don't tell mom, the clothes dryer's
April 18, 2012 8:05 AM   Subscribe

So my electric dryer's busted. It's a Kenmore 90 Series, and if it's been plugged in (not necessarily running, just plugged in), it just buzzes and doesn't start. If I leave it unplugged for a couple hours, it'll start normally and then quit after a few minutes. Any idea what part needs replacin'?

Everything turns freely, the belts are intact. I've got a multimeter if you've got suggestions for parts to test. Anything else I should be telling you? Thanks in advance-- shit's always breaking and you're always giving me sound advice on how to proceed!
posted by Mayor Curley to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
If the change seems to be influenced by the length of time it's either plugged in or unplugged, you'll probably want to test the capacitors and thermal cutoff fuses.
posted by griphus at 8:10 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

My wild ass guess is the motor starting circuit is stuck on.
posted by gjc at 8:12 AM on April 18, 2012

Does it have different cycles (auto-dry, no heat, etc.)? If so, does choosing a different cycle make any difference?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:33 AM on April 18, 2012

I've had good luck troubleshooting appliance malfunctions at Appliance Guru. According to their FAQ, it might be a door switch or thermal fuse.
posted by workerant at 8:59 AM on April 18, 2012

Probably the brush on the electric motor. A call-out repair guy can replace that easily.
posted by w0mbat at 10:07 AM on April 18, 2012

My wild ass guess is the motor starting circuit is stuck on.
posted by gjc

I think that's a great guess, gjc.

Every dryer I've seen had an induction motor with start windings and run windings. When the motor got up to a certain speed, a centrifugal switch turned off the start windings and turned on the run windings.

The start windings draw a lot more current, and if they don't get turned off, the motor will typically overheat, the motor thermal breaker will trip, and then that usually takes a long time to reset itself.

My neighbor had a bandsaw motor with this problem, and it turned out to be due to sawdust in the centrifugal switch, which started working again after he blew compressed air through the vent holes in the motor casing.

I imagine dryer lint could be doing the same kind of clogging in this case.
posted by jamjam at 10:52 AM on April 18, 2012

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