Back to Basics – Fault Isolation with an Electronic Control

By Dave Bird, Instructor, Dyer Appliance Academy

Last month we talked about the evolution of electronic controls, their circuitry and feedback signals. Another advantage of electronic controls are Error/Fault Codes and the Service/Diagnostic Mode. Both of these features can be of great assistance in the fault isolation and repair of your customer’s appliances.

Unfortunately appliance repair technicians today are more reliant on the availability of the correct technical data than ever before.

Every manufacturer and each of their models have different sequences of button pushing and knob turning to access and utilize Error/Fault Codes and Service/Diagnostic Mode in each machine.

Because they are all different, it is impossible to give a comprehensive listing or discussion about all types of machines but we can discuss them in general terms.

Error/Fault Codes are alpha-numeric codes displayed on the appliance’s LEDs or sometimes shown simply as the illumination of certain LED’s on the display panel.

The electronic control is basically a small computer performing various functions in accordance with its programming. During that process, the control monitors various factors depending on type of appliance such as temperature, motor function, water fill/drain, sensor feedback, electronic control and user interface performance etc.

If during any part the appliance cycle an anomaly is detected, the electronic control logs the error into memory. Sometimes the error/fault can be overcome or bypassed and the appliance continues to operate. Sometimes the appliance will stop all functions and flash an error code to alert the customer that something requires attention. The error/fault codes are normally very specific as to what the problem is and where it is located. Of course, the technician must verify the discrepancy and determine what malfunctioning component or condition is responsible for the failure.

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