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Fixing a washing machine that trips electric

I recently encountered a new problem with my Washing machine that I always seem to end up repairing. I have previously written about other repairs in blog posts on my site. Some of the problems that I’ve had were my washing machine lights flashing constantly, and I also had a problem where the washing machine wouldn’t finish it’s cycle. I tend to write all these posts to help other people like me when they come across this problem themselves but don’t know how to fix it.

Basically after a bought of heavy rains that lasted for a couple of days, I came home from work and noticed that my Electric had tripped and would trip as soon as I switched on the washing machine. What happened is that the rain had leaked through the sink surround and went into the washing machine

How did I know it was the washing machine?

I did some basic diagnostics first. As soon as I went to turn on power to the washing machine the power tripped. As soon as I turned it off, I could put the breaker back on. In order to make sure it wasn’t the socket, I used a tester (just to check for any shorts) as it’s been in there for years, but the rain could have affected something. The socket was fine. As a double check, I plugged in the Kettle into this outlet and switched it on. Definately the washing machine tripping my electric then. I’d tried changing fuses and testing with my multimeter and it was OK.

What was causing the electric to trip in the washing machine?

I had to identify what was causing the problems on the washing machine. I’m not an Engineer by trade, so I had to do some basic diagnosis. The problem had only happened due to a large amount of rain, so my assumption was something was wet or shorting out. I set about dismantling the washing machine.

I did basic diagnostics and unplugged with a bit of trial and error. My washing machine is a Hotpoint WF326A, so I went through unplugging the following through my steps. Going front the furthest point away, to the nearest point to power source. The odds of the wiring being shorted were low (not impossible), but my guess at the time was something electrically shorting rather than wiring.

Below are the points I tried

  • Front panel –> Tried, electric still tripped –> Not the panel
  • Pressure Switch –> Tried, electric still tripped –> Not the pressure switch
  • Main Board Connector –> Tried, electric still tripped –> Not the main board.

Testing out the connections

Now, after this, there was only one component left, and it was hard wired directly to the plug.

The last connection a hardwired mains filter

I ruled out the plug fuse, socket and internal wiring itself with a multimeter. The problem for me specifically was being caused by the mains filter. I took it as a good sign of my diagnosis because after I unplugged the lower board it was filled with water, and had some rusted connections.

Water in mains filter

If you’re wondering what a Mains filter looks like, a picture here

Although for the life of me I can’t work out how it managed to get in there in the first place. The lid on the washing machine is sealed. I can only think it’s seeped in somehow.

I tested the mains filter with a multimeter. All the points seemed OK with no shorts. I think they have an internal fuse, so it’s possible this has blown. They’re sealed units, so I couldn’t / didn’t know how to test it. I ended up ordering a replacement from eBay.

Once I received the replacement, I fitted it and the washing machine was back to working operation

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