LOL - I was just trying to improve my odds of calling the right one first!
I flipped all the breakers already and the dryer didn't come back on, so I'm
thinking it's not the dryer (unless it's the pigtail which an Amana guy on
an appliance group told me it is possible the pigtail can go out, although
it's not common) I actually DO have a multimeter! I bought a nice little
Greenlee kit when I bought this house for basic electrical - I just wasn't
anxious to stick the leasds into anything OTHER than a basic electrical
outlet! I'm reading the manual on it now - but I'm pretty sure I'm going
with the electrician first from what I've gathered here. Thanks for the
I have one, just reading the directions on how to use it. :-) Thanks -
bottom line, that's what I was trying to decide - appliance repair vs.
electrician and now I feel confident enough to test the receptacle to see if
it's working or not - and then call the one or the other depending on how it
Take your tester and try it on a regular receptacle. Put the tester
on AC Volts using the highest setting you have. You should get 120V.
When you test the dryer outlet it should be 240V. If you have 240V
then you should call a repairman. If you don't have 240V then call an
The multimeter went up to 400V, so I did test a regular outlet first to be
sure I was using the multimeter correctly - and I got 119.6 - so I was
confident it was working and accurate. I got nothing at the 240V outlet -
the leads are pretty short though, so I'm not 100% sure I made contact, but
I'm convinced enough to go ahead and call the electrician first.
Thanks to all for the assistance and education!
It was never about if I should call someone, it was who I should call. Now I
feel as though I'm making a more educated decision rather than just blindly
following your advice, however right it may (or may not) be.
I prefer to use usenet to exchange information, educating and learning as I
go. You obviously use it for something else.
You are doing fine. You may be right that the probes don't reach the
contacts in the outlet. But you also used a voltage tester. If the
voltage tester detects on the cord of another piece of equipment (it
works), but not on the dryer cord, the circuit is probably dead.
Sometimes you have to push a circuit breaker handle fairly hard to the
off position to reset it. The question remains what produced the "pop"
and why the circuit is dead (if it is dead).
Thanks - I'm just jazzed to have, with help, figured out how to use some of
these things to troubleshoot the problem a bit! After all this I'm really
looking forward to the electrician coming out and (I hope) solving a few
I really hope the dryer is still okay - I LOVE this dryer and while it IS
about 8 years old, it was designated "commercial grade" and aside from a
drum problem I had someone out for about 3 years ago, it's been great - I
figured it had several more years left. We'll see!
Sounds as though the drive belt broke on your dryer, this will release
a switch and you will get those symtoms. You should have a small
access panel on the rear that when removed will alow you to see the
In this line, you refer to current. Which one do you mean?
Which one is the sensor supposed to sense? There are different kinds
Did you know that you can have voltage without current?
You still don't know if the problem is in the dryer, the breaker, or
Do you have a voltmeter or a multimeter with an AC voltage range of
250 volts or more? Can you unplug the dryer? Can you move the dryer
and then, without touching anything metal, unplug the dryer and put
the 2 meter probes into the slots of the dryer receptacle and see if
any pair of two slots shows 220 to 240 volts AC?
If you get 220, then you know there is a problem in the dryer.
If you get 220 nowhere, then put the two probes into the two slots of
a 110 receptacle and see if the meter reads 110. If it does, then you
know that you don't have 220 coming from the wall. If it doesn't,
you have a bad meter or it is not set by you to measure 220V AC.
You have two 20's, but you don't have a 40. First because no one
would call two 20's on the same circuit a 40, and second because it
will trip if you go over 20 amps. The same 20 amps goes through both
Because all the full size dryers are 220, it's one of the doubles.
It seems here like you do want to fix it yourself.
Meat Plow wrote:
He said nothing about women. You're new here, aren't you? How do you
know he doesn't treat everyone this way?
Plus you started it when you said that 220v scares the crap out of
you, plus the mistakes you made in the description of the problem. I
don't mind feminism or whatever, but crying anti-woman for no good
reason discredits feminisim or whatever, and it's like crying wolf.
When there is a real femininist or whatever issue, no one will take
Why did you play the gender card for no reason?
Rats. Just when I was thinking I was moving ahead here...
Yes, it was a multimeter with a 400v range - see my post to Terry at 9:34 -
that was exactly what I did (and thank you for the very elementary
explanation - when I'm learning something new that there's nothing at all
wrong with as many single syllable words as possible in the explanation!
OK - thanks - I'm learning as I go, which would be why I put the question
mark to indicate my uncertainty. That would be a whole 'nother thread if I
asked why use two 20 amp breakers if the same 20 amps goes through both! :-)
That's kind of what I figured...
I was trying to decide if I wanted to call an electrician or if it was on
the dryer side (might have tried to fix a dryer problem if I had some idea
where to start).
I am new here, but no usenet newbie, and I did look through history to see
who he replied to and how. His posts appeared to be generally terse but
respectful, occasionally informative, unlike his response to me.
I rarely use the gender card. I have no problem declaring my ignorance in
things electrical but lately have been learning some basics for a few
repairs such as replacing light fixtures, outlets and switches without
having to call in an electrician. That was why I came here - to ask for new
information, which I received. Ignorance in posting cries out for
education, which you and others went ahead and provided and I appreciate.
I felt there was sufficient indication to play the gender card as IMO it
seemed the most logical explanation for the reply.
I saw that later.
That might even have been before I posted, but like most people, I
retrieve usenet posts in batch, so that it can be a while after
retrieving before I read a post, and longer to repply, during which
there are new posts I ahven't retrieved yet.I can be finishing a post
Not always repsectful. I even had him plonked for a few weeks. (The
only one I can remember unplonking.)
Nope. He said nothing about women. And there are lots of people here
who tell people to call electricians, often rudely, male or female.
It depends on a lot of things, including how they ask the questions.
Even if perchance you were right, it looks like you weren't.
I didn't think of that - I wasn't trying to be ugly - just figured you might
have looked past that one depending on how you viewed messages. :-) But good
*g* well, admittedly, I didn't go back all that far - this is a very active
group, which is pretty cool. In any case - unblocking someone takes a lot
more than to block them in the first place, so that says something...
Well, most gender-biased individuals don't outright state it, and there's
really no way to know for sure. However, if I was wrong and Meat Plow
*doesn't* carry a gender bias, I apologize (he and the regulars here would
know) and change my original reply to his post to "thank you for your
That's actually a pretty subtle side effect of the way that North
American single-phase circuits are wired.
On a 120 V circuit, you have "hot" and "neutral" wires. The difference
between these is that the "neutral" one is connected to ground at some
point, and will be at the same voltage as ground when no current is
flowing. The current in the "hot" wire is monitored by the circuit
breaker, and if it trips, then there should be no voltage present in the
circuit at all. So a single breaker is enough.
In Europe, electricity is supplied as 220-240V with two wires (not
counting ground), and one end of the transformer secondary is connected
to ground. So again there are "hot" and "neutral" wires to each load,
and only a single-pole circuit breaker is needed to protect each
circuit in their 240 V system.
But North America doesn't do this. We use 120 V for small appliances
and 240 V for large ones, and in order to supply both voltages the
transformer on the pole is center-tapped. There is 240 V across the
whole winding, and 120 V from either end to the centre. For reasons
that have to do with both safety and reducing the amount of copper
needed, the *centre* of the transformer is grounded, and your house is
supplied with two "hot" wires plus a neutral. Each hot is 120 V to
neutral, but there is 240 V between the two hot wires.
Your dryer may be a pure 240 V type, in which case it uses the 240 V
connection (hot to hot) only, without using neutral at all. In that
case, exactly the same current flows through both sides of your dual
breaker, and you really need only one side to protect against excess
current drawn in the load.
However, that's not the only way to get excess current - you could have
a short circuit. Since both "hot" wires are at 120 V to neutral and
ground, you can get a short circuit from either hot to ground/neutral.
If only one hot wire was protected by a breaker, you would have no
protection against shorts from the other side to ground. You really
need two circuit breakers to protect two hot wires.
In addition, the two breakers are connected so what when one trips, the
other one shuts off as well. This is for safety - to ensure that there
is no voltage present at all when there is a tripped breaker. Shutting
off just one side would not be safe.
Thanks Dave - LOTS of good info in there that I'm sure answers my question -
but I'm going to have to get out my "idiots guide to electricity" and refer
to it as I read! ;-) Seriously though, I get the general drift of it and
really appreciate the explanation, which I am going to print out and think
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