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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Lexington, KY
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    34

    Default Need advice on fixing my Mum's clothes dryer

    I'm not sure what brand it is, she might've said Hotpoint, but her dryer is a fairly simple design and it's begging to have starting problems. When it's set to go and the start button is pressed the heating element heats up but the bin doesn't turn. If you open the door and rotate the bin by hand then apparently that loosens it up enough to start when you press the button again. If you run a second load of clothes after the first it'll start up ok with just the start button, but if left sitting for much time it requires a hand start. Once it gets going it runs just fine.

    I'm hoping this symptom is enough to diagnose what parts going bad and go in to do the swap. I don't have any experience working on a clothes dryer but I've changed out electric motors and bad capacitors on other equipment so I figure I should be able to get this done.

    77a64f28-d7ae-44d4-8e75-82cdf29c25b7.JPG

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Bne
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    In my experience the two things that often require attention with traditional dryers are heater elements and the drum belts. It sounds like the belt could be the problem. They are notorious for being fire hazards if they are not cleaned properly from lint or the lint filter requires replacement also.
    Cheers Tony

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Australia
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    IF you can start the drum by hand and it runs fine then its probably (99%) going to be the start/run capacitor.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Ringwood, VIC
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    Start by taking the back off and cleaning all the lint out.
    Could be start cap failing, bearings stiff when cold but warmed up it has enough left to manage the job.
    Or just gummed up.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Perth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearo View Post
    IF you can start the drum by hand and it runs fine then its probably (99%) going to be the start/run capacitor.
    That won't necessarily explain why it runs the second time without any help

    I'd say the belt has probably hardened and needs replacing.
    Using it warms the belt up so it grips the pulley a bit better.

    Some off them have a rudimentary belt tensioner that can be adjusted by bending the tensioning arm that may fix it,

  7. #6
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    Jan 2003
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    Osaka
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    890

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    sometimes what happens is the drum bearings get a) really cruddy or b) worn through.

    Regardless, you'll have to disassemble to have a look. We used to clean them out with a wire brush, but not knowing the brand it is hard to know if they are made of the same material.

    You'll be able to check the other things then too.
    Semtex fixes all

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    SE Melb
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    62
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    From the label, the motor from this dryer runs on a 60Hz 3 phase supply and it's likely to be an induction motor. 3 phase induction motors are self-starting and don't use a capacitor to start. It might have a soft start which uses a lower current for a no-load start.
    It's at least 4KW so the OP will have to be careful. I'd agree that the first thing is to check the bearings on the drum to see if it requires maintenance (rotate it by hand to see if it will rotate smoothly and give it a clean), next check the belt to see if there is any slippage or hardening. Take off the back panel for that. Also, check if it will start with no load. If the heating element is exposed, then you will have to make sure that there is no lint or rubbish around it because they can cause a fire.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Alexandra Vic
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    66
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    Quote Originally Posted by justonething View Post
    From the label, the motor from this dryer runs on a 60Hz 3 phase supply and it's likely to be an induction motor. 3 phase induction motors are self-starting and don't use a capacitor to start. It might have a soft start which uses a lower current for a no-load start.
    Not so I'm afraid. I have looked up the model no from the pic in post 1, (instruction and installation manuals and parts list) and the unit definitely operates on what we would class as split phase in Australia, i.e 120V-0V(Neutral)-120V. This gives 240V between the two 120V legs as they are out of phase, fairly standard for high consumption domestic devices in the US, like stoves, dryers, hot water and domestic heater systems and even a lot of workshop tools like table saws with power capabilities beyond about 2HP. The majority of the power being consumed is used by the heater coil system. There is no sign of a capacitor for the motor in the parts lists, but it could be integral to the motor, or the motor could be a shaded pole type that don't need a cap.

    Typically with this sort of issue with dryers, I would be considering aged and decayed belt as first option, then checking drum support bearings and rollers and belt tensioner bearings as the most likely sources of sticking when starting.
    I used to be an engineer, I'm not an engineer any more, but on the really good days I can remember when I was.

  10. #9
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    Feb 2006
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    Perth
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    About 20 years ago SWMBO and myself spent 9 months in Europe where I was working at a lab. Our 18 year old student son stayed at our home in Perth and sent us the bills. A mid-year power bill arrived and it was about 3 times the usual amount compared to when all three of us were at home. I queried this and my son said he had been using the dryer "a bit" but I asked him to also make sure everything was turned off. The next bill arrived and it was twice the usual and by the time the next one came we were back home and that one was also about twice the usual.

    We hardly ever use the dryer except when it rains consistently, and even then we dry clothes on a washing line and then finish them off with a short burst in the dryer. The first time we tried this after getting back from being away I noticed there was no air coming out the back of the dryer and the door switch look like it had been tampered with. Investigations revealed a broken fan belt and a scorched area on the outside area of the drum. I then questioned my son as to how he was using the dryer.

    It turns out he also noticed no air coming out but he worked out the dryer would still dry wet clothes if he bodged the door switch so the door could be left open and then run the dryer on high "for a while". When I asked what "for a while meant", given it had a 90 minute maximum time on limit. It turns out he had to run it for 3 or 4 x 90 minutes to dry a load of wet clothes.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    NSW
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    35
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    About 20 years ago SWMBO and myself spent 9 months in Europe where I was working at a lab. Our 18 year old student son stayed at our home in Perth and sent us the bills. A mid-year power bill arrived and it was about 3 times the usual amount compared to when all three of us were at home. I queried this and my son said he had been using the dryer "a bit" but I asked him to also make sure everything was turned off. The next bill arrived and it was twice the usual and by the time the next one came we were back home and that one was also about twice the usual.

    We hardly ever use the dryer except when it rains consistently, and even then we dry clothes on a washing line and then finish them off with a short burst in the dryer. The first time we tried this after getting back from being away I noticed there was no air coming out the back of the dryer and the door switch look like it had been tampered with. Investigations revealed a broken fan belt and a scorched area on the outside area of the drum. I then questioned my son as to how he was using the dryer.

    It turns out he also noticed no air coming out but he worked out the dryer would still dry wet clothes if he bodged the door switch so the door could be left open and then run the dryer on high "for a while". When I asked what "for a while meant", given it had a 90 minute maximum time on limit. It turns out he had to run it for 3 or 4 x 90 minutes to dry a load of wet clothes.
    not going to lie Bob,

    do you know how much I now antagonise over the flex ducting I have on my dryer. I have this information in my brain that now says its by now where near the most efficient form for transporting the hot waste air out side of the house after reading all the stuff in the "dust extraction" section (knowing i should have short runs, avoid 90 deg bends etc etc). I'm also far to lazy to plumb it up properly with PVC

  12. #11
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    Jan 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    We hardly ever use the dryer except when it rains consistently...
    Well off topic, but dryers are a bit of a rarity here. Mostly winter is so dry, we just hang the clothes up inside and it provides some much needed humidity to the dry, dry air. In the wet season, things dry quicker in the dry, airconditioned air. True story.

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    Semtex fixes all

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Perth
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    Quote Originally Posted by havabeer69 View Post
    not going to lie Bob,

    do you know how much I now antagonise over the flex ducting I have on my dryer. I have this information in my brain that now says its by now where near the most efficient form for transporting the hot waste air out side of the house after reading all the stuff in the "dust extraction" section (knowing i should have short runs, avoid 90 deg bends etc etc). I'm also far to lazy to plumb it up properly with PVC
    As far as clothes dryers go, like wood dust extraction, some ventilation is better than none. One difference is the fans used in dryers are small so air flow rates are relatively low. There's also no filter at the end of the ducting run to clog air flow, so paying attention to reduced run lengths and junctions are less significant than WW dust extractors.

    Most people don't realize, its not just hot air coming out of dryers as this air also contains fabric dust/fibres and even though we have been living with some natural fabric dust for millennia some people are still allergic to it, especially the synthetic fabrics., and just because something is natural doesn't automatically make it safe eg Stone dust. Filters in clothes dryers only catch the big chunks of fabric dust so its best vented outside.

    Our clothes dryer vents inside the laundry, but we do have a bathroom type exhaust fan that vents outside and we run that when we run the dryer.

    BTW I wouldn't use PVC ducting for clothes dryer ducting, very occasionally they do catch fire and PVC is quite flammable and also generates Chlorine which is very toxic. I'd just use some of the floppy aluminised plastic flex. Like I said above - flow rates are low so you can use long lengths of flex and it won't affect the flow rate that much.

    Im going through a related matter ATM while setting up an enclosure and forced ventilation system for my 3D printer. It's not so much dust as (noxious?) gas produced during some types of printing. The enclosure is about 12 cubic ft and I'm using a 112 CFM fan and about 1m of 4" floppy Aluminised ducting to vent the enclosure outside through nearby window. The ventilation equates to 480 enclosure changes per hour which is heaps.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Lexington, KY
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    Thanks for all the advice guys. Glad to have learned all the extra info as well in the discussion.

    Unfortunately I haven't been able to get to Mom's to check things out myself but apparently she's needed to run the dryer a lot more often than normal and says it's starting up like it should now, even after sitting a bit. I'm guessing the cranky behavior will return as soon as the usage goes back down and now I'll be prepared on what to look for when I open it up. That dryer lint fire potential is a bell ringer so I'll make sure to get everything cleaned out best I can.

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