Voltage drop in circuit to Dishwasher


My F-I-L has a Kenmore DW which he rarely uses. He purchased it around a year ago when he remodeled his kitchen. Recently,on one of the rare occassions he decided to turn it on, there was a problem. Apparently, the dedicated 15A circuit is pulling voltage lower than 120 VAC. Obviously, the DW doesn't work. Before I go pulling the DW out so I can trace out the voltage drop, any suggestions as to what might cause a problem like that?
I haven't been over his house to check it out. I just got the news over the phone Sunday night. My B-I-L looked at it but has no clue and I don't know how the voltage drop was determined. Then my B-I-L is no handyman. Actually, I'm genuinely surprised he didn't burn the house down checking it out. This is a guy who needed to be told that you can't solder a pipe with water in it! No, I'm not making this up.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Steve
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First thing I would do is check the line voltage at the DW junction box (where the house wiring connects to the dishwasher wiring). Use a good multi-meter and, preferably, find someone who can properly connect and read it -- not a complicated task; but there's electricity involved. Be safe.
As the voltage is being measured, start the DW. That will tell you what the line voltage is doing. If it does drop significantly, look for a faulty connection, bad switch or a load, perhaps the motor, that's drawing way too much power. The latter is less likely since the fuse or circuit breaker should limit the power draw. While you're at it, you might check the voltage at the motor too. There should be a wiring diagram pasted someplace inside the mechanical compartment or maybe there's an envelope in there somewhere with service information which can help.
TKM
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Steve in Virginia wrote:

understand. A drop will not necessarily make it quit working. Perhaps his is simply saying that the power is not getting to the dishwasher.
You are going to have to get to the input wires and measure the voltage there. Perhaps they are available at the bottom front of the machine.
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Agreed ... it would be an unusual drop to keep it from working. However, there is a heater in DWs. Sometimes, all one has to do is run the hot water in the adjacent sink until it flows hot, before turning on the DW. But that's in the case where the performance is sub-par but almost acceptable.
Measuring the voltage under load requires some fiddling around and some knowledge.
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Rich256 wrote:

I'm wondering if during the remodel a separate circuit was actually run for the new dishwasher despite the indication -- would certainly be worth checking out, and if not, if something else is on it might cause such symptoms...
I've not done one for so long I don't recall, but I'd have thought a dishwasher would/could expect 20A service??? Might check nameplate rating for what it's really supposed to draw. Maybe I'm being overly conservative here, like I say, it's been 20+ years since I last had to run a circuit for one or bought a new one and I don't recall...

Yep, that's certainly a good starting point...as someone else noted, would be good to have set of clip leads so can observe as try to start if it tests ok off.
Of course, another possibility would be loss of a neutral return or one or more loose connections at the junction box...
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dpb wrote:

Agree, but from what he posted it sounds like the owner doesn't understand what he is talking about. Probably just not getting power or the washer has failed. Not having been used much it is quite probable that a bearing is froze from rust.
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it may be possible to reduce the wattage the dishwasher wants by selecting an energy saver function which may avoid running the heating element. this varies.
Steve in Virginia wrote:

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mechanism might simply be stuck from sitting idle for so long. That is fairly common and the motor will draw excessive current if it is true. This will result in excessive voltage drop to the dishwasher and possibly dimming of the lights, etc..
Don Young
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Steve in Virginia wrote:

Infrequent use caused jamming of the motor?
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