Thursday, January 15, 2009

How to Fix Your Kenmore HE4t F11 Code Problem

My problem began roughly 2 years after buying the machine and generally occurred before or during the rinse cycle.

Now I'm not even remotely handy but after some searching online I found some instructions that looked easy enough even for an all thumbs handyman like me.

This blog/post is meant to summarize what I've found and also provide you with step by step instructions with photos to help you save the $500 or so it would cost for the parts and labor Sears would charge you to repair your washer.

Follow these instructions and in 2-3 hours of work and roughly $40-50 of materials you'll have a working washer again, free of the dreaded F11 error code. For full size pics in new windows click any of the pics below.

I realize some of my terms aren't going to be technical. Just goes to show you don't need to know much to do this fix.

Step 1

Buy stuff.

What you'll need:

1. 30W soldering iron (15W may well do)
2. Helping hands alligator clip do-dad (see picture) (optional)
3. Wrist grounding strap (optional)
4. Wire cutter
5. Ratchet
6. 7mm socket
7. High-tech rosin core silver bearing solder 0.6mm or 0.022" diameter
8. A tiny flat head screwdriver
9. A surface to work on
10. Desoldering braid (optional)

You ought to be able to buy everything you need (including the optional stuff) for $50-60.



Step 2


Take off the top of the washer.

This is a very easy step. First unplug the washer.

At the back of the washer are 3 7mm bolts. Using the ratchet and the 7mm socket simple unscrew them and then slide the top cover backwards and then up and off.



Step 3

Label all of the connectors to the white box you see at the back of the washer. Alternatively you can take digital photographs (don't rely on mine in case different production runs had different color coding). The point being you want to make sure you can put everything back together again.



Once labeled, remove all of the connectors being careful not to yank on them (and note from the photo below, there are some on the side as well). Some of them are held to the circuit board by means of small plastic clips and these you should lift up with your thumb or a screwdriver so you don't pull the wires right out of the connector.



Step 4

Uncouple the white box containing the circuit board you're after by using a flat head screwdriver to gently pry up the top most 3 white connectors (there are also two pegs that go through the back wall of the washer).

Once the box is removed using the screwdriver go around the box and slowly pry the small plastic clips holding the box together.

Finally take the top off the circuit board box (from this point on I used the wrist strap figuring it was better to be safe and grounded than sorry and fried).

Step 5

Remove the circuit board by using your small screwdriver to release the 3 plastic clips holding the board to the bottom of it's white home.



Step 6

Solder both sides of each connector. Now the board where I got most of the instructions suggested that you need to solder the whole rectangular connection but I just soldered the parts that looked worn (as seen in the photo with the magnifying glass).



That said, I put at least some solder on both sides of each connector. I chose not to bother with the boards' recommendations to take apart and clean the solenoids and relays - I also didn't resolder them

[UPDATE: December 12th, 2009. Well it worked until about a week ago, then I started getting the F d/l and F11 again. Decided it was time to tackle the relays. Reading the instructions on the various boards I decided J8 and K4 were the culprits. I re-soldered both sides of J8 and then resoldered ALL of the relays pins on the bottom of the board. Thrilled to say, everything seems to be working again!]



Step 7

Do everything in reverse to put it all back together again.

Step 8

Test to make sure your washer still works. To do so put the washer into its test cycle by selecting any wash setting, select DRAIN and SPIN, then select NO SPIN. Hit PREWASH four times within five seconds, and see C:00 come up on display. There are 8 different tests from C01-C08. Given that my washer worked right away, I don't know what would happen if a test failed.

Troubleshooting

If after everything, things aren't working at all you might have a solder bridge. Before I put my board back together again I used a magnifying glass to try to spy any solders that bled onto the connector adjacent. If you have one apparently using an exacto knife you ought to be able to divide the problem. Alternatively you could use a solder braid to de-solder the problem and then re-do it.

Also don't put your solder on too thick or it'll be tough putting the connectors back on once you're done.

If you can't get it working again you can still try to save some money by buying the circuit board replacement yourself and/or installing it on your own.

Contact the guys here and give them all of your information. This machine is a Kenmore branded Whirlpool so chances are so too will be the replacement part.

Links


I learned how to solder from this instructables post.

I found most of the instructions as to what to do over here via the incredible instructions of "thenotoriousflavio".

Summary

All told this took me $50 and 1 hour of work and I've never done anything remotely like this before.

Should you undertake the repair your worst case scenario is that you'll be out the $50 of materials and be stuck needing a new main control unit board just like you did before you started.

Best case scenario and you'll have saved yourself the over $500 reported to be the cost of the labor and parts of the F11 error repair - oh and the time and aggravation of having to wait as apparently the part is sold out all over the place due to the endemic nature of this problem.

UPDATES:As noted above roughly 11 months into the repair I had to resolder. Since then, error free through December 30, 2011 (today))

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How to fix your Whirlpool Duet F11 Problem

Follow all of the instructions above.

Click here for some Flickr photos of the repair (done by someone other than me).

Click here if you need to buy a replacement Whirlpool MCU.

OR click here.

Not sure what the differences are. Apparently with your p/n and your s/n the folks who work at the links provided above ought to be able to figure out what you need.