Thread Number: 74416  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Capacitor question -55 Frigidaire Pulsamatic washer
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Post# 982157   2/10/2018 at 13:20 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

turquoisedude's profile picture

I am striving to clear up a wee backlog of washer repairs before spring so that I can devote some time to the 57 GE.  No, really...


Anyway, I wanted to investigate an issue I am having with the WV-35 Frigidaire Pulsamatic.  It does not always kick into spin by itself - in this case I can hear the motor buzzing and if I give the tub a spin by hand or if I click the timer switch on and off again a couple of times, the washer will spin.  The washer starts up in agitation just fine.


A buzzing motor could be due to a couple of things that I've run across before: a bad capacitor or a bad starting switch.  I thought I'd be smart and check the capacitor first (it is accessible without having to do too much disassembly).  The capacitor looks fairly new - certainly not the original!  One of y'all who had this machine before it fled North must have changed it.  


However, when I checked my Frigidaire doctrine, the original capacitor was rated at 210-260 MFD. The one in the machine is rated at 189-227 MFD.  Could this cause the inconsistent spin startup issue I have observed?


If not, I will take out the motor and clean the start switch. That did wonders for the 57 GE and getting the Pulsamatic motor out does not appear to be as big a pain as the GE was!


However, I thought it might be prudent to ask first.  Geez, that's so unlike me... LOL 

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This post was last edited 02/10/2018 at 14:00

Post# 982173 , Reply# 1   2/10/2018 at 15:33 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
That is at the low end, but OK to provide the phase shift

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Still, after you clean the starter contacts, I'd (cautiously, it's going to pack a wham even after being unplugged) put in one closer to factory spec's. 

After the last two times the North American grid collapse started in your *ahem* neck of the woods, I think I speak for all but the Imperial Queens when I say:

Thank You for asking!

Post# 982327 , Reply# 2   2/11/2018 at 15:06 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Right then, I'll get the motor out and clean the start switch contacts...hopefully next weekend.

And as for power outages...nobody ever proved I had anything to do with the 2003 blackout. I still maintain it was simply a coincidence that I was in Ontario (where the blackout originated) that day/moment....  LOL 

Post# 982473 , Reply# 3   2/12/2018 at 13:02 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
Replacement capacitor

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I haven't gotten the motor out yet however I've started hunting for replacement capacitors.  I haven't found an exact match yet - the closest I can get is a Dayton capacitor rated at 216-259 MFD (110-125V).  


Would that be a better match for the this motor?  I will freely admit that I do not understand how the capacitor's capacity can affect a motor's performance; I just don't want to make the motor go *poof* with an incorrect one!

Post# 982480 , Reply# 4   2/12/2018 at 13:45 by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, Iowa)        

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Interesting! I cannot claim to be the one who installed the capacitor but I can suggest to get one higher up in the scale. The OEM capacitor had quite the swing compared to what is available today. Normally it's pretty easy to find a replacement made today where the required range falls within the new capacitors specs, but that is not the case with this little guy! The 216-259 is much closer to 210-260 than anything else I've seen. And, if a new cap doesn't seem to cure the issue the start switch probably needs some help.

For reference, this guy was looking for a replacement 210-260 MFD for his Sears branded grinder, and the Sears Parts Direct website had the replacement as the 216-259.

And, here's the shorter in length 110v Grainger/Dayton branded capacitor -


Post# 982492 , Reply# 5   2/12/2018 at 15:13 by sfh074 (atlanta)        
Replacement capacitor

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Paul, the replacement Dayton cap you found will work just fine. The start switch you should clean "adds" the cap to the motor circuit until the motor spins up to a certain rpm ..... then the switch kicks out and the motor runs on its own, minus the starting cap. If you are having intermittent starting issues .... and the cap that came with the washer does indeed start the motor .... on the times the motor actually starts, most likely points to the start switch back at the motor. But replacing the cap with the Dayton model you found is a good idea and a cheap investment. Besides it has a little more "kick" since it has a slightly larger capacitance value than the one you have in there now and returning to "spec" values is always better. Starting capacitors tend to get weaker with use/age making the actual value lower than labeled value. Another little known secret is to get caps with a bigger voltage rating. Instead of a cap rated at 110V, find one rated at 220VAC. Think of it as a heavy duty version and the likelihood of it ever going bad in a 110V circuit is next to nill.

Post# 982597 , Reply# 6   2/13/2018 at 07:52 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Poor starting FD washer

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Hi Paul, as others have suggested it sounds more like a motor switch, A quick way to find out is to simply put a second similar motor start capacitor in parallel and see if the motor starts consistently, if so you need a new or slightly larger capacitor.


On WP DD washers that have starting problems in spin we often add a 2nd capacitor, it works every time.


John L.

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