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MOST COMMON PROBLEMS ON SMART DRIVE WASHING MACHINES

by Igor Ivanovic

    First Smart Drive washing machine by Fisher&Paykel came out of production in 1991and since then we've experienced 8 improved and more sophisticated models. Although they differ a lot most common faults are very similar and by our long experience we can say that almost  80% of them are minor faults, still  worth repairing. We'll try to cover all of them but if you find that your one is different, it may be some combination of few covered.

NO POWER

    This fault can be caused by failure of one of the major electrical parts: motor, pump, rotor positioning sensor, reed switch, display panel or one of the water valves. Also, cause can be in the motor controller itself. It can be burned by watter related short cut or by power surge.
    On the “phase  4”( models 085, 058, 508, 608, 708) motor controller  there is a mode where it can shut down in the event of a transient on the mains. What does this means is that machine will go in “asleep” mode and the module will not restart unless the power is turned off at the wall for at least 90 seconds.
    On the “phase 5” (models 095-Fresh, 059-Pride, 509-Excellence, 609, 709) pump is considered as a part of the power supply. If it is disconnected (thermal cut out tripped which can be caused by pump blockage)  washing machine will be dead.
    
    Repair of this fault is quite expensive and vary between models from $100 to $250.
Best way to prevent it is to do regular inexpensive service checks of all major parts and empty  pockets before wash. If you buy used washing machine try to arrange cleaning, water blasting and sanitizing services which will free drum and bowl from all dirt that can cause pump blockage.

LEAKING

    This is most common washing machine problem and in some cases it is related to real technical issues and sometimes to misuse or wrong installation.  
    Easy to notice leaks are from watter taps, inlet hoses, hot or cold water valves, water mixing chamber. Leak from top end of the drain hose is also easy to notice and usual spot is close to the connection to the body of the machine.
    Leaking from the pump is almost always caused by poorly secured pump bracket; pump's
diaphragm and pump itself are last causes for the leak. Next possible leak spot is an air bell.
     If water level is not set properly and water is filled over HIGH mark on the agitator, splashing may cause some “leak”. Over filling may be caused by bad (dirty or punched) pressure pipe. Clothes overloading can make same problem.
    Broken neck ring and damaged plastic inner bowl are another possible reasons for leak as well as too much detergent used.  

    Fixing of leak related problems should not(except damaged inner bowl and leak from main seal) be very expensive, up to a $100 most.

WASHING MACHINE IS NOISY

    Noise can be related to few different sources, some of  them indicating that machine have to be serviced or repaired to avoid major damage.
    If washing machine is very noisy during spin cycle main seal and bearing are bad. This fault has to be fixed urgently, otherwise water leak can damage motor and rotor positioning sensor.
    Banging sound is usually related to drain hose, inlet hose, mains lead or harness. They are either loose or washing machine has not been leveled properly. This can not cause some other bigger problem but  could be very annoying.
    Another banging sound can be caused by inner and outer bowl hitting  machine's body.
The reason for that is that water somehow escaped from two balance rings in the inner bowl. Same problem can be caused by overloading or uneven clothes arrangement in the bowl.    
    Pump can be source of very annoying noise. This noise starts on the beginning of the spray/deep rinse or spin  cycle and lasts until pump empties water. It has been caused by rusted pump stator (water or humidity damage) or ex center rotor position. CRC spray will fix the problem temporary and new pump will save machine from more expensive faults(burned pump will burn triac on the motor controller).
    Also cracked or chipped rotor magnets can cause some grinding noise.

    To fix noise problem you may expect anything between $50 to $350.

WASHING MACHINE IS “DOING NOTHING”

    First cause of this fault can be in reed switch(lid and off balance switch). Broken switch should be replaced to avoid motor controller failure.
    Water taps can cause this problem also. Water should be connected and taps should be on.
    If delay start is on, Strat/Pause switch will not respond.
    When Auto Level has been used machine will resense water level every time the lid is opened.
    
SIPHONING

    This problem is related to the law on nature. Usually standpipe height is too low. Minimum height should be 850mm from the floor. Top of the drain hose should be placed through “U” shaped hose guide not more than 2cm from the top of the guide. If drain hose is pushed too far into the standpipe or drain, washing machine will empty(siphon) water during fill or rinse cycle.
Siphoning can be caused also by restricted drain hose or partial pump blockage.









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