Thread Number: 77921  /  Tag: Vintage Dryers
57 GE Dryer has decided to start smoking for the New Year...
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Post# 1019501   12/30/2018 at 15:14 (317 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Not having a good 2018 with dryers it would seem...   

I popped a small load into the 57 GE this afternoon, set the automatic dry to Delicate, and in about 10 minutes, the dryer was smoking.  The smoke seemed to be coming from the rear of the appliance. I did not immediately notice if it was still running when I dashed to the breaker panel, but I did notice the fluorescent control panel light was off.

My gut instinct (usually is saying that perhaps the transformer burnt.  It was noisier than a hive full of killer bees...   I really hope none of the resistors for the drying system have gone 'pow' on me!

So guess what the first thing I'll be playing with in 2019 will be??  I'd be investigating it tomorrow if we hadn't planned to be in St-Lib for New Year's!

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Post# 1019506 , Reply# 1   12/30/2018 at 16:04 (317 days old) by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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It doesn't look like the '57 is sitting next to it's rightful mate.  Perhaps there's some bad vibes between the two machines?



Post# 1019529 , Reply# 2   12/30/2018 at 18:45 (317 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
Fear not!

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Lawrence, the photo may not show it, but this cross-border couple is still together. In fact, they are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a suds-return pump and valve but that's a whole other story... LOL

Post# 1019530 , Reply# 3   12/30/2018 at 18:49 (317 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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That dryer needs a warning from the Surgeon General pasted on it somewhere.

Post# 1019591 , Reply# 4   12/31/2018 at 12:42 (316 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Nasty habit.

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Get it a nicotine patch. tongue-out

Post# 1019608 , Reply# 5   12/31/2018 at 15:12 (316 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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I do hope that's just the ballast from the florescent light Paul!


Post# 1019621 , Reply# 6   12/31/2018 at 16:44 (316 days old) by Supersurgilator (Indiana)        

Was the smoking coming from the back of the machine of the back of the drum?

Post# 1019622 , Reply# 7   12/31/2018 at 16:49 (316 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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It looked like it was coming from the back of the machine, but I didn't spend a lot of time looking before I sprinted to the breaker panel... LOL

Post# 1020026 , Reply# 8   1/3/2019 at 19:55 (312 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
Turquoisedude investigates....

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I got back down to Ogden yesterday with the intention of doing more testing on the GE Clothes Conditioner dryer.  I pulled it out of its 'slot' and disconnected the transformer which I suspected was the problem.  It didn't look good...

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Post# 1020027 , Reply# 9   1/3/2019 at 19:57 (312 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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I figured I had nothing to lose by testing the dryer again.  I set the timer to the air fluff section of the dial and...

Fire in the hole!

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Post# 1020028 , Reply# 10   1/3/2019 at 20:03 (312 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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I observed that the dryer started up immediately without having to press the start button. It ran for about a minute before I observed the smoke and the machine promptly shut off.  I pulled the plug at this point. 

So now my thinking is a motor winding or starting switch is burning.  Not inconceivable for a 61-year-old motor.  Bonus: I acquired a replacement motor (NOS) a couple of years ago. 

Let's just hope I haven't made yet another mis-diagnosis here...

Post# 1020032 , Reply# 11   1/3/2019 at 20:42 (312 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Smoking Dryer

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The ballast for the florescent light looks normal, it should be easy to find out what is smoking, just let your nose guide you to the offending part.


John L.

Post# 1020079 , Reply# 12   1/4/2019 at 08:50 (312 days old) by jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Sounds like

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A sticking start switch in the motor or a sticking relay? Did GE dryers have motor relays??

Post# 1020095 , Reply# 13   1/4/2019 at 11:07 (312 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Jon, a GE of this era didn't have a relay so I'd concur on the sticking start switch.  

I did some sniffing around and the burnt smell is strongest around the motor.

I also cracked open the new motor box for the first time.  Then I noticed this... I an now not so sure I got me the right motor!  If not, it'll be easier for me to haul out the GE dryer before taking it apart and swap the Inglis in.

Did I potentially goof on the motor??

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Post# 1020098 , Reply# 14   1/4/2019 at 12:04 (312 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Motor For A 57 GE Dryer

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Hi Paul, you have the wrong motor, even if it fits and you rewire the dryer so you can use a 240 volt motor               [ should be 120 volts ]          in this dryer, you will still have to find a larger motor pulley to get a 50 cycle motor to turn the drum fast enough to properly tumble the clothing load.


Good news is it will be quieter with the fan turning 15% slower, LOL.


[ Do hang onto that motor, it would be very helpful to retrofit into a GE dryer for our friends on the other side of the pond ]


John L.

Post# 1020100 , Reply# 15   1/4/2019 at 12:39 (312 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Dammit... I should have realized when a NOS dryer motor materialized there had to be a catch!

Looks like the GE will be back in the garage for the winter. It can keep the 59 Frigidaire company...LOL 

Curious though, would GE have even marketed a machine like this for the UK market??

Post# 1034989 , Reply# 16   6/10/2019 at 13:57 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
GE dryer motor repairs made.... not exactly easy....

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Now that the 59 Frigidaire is fully functional again, I wanted to attack the 57 GE dryer.  It was banished to the garage due to its nasty smoking habit; my 'prime suspect' was the motor.

'Course to get to a GE dryer motor, you have to take out the drum, which means taking off the cabinet top and the front

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Post# 1034990 , Reply# 17   6/10/2019 at 14:09 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Even without a lot of diassembly, I had a good idea of where the problem was...

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Post# 1034991 , Reply# 18   6/10/2019 at 14:12 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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So, cause of smoke: bad high-wattage connection to heaters. Cause of bad connection: a bad starting switch.  I am getting quite well-versed in this issue it would seem...

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Post# 1034992 , Reply# 19   6/10/2019 at 14:16 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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After removing the burnt switch parts, I  put the motor back together again and tried powering it up.  It started and ran fine!!


I had not expected this - I only connected the run winding terminals to AC power.  I was sure that I had to at least momentarily connect the start winding for the 57 GE washer motor to make it run....

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Post# 1034993 , Reply# 20   6/10/2019 at 14:23 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
So, what's next??

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This is the question.... I have options though!


Option 1: keep the motor as is; use a relay to control power to the heaters (if it worked for ths 59 Frigidaire....)


Option 2: replace the start switch with the NOS one I got at Modern a few years ago. The motor would then control power flow to the heaters.


Option 3: cannibalize the replacement motor that is a 240 volt one - use the old-style but unused start switch from it.


I am leaning towards option 1....


I am a little perturbed by the motor starting up without the start winding....

Could this be another problem? If I hook up the start winding to power as a test, could I damage the motor??

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Post# 1034994 , Reply# 21   6/10/2019 at 14:28 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

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"Curious though, would GE have even marketed a machine like this for the UK market??"

Make that European. I know somebody who's parents had a 50's GE set, they lived in Rotterdam.

Post# 1034997 , Reply# 22   6/10/2019 at 15:16 by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        
Crispy GE Motor

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The windings in the 240v/50 cycle motor are more than likely the only parts that are different between the two motors.  

If I were in your shoes I'd probably grab the switch from the 50hz motor, swap it in the original motor, AND install a relay that is controlled by the centrifugal switch to turn on the high current heaters, leaving the NOS switch from Larry for a rainy day.  

Guessing the motor started by powering the run winding due to it be powered without a load.


Post# 1035036 , Reply# 23   6/10/2019 at 19:57 by sfh074 ( )        
No load ......

was the only reason it started. Would not have if it were in the dryer unless start winding energized.

Option 1!, Option 1!

Post# 1035546 , Reply# 24   6/17/2019 at 14:08 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Work on the 57 GE dryer has been sporadic but it's moving forward.


Option 1 for the motor solution is what I finally chose.  This solution worked wonderfully on the 59 Frigidaire so in goes the 2nd relay I ordered (I will be ordering more soon...)


I tried to keep the relay as accessible as possible - Sonny Service would have been proud that I was thinking about the next person who might have to repair this dryer 10 or 15 years from now...LOL 

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Post# 1035547 , Reply# 25   6/17/2019 at 14:13 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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And while the motor was out and blower fan was off, I gave it a dust off. There was not a huge amount of stuff on the blower fins, amazingly.

Oh and note to anyone else who might have to service a 57 GE dryer - there are 2 bolts holding the fan to the motor shaft.  Canyon learned a few new 'hooman cursing words' till I learned about the 2nd bolt.

Also getting the blower shroud back into place was challenging... but I did it!

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Post# 1035548 , Reply# 26   6/17/2019 at 14:18 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Once assembled, I had to try it...

Well, I must be learning 'cause the relay did not blow up. That major power failure in South America was purely a coincidence!!

The dryer heated up normally and I noticed right away that there was no 'scorched' smell in the drum. I think I'd had issues with that motor switch from day 1, but did not figure it out. So kids, if something smells like it's burning in your vintage dryer, check your wiring and motor start switch!

Full disclosure, I'll be adding a relay to the '66 Inglis as soon as I can order more.

Just need to do a few cosmetic touches to the dryer (I dropped the front door panel on Saturday afternoon and kinda scratched it - talking on a smartphone and repairing appliances is also NOT safe....)

Post# 1035549 , Reply# 27   6/17/2019 at 14:47 by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Great news! Those little relays certainly are a cheap insurance plan. Always nice to have a few on hand. Easier to replace those than a motor or timer. I'd also recommend doing the same on your Unimatic...


Post# 1035552 , Reply# 28   6/17/2019 at 15:27 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Yes, good advice, Ben. That Unimatic needs a little tune-up this summer anyway, so "motive and opportunity"... LOL

If I mention your name next time I make an order for relays, will you get a commission??

Post# 1035555 , Reply# 29   6/17/2019 at 15:34 by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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LOL - no commission on my part. Just glad that you're finding value in using the relays to keep these gems running!

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