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My washing machine starting acting strangely today. While it was washing it would periodically beep and all the LEDs would flash at the same time. It started getting worse and just beeping continuously so I unplugged it.

Since I don’t have the funds to hire a repair person, I decided to see if I could fix it myself. I should note that although I’m familiar with working with electronics, I have no experience with appliance electronics.

I figured it was some sort of short or open circuit in the wiring to the control panel, so I popped out the panel and found this beauty.

enter image description here

We’re looking at the cable that comes from the main electronics box to the control panel. The wires are soldered directly into the control panel PCB, but what caught me by surprise is all this black and clear plastic insulation stuck to the panel and all over the PCB near the wiring. The black insulation seemed like some sort of electrical tape while the clear stuff seemed like some sort of epoxy.

So…

  1. Is this type of wiring common for washing machines and other appliances?
  2. What is the advantage of doing this?
  3. Is this something likely done by the manufacturer (Whirlpool) or is it probably the result of a previous repair?

Some other notes that may be interesting:

  • I got this washer for free a year ago. The previous owner said he never had any issues with it and he was the first owner (making me think this wiring might be original).
  • The actual cause of the strange behavior was unrelated to the wiring here, but was caused by a broken wire further back in the cable.
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  • be very careful when you work on the circuit board with the machine plugged in ... the whole circuit board probably has line voltage at every location
    – jsotola
    Apr 22 at 5:19
  • Something like that I think most makers would find too expensive in time to do(looks like a 10 or 15 minute job). They want stuff that takes seconds to connect if doing it by hand.
    – crip659
    Apr 22 at 10:25
  • I would think that if that was a factory applied sealant, it would look reasonably neat, tidy, and machine done.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 22 at 11:32
  • @jsotola thanks for the safety tip.
    – Ryan
    Apr 22 at 12:30

1 Answer 1

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Sometimes washers get too much, or the wrong kind, of detergent and create a huge pile of soap foam that can work it's way into the electronics and cause havoc.

That doesn't look like it was done in the factory....unless it was a last minute Change Order fix. Maybe a DIY'er did a hack job trying to protect the machine.

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