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What's inside a washing machine? Another teardown with Cam

 
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Well folks our washing machine went kaput on us recently. I was hoping it was a simple component that went and I could replace it, but through some troubleshooting we figured out it was something in the circuitry that fizzled. The machine would run through a self clean cycle just fine, involving filling the basket and draining it, going through a spin cycle, and running the heater. So all those components functioned. However when put on a wash cycle the machine would run for a few minutes and then stop midcycle and not start back up no matter what we did. Checked the switch on the door, it was functioning. We still have five people living here, so lots of laundry needs to be done. I did wash some laundry by hand just for the fun of it...talk about a forearm workout!

So once we decided on purchasing a new machine, one of the big box stores offered to take the machine to the dump for a $25 fee. Ummm no. Me being me, I offered to dismantle it so I could see what was inside and try to keep as much out of the landfill as possible. I started by removing the top panel.





In these photos the beige looking thing is a counterweight. It appeared to be made of ceramic, but if someone more knowledgeable knows better feel free to chip in. I can imagine running a cycle without the counterweights would be a very noisy, bouncy affair!



This machine lasted almost 13 years. Not bad but I'm sure it could have lasted far longer without something in the circuitry going :( Oh well. Here is an inside look at the brains of the machine.



Here is a peek in the back of the machine. Check out that ratio! Me loving to bike, it reminds me of riding in an extremely low gear, for example when I'm riding up a steep hill. Many revolutions of the motor rotor for just one rotation of the basket.



Here is the heart of the machine...to me it seemed surprisingly small for how much power it puts out. The book can be used for reference to size.



Here is the info plate on the motor - nearly everything is variable. This would allow different rotation directions and speeds.



Let's say the the motor was working with all 120V available to it. How many watts would it pull at 2.5 amps? To find out, all you need to do is multiply the voltage (120) by the amps (2.5).

120 * 2.5 = 300 watts

And here is the baby water pump. It's a very small motor with paddles attached to the rotor.





How many amps does this motor pull? It doesn't say on the name plate, but with more basic math you can figure it out. Just divide the watts (85) by the voltage (120).

85 / 120 = 0.7 amps. So not very much at all. Here's a video of it running.





Here all the counter weights together. The far left one I am using as a tire chock, and it works great. The other two I'm not too sure what to do with yet. If I'm correct about them being ceramic, they could go into the garden if cut or broken into smaller pieces as I think ceramic is a very stable material.



I was hunting for these things the entire time I was dismantling the machine. They definitely fall under the Do Not Lick policy. They're called start capacitors, and they do exactly what the name says: they help the motor start up. Let's do another bike analogy, because I like bikes. To start riding from a standstill, it requires quite a bit of pedal power to get things moving. Especially if you're in a high gear or riding up a hill! However once the bike is moving and you have momentum it is far easier to maintain a certain speed. The start capacitors provide that extra bit of juice to help get the motor spinning. You could think of them as a friend standing behind you who gives you a push to get your bike rolling.

A washing machine with a broken start capacitor may make a humming sound, but the basket won't spin. That's a sign that the motor is trying to spin, but it doesn't have enough power to start on its own. Just like if you're trying to start pedaling in the highest gear up a hill, and no matter how hard you press the wheels won't start turning. You might make more than a humming sound though.

Check out this video where my hand takes the place of the start capacitors in providing that extra bit of juice to get the motor started.






Here are the side panels. All painted sheet metal. The majority went to the metal scrapyard, but I kept one panel to serve as a fire pit cover for at the cottage. Once I unfold the edges it will be the perfect size to keep rain out of the pit when we aren't using it.



And this, my friends, is the stainless steel drum. My dad and I think it could either serve as a sort of fire pit, or maybe as a basket of some sort? Or worst case it goes to the scrapyard and I get cold hard cash for it. I'd like to reuse it though if I can.

And this is a component I forgot to take a photo of, but I did get a video demo of it. It's called a pressure switch. As the name implies, it's a switch that switches on or off based on a set water (or air) pressure inside. This would stop the machine from either under filling or overfilling with water. Make sure to turn your sound on for the video.



And here is a photo dump of lots of other goodies inside.

The door mount, most likely cast as there are no visible welds.


Spring clamps. I bet there were about twenty of these things in various sizes, all in excellent condition.


A very heavy duty spring. There were four of these in total; they helped stabilize the basket.

A resistor. Who wants to find out its resistance value??? I do!



To my eye, it has six bands. Red, silver, black, green, white and gold. To find its resistance value we need a chart. I got this one from here.



So red band - 2. Grey band - 8. Black band - 0. The green band is the multiplier in this case. So 280 multipled by 100,000 is 28000000 ohms. This seems awfully high, so again, anyone who knows more can correct me and I'll fix it. What I do know is correct is that the gold band at the very top tells us that this resistance value has a tolerance of 5%. This means that the measured value can vary 5% in either direction from the stated value.

If I have sparked your interest in dismantling stuff, I highly recommend watching this guy's videos on youtube. Here is a video of him pulling useful stuff out of a washing machine. He's a real engineer, not just a tinkerer like me so he really knows his stuff. He's very passionate about it too.  


Happy tinkering!!
 
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Cool! Here are some ideas of what to dowhat to do with that barrel.
 
Cam Haslehurst
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Cool! Here are some ideas of what to dowhat to do with that barrel.



At this point I really shouldn't be surprised that there is an entire thread dedicated to the stainless drums Thank you Joylynn!
 
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Bravo!
Your break down is excellent!
That drum is weirdly annoying.
It's full of holes, which limits its function, and it's stainless steel which elevates its potential.
It may be most useful as a sheet of perforated stainless steel.
No hurry deciding, it could serve many purposes, one after the other.
 
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I know something I'd love to use a drum like that for - scouring fleeces! Rigged on a tripod, it could be raised and lowered from the suint, and save my back! (Anyone who has ever had to lift a whole, thoroughly saturated fleece out of a tub of water knows my pain). Typical baskets don't work well. The plastic ones collapse and break under the weight of it, wicker wants to float, then gets saturated and adds more to the weight, as it sags - waterlogged. Mesh bags (the most commonly used thing) are awkward, and floppy - not good when it's also drenched. But, that tub would be a cinch - on a winch.
 
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Dude. Awesome.

I feel educated in a way I never have been.

The last time I dismantled something instead of discarding outright was a toddler toy. I showed my son how all the different features were connected by levers and buttons and actuators to the single chip board. Almost literally childs play compared to this break down.

Cheers to you, and good luck putting all the things to better uses, even if it's only education.
 
Cam Haslehurst
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L. Johnson wrote:Dude. Awesome.

I feel educated in a way I never have been.

The last time I dismantled something instead of discarding outright was a toddler toy. I showed my son how all the different features were connected by levers and buttons and actuators to the single chip board. Almost literally childs play compared to this break down.

Cheers to you, and good luck putting all the things to better uses, even if it's only education.



Thanks L! And don't be fooled, there isn't actually much skill involved here. Just the right tools mostly. And some patience (lol)!

Tear downs are great because in the absolute worst case everything still goes to the landfill, but at least you learn about the stuff that makes your appliances or tools work. So still a win! That rarely happens though, often you find new uses for stuff, or someone else does and you give it away
 
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If the door is a nice glass one it makes a pretty good mixing bowl - my favourite bowl is off a dead washing machine. It takes a bit of effort to take the frame off it, but the glass is really strong.
 
Cam Haslehurst
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Nancy Reading wrote:If the door is a nice glass one it makes a pretty good mixing bowl - my favourite bowl is off a dead washing machine. It takes a bit of effort to take the frame off it, but the glass is really strong.



Hey Nancy forgot to get back to you. The glass is seriously strong, but unfortunately it's a very strange shape. I lost the photo for it, but it starts as a regular dome, then suddenly flattens out which makes it useless as a bowl. Just had a look in the garage and didn't see it. I know there's a use for it though and I will find it!
 
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Cam Haslehurst wrote:

Nancy Reading wrote:If the door is a nice glass one it makes a pretty good mixing bowl - my favourite bowl is off a dead washing machine. It takes a bit of effort to take the frame off it, but the glass is really strong.



Hey Nancy forgot to get back to you. The glass is seriously strong, but unfortunately it's a very strange shape. I lost the photo for it, but it starts as a regular dome, then suddenly flattens out which makes it useless as a bowl. Just had a look in the garage and didn't see it. I know there's a use for it though and I will find it!



Couple brainstorms---

Kid's playhouse ship porthole
Cob house window

 
Cam Haslehurst
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Hannah Johnson wrote:

Couple brainstorms---

Kid's playhouse ship porthole
Cob house window



Talk about creativity! Thank you for the suggestions Hannah

Carla Burke wrote:
I know something I'd love to use a drum like that for - scouring fleeces! Rigged on a tripod, it could be raised and lowered from the suint, and save my back! (Anyone who has ever had to lift a whole, thoroughly saturated fleece out of a tub of water knows my pain). Typical baskets don't work well. The plastic ones collapse and break under the weight of it, wicker wants to float, then gets saturated and adds more to the weight, as it sags - waterlogged. Mesh bags (the most commonly used thing) are awkward, and floppy - not good when it's also drenched. But, that tub would be a cinch - on a winch.



Excellent idea Carla! I never scour fleece unfortunately but I will keep that in mind for the future. My dad and I are leaning towards a sort of fire pit I believe. Also sorry I just got back to you, I didn't see your or William's post until now!


William Bronson wrote:
Bravo!
Your break down is excellent!
That drum is weirdly annoying.
It's full of holes, which limits its function, and it's stainless steel which elevates its potential.
It may be most useful as a sheet of perforated stainless steel.
No hurry deciding, it could serve many purposes, one after the other.



Thanks William! We will get it figured out, because stainless steel is just too good to be sent to the scrapyard. It will be brought back to life that I can guarantee you. It would make an excellent sheet if I sliced it and banged it flat with a hammer. I'll keep that in mind if we give up on the fire pit idea.
 
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Hi Cam
One of the most in-depth tear downs I've seen in a long time (I don't see many though). I replied because I've recently bought a new washing machine to replace an old Hoover that died of old age (18yrs) thats sat in my garden waiting for warmer weather to be stipped out and salvaged. I'm also wondering what to do with the Drum as its too bright and shiny to give to the scrap man.

The main motor will become a drive for a small wood lathe, something I've wanted for a long time but could'nt aford to buy new.

The electronic control board will get dismantled as I expect it will have a lot of re-useable parts to store away for future projects.

I'll video everything as I take the machine apart so I can post a teardown to equel yours (I live in hope).

I'll stop rambling as the snow here in Lincolnshire in the UK has stopped so I can get out and get some milk and bread. We arn't snowed in here but at 80 I tend to stay in a lot more when the white stuff is falling.

Best of luck

 
Carla Burke
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~smh~  I'm not sure why, but it only just now occurred to me that some of the very things I need most, right now - and in the past, could probably have been harvested from dead stoves, washers, dryers, and refrigerators. Things like sturdy, live-durn-near-forever raised beds, from the exteriors - not just the washer or dryer drums that everyone uses, for starters. I could easily see turning an exterior panel into a short slide to entertain the goats (or even children), too!
 
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