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The Mysterious Mystery of the Miele Malady

LI-NY Tech

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Recently RD Appliance Service was briefly confounded by a Miele washer, a W1918, not exactly the latest model. The complaint was that the washer would not spin out the clothing at the end of the cycle, it would leave them sopping wet. Sometimes, if the customer re-ran the cycle the washer would spin. So, armed with all of the necessary technical documentation and diagnostic equipment I ventured out to the home.

Upon arrival I opened up the service manual on my tablet, placed the machine into service mode and proceeded to run a spin test. The tub spun up to high speed without a hiccup. Hmmm, I thought. So I exited service mode and just ran a regular spin cycle, and again the washer spun.

After questioning the customer about her use of the machine I concluded that the machine was sometimes being overloaded and that this was causing it to be unable to balance itself, thus preventing it from spinning.

Not so.

She called back the next day with the same problem, and again when I arrived the problem would not occur. So I needed to do some more in depth research on this issue as this is no “Just replace it” type of washer, they retail for $2000 or more. With some helpful tips from my fellow appliance technicians at appliantology.org I returned armed with more knowledge and we got it figured it.

My father and I both went back on this, two heads and all. I called the customer about an hour before we were going to arrive and had her start a wash cycle. This worked out well because we arrived just at the end of the cycle and found the washer not spinning. Finally! No spin at the end of a regular cycle, no error codes flashing. Set it to a spin only cycle, no spin. Put it in test mode and ran a spin test, no spin. Alright, now we’re getting somewhere.

So, we opened up the front of the machine (thank you Miele for making the whole front panel open on a hinge!) in order to find out if the motor was getting voltage, which would indicate a problem with the motor itself. However, this old Miele technical info does not include voltages for the motor, and the wires are all the same color and not labeled, same goes for the connectors. We knew it uses a single winding DC motor, but that’s about as in depth as Miele gets regarding the motor. So after exercising our finely honed diagnostic skills we determined which two wires were the motor voltage supply wires and we attached the voltmeter leads to them near the lower electronic (secondary control board).

We once again put the machine into spin and the damn thing started spinning again. This, however, showed us the voltage used by the motor when it is working, and this is crucial information. In case you are interested it uses ~16-20 VDC on tumble, changing polarity as it switches directions, then the voltage ramps up to a whopping 195 VDC on max spin.

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Ok, so we know the motor works, but we still don’t know what’s wrong with the washer. We began doing basic diagnostic checks once again, check and clear drain pump trap, check pressure switch hose, etc. Nothing. So we ran another test cycle. This time allowing it to fill and tumble and then move to drain and spin. Aha! Now it won’t spin. It tumbles a little at 16-20 VDC, then stops and won’t spin, no voltage to the motor. Ok, good. I suggest checking the pressure switch again. So my father tapped the pressure switch and voila!, this motherfu%&er starts spinning, and reads all the way up to 195 VDC again. Yes! The pressure switch was sticking….sometimes.

So, we’ve replaced the pressure switch and the air trap with the pressure switch hose and that old school, quality German washing machine is running like new once again.

Thanks for reading.

David

RD Appliance Service, Corp.

http://www.rdapplianceservice.com

RD Appliance Blog




7 Comments


Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Posted

WOW! That is a priceless pearl of a repair story! You demonstrated tenacity and superior troubleshooting acumen. You also demonstrated one of the Prime Directives of appliance repair: start troubleshooting right at the thing that ain't doin' it's thang. 

 

This is a valuable post on multiple levels: it gives specific troubleshooting tips on Miele front load washers, it shows professionalism in responding to call backs, and it demonstrates the cause-and-effect troubleshooting thought process that every tech should be fluent in but, in reality, most aren't.  

 

Thanks for this valuable contribution to the Appliantology Brotherhood, David!

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Thanks Scott.  That's actually one of the first things my father taught me when I started out...start where the problem is.  Motor not turning, check for power to the motor.  As for cause and effect troubleshooting, well, I have this theory about cause and effect and how many people see, or don't see, how that works.  One of these days I'll write up something about that.

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Great write-up David. Thanks for sharing. I will be adding this gem to my troubleshooting tips folder.

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Great story, on a business aspect I would like two ask you two things. 1, What would you charge for that sort of repair on such a premium unit. (If you feel comfortable answering) and 2. Are you starting to see more of these units. I've only ran across one and tech support pulled me out of my bind.

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Thanks TMMCEO.  Specific pricing is not something I'd like to post on a public forum, but rest assured Miele repairs are never inexpensive.  We repair Miele dishwashers on a regular basis, the washers and dryers less often, simply because they are not as common (how many people are really going to pay $4000 or more for a laundry set?).  However, we advertise specifically for Miele product repairs so we see plenty of them.  Miele tech support is generally helpful though.

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Forgive me im sort of new to the whole format. I'm getting a hang on the etiquette of appliantology.org but real qreat story you shared nonetheless

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Smashycomman

Posted

Why does it always seem like the appliance works whenever you're there, but doesn't when you're not? It's a gift and a curse. Mostly a curse.

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