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I have a dryer that has been working for 2 years, but just stopped working out of the blue.

  • I have measured the power at the outlet and I get 240vac at the outlet.
  • I have removed the plug connection from the dryer and measure the connection end of the dryer cord. Still 240vac.
  • When I connect the cord back up to the dryer, I lose one of the legs and now down to 120 volts.
  • If I unplug the heating circuit on the board of the dryer my 240 comes back.

We had an appliance guy come out and look at the dryer but he says it's the outlet. Is it possible this is the breaker dropping out under load on one of the lines? Or is the issue with the dryer?

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    Dryer make/model? 3 wire or 4 wire connection? Oct 5, 2023 at 2:11
  • By turning of the power and verifying it is off, tighten the wire screws in the plug
    – Traveler
    Oct 5, 2023 at 3:16
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    A breaker cant dip down, it either trips or it doesnt. Its either loose connections or the drier. Oct 5, 2023 at 4:14
  • What does "stopped working" mean? What does "lose one of the legs" mean? Please revise to be more clear. Also, everything works until it doesn't (out of the blue or elsewhere). :)
    – isherwood
    Oct 5, 2023 at 13:39

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It looks to me like you've done some good diagnostic testing and have identified the source of the problem - the heating circuit. N.B. I'm not sure exactly what "heating circuit" refers to, but the OP does, so any reference to "heating circuit" here refers to the part(s) that the OP has identified by disconnecting. Since that's the one thing that's causing you to lose a leg, that would be my main suspect.

At a minimum, I'd suggest that double checking to ensure that the wiring to it isn't defective (cracked insulation, broken wires, loose screws) would be a good baseline troubleshooting step. Beyond that, I'm not certain how you'd go about testing that part to confirm it's broken. Perhaps search the internet for the maintenance manual for your dryer (I'd be happy to help, but you haven't shared the brand/model, and besides, an internet search is an easy thing to do.)

Odds are good (if you've checked all the wiring) that you're going to have to replace it (the heating circuit), so I would just order a replacement, install it, and see if that fixes the problem.

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I suspect the issue lays in the plug or in the wiring leading to the plug. An bad contact (high resistance) in that path could explain the issues.

Should the heating circuit made a short, then your breaker is supposed to trip long before the tension drops. Therefor the error isn't excessive current, but a bad contact in the path to the heating circuit.

That means there is spot in your house where all the energy dissipates (apologies for the laymen terms) and that is a fire hazard. Therefor you should should turn off the respective circuit and correct the fault ASAP.

I'd start by switching off the assigned circuit breaker and inspect every connection from the breaker to the plug, also the plug itself

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  • It can also be a bad breaker. I helped a friend with this recently - their dryer stopped working with a low voltage error. We thought it was the outlet because it was old and very loose, but after replacing it the dryer still complained about low voltage. Turned out one side of the breaker had a bad internal contact. Twenty bucks for a replacement GE breaker and things were up and going again.
    – KMJ
    Oct 5, 2023 at 15:11

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