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Panasonic NA140VS4 - spin issues -common faults guide doesn't cover


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Hi to everyone. Hope that someone can help. I've a panasonic machine about 5 years old, used 2-3 times a week, so not heavily worked. For some time it's been temperamental about spinning. It starts turning the drum for spinning, increases speed a bit, then stops the spin and continues to try again, and again. It can occur with heavy loads, light loads and the error message suggests unbalanced, but I've tried lightening heavy loads and increasing light loads but it often doesn't resolve. Then other times, the machine will complete the spin ok. If it does spin correctly, I've noticed it 'struggles' to get up to speed, then suddenly shifts into a higher speed and gets much smoother. I'm sitting here listening to it in action - bit noisy at start of spin and can hear wobble, then when successful at getting up to full spin, it gets much quieter. Just now, after multiple attempts, it's got to full spin and completing its cycle. The machine doesn't shake too much, though some loads case the drum inside to visibly wobble more than I'd expect. Take my lay opinion with a pinch of salt though - I'm ok at problem solving but no expert.

So, machine spins, but doesn't reliably get to spin speed, despite retrying, even though I ensure load balanced. The other day, some articles in the machine literally twisted into the door seal, causing it to pull off its wire hoop and the bottom of the seal had a small piece torn off. So, I've refitted the seal with wire hoop and it's secure. I've done a repair on the broken bit of seal so it's watertight. I'm running a test load of T-shirts and, yet again,  can hear it not getting up to spin speed.

So, now I'm faced with:

1. Repair myself with some guidance 2. Get someone in to sort 3. Buy another machine

Ideally, I want to cheapest solution and am prepared to have a go. I also hate the idea of having to dump a machine that's not that old and has had light use. If it's down to repair/replace, I'd love to repair for cost and environmental reasons but the cost of that route might make it silly against the cost of a new  machine.

Can someone please help with troubleshooting further and parts likely needing replacing or addressing. I've wondered if the concrete blocks inside (as I understand?) for balance can shift causing unbalanced spinning and the damper springs can loosen. It looks like these could be worth checking. I'd get a new seal for the machine to replace the damaged one, but don't want to do this till I know the machine can be affordably repaired.

 

thanks for your help, Chris

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Hi Chris. The error and fault you describe does sound a lot like this - washing machine won't spin just one item or small loads

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Thanks for the link, Andy. I've had a look and agree that it overlaps with my problem. But, with mine, the problem with going into a full spin can happen with both heavy or light loads (I appreciate either type of load might be unbalanced). On some occasions, I have a heavy load that won't spin, so I've removed items progressively to try to get it to spin and failed. Then I might simply set it to wash again and it spins. Also, in the early years with the machine, it just didn't have a problem spinning. The problem started within the last year. So, if it was an inherent problem with a large drum machine like my panasonic has (10kg?) , I'd imagine it should always have been temperamental about spinning. I've assumed that something has changed to cause this issue. 

Any further thoughts? Are there possible adjustments to the machine that could be worth trying? Might those damper springs have become too slack? As does the rest of the wash cycle ok, and sometimes spins ok, I'm now inclined to change the door seal myself, at which point I could access other things to check out.

Thanks again

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Yes unfortunately these large drum sizes cause a lot of problems because they need to be filled up with more washing than most people have. For me, 7 kg is more than big enough. Many people buy extra-large drum capacities without really realising the potential issues. They are more economical to use as long as you have masses of washing. For the majority of people they are too big.

I have an interesting article on the subject here Pros and cons of different washing machine drum sizes

I can't rule out a fault on the washing machine but if there is one then it's intermittent and inherently more difficult to fix. If by any chance the washing machine is making any unusual noise when the drum is turning it could indicate excessive sparking on the carbon brushes due to wear. But it does normally take several years before carbon brushes wear out and even then only with heavy use and also many modern washing machines use induction motors that don't even have carbon brushes fitted.

If you have a load that is refusing to spin it is unlikely to be because there is too any items inside. It is far more likely to be because the load is unbalanced and therefore taking items out, unless you only take out a large bulky item is potentially likely to make it even more unbalanced.

What is it like with a full load of towels inside? You would need to put virtually all of your towels in there to adequately fill the drum up it would be at least a good test. Put them on a rinse and spin if possible otherwise just a quick wash unless they actually do need washing. This would be a good test because all of the items are the same bulk and weight when heavy.

 

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Andy, that's given me food for thought when I get another machine - I didn't appreciate the implications of getting a machine with too big a drum, just assuming it was an advantage even with lighter usage. 

As mentioned, the machine didn't have any problem spinning till the last year - ie similar loading didn't cause a problem before, but it is now. Do you not think this suggests something other than problems with the machine drum being too large and the loading being unbalanced? 

On the other things raised:

1. The drum does not seem to make any unusual noise when turning.

2. With a full load of towels, it still seems hit and miss with spinning properly - that would be a mix of hand and bath towels. I'll do a more deliberate test when I've got enough towels to try.

3. I mentioned at the start of the thread that the washing in my machine twisted into the rubber door seal and pulled it off its wire, causing a tear at the bottom. This made me wonder if the drum might be out of alignment to an extent? Hasn't happened again, but only done few washes since putting seal right.

4. You didn't mention the damper springs/shock absorbers - I presume you think it unlikely these play a part in the problem.

thanks 

 

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Hi cjm. Yes, we can't rule out an actual fault, but the symptoms you describe are the exact symptoms that happen when the washing machine can't balance the load, which is why I concentrated on it a fair bit. It's always possible that there is a fault on the out of balance system within the main control board.

I wouldn't have thought the suspension would play a part in the problem. If there was a suspension problem, I would expect the washing machine to spin as normal, but then thump and bang around quite a lot. The way that washing machines can tell a load is nicely balanced is by monitoring the power load on the motor.

If you can imagine a nice balance load would result in the motor running very smoothly and consistently. But if the load was unbalanced, it would need extra power to lift the heavy apart up and over 12 o'clock, and then the heavy part would assist the motor for a fraction of a second in a freefall until it reached the bottom, whereupon the motor would need a bit of extra force to turn the drum round again.

This would result in the motor running unevenly, and I'm pretty sure that's how they can tell if the load is balanced or not. So when you are having this issue. What does the motor sound like? Does it make a consistent sound or does it make a sound that goes up and down in pitch?

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Just to say a big thanks Andy. For now I have a working machine, even with the spin issue. So, I'm going to keep on as is. May have a look inside in due course and replace the door seal (especially if I can find a fair price as they're expensive compared to some others). I'll keep in mind your helpful advice. May even pop back sometime later but wanted to say how much I appreciate your advice and efforts

All the best, Chris

 

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