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Whirlpool washer repeatedly trips circuit breaker

 
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Cecile
Apprentice DIYer


Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 2
Location: New York

PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:33 pm    Post subject: Whirlpool washer repeatedly trips circuit breaker Reply with quote

We have a 17-yr.-old Whirlpool washer--direct drive--model #LA6300XSW0.
It's on a circuit by itself, except for a small overhead light. Recently,
just after it had filled for the rinse cycle, it tripped the circuit
breaker. We drained it manually. Several days later, after resetting the
circuit breaker, it again tripped the circuit breaker right after filling
for the rinse cycle.

There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the circuit, the outlet, or the
plug.

The machine has worked perfectly up till now. (It's never been moved or on
another circuit.)

Do you have any suggestions as to what may be wrong?
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Virtual Repairman
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Joined: 06 Jul 1999
Posts: 4627
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 6:09 am    Post subject: Washer issue Reply with quote

Hi Cecile;
When your washer fills for the rinse cycle, the transmission is in a spin mode before it stops. Once the water reaches full, the timer tells the motor to turn in the opposite direction to agitate the rinse load. The gears inside the transmission also reverse operation.

One of several things might be occurring here:

The gearcase may be locking up, causing excessive amperage draw on the motor (hence the breaker trip). Bad tub bearings or a locked brake drive assembly can also lock up, creating a draw on the motor. If the unit will otherwise spin normally after the episode, then this is likely the case.

The motor itself may be about to fail, or a wire on the motor harness may be failing. The harness can be visually inspected by unplugging the machine, pulling it out about 2 feet and leaning it back against the wall. From the floor, you can see the motor and transmission, and can feel the wires at the motor harness to check for a breakage or signs of melted insulation.

The timer may have defective internal switches, causing the motor to get voltage to both spin and agitate windings simultaneously. A person experienced at voltmeter usage could verify this at the timer harness.
Your best bet, if you aren't mechanically inclined, would be to call in an expert on this one, as there are several factors which lead to a major repair here. It doesn't pay to be wrong when buying parts, plus your machine has outlived the Consumer Reports lifespan of 7-12 years by 5 years. My honest opinion is to treat yourself to a new washer for Christmas....early Smile
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Cecile
Apprentice DIYer


Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 2
Location: New York

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the detailed diagnosis. But after not using the washer for a week or two, now the symptoms have changed.

We had time over the Thanksgiving holiday to run the washing machine and watch it closely through two of its cycles (a gentle load and a permanent press load). This time it did not trip the circuit breaker.

Both times, it filled normally and agitated, but when it should have drained and gone on to the rinse cycle, it did nothing for a while and then started agitating again. It "went through" the cycle (the dial moved, etc.), but it never spun at all and drained only once, at the very end of the cycle--just before it turned itself off and after the point at which it should have had its final spin.

Does this information alter your earlier diagnosis? As you suggested, we did try tipping the washing machine up, while I felt the wiring underneath. All the wires felt fine to me--no cracked insulation. Because the opening in the panel on the bottom wasn't very big, I couldn't actually see the wiring, but nothing felt corroded or "funny" to me. (We checked the wiring two days after doing what I described above.)

Coincidentally, something else happened over the holiday that made us wonder if there is a problem with the amount of electric voltage coming into the house that might also be affecting the washing machine. At around 2 am one night, I took a clip-on lampshade (the kind that has a wire clip that clamps around the lightbulb) off a lit 40 watt lightbulb and then slid it back on. As I slid it back on, the circuit breaker for that line tripped. The only things on that line were a small clock radio and, at another outlet, one nightlight and a CO detector. Since the lamp works perfectly and the line was definitely not overloaded, it seems illogical that circuit breaker would trip. The 40 Watt bulb didn't even blow. It worked fine after I pushed the circuit breaker back on. (We haven't had any other circuit breaker trips, and the washer is on a line by itself.)

If it hadn't been for the fact that over the last few months other electrical devices have behaved oddly--clock radios reacting as if they'd just experienced a power outage, a toaster oven whose oven portion stopped working (the toaster function still worked) and then started working again days later, and other things--I wouldn't suspect that the incident with the lamp might indicate a problem with the voltage all the appliances are getting. Everything that's happed could have a simpler explanation. But after the experience with the lamp apparently tripping the circuit breaker, I'm beginning to wonder.

Do you think a general voltage problem could explain the washing machine's behavior? Obviously, we don't want to buy a new washing machine if it's actually the house voltage that's the problem.

I should add that we had a licensed electrician go through the whole house in 1996 and upgrade all the existing outlets, add some new ones, and put in a new circuit breaker box. Everything has worked fine until recently.


Thanks again.


--Cecile
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Virtual Repairman
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Joined: 06 Jul 1999
Posts: 4627
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 5:26 am    Post subject: Washer issue Reply with quote

It sounds like there is trouble with your breaker box, at least with the connections inside. Especially since other appliances are causing a disturbance. I would bet money that there is a loose connection with one of the main power bus connections or even the neutral line. Have the electrician come out.

Loose connections will invariably affect the laundry appliances, in this case your washer timer. Since you have inspected the motor wiring, etc. we can likely rule this out. Your timer is skipping the initial spin/drain cycle, a very common finding with wiring problems since the machine is not getting proper voltage. You can order and install a new timer fairly easily. call our Parts Dept. at 800-507-4040 to arrange it.
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