Fisher Paykel EcoSmart GWL10 water overflow

chakraxJuly 4, 2010

I have a EcoSmart GWL10U2 model washer that has worked great for 8 years. Two days ago, a regular wash cycle resulted in the tub overflowing and water flooding the room.

I opened the top and retrieved the manual (which was wet in spite of being inside a plastic bag :-(). I went into diagnostic mode. The instructions say to press the spin speed up/down button until *only* the medium speed LED is on. When the medium speed LED is on, the red spin wash progress LED is also on - not sure if this is indicative of a fault or not. I'm able to see that the lid and out of balance levers cause the proper LEDs to activate. The drain pump and water valves work ok. There are no detailed fault codes.

I've did a few experiments. With just a single towel in the basket, a regular wash continues to fill the water level until I manually advance the cycle to rinse. Changing the water level setting between auto/high/medium/low does not seem to do anything. It seems to me that the water level sensor is probably faulty.

The booklet says that the pressure sensor used to detect the water level is part of the motor control module. Does this mean I need to replace the motor control module?

Any insight is appreciated. Thanks!

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chakrax

Follow-up: If I advance the washing cycle to the spin stage, it sometimes stops, and displays code #39 - pressure tube fault. I was able to disconnect the top, and blow air through the tube and observe it produce bubbles at the bottom. I also disconnected the tube from both end and reconnected. After doing all this I get the same error code #39. Do I have a faulty transducer?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 4:25PM
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dadoes

I don't think you're doing the diagnostic correctly. For the fault code display, you need the HOLD and SLOW spin lights on. The fault code is displayed via the eight Wash Progress lights. Add up the binary value of the lights that are on. From left to right: 128, 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1

The Med spin light is for testing the lid switch and OOB switch, not for getting the fault code.

Correct, the water level transducer is an integral part of the controller board. Being as you were able to blow through the tube successfully, the board may very well be bad. However, if you want to investigate further, you could pull the inner basket and confirm that the small hole to the air dome at side of the tub is not clogged.

What's the source of your tech sheet being wet? Being that it's stored inside the console, there shouldn't be any exposure to water unless the water valves and/or mixing chamber thermistor seal is leaking. If so, that needs to be fixed ASAP before the console floods and zaps the board.

I'm not sure if this applies to GWL10 or only to newer models, but one of the diagnostic displays should (may) report the sensed water level in millimeters. You could perhaps check if it's sensing a reasonable level for what you observe in the tub. Get in Diagnostic Mode. Press Spin Speed Up/Down as needed to get the Fast and Med spin speed lights. Add up the (binary) numeric values of the lit wash progress lights.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 5:47PM
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chakrax

@dadoes,

Thanks for your response. I see what you are saying about the diagnostic mode (slow and hold LED ON). When I enter diag mode and press the spin speed buttons until slow and hold are ON, there is no code displayed. If I start a wash, the machine goes on for some time, and then starts beeping, and then displays code #39.

The source of the water leak is from the thermistor gasket. I was able to observe some water leaking from there. However, it was not a lot of water.

My current theory is that the thermistor seal leaked and zapped the board. I'm going to order a new board and replace the thermistor seal as well. I found the board at fisherpaykelparts.net.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 6:38PM
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dadoes

"Goes on for some time" doing what? ... just curious.

www.searspartsdirect.com also carries F&P parts, sometimes at lower prices than the other source you found. You can also call F&P direct for parts.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 6:50PM
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chakrax

Goes on for some time - doing the normal wash: the water fills and the basket starts rotating back and forth. But it does not get beyond the first stage of the wash i.e. the first light is still on when the beeping starts.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 8:30PM
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dadoes

Ah. Therein lies the problem. The basket should not be rotating back and forth during the wash period. With the water level sensor apparently failed, there's not enough water filling to float it up off the drive coupler so the agitator can oscillate separately.

Normal operation is:
- fill with enough water (a couple/few gallons) to saturate the load and keep the pump primed for recirculation
- EcoActive wash phase, basket rotates @ 25 RPM, pausing occasionally (every 16 seconds I think) while the pump showers water over the clothes
- fill rest of the way for an agitated wash, to either an auto-sensed water level* or manually-set water level
- agitated wash, followed by drain, rinse, final spin

*Auto water level sensing is a two-step process. The initial level is determined by when the basket floats, which is sensed by rotational inertia via the motor. Then a series of test agitation strokes checks the load resistance.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 10:42PM
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chakrax

Ah. I think the back and forth that I mentioned in my previous post is the "test agitation stroke" that you mention that tests load resistance. It's like the motor is pulsing on and then off. At the end of that, the washer starts beeping the error tone.

It seems to me that this behavior is consistent with a transducer failure, or a auto-water level sensing failure. I hope my diagnosis is right and replacing the motor control will fix it....

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 1:26PM
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dadoes

How much water do you see in the tub when that's happening? It's possible for the basket to get stuck on the drive clutch, preventing it from floating and disengaging so the agitator can oscillate separately. There are several specific codes for basket engage/disengage faults, but the board could possibly misinterpret the condition as a code 39 fault depending on when it happens. Try running Perm Press (which doesn't do the EcoActive wash phase), without clothes, manually select Low water level. The basket should float before the low fill level is reached and for sure when it does reach low. The basket rotates at 25 RPM during fill, the motor pulses slightly faster once in a while to check the rotational inertia for sensing when it has floated. If you watch carefully during fill you can see when the basket floats up about 3/8". It should free-spin at that point.

Of course, if you have a leaking thermistor seal and water in the panel, that throws a whole other angle on the situation.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 2:05PM
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chakrax

I tried your suggestion. Perm Press, without clothes, manually selected low water level. The water fills up to the low mark on the tub, and then the motor pulses for about 1-2 minutes and then the #39 error code comes up with beeps.

I'm not able to observe if the basket floats up because I can't run the machine without the lid closed. If there is a way to do that, please let me know.

How can I check if the problem is with the basket getting stuck on the clutch? Do I need to lift the basket out manually and inspect it?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 6:40PM
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