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  #1  
Old 07-19-2010, 02:43 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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Dryer stopped working - DIY?

My dryer (clothes) went kaput last night. I checked the outlet and it works fine but the drier just won’t start. I Googled and found 3 possibilities that could be (relatively) easy fixes – door switch, start switch or thermostat. I don’t think it’s the thermal fuse because the info online says it that goes the dryer will start, it just won’t get hot.

Any other advice? I’d rather not have to wait a week and pay $100 to get it back up and running.

Last edited by zoid; 07-19-2010 at 02:43 PM..
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2010, 02:46 PM
Munch Munch is offline
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Some dryers have an automatic shutoff if the lint filter gets too full.
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Old 07-19-2010, 02:59 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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Dryer designs vary. Mine has two thermal fuses in it. One will just stop it from making heat, and if it blows it means the thermostat is dead too. The other is an overall over-temp fuse and if it blows then the entire dryer won't start. The second one is the one that will blow if your exhaust vent gets clogged up and overheats, which is a common type of problem.

What's your electrical skills? This type of problem is fairly easy to fix if you know a bit about electricity. If you don't know anything about electricity, about the worst you can do is kill yourself and burn your house down.
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:01 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munch View Post
Some dryers have an automatic shutoff if the lint filter gets too full.
Really?! This sounds very plausible.
Any idea where I would look for this? And can I simple clear the lint out of the way to resolve the problem or is there more to it?

Thanks!
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:05 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Dryer designs vary. Mine has two thermal fuses in it. One will just stop it from making heat, and if it blows it means the thermostat is dead too. The other is an overall over-temp fuse and if it blows then the entire dryer won't start. The second one is the one that will blow if your exhaust vent gets clogged up and overheats, which is a common type of problem.

What's your electrical skills? This type of problem is fairly easy to fix if you know a bit about electricity. If you don't know anything about electricity, about the worst you can do is kill yourself and burn your house down.
I've tinkered a bit - I know when I'm in over my head. Plus my wife's an EE so she'll be there the whole time looking over my shoulder telling me I'm doing it all wrong
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:06 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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If you take off the back panels of the dryer, there will usually be (somewhere) an electrical diagram of the dryer. Sometimes it is taped or glued to one of the panels. Sometimes they just stick it inside the top part of the dryer. This diagram will show you what fuses you have. With a little luck it even shows the wire colors, which helps you identify parts if you are a little unsure. (Note - unplug the dryer before removing the panels)

Once you have identified the thermal fuse, remove it from the dryer and test it with a multimeter. If it still conducts electricity, it's good. If it no longer conducts electricity, it's shot and you need to buy a new one.

ETA: You also need to clean out the dryer's vents and such to make sure it doesn't just overheat and blow the fuse again.

Last edited by engineer_comp_geek; 07-19-2010 at 03:07 PM..
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  #7  
Old 07-19-2010, 03:09 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Dryer designs vary. Mine has two thermal fuses in it. One will just stop it from making heat, and if it blows it means the thermostat is dead too. The other is an overall over-temp fuse and if it blows then the entire dryer won't start. The second one is the one that will blow if your exhaust vent gets clogged up and overheats, which is a common type of problem.

What's your electrical skills? This type of problem is fairly easy to fix if you know a bit about electricity. If you don't know anything about electricity, about the worst you can do is kill yourself and burn your house down.
Well, we don't know the OP lives in a house. He could live in an apartment complex, in which case the worst case goes up substantially.
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:09 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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Take a look at this:
http://www.fixya.com/uploads/Images/7152136.jpg
(Note - your dryer may vary quite a bit from that)

The thermal fuse in my dryer looks like this, but again, yours may vary:
http://www.stoneparts.com/Products/305658.jpg

A different type, for example:
http://www.apwapplianceparts.com/Products/460746.jpg
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:13 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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Also, if it is the thermal fuse, look on the diagram. If it is in series with the thermostat, it means that the thermostat stopped regulating the temperature which is what caused the dryer to overheat. This means that the thermostat is broke too.

If it's not in series with the thermostat, and your dryer happens to have another thermal fuse in series with the thermostat, then it probably just means the dryer overheated and you only need to replace the fuse.
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:31 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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I live in a house BTW.

Thanks for the links engineer_comp_geek!
I'm going to print out this thread and the linked info and take a look tonight.
Wish me luck...
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  #11  
Old 07-19-2010, 04:28 PM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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for those not familiar with electrical servicing and safety the above suggestions should be done with the dryer unplugged.
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  #12  
Old 07-19-2010, 05:34 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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There's no big honkin' capacitors in those things I need to worry about are there?
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  #13  
Old 07-19-2010, 06:09 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is online now
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Originally Posted by zoid View Post
There's no big honkin' capacitors in those things I need to worry about are there?
Generally, no. Possibly one on the motor to smooth out startup surges, but not really a big one.

I think that even the fancy new dryers with the computerized controls still don't have any big capacitors -- small ones on circuit boards, but nothing big.
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:52 PM
The Surb The Surb is offline
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Originally Posted by zoid View Post
Really?! This sounds very plausible.
Any idea where I would look for this? And can I simple clear the lint out of the way to resolve the problem or is there more to it?

Thanks!
WAIT! Are you saying you don't know where the lint trap is? That is a problem.

Or is the nomenclature different? I have never heard it called a lint filter, I have always heard it called a lint trap.

Regardless, not cleaning a lint trap for 3 months may result in clothes melting and your landlord giving you the stink eye telling you how much a new one will cost if it can't be fixed.

If this is the case, you may have tripped some type of fuse/overload.
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  #15  
Old 07-19-2010, 07:37 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
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Up to a point, the older it is, the more likely, and easier you will be able to fix it. Prior to the 90's or so, appliance manufacturers took the term "durable goods" pretty seriously. If it is a Whirlpool dryer (which includes Sears Kenmore and a lot of other store brands) You can probably buy every single part except the main cabinet and the drum in-stock in any bigish city, at a fairly reasonable price.

About two years ago the timer in our 70's (it's harvest gold, doncha know) washer finally got to where I couldn't repair it again like I did the last two times, and because it was a "deluxe" model I had to order off the internet for about $100,and spent a couple hours replacing it.
I'd like a washer that uses less water, but this one keeps on chugging at an average parts cost of something like $10-15/year and less than an hour of my labor. I can buy a lot of water for the difference between that and a $1000+ low water use washer.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:23 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Surb View Post
WAIT! Are you saying you don't know where the lint trap is? That is a problem.

Or is the nomenclature different? I have never heard it called a lint filter, I have always heard it called a lint trap.

Regardless, not cleaning a lint trap for 3 months may result in clothes melting and your landlord giving you the stink eye telling you how much a new one will cost if it can't be fixed.

If this is the case, you may have tripped some type of fuse/overload.
I know where the trap is - I was wondering where the cutoff would be incase it's some kind of sensor that would need to be cleaned.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:59 PM
The Surb The Surb is offline
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Originally Posted by zoid View Post
I know where the trap is - I was wondering where the cutoff would be incase it's some kind of sensor that would need to be cleaned.
Gotcha. It's sad to say but I know this from experience.
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  #18  
Old 07-24-2010, 02:26 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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It was the door switch - $20 and 1/2 hour to fix.
I know you were all just dying to find out
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:47 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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I was kinda curious how you were getting along with it. Good job!
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  #20  
Old 07-24-2010, 04:37 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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Thanks for the help!
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  #21  
Old 07-24-2010, 06:33 PM
Zakalwe Zakalwe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoid View Post
It was the door switch - $20 and 1/2 hour to fix.
I know you were all just dying to find out
Good lord. The door switch took 5 days to fix?
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  #22  
Old 07-24-2010, 09:28 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zakalwe View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoid View Post
It was the door switch - $20 and 1/2 hour to fix.
I know you were all just dying to find out
Good lord. The door switch took 5 days to fix?
LOL - Actually it took 2 days for the wife to find her Fluke meter, a day for me to test, and 2 days for me to get off my lazy ass and get to Sears for the switch.
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  #23  
Old 07-09-2012, 03:58 PM
LadyClueless LadyClueless is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoid View Post
It was the door switch - $20 and 1/2 hour to fix.
I know you were all just dying to find out
Please tell me how you fixed it. My Dryer is only 5 years old, but I think it's the same problem. Thanks.
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  #24  
Old 07-09-2012, 05:59 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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Originally Posted by LadyClueless View Post
Please tell me how you fixed it. My Dryer is only 5 years old, but I think it's the same problem. Thanks.
A ha! Now your PM makes sense!

I pulled the switch out and my wife tested it with her fluke meter; it was open no matter what we tried so I bought a new one and replaced the old one.
If you Google your dryer you can usually find the location of the door switch and the part #. Then I just googled the part # to see who carried it.
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