these values, are not as they should be, replace the harness switch.
- Timer is not working: Identify the timer under the control panel hood. It will be black and looks like a chip. Disconnect its leads. Again measure the resistance across the leads. If the resistance is anything more or less than 1100 ohm to 3000 ohm, it's time to replace the timer.
Problem 2: The machine doesn't fill up with water or the amount of water flow is less.
Solution: If the size of flow is less, probably the hose filter is clogged with dirt. Just remove the hose and clean the filter gauze with a brush. Flow should start normally.
If the water is not falling into the washer at all, then there may again be a problem with the timer circuit. Check that again, as instructed before. Another thing that may cause water flow to stop is malfunctioning of the level switch. To check that, go to the control panel circuitry. It's easy to identify the water level switch by the transparent tube attached to it. Check the resistance between ends of the three connected wires, in all possible combinations, two at a time. Normally, the resistance for one pair should be zero, while other pairings will have infinite resistance. If it is not so, change the water level switch.
Problem 3: The washing machine fills up with water, but does not drain it.
Solution: The major reason for this to happen is the clogging of the drain pipe of the machine. If, even after you clean the drainage hose, the problem persists, there may be other problems.
Next possibility could be that the drainage pump, which drives the water out of the hose, may be clogged. So, remove the drainage pump and clean it. That should solve the problem.
Another reason for the problem might be that the belt of the drainage pump motor may have loosened. If this is the case, you have to simply tighten it.
Problem 4: The washer tub has started leaking.
Solution: Check all the hoses attached to the washer and the drainage pump.
Problem 5: The washer does not stir or rotate.
Solution: This may be due to entangling of some cloth fabric in the agitator. Remove it. Again, this may be caused by a problem in the driver belt, motor, or disconnection of some leads to the agitator. Check all of these parts. If there is still a problem, you may have to bring in a professional technician.
Problem 6: The washer doesn't spin for drying clothes.
Solution: This problem is mainly caused because of issues with the driver belt, lid switch, timer, or the solenoid that controls the agitator. Sometimes, the reason for spin stoppage is clothes overload. Lessen the load and try again. If this doesn't solve the problem, then the solution is beyond your expertise. Call in a skilled technician.
These are some of the problems which repeatedly crop up. By now, you must have realized that repairing the machine is not a simple job. You have to go about troubleshooting these problems like a detective. See the symptoms and think logically about the direct cause that could lead to this anomaly.
I know a master technician who repairs just about all of these gadgets and he is the greatest do-it-yourself guy, I have ever met. He advised me, that to repair a device, first, know its working. Then, understand the causal relationship between its various parts. Then, just think in terms of the machine, as if you are the machine. Keep working and you will eventually find the anomaly.