How Washing Machines Work
A washer's timer is the brain behind all of the washing machines functions. The timer has many small contact switches that open and close as they are activated by a rotating cam, similar to a music box or player piano. As the switches close different components within the washer are energized so they can perform their work at the proper time. The timer is usually the first thing blamed for a malfunctioning washer; however, it is rarely the cause. Timers may fail in the following ways. The timer motor doesn't rotate the internal cam, some of the switch contacts weld closed and never open, or some of the switch contacts build up carbon deposits and fail to close and make contact, not allowing a particular washer component to receive the electricity needed to work. If you look closely at the washer timer in the picture above the third contact from the right is blackened from electrical arcing. Do Not open your washing machine's timer for a peek they can rarely be reused after being opened. Washer timer problems must be diagnosed by symptoms and voltage checks with a voltmeter.
Washer Timer Repair Videos
Some washing machines use control boards instead of a timer for more accurate control of the washer's functions. The purpose of a control board is basically the same as a timer; energize washing machine components at the proper time. To do this the control board monitors sensors throughout the washing machine to regulate water temperature, wash and spin speeds, fill and drain time as well as user commands. Washing machine control boards are computerized and slightly more difficult to diagnose, and expensive to replace. Fortunately most washers that are control board operated, such as the Whirlpool Duet & Cabrio, Maytag Bravos, and Sears Kenmore Oasis have diagnostic modes that can be used to identify and fix washer problems.
Washer Control Repair Videos
A washing machine's lid switch indicates whether the lid is open or closed, and will interrupt some or all of the washing machine operations. This is a safety mechanism that has greatly reduced the volume of appliance related injuries. A washer's timer will generally allow the washer to fill with water while the lid is open; however, most new washers will not allow any mechanical functions while the lid switch is open. Some older models will allow agitation, but no washing machines should spin with the lid open or a broken lid switch. The lid switch is the most common cause for a washer that won't spin, and some newer washing machines that will fill but not agitate.
Washer Lid Switch Repair Videos
All washing machines have an internal water valve that connects to the water supply of your home and automatically controls hot and cold water to flow into the tub by opening an internal gate with several electromagnetic solenoids, also called "coils". There is one solenoid responsible for the hot side of the water valve and one for the cold side. Some washing machines that have additional dispensers may have additional solenoids to control water flow to the fabric softener, bleach, or detergent cups. Over time the water valve screens can clog up with all kinds of debris and reduce the water volume able to flow through the valve into the washer's tub. This can cause the washing machine to take a very long time to fill up with water. Some times the valve may fail to close completely and cause water to dribble into the washer's tub when it should not.
Washer Water Valve Repair Videos