Duet Sport Dryer F01 Fix

My weekend was spent fixing a Whirlpool Duet Sport dryer that threw up code F01 when I tried to start a load. Now that it's done, here's how to fix it for free! This worked with an electric Whirlpool WED8300SW1.

What you'll need

Before we begin, unplug the dryer from the wall! Also remove the vent pipe. We'll be doing some lint cleanup along the way since we've got the dryer open anyway. Your insurance and the fire department will thank you.

Scoot the dryer away from the wall so you can get behind it. Remove the three screws securing the top panel with your hex screwdriver. The side screws won't be the ones at the corners but the ones just in from there. Find a safe space to put them, along with the other screws you'll be removing.

Now a quick lint detour. Go get a vacuum. If you have to use a shop vac, remove the lint trap and tape it to the outlet hole, otherwise the lint will get blasted all over the room. It's too light to stay in the vacuum unless forced to.

Vacuum all the lint out of the pipe at the bottom of the dryer. Go as deep as you can with it. It gets caked onto the sides after a while, especially if you use fabric softener or dryer sheets. Repeat the process with the vent pipe.

Now, back to the dryer. Over on the right, or left from the front, is a plastic box containing a circuit board with loads of wires running into it. Open the little plastic cover on the box and take a picture of what is inside. You will need that for later.

Unplug all those wires running into the board. The blue and white one is a bit tricky because it comes in from the side. Remove the single screw connecting the plastic box to the metal bracket. Slide the box over and it will unlock from the bracket. Take it out. This one is much shorter than the others, so keep that in mind.

There's a bunch of locking tabs holding the circuit board in. Press them in one at a time and VERY CAREFULLY, lift the board up to free it.

Once the board is out, have a look at the plastic box. You may notice there's a big burn mark in it. That is a massive clue to your problem. If there isn't a big burn mark there, that board has failed in a way I cannot address and you'll need to buy a new board. Otherwise, flip the board over and there will be a charred spot on the board. There's your problem.

Decision time

There's two ways to solve this problem:

  1. Resolder the charred spot. This is free, minus the cost of solder, but you need to know how and have still enough hands to solder. If you have issues with either of these, do not attempt this method! Burns, fires, and/or metal poisoning may occur!
  2. Buy a new board. The price is currently $250-325, but there's a chip shortage right now, so the price may fall later.

Soldering the board

If you picked option 2, you can skip down to "Re-installation"

Using a sharp tool of choice, scrape a bit of trace closest to the charred section so that you see bare copper. In theory, you could try to solder a wire from one post to another, but they covered the bottom of the board with some sort of glue so it's harder to do.

Move to a ventilated area! Solder emits fumes when melted and you do not want to breathe in any of them! Heavy metal poisoning is not as awesome as it sounds! Heat up your soldering iron. Hopefully this is common sense, but heat up the post in the middle of the charred area with your soldering iron and melt solder such that it touches the post and the bare trace. Ideally, you want the solder to form a cone around that post big enough to cover the bare copper trace. In reality, as long as the solder covers the post, the bare trace, and whatever's in between, you're good.

Let everything cool down for a bit and grab the multi-meter. Measure the resistance between the soldering you did and the tiny bare silvery bit just down the trace. You're never going to get it to 0, but you want it to be under 0.1 ohm. If it's greater than that or you have an open circuit, redo your soldering.

Re-installation

Take your board and put it back in the box, connectors facing up. It's keyed so it should be quite hard to get this wrong. Slide the box back into the bracket and put the tiny screw to secure it.

Time for another lint cleanup pit stop! This time there's a surprise! Go to the front of the dryer and remove two screws holding up the bottom front panel of the dryer.

On the inside of that panel, there's an envelope with diagnostic instructions for your dryer! Next time something on it starts acting up, you can refer back to them.

Back to cleanup. Vacuum out all the lint sitting in there. The lint is supposed to go out the pipe but there's a bad seal there. Some of it goes all over the inside of the dryer instead and that's a fire hazard! Same disclaimer about the shop vac applies here.

Put that panel back on and screw the two screws back in. Unless the dryer is up off the ground a good bit, this will involve two people and/or a lot of swearing because you have to hold the panel up in the right place while trying to screw it in.

Now put the top panel back on the dryer and screw it back in. You should not have any spare screws or something has gone wrong. Plug it back in and re-attach the vent pipe.

Now turn it back on and it should allow you to start a load now!

Day 28 of #100DaysToOffload