Weird Timer Problems in a Whirlpool / Kenmore Dryer with Electronic Control

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on September 27, 2008

in Dryer Repair

This nugget of Appliantological wisdom applies to the Whirlpool-built dryers with the “Even Heat” control board, also sold under the Kenwhore label. The typical problem description runs thusly:

My dryer runs for about two minutes and then shuts down. The timer continues to run down to the end but but it does it really fast. For example, 70 minutes will run down to the OFF position in five minutes. I checked the vent and its clear. I replaced the timer and I still have the same problem. Help!

Ahh, grasshoppah, this ain’t yo pappy’s timer. In yo pappy’s dryer timer, there was a little motor that got 120vac and advanced the timer cycles in a steady, uniform manner. But that ain’t the case with this bad boy, nawsir.

Y’see, Hoss, in this dryer, with all its over-blown electronical garbage, we have what’s called a step timer.

“What’s a step timer, o mighty and omniscient Samurai?” Well, no one knows. But I can tell you a little about how it works.

Like I already said, conventional timers are controlled by the little motor built into the timer which acts just like a clock. Things just plod along, it runs the cycle for the time indicated on the dial and that’s pretty much it.

The step timer in this dryer is controlled by the electronic control board, not the timer motor. So the board makes decisions about when to send power to the timer and for how long. It does this in steps so as to advance the dial and switch contacts as needed. Once the board decides that the clothes are dry enough, it sends steady power to the timer to rapidly advance it to the OFF position. Now we come full circle to the original complaint: dryer shutting off prematurely and rapidly advancing the timer to OFF.

Let’s connect the dots: the rapid advance seen in the timer is a result of the control board thinking the cycle is done (when, in fact, it ain’t).

“Aha!” you exclaim triumphantly, “it’s a bad control board!” You then run out, skipping and frolicking, to buy a new control board, slap that sucker in the dryer, start a cycle and… same problem. And you’re out a Benjamin. Now, siddown and keep reading.

Maybe the board thinks the clothes are dry because one of the components it relies on for “feeling” the clothes is broken. Fer ezzample, the board thinks the clothes are dry when the sensor bars do not short to ground (as it would if the clothes were wet) or if the thermistor stays hot (since the thermistor is cooled down by wet clothes and heats up when the clothes are dry). Experience in the field is that the thermistor is the more common problem so try replacing it first. And the good news is that they cost waaay less than a control board. Ya hey, come git you one.

dyer thermistor - click it to git it

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