November 1, 2014

Fixing a Washer’s Lid Switch System

lid switchLet’s look at how the system of switches works on a washing machine. This is one of the more common problems people have with their washers, and something that Scottsdale Appliance Masters sees on a regular basis. We hope that the information here will help you to sort through your issues yourself, but remember, we’re always just a phone call away to come and help you with any of your appliance repair needs.

First I will blow on the pressure switch hose, tripping the switch and telling the washer that it is full of water. When I open the lid switch the washer thinks that I have opened the lid and will stop agitating.

Next I will advance the washer to drain/spin portion of the cycle. If the lid switch is closed the washer will first drain the majority of water out of the tub to reduce the weight that it needs to spin. When I release the switch once, it simulates pause that is built into the timer to allow the washer to shift the drive system to spin the tub.

Now the tub spins at 500 revolutions per minute so be certain that you are clear of any moving parts before you perform this test. If your washer fills with water and then stops dead, or it fills and agitates and then stops dead, the lid switch is the most likely cause. The most accurate way to test the switch is with a volt meter.

If you have one, move the dial to the Omega symbol which means Ohms. This setting measures the ability of power to flow through to a particular part or circuit. Test the two wire terminals that are making contact with the wire colors other than green with the lid closed. The meter should give you the same reading as if you were touching the test leads together. This is called a closed circuit.

If you have the hinge activated lid switch it can be removed from the top and replaced without removing the cabinet. Simply lift the hinge to disengage the switch and replace. Also the older style lid switch can be tested without removing the cabinet. From the terminal at the top, which is under the console, attach your meter and open and close the lid.

The reading you see with the lid closed should be the same as if you are touching the meter leads together. The paddle style switch will also commonly break at the point where the two Phillips mounting screws attach the switch to the cabinet top as you can see here in this photograph. This switch will still work if manually tripped, however, it is not attached to the top so the lid pin actuator will move the entire switch, and not just the paddle, down. Sometimes the hinge bar will need to be bent slightly to make better contact with the switch. Also check to make sure that the two hinge screws that attach the hinge to the lid are tightened.

To bend the hinge or to replace the old hinge style lid switch we are going to need to remove the cabinet. To do this, remove the cabinet mounting clips. These clips attach the cabinet to the rear panel of the frame. To remove them insert the screwdriver into the front of the clip and use leverage by pushing the top of the screwdriver to the rear of the machine.

Now that our lid switch is disconnected and we’ve removed our mounting clips, grab hold of the front of the cabinet by opening the lid and tilt the cabinet away from the back of the panel. The bottom of the cabinet is hooked under the frame so pull it slightly forward. Now you’ll be better able to access the inside of the cabinet and see clearly what is the matter with your switch. You will need to have your model number ready when you call the parts dealer to get the switch style and length for your model.

If you’re replacing the older style lid switch with the lid plunger begin by removing the two Phillips head screws that attach the switch to the cabinet top. Next, from the inside of the cabinet, remove the 5/16” screw that attaches the ground wire. You need to free the harness from all the clips that are holding it to the top. And lastly, release the small tabs that secure the terminal into place with the screwdriver by pressing them towards the center of the terminal. Remove it and reinstall your new switch.

A Few Things to Remember:

  • Older washers will agitate, but not spin, with the lid open
  • Newer agitators will not agitate or spin with a broken lid switch
  • Listen for a fait click or test with a voltmeter
  • Hinge activated switches can be replaced from the top
  • Make sure there is not a problem with your hinge or plunger

Eric Gomez