Thread Number: 74249  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
Kitchenaid KDS-17A Short
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Post# 980269   1/28/2018 at 15:41 by tideturner (Brooklyn, NY)        

Have a working (up until a week ago) KDS-17A that shorted out mid-cycle. Sparks coming from between Door and Lower panel. Took it apart and it looks like the right-hand side of the wiring harness, between door and panel shorted out:
1. How do I find out what caused it?
2. Any ideas where to get a new one or will I have to figure out how to splice them back and pass the wires between the door and lower panel?

First photo shows door wiring and wires pass under the soap dispenser.
Second shows where right and left harness "90 degree" rubber block mount location on the door
Third shows shorted wires inside the 90 degree block.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size

Post# 980317 , Reply# 1   1/28/2018 at 21:14 by stevet (palm coast florida)        
A minor setback!

Well, nobody wants to have to deal with a short in a machine but if someone bent your arm at the elbow everyday for nearly 50 years, your tendons might have given up the ghost.
There are a few causes for it and most likely it was the constant flexing and abrasion against the tank that did some of the wires in. Also, is the detergent dispenser leaking at all? the water and detergent mix could have played havoc with the wires as well.

I had a KDS18 that had a problem like that and I wound up splicing every wire and running them back up thru the bracket that held the harness in place.

While the KDS17 is among the most loved machines from Hobart, the engineers were out of their minds they way they designed the wiring. Two harnesses going up opposite sides of the door and putting the timer on the bottom right where a leaking shaft seal could spray water on it.

But be that as it may, If you can find a donor machine, and they are still out there, swap the harnesses or rebuild the better of both machines and you will be done.
Splicing will be time consuming but not impossible. Just use at least #14 stranded wire and you should be fine. It looks like you will be able to connect the wires back up by their respective colors and use some friction or splicing tape to bundle them and maybe bring them down from the door to the bottom on separate sides.
Use crimp type insulated butt connectors and you make sure all your connections are tight. Hopefully, nothing shorted in the timer and the machine is still good to go.

Post# 980322 , Reply# 2   1/28/2018 at 22:42 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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SteveT is our Hobart master!  He knows what he's talking about.

Post# 980351 , Reply# 3   1/29/2018 at 06:03 by stevet (palm coast florida)        

but you are too kind!

Post# 980467 , Reply# 4   1/29/2018 at 18:07 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Fixing Door Hinge Wiring On A KDS-17 DW

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Good advice above, but you should use nothing heaver than 16 ga for the motor and heater wiring and nothing heaver than 18ga for all other wires, 14 ga wiring is too large to flex properly in this tight space, it is also a good idea to get wire with very fine strands for this area and very flexible insulation if you want it to last very long.


Best way to splice the wires is soldering and covering with heat shrink tubing, but connectors are good if you are skilled at using them, but most folks do better with twist-on wire connectors.


John L.

Post# 980669 , Reply# 5   1/31/2018 at 00:15 by tideturner (Brooklyn, NY)        

Thanks for the advice!

SteveT: I suspect you are correct as by looking in the trough below the soap dispenser, I noticed what apears to be remnants of dried soap scum. I don't want to play with the dispenser and gasket, if I don't have to. I will just put the machine wiring back together and see what else if anything is wrong with it.

Combo52: With respect to wire gauges to be used, I actually found a type of flat wire called "Festoon Wire" (used for conveyor systems and any place wire has to flex a lot) that's available in 16 ga. as either 8 or 12 conductor. The right-hand harness uses 15 conductors (mix of 16 and 18 ga.). The Festoon wire is not cheap but it beats a new machine. Just looking for the best price. Before I order, I might just jury-rig the machine and see what else is wrong with it.

Planning on using wire-nuts and a drop of silicon caulk for water/moisture resistance.

Post# 980684 , Reply# 6   1/31/2018 at 05:59 by stevet (palm coast florida)        
No Caulk, more conductors!

Instead of sealing the wire nuts with caulk which will make it difficult to disconnect the wires for any reason, you may want to try HD or Lowes and go to the sprinkler dept or the electrical dept and ask for the water resistant wire nuts used to connect the zone valves on the sprinklers. They come in different sizes and have silicone grease inside the nuts and a small seal to prevent water from going into the connections.
If you must use regular wire, use wire with the most amount of strands for the wire gauge size. The larger number of wires can carry the current better and with less chance of heating up over the smaller number of wires for the same gauge wire.


Post# 980903 , Reply# 7   2/1/2018 at 19:04 by tideturner (Brooklyn, NY)        

Those wire nuts look like a much better idea than messing with caulk. With respect to the wire, I found two companies that may have just what is needed. One I got a price from, the other I still have to contact. The cables are rated 16 ga. 12A, 8 conductor. They look like they are "Door Hinge" ready! They also have 12 conducter, but they don't have as many thin strands and are only rated for 9 amps.


Post# 980941 , Reply# 8   2/2/2018 at 07:14 by Jetcone (Schenectady-Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        

jetcone's profile picture
I picked up two new tips here today !! Waterproof connectors and that Festoon wire looks cool!

Post# 980946 , Reply# 9   2/2/2018 at 07:48 by Chachp (Conway, AR)        
Waterproof Wire Connectors

chachp's profile picture


I can second what Steve said about those wire connectors for Sprinkler valves.  I have valve boxes buried all over the yard that sometimes are even submerged in water.  I have had many valve failures over the years but I don't think I ever had an issue with one of those connectors.  I would hope they wouldn't get that kind of abuse in your dishwasher door :).  Actually, I think one of them might even be buried right in the dirt because we had a wire accidentally spliced a few years ago.


Good luck with your repair.


Signed, another KDS-17 lover!!

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