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How to Diagnose Washing Machine Motor Problems

If the motor on your washing machine develops a fault, it doesn't necessarily mean you need to get a new appliance. Instead, watch this eSpares video and find out how to resolve the matter yourself.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Josh from eSpares, and in this video I’m going to be helping you to diagnose motor problems in your washing machine.

Safety First! Please make sure that you've switched off your appliance and disconnected it from the mains before beginning any repair.

In most cases, motor problems in your washing machine are going to be caused by worn carbon brushes. These are designed to come into contact with the moving part of the motor, which is called the armature, and pass power through it but they do wear down over time so obviously they will need to be replaced.

How would you know if the brushes are worn? If the machine is filling and emptying as normal but the drum isn’t turning, or if it’s making some sort of spluttering noise, or if you can see sparking coming from underneath the front of the machine these are all likely to be caused by worn brushes and you’ll need to replace them. You can see how to replace carbon brushes in another eSpares video.

Although that does cover most instances of motor faults in a washing machine, there are a few occasions where it may be due to the motor itself. For safety I’ve unplugged this machine first and I’m just going to take the motor out of this machine so we can have a closer look at it to see where problems might arise.

Now I’ve got the motor out of the machine I’ve popped it down on some cardboard to protect both the motor and the top of the machine as well. I’m going to turn it onto its side and here we can see there’s a multi-plug with wires going off to various parts of the motor.

If we take a look at these first two red wires, they go to a sensor here at the end of the motor. This sensor takes a reading from the armature of how fast it’s spinning and that measurement is then sent to the control board and from that measurement the control board can determine how fast the drum is spinning. If the sensor is faulty, it’s going to take the wrong reading, send the wrong measurement to the control board and as a result, the drum will spin very fast and then stop, continuing in a cycle.

If that’s happening on your machine, you can test the sensor using a multimeter by popping the probes of the meter into the red terminals, like so. For a working sensor I’d want to see any reading that wasn’t a short circuit or an infinite reading. Here I’m getting a reading of about seventy to seventy one ohms, so that would indicate that the sensor is ok.

Moving onto the next two wires, we have a blue and a purple and these go to the carbon brushes on either side of the armature here. I’ll just pop the probes into those two terminals. For a working connection here I’d want a reading of somewhere between one and seven ohms, depending on the type of motor I was working on. Here I’m getting about five ohms, so that would indicate that it’s ok.

Then we have three more wires here at the end of the plug and these go to the field windings around the side of the motor. Again, for a working connection I’d want somewhere between one and seven ohms. If I pop it into these first two terminals, I’m getting about three and half Ohms, these two about three ohms, and these two about one and a half ohms, so all of these connections are good and that would indicate that the motor is fully functional.

If when you test your motor you get readings that are dramatically different to any of these readings, that would indicate that your motor’s got a fault and you’re going to need to replace the entire thing.

While you’ve got the motor out of the machine, it’s a good opportunity to have a look at the carbon brushes as well and see how worn down they are. You can just unscrew them either side here and just have a look at how much material is left on them to determine how worn they are.

Spares for washing machines and other appliances are available on the eSpares website. Thanks for watching.

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