Keep moving, no heroes to see here

1 September 2009

Birgit, bless her, she believes in heroes. I’m compelled to fill you in on the technical detail, which is actually a bit embarrassing.

The problem started with the washing machine triggering the residual current circuit breaker every time it tried to go into a spinning cycle. So I redid the maintenance routine on Saturday and found a tiny plastic spear from our Playmobil toy collection that was blocking the draining pump intermittently. Feeling confident that I had fixed the problem, I ran a spin program, only to find that nothing worked at all now — the machine pretended to be running and the relay was clicking, but the drum was not turning at all. I knew this syndrome from a few years ago, and back then it needed new carbon brushes. By the time I had removed the motor to check the brushes, the shops had closed, so we were going to have to wait not until Monday, but Tuesday, because that’s the way things are over here.

So today Birgit managed to get the brushes, and I got them inserted and the motor built back in. I have a system for documenting the stripping of appliances that has rarely failed me: I just commit everything to my photographic memory. Unfortunately, this time the mental photos must have got jumbled in the intervening days between disassembly and reassembly, which led me to insert the wrong type of screw when I wanted to fix the detergent tray assembly to the faceplate. Not only did they not mate with the thread — I couldn’t remove them, either. Both of them were stuck. I tried everything: tweezers (even the ones from my autopsy toolset), Blu-Tack, NdFeB magnets — even swearing in French did not help (note to self: need to learn more effective French swearwords). After what seemed to be hours of fighting, I managed by removing the faceplate again and pushing the screws out from the back with a power drill on slow setting. Phew.

Once that hurdle was taken, reassembly was straightforward. The final moment of suspense was the first test afterwards: no circuit breakers triggered, all normal reactions and: hey presto, a turning drum. I’m still a bit skeptical and waiting to see the result of the first full wash if it’s even completed, but Birgit’s happy already, and isn’t that the most important thing? 🙂


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