Sunday, October 14, 2007

What happiness is not.....

My dryer has been acting up lately. As in it won't start. Bill has taken it apart and "fixed" it three or four times. And it always has not quite been the right thing. Not that all his hard work has been for nothing. The back bearing did need to be greased. The motor is much happier with it's contacts cleaned. And there was a lot of lint in various places. But the thing still won't start. In case you forgot, I have 4 kids. Kids mean laundry. 4 kids mean a lot of laundry. For a while, I was borrowing my neighbours clothes line. Unfortunately, it has been raining or we have had extremely high humidity for the past 5 days. No line. No dryer. No clean pants for my boys. As Bill said, the nag factor has taken a dramatic increase in the past few days.

But he thinks that he has it now. After much testing he thinks that that little beast seen circled below is the problem. He has gone off to consult with his friend Elmer. And hopefully will come home with a fixed circuit board.

Update: Still not working. Actually, it can be made to work if you reach inside and turn the drum with your hand and then quickly slam the door and turn the start button. This only works if the load is not so large that the weight of it will stop the drums rotation before you can get the start button turned. But seeing as this was how it was working before, it is not an improvement. The other fun thing about this dryer is that it will stop after 5 minutes and change direction. Or at least it used to. Now it just stops after 5 minutes.

Although something was discovered that was wrong with the small black rectangular thing in the lower left side.

6 comments:

DaviMack said...

Woe!

I have a friend who was an appliance repairman (many years ago). He used to go out to repair washing machines & knew, by the model, what the problem would be: the manufacturer had incorporated a nylon gear rather than a steel one, so that it'd wear out. So, people were getting rid of their washers because of a $0.50 gear!

Good for you for fixing the problem rather than just chucking the thing.

Anonymous said...

For those reading the comments, the direction reversing (which adds little value to the function of the dryer) adds a LOT of complexity to the electrical circuitry in it. For those in the know, that board has a 555 timer, a decade counter, two relay drivers, a 7-darlington array, three relays (one of which is a double pole double throw), and a DC power supply for the lot. Plus it's tied in to the rest of the stuff, like the clock timer, all of the safety kit, the induction motor and it's centrifugal switch, the fabric setting, buzzer, door switch, start switch, and the phase of the moon.

It's easy to troubleshoot things you put together or designed yourself - you know them well, but taking someone else's stuff, and in the absence of a complete circuit diagram, troubleshooting it, is a non-trivial task. We've determined a lot of suspect items that do work, and fixed one malfunctioning thing, but there's something that eludes us yet. But Elmer and I will find it. Unless the nag factor gets too high first and we end up buying a replacement board. The risk there is that it's not in that board (should be, but not 100% sure). I think we've just missed something simple. Things will need to develope quickly from here. Stay tuned to this blog for more developments. The one thing I can tell you for sure is that I'm not putting a perfectly good dryer in the land fill for a stupid little component. I'll bypass the reversing circuits and make it a unidirectional first. That will alleviate a lot of complexity. It might take a few hours, but the environmentalist in me won't let this go for junk when it's bloody well like new condition.

DH

DaviMack said...

I can't figure why it'd be important for the thing to reverse, in any case. I mean, ok, maybe it'll dry a wee bit more efficiently, but it seems that the reversal procedure would place more strain on the belts & the motor, and isn't that the reason you have little fins inside the drum? To build turbulence, so that you shouldn't need to reverse?

Good luck with it!

I'm glad that somebody knows how to diagnose issues like this - I've an amateur radio license, and when I first got it, we had to actually build our radios! True, they came as a kit, but still - soldering onto circuit boards gives you a bit of understanding what goes into these things.

DaviMack said...

I believe that you can buy that circuit board here for US $104.74.

Kansas A said...

Have you joined Freecycle and requested a dryer for free? Even temporary for now... or at least until DH finds the problem... it will keep the nag factor down :)

Anonymous said...

Davimack,

Yes, I know I can get a new board. But at the moment I'm not convinced that the board is the issue. It cycles normally on the bench and all of the major components checked out okay. The motor is okay too.

The reversing happens after the motor stops and the drum spins down. There is a two second pause before it goes in the other direction. I don't know for sure, but I think it's done to "break up the clumps" of clothing. It's certainly not to be kind to the mechanism. It's under greatest stress when it accelerates. But the motor bearings are like new, so it's not got a lot of wear.

I've got a question posted in the Frigidaire Appliance forum, so will see what comes up there, and I'll continue testing and troubleshooting. I will BEAT this dryer into submission.