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Thread: RCD Tripping while washing

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    Premium Member bazzy's Avatar
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    Default RCD Tripping while washing

    Hi All

    I have one of the old 30 year old belt driven Whirlpool washing machines, it will usually get through a cycle no issues but i am finding that sometimes when it goes from agitate to pump (this is when i see it happen) it will trip the RCD breaker. the odd thing is when it does this i have noticed that even turning the machine off by pushing the timer back in it will trip the RCD i am perplexed as to what could be causing this. the machine otherwise works fine.

    There is an issue with the spin cycle being weak but i think that is likely caused by the clutch being weak

    i have gone over it looking for leaks but can not find any. all the electrics are dry.

    this RCD tripping seems to be random as to if it will happen or not. for example it tripped then i let it stand for a bit and after i was able to plug it in and it went through two cycles no issues.

    Is there a way to find the cause?

    I have tried to post this on a forum in the us where they repair similar machines but they just deleted my thread and said to ask in Australia then deleted my post and account so i have also learned that Americans really are that arrogant.

    Regards

    Barry
    Last edited by bazzy; 11-10-17 at 10:52 AM.



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    You are speaking of the RCD breaker on your mains?

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    First thing would be to test the water pump, main motor, and any solenoids, with an insulation tester to see if one of those has a leak to earth.
    Last edited by Onefella; 11-10-17 at 11:35 AM.

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    Premium Member bazzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PZ. View Post
    You are speaking of the RCD breaker on your mains?
    yeah i have an RCD in the power box across the two power circuits and the lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Onefella View Post
    First thing would be to test the water pump, main motor, and any solenoids, with an insulation tester to see if one of those has a leak to earth.
    The pump is driven by a pulley that is engaged by the wig wag coil. I have a mega meter that puts out 1000v, would this be useful for testing the insulation?

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    Given the RCD is designed to prevent shocks it could be an earth issue. Could even be the power point you're using - might be a bad connection somewhere. Maybe try a different power point first and doing further testing would be my tip.
    Last edited by PZ.; 11-10-17 at 12:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bazzy View Post

    this RCD tripping seems to be random as to if it will happen or not. for example it tripped then i let it stand for a bit and after i was able to plug it in and it went through two cycles no issues.

    Barry
    I find in most cases it is the heater element.
    The heater does not have to be actually under power for it to trip.

    Pull the connection to the heater and run a few cold cycles.

    We always wash cold and I have pulled the heater cable years ago and it never tripped again.
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    Premium Member bazzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomeat View Post
    I find in most cases it is the heater element.
    The heater does not have to be actually under power for it to trip.

    Pull the connection to the heater and run a few cold cycles.

    We always wash cold and I have pulled the heater cable years ago and it never tripped again.
    funny you mention that because this model is one of the few that i have seen that actually has a heating element, and i stopped using that function because it kept tripping the breaker. i am not sure where the element is located in the machine, should i disconnect them at the switch internally and try running with them disconnected?

    are the heating elements generally switched at the negative side?

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    The plug for the heater is right at the bottom of the drum. Should be able to reach it if you lay the machine on the side to get underneath.
    You need to pull it off to fully disconnect it.
    Your problem is most likely an intermittent short(or low resistive contact) between neutral and earth in a heater element. That is why disconnecting at any switches/contacts will not work as they usually only disconnect active.
    More modern electonic machines may be different but you say it is 30 years old.
    Last edited by nomeat; 11-10-17 at 01:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazzy View Post
    The pump is driven by a pulley that is engaged by the wig wag coil. I have a mega meter that puts out 1000v, would this be useful for testing the insulation?
    Yeah mate, a Megger is a common (brand) name for an insulation tester.

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    Premium Member bazzy's Avatar
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    ok i will disconnect it from the element tonight when i get home.

    Also does anyone know if it is possible to adjust the spin clutch on these older machines?

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    Premium Member bazzy's Avatar
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    ok so i tested the element and there is 35M ohms resistance between the pins and the sheath on the side of the element. is this figure ok or does that indicate there is leakage?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bazzy View Post
    ok so i tested the element and there is 35M ohms resistance between the pins and the sheath on the side of the element. is this figure ok or does that indicate there is leakage?
    Actually that's not too bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bazzy View Post
    ok so i tested the element and there is 35M ohms resistance between the pins and the sheath on the side of the element. is this figure ok or does that indicate there is leakage?
    That is irrelevant if it is an intermittent fault which seems in your case highly likely.
    Just leave the plug off and see if you can get through a few cycles or not.

    You could shake or whack the drum with the megger connected and see if the needle jumps a bit (provided you are using an old analog meter) but as said the best test is to run the machine.
    Last edited by nomeat; 12-10-17 at 12:11 PM.
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    Premium Member bazzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomeat View Post
    That is irrelevant if it is an intermittent fault which seems in your case highly likely.
    Just leave the plug off and see if you can get through a few cycles or not.

    You could shake or whack the drum with the megger connected and see if the needle jumps a bit (provided you are using an old analog meter) but as said the best test is to run the machine.
    ok, just i was left with these long wires that where just hanging under the machine. The other thing i noticed was when i hook the meter up to the neutral connection and touch anywhere on the frame with the meter i get a 3M ohm reading. that is with the heater disconnected.

    active is open circuit to ground with the machine off and unplugged (not sure with it plugged in)

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    There should only be continuity from neutral to earth with the machine plugged in, via the MEN point back at the main switchboard. But neutral shouldn't produce such a low-ohm reading if it's not plugged in, and I don't imagine you are working on the machine with it plugged in. It's a bit unusual, but I don't think it's your problem.

    Just testing the active-to-earth on the machine's supply, isn't a very good way to check for insulation resistance. The main components need to be checked separately. Isolating the heater is a good idea. Heating elements are notorious for having small leaks to earth. I have limited experience with domestic appliances and haven't come across a washing machine with an internal heater before, so it's a new one for me.

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    Because it is an old machine, its very likely very 'dirty' (noise) electrically when it switches so could the RCD see this 'Noise' and read it as fault ?
    I remember reading that people with home welders had lots of problems with these devises when they struck the arc but while actually welding.
    I was wondering as a way to test this would be to use an isolating transformer between it and the RDC and see what happens?
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    Premium Member bazzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon_s1942 View Post
    Because it is an old machine, its very likely very 'dirty' (noise) electrically when it switches so could the RCD see this 'Noise' and read it as fault ?
    I remember reading that people with home welders had lots of problems with these devises when they struck the arc but while actually welding.
    I was wondering as a way to test this would be to use an isolating transformer between it and the RDC and see what happens?
    where would i find an isolating transformer that would cope with this sort of electrical load? the machine has 10A on the back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bazzy View Post
    where would i find an isolating transformer that would cope with this sort of electrical load? the machine has 10A on the back.
    You won't. They cost a fortune. Don't get ahead of yourself, try the simple stuff first. Did you you try the machine after you isolated the heater? Have you 'Meggered' the motor yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Onefella View Post
    You won't. They cost a fortune. Don't get ahead of yourself, try the simple stuff first. Did you you try the machine after you isolated the heater? Have you 'Meggered' the motor yet?
    I have tried the machine since disconnecting and it did not trip the breaker. i intend to megger the motor tonight.

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    Premium Member bazzy's Avatar
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    ok so i have tested with a meggar meter and found the needle on the mega goes all the way across. so i disconnected the filling solenoid and found it now only goes about half way across (on 1000v) i have tested the individual valve solenoids and found one seemed to have very low resistance to ground. replaced it now. is it normal for it to go half way when testing with the cord.

    I am not entirely sure how to read this meter. see picture below




    this is active with the timer in the off position



    this is neutral

    Last edited by bazzy; 13-10-17 at 10:53 PM.

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