For the past week the dryer has been dead. Well, not dead really – it works fine, there’s just no heat. Our first thought was lint buildup, but after checking for that and removing as much as we could find, there was still no heat. I read that sometimes one of the 120V circuits can blow while the other one doesn’t, so I went down to the basement & flipped off the double-circuit breaker for the dryer [that sounds funny] then flipped it back on. Hubby tested the dryer but still no heat. We checked the manual which had a troubleshooting section. It suggested we test the thermistor, the high limit thermostat, the regular thermostat, the cycling thermostat, & the heating coil. Um, what??? That was total Greek to us so hubby called the Samsung repair people last Saturday and they said they’d have a tech at our house yesterday.
I took yesterday [Thursday] off to wait for him & get other stuff done, but he never showed. Which was frustrating, but ended up being a GOOD thing because it gave me the chance to tear the dryer apart and try to fix it myself 😀
I started by doing some YouTube sleuthing and found 2 super helpful videos posted by professional appliance repair men who make videos for homeowners on how to fix their own appliances & save themselves lots of money. One video even told me how many screws I’d need to remove from each panel as I dismantled the dryer. I loved that! And hubby found a manual online which helped a lot, too – lots of pictures. The model number of our Samsung dryer is DV350AEP/XAA in case that helps anyone else with the same problem.
THIS video explained how I could use a multimeter to check the voltage of the dryer to make sure it’s running at 240V. My first step was heading up the road to the hardware store for a digital multimeter [$24 w/ tax + 9v battery]:
After removing 2 screws from the back of the dryer the top panel lifted easily up and off. I could now see the drum and the control box [silver rectangle on the right side of the 1st pic]. I removed the 3 screws holding the control box in place and laid it on the edge of the dryer to reveal the circuit board:
To test the voltage of the heater relay switch I set the multimeter to volts. I had a choice of 200 or 500. The manual said to go with the lowest number that wouldn’t exceed the expected result, so I set it to 200 since I was hoping for a result of 120. If I’m being honest it took me a good 30 minutes of frustration to even get the multimeter to work. For the first 10 minutes I thought it was broken until I remembered it needed a battery… duh! And then I still thought it was broken until I accidentally hit the big round black button. You know, the one that says “on/off” next to it… OMG. Anyway. Once I figured out what I was doing I set the meter to 200V:
I pushed one prong of the multimeter down beside the black wire of the heater relay switch until it hit the metal connection, and the other prong to the dryer frame as a ground. At this point the dryer was plugged in but turned off [per directions of the video]:
The result came back as 121.3V, aka 120V, which means it’s working properly. Next I pushed one prong of the multimeter down beside the blue wire of the heater relay switch until it hit the metal connection, and the other prong to the dryer frame as a ground. At this point I was instructed to turn the dryer ON, so the drum was spinning [when the dryer is turned on the relay switch pushes the voltage from the black wire to the blue wire, so the dryer has to be on to test this wire]:
The result came back as 120.9V, aka 120V, which means it’s working properly, for a total of 240V. Woohoo! By this point I had some cat helpers – Birdie was on the floor behind the dryer and Darwin was watching from the windowsill:
Next up was checking the heating element. At this point I was advised to UNPLUG the dryer. THIS video helped me disassemble the dryer to reach the heating element. I took a lot of pics so I can put it back together! First step was removing the display panel:
Then removing the entire front panel & door, which included un-clipping the light switch wires:
The dryer was starting to look very naked:
As I worked I taped the screws for each panel to the panels so I knew which screws went to what:
Once the front panel/door was off I could see a disturbing carpet of lint & dust coating the bottom of the dryer:
I vacuumed out the lint, then unscrewed the one screw on the front of the heating element box [the box needs to be removed from the back of the dryer, it’s too big to come out the front – I tried]. You can see the heating element coils at this point which was kind of neat:
Then I moved around back and unscrewed the bottom panel where the lint tube connects to the dryer, and pulled it out and away:
I vacuumed this area out too. I thought it was cool that you can look in and see the drum belt:
Next step was to reach in and unclip the blue wire and the red wire from the heating element box. That step was a bitch! I could reach the blue wire from the back of the dryer, but had to move around front and use pliers to pull the red wire out. I didn’t get pictures of that step because it’s too tight to maneuver and take pics. I moved the box into the kitchen for a closer look & learned from the video that 2 of the 3 dryer thermostats are attached to the heating element box:
I unscrewed the top to reveal the coil. The coil had literally broken in two [!]:
Which is definitely a big problem. I immediately ordered a new heating element from Amazon [#affiliate] which should be here Saturday. It was only $14! With free Prime shipping. When hubby first looked on line he found a few online appliance parts stores selling the same part for $65 & up! Same exact part number. Robbery!
At this point I broke for the evening and picked up today [Friday] after work.
The last step was checking the 3 thermostats & the thermistor for electrical continuity [again, I knew NONE of this before YouTube!]. For this step I needed to set my multimeter to ohms Ω:
THIS series of YouTube videos proved invaluable. The easy part was checking the 2 thermostats attached to the heating element box, which was still on the kitchen counter. I simply unscrewed each and touched the 2 probes of my multimeter to the 2 prongs of the thermostats. First I tested the thermal cut-off thermostat:
The multimeter read 0.00 ohms which means the thermostat is good. Next I tested the high limit thermostat:
The multimeter read 0.00 ohms again, which means that thermostat is good. 2 down, 2 to go… the cycling thermostat & the thermistor are both buried inside the dryer:
To test them, I needed to unclip the wires, then unscrew the component and pull them out. I tried to do that from the front of the dryer, but the angle was impossible. I ended up having to go in through the back of the dryer, which was also hard, but I did it. Hubby took a couple pics of me laying on the floor behind the washer and dryer after work today, trying to reach in through the small vent hole in the back:
I got both the cycling thermostat & the thermistor out, but it required sprawling on the living room floor first to recover [I have inner ear issues and angling my head and neck 10 ways to Sunday trying to reach into the dryer set me off on a vertigo & nausea bender]:
5 minutes later I was up and testing both components, first the cycling thermostat, which tested perfectly [hubby helped while I took a picture]:
Last up was the thermistor. This component is a bit different because there’s a chart showing what the ohms should be depending on ambient air temperature:
Our house is usually around 70° so the ohms should be somewhere around 11k or 12k:
PERFECT! 11.38k Ω.
So as long as the heating coil replacement goes well tomorrow, I have managed to fix our dryer! Total cost came to $38! $24 for the multimeter + battery & $14 for the replacement heating element. The Samsung rep told us the minimum amount for walking in the door would be $160. I’m guessing they’d have charged us at least $65 for the replacement heating element, so I just saved us close to $200! 🙂
I’m so impressed with your perseverance! I would have created a lot of “extra” parts.
Ya, it was totally nerve wracking trying to keep the screws for each part together and not losing any! Thankfully the inside of the dryer is mostly taken up by the drum… lets hope I can get it back together successfully!
Good job Darwin and Birdie! Way to keep your human on task until she finished the job! Alison, I supposed you deserve some credit as well. The three of you make a good team.
Thanks, Jessica, I think so too 🙂 Same with you and Crème & Ponche 🙂