Model #FAV6800AWQ, this top load, high efficiency washer would intermittently display the door lock indicator, but the lid was not locked. Other times one or both of the locks would engage, but the washer would not start a cycle. The problem seemed to have no rhyme or reason for when it would fail, but it seemed to not work more than it did work. The problem wasn't getting any better, so it was time to get a professional to have a look at it.
This particular washer does not use traditional washer parts like a spin basket and agitator, but rather uses a pair of agitation disks in the bottom of a rather large capacity wash basket and tub. These disks will rotate in opposite directions causing the clothes to tumble through the wash water. Must like any other high efficiency washer, this washer uses very little water and relies on tumbling the clothes through this water to saturate the clothes and clean the dirt away. But unlike many of the front load HE washers, this one relied on a rather complex gear case and drive mechanism to operate. It also uses a pair of lid latch assemblies to know when the lid was closed and to keep it locked when in operation.
Because the problem seemed to revolve around the locks, I proceeded to perform the recommended tests as outlined in the machines tech sheet. This enabled me to lock and unlock both of the lock mechanisms to get a feel for how they were operating and see if there was any indication of a problem. After several latching cycles, each lock seemed to engage properly, but I noticed (as did the customer) that the lock light would often times stay illuminated even when the lid was not secured. And a couple of times, I was able to get only one of the locks to disengage while the other remained locked. It became obvious I was dealing more with a latch problem than a control problem since both locks operate off the same wire harness to the control board. With that information, I opened the lid to have a look at the locks.
Each of these locks uses a two way solenoid to actuate the lock pin and has within it, a set of switch contacts to tell the control board the position of each latch. The lock on the left side, also contains a reed switch actuated by a magnet within the lid itself, that tells the control board when the lid was closed. This prevents the lid locks from operating unless the lid is closed. Since both locks seemed to operate, if inconsistently, I decided to take some resistance measurements and ensure the internal switch contacts and the solenoid coils themselves were operating properly. A good way to know you are checking the correct terminals is to use a wiring diagram from the tech sheet, but I prefer to actually open the lock itself so I can visually inspect the contacts as well as make my measurements. Once the cover was removed on the right lock however, I didn't have to go far to find a problem.
The lock housing itself had water leaking from it (go figure, its mounted above the tub) and the switch contacts were visibly oxidized. A multimeter check of the lock confirmed the solenoids were in good shape, but the switch contacts didn't always make a good connection. I attempted to clean each contact and to dry the switch housing, but after installing it back in the top panel, I was still getting less than perfect results. The lock was going to need to be replaced.
With the old right side lock removed, I installed a new lock and connected the wire harness. I also inspected the left side lock to ensure it was at least in better shape than the right. The customer decided to get both locks replaced after I showed him the condition of the contacts. With two new locks and the power back on, I again used the diagnostic mode to test the locks, but this time, they both worked without a problem. The machine was repaired and the customer was ready to get some laundry done.
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