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Raygun 02-26-2010 09:56 PM

Dryer with no heat/House power issue
Ok, a couple months back my dryer stopped heating. I troubleshot the heck out of the dryer without even considering checking the power going into the dryer. Dryer was old and had a few other issues so I assumed...yup, mistake number #1.

Finally got around to testing the outlet, using a diagram I found at a different site. I doubt I'm using the proper terminology, however, here goes...

At the dryer outlet I got the following: Between L-Line & R-Line 100v, between R-Line & Neutral 124v, and from L-Line to Neutral 19.2v. All these readings are from a Fluke digital multimeter. I'm fairly certain that my next step needs to be testing the breakers but I wanted to make sure of the proper steps before proceeding.

I know enough about safety precautions from troubleshooting in the Navy, I have a healthy respect for working with electricity and all, I just haven't had much experience inside breaker boxes.

brich 02-26-2010 11:16 PM

You might have a bad 2-pole breaker... while I did not have a tester at the time, this similar occurrence happened with our hot water heater. I had a voltage indicator tool that showed power (i.e. it flashed and beeped...) but would not heat. Replacing the breaker fixed the problem.

This is just a guess of course. I would think on a 250V circuit, shouldn't the two non-neutrals show about 220-250V? Can't remember that class in college... oops.

plummen 02-26-2010 11:17 PM

check to make sure you have 240v coming from the breaker

gregzoll 02-27-2010 03:56 AM

You are thinking in "Squid" terms. That means, that you are thinking about the "floating" ground that ships have. If you do not have the proper voltage from L1 to L2, L2 to L3, and same to N, then you have a problem that all of a sudden reared its ugly head. This means either someone did something they should not have with the wiring, or the dryer is crap and needs replaced.

I am sorry but even I call a second opinion in, when things do not look right, especially with a dryer that does not heat. If the dryer is old, it is possible, that even if you replace the thermostat & the heater, that the wring will cause other problems. This means, get a new dryer.

kbsparky 02-27-2010 04:43 AM


Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 406643)
....If the dryer is old, it is possible, that even if you replace the thermostat & the heater, that the wring will cause other problems. This means, get a new dryer.

A new dryer will not solve wiring problems. It won't work, either.:huh:

gregzoll 02-27-2010 04:46 AM


Originally Posted by kbsparky (Post 406646)
A new dryer will not solve wiring problems. It won't work, either.:huh:

Again, no one knows if there is wiring problems, until 1) An Qualified person looks at it, and 2) was there anything else in the home that started to show wonky when the dryer went south.

My guess is that on number 2, the answer is no, and this is no more, than someone that does not know how to measure voltage, and thinks that there is a line problem, when in realty, there is not.

kbsparky 02-27-2010 05:03 AM

Voltage readings supplied by the OP indicate to me that one line is dead. This symptom would make a dryer cease to operate. Plugging in a new dryer would not operate under these conditions, either.

I have seen numerous instances where a homeowner bought a new dryer because the old one quit. After it was delivered and plugged in, it didn't work. They called for warranty repair, and then was told they had wiring problems.

We got called, and found a loose/burned connection on the breaker, or in one extreme case, a blown fuse. :yes:

They could have kept the old dryer, since nothing was wrong with it.

The suggestion to get a new dryer is inappropriate before the wiring is properly checked out, IMO.

Tuckahoe Sparkplug 02-27-2010 06:17 AM

Also possible is a loose/burnt termination on the dryer outlet or on the power cord connections to the dryer itself. I've seen vibrations from a washer spin cycle loosen terminations.

HouseHelper 02-27-2010 08:50 AM

This is usually a problem at the breaker... loose connection resulting in damage to breaker terminal, sometimes bus connection as well. Plan on replacing the breaker.

Raygun 02-27-2010 08:53 AM

Ok, I wasn't as specific as I should have been in the original post. I have already eliminated the dryer as the problem. In my old dryer I replaced: Thermal fuses (both), Thermostat, and Timer mechanism. Then I did actually get a new dryer. Not brand new but used in good condition from the salvation Army. When installed the new/used had the exact same issues as the old dryer, it would run just wouldn't heat up. Thats what lead me to finally check outside of the dryer itself. I even checked the continuity on the pigtail which was fine.

Raygun 02-27-2010 09:11 AM

Oh, and I checked the resistance on the heating coil of the old dryer and it read exactly where manufacturers spec said it should.

HooKooDooKu 02-27-2010 09:51 AM

So if we've eliminated the dryer, time to check the electrical.

IMHO, there's the next steps to take.

1. Cut the power to the dryer outlet, open the outlet, look for loose wires or damage to the outlet caused by a spark or something. If you find damage, replace the outlet. Otherwise, make sure all the connections are tight and put it back.

2. Check the type of circuit breaker you have and go buy a replacement. It should only be about $10.

3. Turn off the main breaker and open the panel. First check for loose wires at the breaker. If you find something amiss, you can correct it and see if that fixes it.

4. If nothing seems amiss, replace the breaker with the one you already bought before bothering with the hassle of openning the panel.

5. If the problem still isn't corrected, then turn the breaker back off and start doing continuity checks on the wiring.

juni1971 02-27-2010 10:52 AM

First thing to do is use a multimeter. You should have 240v from L1 to L2 and 120v from L1 to nuetral and 120v from L2 to neutral. Then you start opening things up

J. V. 02-27-2010 12:37 PM

If the dryer runs but does not heat, it is in the dryer. There is a small round button t-stat in series with the elements. It is usually located right were the wires enter the element housing. Remove one wire and check for continuity. If it is open (no continuity) replace the button t-stat.

Testing for voltage at the dryer receptacle with a fluke meter and pointed leads can render useless readings. The best way to measure the voltage at the receptacle is to remove the cover and pull out the 30 amp receptacle and check for voltage using the terminals on the receptacle.

juni1971 02-27-2010 12:44 PM

From personal experience. Electric dryers use 1 hot for controls 1 hot for the heating element. For some reason you lost 1 leg. What are the chances your old dryer and new dryer have the exact same problem? ZERO%. You lost a leg either at the receptacle or at the breaker/panel.

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