Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to repair an Hotpoint Aquarius WD420...or How to wreck a perfectly good Saturday night.

At first I tried to ignore the noise and hoped it would go away, but my hopes were dashed moments later when a second screech emanated from the kitchen. 'It's not working! The lights keep flashing!'. I knew at this point that I was not going to get any peace, so I responded with 'I'll be there in a minute dear'.

On entering the kitchen several guilt ridden minutes later, I found that indeed the washing machine was flashing like a Christmas Tree. My first thought was that the washer had some how become sentient and was trying to communicate on a rudimentary level. Fortunately for us all it had not actually gained any intelligence or was about to enslave the human race and become our mechanical overlord. It was just my overactive imagination and watching far too many sci-fi movies. Nope, it was just a simple error code.

I work with computers all the time and tried to figure out where the USB/serial/bluetooth connection was. Then I remembered it was only a washing machine. So I had to do something that is against all my ethics and read the manual (Brrrr).

The manual was written for a five year old by a salesman and had a colouring-in section at the back...'If any fault occurs on your sexy Hotpoint washer dryer, please contact your local Hotpoint Service Center'. Translation ...'Buy more. Buy more now. Buy. And be happy.
So I went and asked my friend the Internet, who gave me the list of error codes I asked for in the first place.

1: PC LOAD LETTER ...What the @**@ does that mean?
3: lights 2 and 4 pressure sw stuck on full.
Ah! There its was. The same error code I was getting. This did not help one little bit. What pressure switch?

So, it was time to do the manly thing and break out the manly tool box...

Now I know how those Egyptian guys felt when they they were dragging massive blocks of sandstone around the Giza Plateau while building the pyramids. This thing would not budge. After several minutes of cursing and claiming the doubtful parentage of the Hotpoint design engineers, the washer gave in and slid across the kitchen floor. After rescuing myself from being crushed between the Hotpoint and dishwasher and wrestling the washer across the now soaking wet floor I decided take the screwdriver to it and show it who was boss.

First I removed the lid by removing two screws at the back of the washer.

Once the two screws have been removed, the lid should slide backwards and be easily removed. It wasn't. It took a bash and a couple of those Egyptian guys to free the lid.

Also the bottom service panel had to be removed. It was only held in with two screws.

I did actually find a cover to a test port, left of the service panel. A bit like something R2D2 would connect to. Though I doubt very much my washer dryer contains any Death Star plans or controls Garbage Compactor 3263827 near Detention Block AA23.

WARNING: At this point I must point out that I had previously disconnected the power and water inlet/outlet pipes. So for the love of god at least disconnect the power. As water and electricity will turn the washer dryer into a killing machine (which takes me back to my original thought) or get a grown up to help.

My first job was to find out why the water was not draining out. So I removed the rubber gaiter connecting to the main drum, sump and overflow pipe. I carefully removed the large jubilee clip...

At this point I would recommend buying a life vest or a surf board. I have never seen so much water in my life. It was reminiscent of the title sequence of Hawaii-Five-O without the belly dancer and Steve McGarret. It was just a tsunami coming out of the back of the washer.

Hawaii Five 0 Intro YouTube

Anyway, after the mop up operations and politely asking the Red Cross people to leave, I found the source of one of the problems...

The sump inlet was so full of what looked like a Doctor Who monster (1970's Tom Baker era), the ball float was pushed against the drum outlet and stopped the water from escaping.

In the end I dug out several tons of a strange red fibre, a part of a curtain with hooks attached(?), £1.67 in loose change including a one Bulgarian Stotinka coin (WTF?), Jimmy Hoffer and a some rather talkative slime which kept reminding me about squatter's rights, and when their lawyer will be contacting me.

I have no idea...honest

 Wow! that was fun...not

Killer Washer/Dryer Part Deux
The adventure was not over yet... The dryer was was not drying, which some may consider a bit of a design flaw.

I first checked if the heater had failed, but I was getting a 47ohm reading. Then I tested the dryers thermal trip which is located on the casing of the hot air ducting on top of the machine. I found it to be open circuit. Luckily it just needed resetting. I used a paper clip to push the reset button in until it clicked

That's it...Done it... Reassemble put it back where you found it and get the hell out of the kitchen!

Conclusion: It worth working on this until 3am Sunday morning, because the missus was already looking online at a mega expensive replacement washer/dryer that also told jokes and was a Tennis Pro at the weekends.