12/08/2010

Appliance Error codes


Are you looking for washing machine, dishwasher, tumble dryer or other white goods appliance error codes?

Although this article doesn’t offer a full list of error codes it does describe how most of them wouldn’t really help anyway, and comments on why they aren’t freely available. It also offers some advice, and links for someone investigating an error code. I will be publishing some error codes in later articles under this error codes category if they are codes that can offer genuine help to the public and don’t involve much diagnostic work or technical competence to sort out.

There are thousands of error codes for washing machines and other white goods. Most of them only give clues to an experienced engineer about where to look, or they implicate several different parts or causes to be investigated. Many of these error codes are confusing and even unhelpful, some are genuinely useful, but most are useless to the general public.

Manufacturers do not make the majority of these error codes available to the public and in fact some manufacturers don’t even publish them to independent repairers in the trade, the legality of which is currently being debated. The legality of a third party publishing these error codes to the public is something I am unsure of. I’m pretty sure the manufactures would not like them published but I have doubts about whether they could claim copyright on a bunch of letters and numbers and some cryptic fault descriptions. They are hardly creative works that need protecting and neither are they sensitive commercial data that could be useful to rival manufacturers.

I would have thought that a company cannot stop someone publishing facts, and at the end of the day if an error code X1 means that the water isn’t draining out of a washing machine and X2 means that the washing machine has timed out on heating up the water it is hard to see how these facts should remain secret and on what grounds, especially when the owners of the affected appliance may find the information useful.
Example of error code explanations that are NOT useful to the public

Here’s an error code description :

“E34 = incongruency between level of electronic pressure switch and level of electronic pressure switch 2 (duration of fault at least 60 seconds) – possible causes – 1: Hydraulic circuit of pressure switches 2: Electronic pressure switch 3: Pressure switch 4: Wiring 5: Main PCB.”

If your washing machine displayed the above error code and you received the explanation of it, I doubt it would be of any use because you still need to know how to diagnose the fault, and how to test individual parts. It could have too many different causes. It may even be necessary to speculatively change the main PCB (which an engineer can often do because he may have one available to try, which can removed if it does not cure the fault).

It wouldn’t even be useful to allow you to at least shrug your shoulders and say, “ah well, it’s obviously an expensive fault so I need a new washing machine”, because at least one of the possible causes is a wiring problem which might only be a poor connection somewhere. I would argue that being furnished with that error code would leave most people none the wiser. Many error code explanations are equally cryptic or cover too many possible causes to be any use to the public in general.
Even concise error code descriptions can be unhelpful

Having said all the above, there are examples where an error code description is much more precise, implicating a specific part, however, on more than one occasion I have experienced replacing the named part only to find that the fault remained. I’ve also had many cases where only a connection fault is implicated by the error code explanation but the fault was actually caused by a faulty part.

Some error codes also just give an obvious description of what has gone wrong such as, “motor not running” or, “not draining”. This type of error code explanation is also next to useless because they don’t contain any diagnostics and instead simply describe the fault which anyone can see for themselves.
Examples of error code explanations that CAN be useful to the public

Another example :

E11 = Problems with water fill in wash phase (maximum 10 minutes for each fill phase). Possible causes = 1: Tap closed 2: Mains water pressure insufficient 3: Solenoid valve 4: Hydraulic circuit of pressure switches 5: Pressure switches 6: Wiring 7: Main PCB

This error code explanation is more useful because two of the possible causes are simple things that most people can check, 1: Tap closed and 2: Mains water pressure insufficient – and they don’t even need to look inside the washing machine.

A certain percentage of error code explanation is potentially useful to the public, a few are even mentioned in the instruction book because they refer to problems that a customer could potentially fix themselves such as blocked pump or filter, a kinked fill hose, or maybe a tap that has been accidentally turned off.

My first suggestion if you want an error code explanation is to check your instruction book as most of the codes that you can do something about are listed there. For other simple and straight forward error codes please check or keep tabs on this section as I will post them occasionally.

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