Thread Number: 94051  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Neptune fireworks
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Post# 1187297   8/10/2023 at 20:36 (310 days old) by Awooff (Peoria, Illinois)        

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My neppy decided to put out a large spark from the back top left. Was 20 seconds after start. Blew breaker.

Not seeing any marks on the board (or any where else on the back nor from the back top panel looking down inside). Wiring looks good.

Safe to assume the water distribution valve shorted here? How do the tops pop on these to access that valve?

Assuming its possible a short like this could of damaged another component?


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Post# 1187533 , Reply# 1   8/13/2023 at 20:17 (307 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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I'd keep looking - an arc large enough to trip the breaker should have left *some* evidence of where it happened?

Post# 1187591 , Reply# 2   8/14/2023 at 19:50 (306 days old) by Awooff (Peoria, Illinois)        
Any guess?

awooff's profile picture
Have not taken apart near as many washers as most here but have to say this washer was much cleaner inside then id have expected. Purchased this new and not seeing any droppings etc.

Not seeing any spark marks as wires etc look good. The flash came from top left with a heavy smell of burnt electronics but just not seeing any evidence.

Fluke meter im guessing is needed here? This might be above my pay grade.

Any component on these that frequently short? Really thought it was the diverter area but again it all looks great.

Or should i try and replicate the spark lol

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Post# 1187605 , Reply# 3   8/14/2023 at 22:29 (306 days old) by Awooff (Peoria, Illinois)        
Short to ground

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Dawned on me maybe it was the outlet so took a closer look!

Hopefully the Neptune has no ill effects from this! Was a piss poor electrical job not a diy either!

I do unplug after use so evidently was just enough shifting that caused that unruly ground!

Although some light in the tunnel - no more wondering what the neptune inside condition looked like after all these years. Its had a lot of use but yet it hasnt had a lot of use and those of you with multiple washers will get that. It had a bearing replacement about 5 years in but stellar performance!

This washer needs no bleach usage on whites if all the options are used (max everything) - my whites where always prestine with this washer and cant wait to reassemble! Cheers

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Post# 1187614 , Reply# 4   8/15/2023 at 00:37 (306 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Glad you found the issue.

I don't like using the small "handy" box, especially for GFCI receptacles. They are wider than most standard receptacles, leading to the box being crowded. I always use a 4" square box (usually the 2 1/8" deep version) with either the flat cover, or the raised surface cover. This results in a better installation.

Post# 1187620 , Reply# 5   8/15/2023 at 06:39 (306 days old) by retro-man (- boston,ma)        

I don't know if this will help here but maybe. For the last 10 years when I have an appliance that gets plugged and unplugged on a regular basis I put a flat triple socket 3 prong adapter into the outlet. When unplugging it gives you a spot to put your finger or to hold with the other hand to remove the plug without jerking the outlet about. I find this helps a lot especially when outlets are new and tight on the prongs. I unplug the toaster every day and a few other appliances and all the outlets like this are as tight as they were like new.


Post# 1187626 , Reply# 6   8/15/2023 at 12:03 (305 days old) by Good-Shepherd (New Jersey)        
I do unplug after use

If you feel the need to unplug I'd install a 20A switch up stream of the receptacle.

You're lucky this didn't start a fire IMO.

Post# 1187637 , Reply# 7   8/15/2023 at 12:39 (305 days old) by Adam-aussie-vac (Canberra ACT)        
Are there outlets that already include a Switch?

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Iím sure potentially such a thing would exist

Post# 1187642 , Reply# 8   8/15/2023 at 14:04 (305 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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There are, but I'm not aware of any that are AFCI/GFCI, so you would need to switch to an upstream unit or a combination breaker to remain code compliant.

Post# 1187666 , Reply# 9   8/15/2023 at 17:39 (305 days old) by Awooff (Peoria, Illinois)        

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For the dryer, i do have a single outlet surge protector as this does aid in unplugging. 3 ways works good as well but i should just use a spare power strip which has an easy switch.

My unplugging comes from having pex plumbing and floor drains that are somewhat plugged from the years of filth or perhaps from the last time this house burned down! Paranoia makes one think of electrical safety but obviously that backfired!

Yes i bought a rebuild after a full burn down 8 years ago. Foundation is only thing original. Seems like a hot lot for fires - electrical pole 3 feet from property was engulfed in flames at 6am one morning - had high powered switches on it. A year after that the upper high powered line on that pole actually exploded in 1 foot pieces! Left burned areas of grass where the lines landed. Have pics to prove! Couldnt find anything online of exploding power lines!

Post# 1187676 , Reply# 10   8/15/2023 at 19:12 (305 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

The GFCI I would recommend for this is Legrand/Pass & Seymour model # 1597TRSGLW (White - other colors available); a 20 A version is also available. It is a single receptacle recommended for stationary appliances such as washers, freezers, etc. If you want a switch, P&S does make a combination GFCI/switch, but I'm not sure if it can be wired to switch the integral receptacle, as the diagram shows it controlling a separate load, such as a light or fan. I would probably install a separate commercial grade switch, such as P&S model # 2601W (15 A). For easiest wiring of these two devices in one box, I'd suggest using a 4 11/16" square box that is 2 1/8" deep, with the appropriate cover.

The link shows the 20 GFCI receptacle.


Post# 1187691 , Reply# 11   8/15/2023 at 22:23 (305 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

lowefficiency's profile picture
Oh hey, they do exist! I guess they must just not be popular enough to be stocked on the shelves in the stores around here... Good to know.

Post# 1187700 , Reply# 12   8/16/2023 at 00:40 (305 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

What you see on the shelves of the stores such as Home Depot, etc. is only a small portion of what is available. The manufacturer's catalogs have the complete line, and items can be ordered from an electric supply distributor if they are not in stock. I've bought from Kendall Electric, City Electric Supply, and a few others.

Post# 1187740 , Reply# 13   8/16/2023 at 16:30 (304 days old) by Awooff (Peoria, Illinois)        

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Tom, planning to order that gfi you mentioned. Had the dryer plugged into this same outlet unaware of the issue. -Certainly the gfi electronics itself could be damaged but the outlet still works? Also the spark was all outside the actual plug - would i be wrong to just reuse this same outlet?

Post# 1187800 , Reply# 14   8/16/2023 at 21:23 (304 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Aaron, if it still works, I doubt it damaged the GFCI electronics. They usually won't reset if that's the case. It appears the receptacle may have shifted too close to the side of the box, causing an arc to the grounded metal box. That's why I mentioned a larger box would be better. The wider body of this type of receptacle doesn't leave much clearance. I've not used that narrow style of box in many years due to that, and also it having such a small wire capacity. The NEC requires a certain number of cubic inches in a box, based on the size of the conductors, the number of conductors, and any devices and fittings contained within. Raco, Steel City, and other box manufacturers have charts with such info.

Post# 1187804 , Reply# 15   8/16/2023 at 21:35 (304 days old) by Awooff (Peoria, Illinois)        

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Tom there is a melted/burn mark on back side from ground hitting the back side of the neutral screwplate.

I don't think this is from neutral touching the side of box.

Post# 1187814 , Reply# 16   8/17/2023 at 00:16 (304 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

The ground (bare or green) and neutral (white) touching should not have caused a short, as they are tied (bonded) together in the main service panel. They shouldn't touch, of course, as the only place they are supposed to be connected is at the main service. I would buy a plug in circuit tester, and make sure it was wired correctly. It's possible something wasn't connected properly either in the main panel, a sub panel if present, or in a junction box. I can't see the connections to the GFCI in the picture to verify that the white wire is connected to the silver screw, and the black to the brass screw. Regardless, the bare ground wire needs to stay pushed back into the box so it won't contact any live parts.

Post# 1187837 , Reply# 17   8/17/2023 at 08:20 (304 days old) by Awooff (Peoria, Illinois)        

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Tom, you are correct as on closer examination, the ground touched the black side not the neutral.

Still ok to reuse?

Post# 1187852 , Reply# 18   8/17/2023 at 12:13 (303 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

I would replace it for reliability and peace of mind if you aren't comfortable reusing it. The cover can be cleaned and reused. Good to hear it was the black wire terminal it touched, so you need not worry about improper connections elsewhere in the system.

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