causal Registered User
#1

I have a problem with my house circuit breaker being tripped, and long story short the culprit is the washing machine (Hotpoint wd70p, washer dryer, 1200rpm, year - 1999)

Sometimes*, but not always, it causes the circuit breaker at the fuse box to trip - and I lose electricity to the ring circuit. This means all sockets lose power as do all appliances plugged into those sockets. Highly annoying; the lights still work though.
It is not a 'fuse' being tripped, it's defintely the circuit breaker for the main ring circuit.

* - it mainly (but not exclusively) conincides with the start of the drum spinning up to do a fast spin.

In short my question is - what are the likely reasons the washing machine is causing the circuit breaker to trip. Should I be concerned about it's safety. Is there anything I can do about it - I've no problem taking it apart if needs be.

Appreciate any help.
causal

themole Registered User
#2

the washing machine is obviously drawing too much current for the breaker to handle.

this could be due to the washing machine drawing more that it should or because the breaker cannot handle the current the machine needs, coupled with the other machines on the ring main.

if the fuse on the plug of the washing machine does not blow, then its could be that there are too many appliances on the ring main.

the fuse on the machine may not blow however, if the breaker has a faster blow time than the fuse in the plug.

try pluging the washine machine into another ring main. or try plugging out all the other appliances on the same ring main and test it out.

causal Registered User
#3

I've attached a photo of the fuse box with the offending switch highlighted, and also the switch for the circuit the washing machine is on.

What is the purpose of the particular switch that is tripping. it's not specific to any one circuit on the fuse box - it covers them all.
I suspect it might be short circuit / earth to ground type switch, so now I'm concerned about a possible electrocution hazard.

The writing on the switch that trips out is (German):
monatlich drucken
Fl-Schutzschalter


fwiw the washing machine has worked fine for over 4 years - it's only recently that it's started tripping that particular switch on the fusebox.
I tried switching all the other appliances off but to no avail.

causal

Attachments
causalFuseBox2.JPG
Grayarea Registered User
#4

If the ELCB is tripping only when the washing machine is running then somthing in the machine is faulty.

One common problem is the heating element. Over time they tend to crack and when the water gets in, the ELCB will trip out. This can be problematic to diagnose as offten the element will only trip after a period of heating.

I had a similar problem with a immersion heater a couple of months ago.

Bottom line, if it is tripping the ELCB then it is dangerous and should be fixed before any further use.

Grayarea Registered User
#5

ELCB = Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker

Its job is to compare the incomming power to the outgoing power and if they don't match trip, thus shutting down all power.

They are simple and highly accurate.

kaizersoze Registered User
#6

Faulty heating element in washing machine is the culprit.

causal Registered User
#7

causal
I suspect it might be short circuit / earth to ground type switch, so now I'm concerned about a possible electrocution hazard.
Grayarea
If the ELCB is tripping only when the washing machine is running then somthing in the machine is faulty.
...
Bottom line, if it is tripping the ELCB then it is dangerous and should be fixed before any further use.
Spot on Grayarea
Paddys Day provided an opportunity to get the beast out for inspection:

On removing the topcover of the washing machine I noticed a small patch of carbon-looking soot on the underside. It corresponded with the location of the main wiring loom going from the washing machine frame (fixed) to the drum (moveable).

See attached picture (Before.jpg), with offending areas circled in white - main culprit is the topmost one against the frame.
Basically what happened was that with the movement of the drum the wiring loom was chaffing against the metal upper side of the washing machine frame. One particular wire was worn though the plastic insulation at a very small point - and when the machine rocked enough (typically at high spin) it moved enough to tip off the frame and hence trip the ELCB

Also, whatever chimp assembled the machine put the cable ties around the wiring loom so tight that they too had chaffed significantly. This accounts for the other 4 circled chaffe points on the attached pitcure.
Tight ties around the cables would be fine if the machine had no moving parts, but being a washing machine the movement of the drum (and hence the wiring loom attached to the drum) was inevitably going to wear through. Fortunately I've been able to prevent this one from happening at a later date.

See attached picture (After.jpg)
So I removed the original cable ties, used plenty of electrical insulating tape, and used new cable ties (more as guiding hoops than ties). Where the loom later joins the frame (top right) doesn't move at all, this movement is lower where the cables are free to move. It ain't pretty, but it's been incident free for 5 full cycles so far

I suppose my only concern now is how the insualting tape will deal with the temperatures inside the machine. As you can see from the picture the loom travels above the motor - though not as close at it looks in the picture; it's about 4 inches above.

causal

Attachments
Before.JPG After.JPG
sgkid Registered User
#8

Help - Washing Machine an iron tripping house Circuit Breaker

godtabh Moderator
#9

Didnt realise this was a zoombie thread. Feel free to redirect and I'll close

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