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Old 01-21-2019, 12:51 PM   #1
PinGuy
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Default Need help to "convert" a washing machine

Hi guys, I need a bit of help to resolve an issue with a washer.
A friend likes bringing all his equipment from the US (Argentina based). He has a Whirlpool washer (model WFW97HEXL0) that has about 7-8 years of daily use so it is about to die in the near future.
So he brought a new one (model WFW92HEFU0). He plugged it in to his big 220-110V transformer (same used for the other washer), and it was dead. No buttons on the from panel responded at all.
He reported it DOA, then arranged to have a new one shipped out, this time he received model WFW92HEFC0, to find out it was also dead!!
All it does is turn the drum lights on when opening the door. But the buttons do not respond at all, just like the other washer. Nothing lights on the control panel. We double checked that there are no loose connections to the front panel or anywhere, so this must be something else...
Washer's label states 12A, 120V, 60Hz.
We have 50Hz here, could it be some sort of protection on the new models that prevent them to turn on when on 50Hz? The old model always worked on 50Hz... and still does, but it makes a lot of noise...
Any help will be more than appreciated!!
Attached pictures of the mainboard.
IMG-20190121-WA0009.jpg
IMG-20190121-WA0017.jpg
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

That could be the problem, It could be that the board looks at the a/c line frequency to calculate wash times etc.
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Old 01-21-2019, 06:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by PinGuy View Post
Hi guys, I need a bit of help to resolve an issue with a washer.
A friend likes bringing all his equipment from the US (Argentina based). He has a Whirlpool washer (model WFW97HEXL0) that has about 7-8 years of daily use so it is about to die in the near future.
So he brought a new one (model WFW92HEFU0). He plugged it in to his big 220-110V transformer (same used for the other washer), and it was dead. No buttons on the from panel responded at all.
He reported it DOA, then arranged to have a new one shipped out, this time he received model WFW92HEFC0, to find out it was also dead!!
All it does is turn the drum lights on when opening the door. But the buttons do not respond at all, just like the other washer. Nothing lights on the control panel. We double checked that there are no loose connections to the front panel or anywhere, so this must be something else...
Washer's label states 12A, 120V, 60Hz.
We have 50Hz here, could it be some sort of protection on the new models that prevent them to turn on when on 50Hz? The old model always worked on 50Hz... and still does, but it makes a lot of noise...
Any help will be more than appreciated!!
Attached pictures of the mainboard.
Attachment 189188
Attachment 189189
50 hz can be a problem, mostly with CRTs. Argentina, unlike Mexico and Colombia, is 50 hz, I heard.

And I heard that even Brasil is 60 hz, but a franken-mix, reportedly some spots at 50 hz spec and others at 60 hz spec! (much like Japan, I heard! Where western Japan is 60 hz spec and eastern Japan is 50 hz spec!)

I heard that ROC and ROK are 60 hz spec as well.
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Last edited by RJARRRPCGP; 01-21-2019 at 07:10 PM..
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by R_J View Post
That could be the problem, It could be that the board looks at the a/c line frequency to calculate wash times etc.
So is it right to guess that one of the inputs in the C will show a 50Hz signal? And if I lift the pin and inject 60Hz pulses with an arduino it would power up? Or this is just a hopeful fantasy of mine?
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Old 01-22-2019, 03:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by PinGuy View Post
All it does is turn the drum lights on when opening the door. But the buttons do not respond at all, just like the other washer. Nothing lights on the control panel.
Does it throw any error codes?

Quote:
We have 50Hz here, could it be some sort of protection on the new models that prevent them to turn on when on 50Hz? The old model always worked on 50Hz... and still does, but it makes a lot of noise...
Any help will be more than appreciated!!
Attached pictures of the mainboard.
Attachment 189188
Attachment 189189
Awful big heatsink for a "conventional" washer! Wanna bet it's got a VFD?
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

you could test it with a generator if you have one . 3kva should just about run a washing machine . 5kva would be better though .
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

a 20% difference in frequency may mess timing up - but unlikely as they usually use a switching psu running an atmel microcontroller with internal rtc,
but it shouldnt stop the machine starting up!
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

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Originally Posted by stj View Post
a 20% difference in frequency may mess timing up
but it shouldnt stop the machine starting up!
I was thinking the same thing, unlike a CRT of course! With a CRT, I would expect the timing to get messed up!

Unless it's a "anti regional feature" designed to intentionally lock out people in 50 hz regions, such as Europe, central Asia and PRC, of course.

Smells like a firmware lockout.

Most likely when it gets below 55 hz or the like...

Last edited by RJARRRPCGP; 01-22-2019 at 10:04 AM..
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

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Originally Posted by Curious.George View Post
Does it throw any error codes?
Nothing, it is totally dead except for the drum LED turning on when opening the door.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petehall347 View Post
you could test it with a generator if you have one . 3kva should just about run a washing machine . 5kva would be better though .
That would be great, but unfortunately I don't have access to a 110V 5KVA generator here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
a 20% difference in frequency may mess timing up - but unlikely as they usually use a switching psu running an atmel microcontroller with internal rtc, but it shouldnt stop the machine starting up!
That's what I thought as well, and that's why I believe they added a check. The previous washer worked perfectly with 50Hz during its lifetime. I find it too drastic to show as dead due to a change in frequency. But unpacking two new washers from the box to find them DOA is very strange as well.
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:51 AM   #10
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

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Originally Posted by RJARRRPCGP View Post
Unless it's a "anti regional feature" designed to intentionally lock out people in 50 hz regions, such as Europe, central Asia and PRC, of course.

Smells like a firmware lockout.

Most likely when it gets below 55 hz or the like...
EXACTLY!!!! Looks like a firmware lockout. The thing is how to circumvent that. I will try and check with the scope if I find 50Hz arriving at the C...
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:56 AM   #11
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

what's the crystal frequency on the microcontroller??
if they are fucking around, it may be configured by a jumper - but your pics are too low-res to zoom into.
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:56 AM   #12
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

...I don't even know which C is, the whole board seems to have been bathed in epoxy, and the component codes can not be read
I also wonder if Whirlpool enables code protection or not on their micros...
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:59 AM   #13
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

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Nothing, it is totally dead except for the drum LED turning on when opening the door.

That would be great, but unfortunately I don't have access to a 110V 5KVA generator here.
You don't need a 5KVA genset -- as long as you don't engage the drum motor/water pump! Instead, you need just enough power to convince the electronic that it is attached to 60Hz mains; THEN see if there are any different reactions from the display/controls.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:24 AM   #14
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
what's the crystal frequency on the microcontroller??
if they are fucking around, it may be configured by a jumper - but your pics are too low-res to zoom into.
I'm uploading some more pics, all I have for now, sorry for the shitty res, will try to make better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious.George View Post
You don't need a 5KVA genset -- as long as you don't engage the drum motor/water pump! Instead, you need just enough power to convince the electronic that it is attached to 60Hz mains; THEN see if there are any different reactions from the display/controls.
Yes, it's just that 110V generators are not a common thing here, all 220V

IMG-20190121-WA0007.jpg

IMG-20190121-WA0008.jpg

IMG-20190121-WA0010.jpg

IMG-20190121-WA0011.jpg

IMG-20190121-WA0012.jpg

IMG-20190121-WA0013.jpg

IMG-20190121-WA0014.jpg

IMG-20190121-WA0015.jpg

IMG-20190121-WA0016.jpg

Last edited by PinGuy; 01-22-2019 at 11:30 AM..
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:03 PM   #15
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

Why don't you contact whirlpool and ask them? It never hurts to send an email and ask. Maybe they would be willing to exchange the board
If you have a generator that you can change the frequency, connect it to the transformer, then to the washer, Then see if it will at least give a display

Last edited by R_J; 01-22-2019 at 12:05 PM..
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:47 PM   #16
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

use 220v generator with transformer .
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Old 01-22-2019, 02:58 PM   #17
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

Thanks guys, will check in the coming days and report back
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Old 01-22-2019, 08:39 PM   #18
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

pictures are terrible - what the hell did you use??
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Old 01-23-2019, 12:56 AM   #19
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

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Yes, it's just that 110V generators are not a common thing here, all 220V
Use "his big 220-110V transformer". With no motor load, there's no practical difference between running 50Hz through that vs. 60Hz.

I suspect there's a VFD in there and they exploited knowledge of the line frequency in its design to cut down on filter caps. The software that does the riming (of the VFD switches) might not know how to handle a shorter mains "period".

[You don't know what assumptions were made in the design so you can only start by trying to mimic the INTENDED application environment, then incrementally see what works/doesn't work.]
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:20 PM   #20
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Default Re: Need help to "convert" a washing machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by PinGuy View Post
All it does is turn the drum lights on when opening the door. But the buttons do not respond at all, just like the other washer. Nothing lights on the control panel. We double checked that there are no loose connections to the front panel or anywhere, so this must be something else...
Is this a direct-drive (DD) washer? If yes, what happens if you turn the drum very quickly by hand? Try it both with the washer plugged into the wall and unplugged. Rotating the drum by hand very fast should/may generate enough back EMF to turn on the control panel electronics - at least this seems to work on our LG washer model WM2050CW (from 2009).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious.George View Post
I suspect there's a VFD in there and they exploited knowledge of the line frequency in its design to cut down on filter caps. The software that does the riming (of the VFD switches) might not know how to handle a shorter mains "period".
Looks like the most reasonable explanation to me as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PinGuy View Post
The old model always worked on 50Hz... and still does, but it makes a lot of noise...
Noise from when the drum is turning? If so, that's just a ball bearing replacement job, which requires taking apart pretty much the whole washer. Not too hard to do (I did it myself, and I am no mechanic and not very physically strong), but will take an hour or two, at least.
... And yes, I realize you're asking about the new washer and not about fixing the old one. But just thought I'd mention that anyways. Might be just easier to fix the old one in the end.
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