Thursday, January 27, 2011

How To: Fix a "TE Error" on an LG-WM2277HW (part 1 of 2)

Last November, we noticed that the drywall ceiling in our laundry room was bowing, as if there was water pushing down on it. The sky was literally falling. Or at least literally about to fall. As if that wasn't enough, the very next day, the washing machine threw a "tE error."  (So this is about the error, not the stupid ceiling.)
Washing Machine
The LG-WM2277HW is a rather nice front-loading electric washing machine from LG, but it's a fancy computerized deal, so things like this can be kinda scary. When we first got it, it would often throw some other error, but it turned out that it was because I was spinning the drum after emptying a load. When I'd do that, the machine would turn on. Thought that was pretty cool. Well, it wasn't.

So, yeah, turning the thing now would get me a "tE" flashing on the screen. Now, this was a rather expensive washing machine no longer under warranty and we had laundry to do and we didn't know how long until the ceiling was going to collapse. (By that evening we were pretty sure there wasn't several gallons of water up there, but the ceiling was obviously waterlogged.)

I have manuals for all of our appliances saved on the computer, so I went upstairs to look up the error. It said that there was a problem with the thermistor. To this day, I've never bothered to find out what a thermistor is. But, the more I looked on Google, the more cases I came across where someone got the tE error simply by moving the washing machine or by running a really heavy lopsided load. The thermistor wasn't failing, a wire was being knocked loose. Sounds to me like a manufacturing defect.

My wife, who has incredible faith in me -- or hadn't seen the instructions that I'd seen (copied below) encouraged me into trying to repair the thing itself.

The instructions I found:
To be more specific, unplug unit. Behind the machine are two plastic kick plates, remove to slide off the top. Once off, two top self tap metal screws and one screw behind panel wall, remove. Remove two detergent screws. Lift electrical panel and set on top of machine. Remove four top screws. Bottom drain has one screw in front, take out plastic cover and one screw in back. Take off rubber by opening door. With a screw driver, prey and lift up the brass spring ring and remove. Then the front panel should slide up and out. Be careful because electric wire is still connected, move to the side of unit. You will then be able to find the thermostat. Unplug and replace, you will need to use the same rubber bushing. Took me an hour, I’m not an appliance repair guy.
Good enough?  I was able to get the job done, but it left a lot to be desired.   So, I decided to document the job myself, in case that helped.  And due to my own stupidity, I did part of the job twice -- I wanted a photo of the error itself but had forgotten to take one.  I thought I had an easy way to get to the error, but I actually rebroke the broken part.   Also, I didn't take photos until I was reassembling, so I had to rearrange them all.  I think I have them all in order and I captured all of the relevant parts.  And yes, this is the kind of thing that voids warranties, but maybe it will save someone the cost of having some guy come out for what's a pretty dumb little engineering defect.

The dreaded "tE Error"
The tools I used: standard screwdriver, flashlight, utility knife, electrical tape, pliers, small screwdriver
Word of caution: Not only does this void your warranty, the metal edges are very sharp.  I got one tiny cut and I think I was very lucky that this was the only injury I received.  They wear safety gloves, vests, pants and eye protection when assembling these things.
Step 1 - Ok, here we go.  The lid is attached by two plastic "kick plates" on the back.  Each plate has two screws.

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