Introduction: Keep Your Dryer Quiet

Picture of Keep Your Dryer Quiet

Here is a larger-scale variation on my Silence Of The Toys. We own a 10+ year old GE Profile clothes dryer, with an extraordinarily loud buzzer. We also have a six month old daughter who takes two or three naps throughout the day, every couple of hours. This is a bad combination.

I could have just gone in and cut the lead to the buzzer, but I wanted to have control over whether the buzzer goes off or not, without needing a screwdriver and several minutes to change things.

Step 1: Tools and Materials Needed

Picture of Tools and Materials Needed

To install a mute switch, you need a switch. I chose a simple white wall light-switch (69 cents at Ace Hardware), but you could use whatever you have at hand. You will need two #4 lock washers, and #4-40 hex nuts to secure the switch to the control panel.

A few of feet of 18-gauge or larger wire will connect the switch to the buzzer (the wire runs are longer than you'd think). An old lamp or extension cord is most convenient, since the two conductors are already joined.

For the wire ends that connect to the buzzer, you will need one male and one female crimp-on spade lug. A true male spade is hard to find, but the U-shaped screw lugs fit perfectly in the female crimp-on.

Our GE Profile uses T20 Torx screws, so I got to go buy a set of Torx bits to remove the control panel from the dryer.

To cut out a hole in the control panel to fit the switch, I used a Dremel tool with metal-cutting disks (and a 1/8" drill bit for the screw holes). If you own a pair, you could also use sheet-metal nippers to make cleaner edges.

Step 2: Remove the Control Panel

Picture of Remove the Control Panel

Unplug The Dryer!

Even if you have the dryer turned off, the leads on the controls are still energized. You can get an unpleasant shock while you are working on things. Opening up and working on wall-powered electrical equipment that is still plugged in is stupid and potentially dangerous.


The control panel is attached to the main dryer body with four T20 Torx screws across the top. Remove these, and the panel hinges down. The hinges themselves are just tab-and-slot, so you can remove the whole panel from the upright fixture. The grounding wire is pretty short, so unscrew it from the bottom of the panel.

You should find a troubleshooting guide and schematic for the dryer clipped onto the inside of the upright fixture. This will help you to identify the components and wire colors on your dryer, if they don't match what I'm describing here.

The buzzer (called "EOC," for End-Of-Cycle, on the schematic) is the small box with a red and black lead, and no corresponding switch or control on the outside of the panel.

Step 3: Mark the Switch Position

Picture of Mark the Switch Position

Choose a location to mount the switch. I put it at the far left end of the panel, next to the Start knob. You could choose to mount it between the buzzer and timer control, but then you'll have the wiring harness in the way while cutting.

The panel is built from two layers of sheet metal with a 1/4" or so gap between them. On the inside, you will need to cut a large rectangular slot big enough for the whole light-switch body to fit. On the outside panel, you will cut a smaller hole, just big enough for the switch itself to poke through; and you'll drill two 1/8" clearance holes for the screws.

Break off the "ears" at the ends of the light switch, to make it a bit more compact for installation. Draw a template of the switch on paper (or print out the PDF file below), marking the locations of the screws and the plastic switch itself. Put down masking or painters tape on the inside metal sheet, and transfer the outline of the switch, and the screw positions, from your template.

Note: I started preparing this Instructable after I had already completed everything through Step 5, so I do not have any "before" photos showing the marked out positions, or the intermediate cutting stages.

Step 4: Cut and Drill for the Switch

Picture of Cut and Drill for the Switch

Drill the screw holes (carefully) all the way through both layers of sheet metal at the points marked from your template. You'll be cutting away the holes you just drilled on the inside panel, but this gives you an automatic transfer of the template to the outside of the panel.

Cover the rest of the panel with a sheet of plastic (like a trash bag). Getting little pieces of metal grit onto all of the electrical connections is asking for trouble. I also taped a trash bag around the end of the panel where I was cutting, and tried to do all of my work inside the bag, to reduce the mess.


SAFETY NOTE

Always wear glasses of some kind (whether your own or plastic safety goggles) when you are cutting metal with a Dremel tool. There will be sparks and metal grit thrown off from the cut, and the cutting disk will usually shatter once it's worn down to about half size.


Use the cutting disk to remove the rectangular slot you have drawn. As I noted above, this will eliminate the holes you drilled, but the holes on the outside metal sheet below allow you to align your template to mark the next set of cuts.

Clean off the second metal sheet with a damp paper towel (or a sponge you don't ever intend to use in your kitchen). Put down a piece of tape and mark the position of the small switch cutout using your template. Remove this cutout with the Dremel as before.

Step 5: Install the Switch

Picture of Install the Switch

Remove the screws and the little retaining tabs from the ends of the switch. Push them back through the holes in the control panel from the outside, and slip the retaining tabs back onto them on the inside, running them all the way down. Put the switch onto the two screws, followed by the lock washers and nuts.


SAFETY NOTE

On our dryer, all of the switch's terminal screws (the two on one side and the ground opposite) are clear of the inside metal sheet by about 1/8" to 3/16" inch. If your dryer's control panel is built differently, or if you are using a different model of switch, inspect all three terminal screws carefully. If they are in contact with the metal panel, or closer than 1/16", then you have a potential electrical hazard. Move the switch out of the way, and wrap a couple of layers of electrical tape across the edges of the cutout.

Step 6: Prepare and Attach the Leads to the Switch

Picture of Prepare and Attach the Leads to the Switch

If you are using solid wire, strip about 1/2" off the same end of each of the two conductors, and push the wire into the small holes on the back of the switch.

If you are using stranded wire (as I am), strip about 1" off the ends, twist the wire around and wrap each one around one of the two terminals on the side of the switch.

Cut the wire to length to reach the EOC buzzer in the middle of the panel, with a few inches of slack. Strip about 1/2" from the wire ends, and crimp the female spade lug to one wire, and the male spade lug to the other.

If you want to ground the switch, use 6 to 8" of green insulated wire. Strip 1" off one end and attach it to the grounding screw on the switch. Strip 1/2" off the other end and crimp on a ring lug.

Step 7: Patch the Buzzer Through the Switch

Picture of Patch the Buzzer Through the Switch

Pull the black lead off of the EOC buzzer. Connect it to the male spade lug on your wire and wrap with electrical tape to prevent shorting.

Connect the female lug on the other wire to the EOC buzzer.

Attach the dryer's ground lead back where it was on the inside of the control panel. If you decided to ground the switch, put your new lead with its ring terminal on the same screw.

Step 8: Verify Functionality

Picture of Verify Functionality

Insert the hinge tabs back into their slots and close up the control panel. Make sure you don't pinch any of the wires around the edges while you're doing this. Insert the four Torx screws on the top and thread them in by hand.

Plug the dryer back into the wall (you did unplug it before Step2, right?). Set the timer to at least two minutes before the end of the cycle. To save some energy, set the temperature selector to "cool," or "fluff," or "no heat". Make sure that your new switch is set to ON, and start the dryer running. When the dryer stops, the buzzer should go off normally.

Stop the dryer, and set the timer again to at least two minutes. Now turn your mute switch OFF, and start the dryer. When it stops, you shouldn't hear anything (woo hoo!).

If everything worked as expected, tighted down the screws on the control panel. Congratulations!


If the dryer won't start, or if the buzzer goes off anyway, you'll need to do some troubleshooting, both of your own connections and perhaps using the schematic to figure out whether you've disconnected the wrong thing.

Comments

brodriguez15 (author)2014-11-14

Do you think it's feasible to take the buzzer physically out of the dryer, install it in a neighboring room (just the other side of the wall) and run the wire back to where the dryer is? How much electricity are we talking about here? Is it weak thermostat current? Fun-with-tazers current? "Don't step on the 3rd rail!!!" current?

kelseymh (author)brodriguez152014-11-15

You could do that. You'd want to use Romex for the extension cable, as all the stuff inside the drier (at least, my model) is running directly on 110V mains power.

Yard Sale Dale (author)2014-09-09

Cool. I'm viewing your Instructable now, since i have the same problem (hate that dang buzzer!). I just capped off the power wires, but that probably isn't good.

kelseymh (author)Yard Sale Dale2014-09-09

If they're capped (wire nuts), it's perfectly safe. I liked the switch idea so I didn't have to open the thing up again.

amy.wolfe.35574 (author)2014-08-05

Could you please tell me the model of your dryer?

kelseymh (author)amy.wolfe.355742014-08-05

It's a GE Profile, model number DNXR473.

gotomike (author)2013-09-16

Very clever and nicely done. I wonder if one could use a rheostat instead of an 'On-Off" switch...

kelseymh (author)gotomike2013-09-16

Hmmm, very interesting! I didn't know (or care :-) how the buzzer functioned; I just wanted to make it stop. A volume control would be more flexible, but I don't know whether this kind of buzzer would get quieter, or would just be loud at a lower frequency (clank-clank-clank instead of buzzzzzz).

gotomike (author)kelseymh2013-09-16

Well if I were an electronic engineer, I'd try to find a 'soft' buzzer that can be dimmed or that makes a more agreeable sound. They must exist, but then it's going to a lot of trouble when one can simply 'yank' one wire off and be done!!!

Senseless (author)2010-02-25

Good idea but I was thinking a simple toggle switch might be easier for the average person since they'd just need a drill.

kelseymh (author)Senseless2010-02-25
If you use just a toggle switch, then you need to make sure you get one rated for 110VAC (i.e., do not use a little Radio Shack jobbie).  I chose a wall switch for three reasons
  • It's rated for full wall voltage and current
  • I had a spare one lying around
  • It blends in better with the white dryer
One of the cool things about these I'bles is that you can almost always modify them for your own situation or desire.  Thanks much for the comment!
lemonie (author)2009-02-09

Forgive me if I missed something here, but does the buzzer tell you that the drying cycle has finished? I was hoping this "Keep Your Dryer Quiet" might be of use to me, as my machine makes a lot of noise from simply running (I know when it's finished, because I can't hear it...). I've taken that apart several times, - e.g. bypassing the switch that turns it off when you open the door so you can dry hair in it - and re-stringing the drive-belt is a total, total - well it isn't fun at all. L

Yerboogieman (author)lemonie2009-07-14

I have that same problem, it's not Really loud, but i can hear it.

kelseymh (author)lemonie2009-02-09

I probably should have said that -- yes, this is the end-of-cycle buzzer. On our dryer, it's so loud that it's the only thing in the house that wakes our daughter from her naps or even from regular bedtime. Not even the phone does that!

Your solution of "it's done when it's quiet" would work, except ours is in an enclosed room that actually does a good job of muffling (which tells you how loud the d**ned* buzzer really is!). I just try to remember to go and check after a couple of hours.

NachoMahma (author)2008-10-29

. Great iBle. I especially like the attention paid to safety. . Using a fork lug in a female spade is not optimum, but does work and is safe if one is careful. . . PhilB's 3-way switch is a good idea, too.

kelseymh (author)NachoMahma2008-10-29

The use of the fork lug was a bit of cheating on my part. I got everything for free from the components bins in my lab at work. We didn't have any of the real male crimp-on spades, just the fork lugs.

I try to address safety issues where appropriate in all of my I'bles. Even before we had a newborn in the house, I took "real" safety issues (voltages, sharpies, earthquakes) seriously.

One of my responsibilities here at work is (was) safety during accesses to the BaBar drift chamber electronics, inside a permit-required confined space (see the image below, where I'm in the space without the 3-1/2 foot diameter magnet systems installed, and the PDF procedures writeup).

I'm also on SLAC's radiation safety committee, which reviews all accelerator-related projects before they can be approved.

Lithium Rain (author)kelseymh2008-11-04

I love Sharpies, I use them all the time-are they very dangerous? Am I engaging in a potentially fatal activity when I write with them? Do I need to make them safer somehow?? !

I had no idea I'd been putting myself and others in harms way. :(

I'm putting all my sharpies away until I know...in a hermetically sealed 50 gallon steel drum buried 100 feet underground and at least 300 yards away from all water sources.

kelseymh (author)Lithium Rain2008-11-04

Hee, hee, hee :-) "Sharpies", in my parenthetical above, really meant pointy things (no, not the top of my head!). You've heard of "sharps containers" in doctors' offices for disposing of needles, scalpel blades, etc.?

I think if you just wrap your Sharpies in 1/16" lead sheets, and avoid staring directly into the felt tips, you'll be fine ;-)

Lithium Rain (author)kelseymh2008-11-04

Heh, I figured that, just couldn't resist the comment...(conehead! :D) I have another question, what about "shoupies"? These are offbrand chinese knockoffs I got in a dollar store in Oklahoma (really and truly, not making it up)-are they as dangerous as the brand name ones? And are they safe to lick? They smell really good (they really do. I wish I could eat them!)...

kelseymh (author)Lithium Rain2008-11-04

You mean 'Shou Pie'? I think that means "thin line" in Mandarin (I am not making this up :-)

They're much more dangerous than the American ones -- weren't they found to have radioactive melamine in the ink? Thousands of cartoon animals got sick after being drawn with Shou Pie in outsourced animation factories!

NachoMahma (author)kelseymh2008-11-04

. She may have meant Shoo-fly pie. heehee

Lithium Rain (author)kelseymh2008-11-04

Heh-it could also mean "spoon cast away" or about a jillion other things depending on the intonation... Here's a picture of somebody else's shoupies-I got MORE shoupies for my money. Although they are all strange colors. Oh dear! I will have to throw out my shoupies...

kelseymh (author)Lithium Rain2008-11-04

G*d, that's just hilarious. I am always amazed at just how brazen the knock-offs are in copying as many little details as possible of well-known brands (except for actual quality, of course). The "Gucci" purses sold by street vendors from Beijing to Rome to New York come to mind.

Plasmana (author)2008-10-29

That reminds me of that dryer my family used to have a few years ago, it make a horrible buzzing noise and it often gets me... Never disassembled the buzzer from the dryer, but good instructable though.

kelseymh (author)Plasmana2008-10-29

Well, if your parents will let you hack it, you could try implementing this fix. You're clearly competent with the tools and safety procedures needed to work on 110V equipment. Even if yours is a different model or brand, the general layout should be similar. Good luck!

Plasmana (author)kelseymh2008-10-30

lol, the dryer is already gone...

emellqui (author)2008-10-24

Haha! I have this same dryer, and you aren't kidding that the buzzer is loud. After putting up with the noise for 4 years, I finally disconnected the wire for the buzzer last month. I just pulled the wire and put some electrical tape around the end. It's not a fancy switch, but I can't imagine ever wanting to hear that buzzer again.

Goodhart (author)2008-10-23

Hmm, yes you know you could also just add a resistor and a Neon bulb rather then a regular light bulb. This would save a lot of wasted electricity in case it wasn't seen for awhile. Very nice instructable, and great detail.

kelseymh (author)Goodhart2008-10-23

Thanks for the compliment! Without the detail, it might as well be a slideshow...

Phil B (author)2008-10-23

In our house I or my wife would forget to flip the switch back again and would miss the dryer's notification to us when we wanted or needed it. If you used a 3-way switch, you could add a light bulb to the other output leg. Your dryer would warn you with either a buzzer or a bulb. Still, you get lots of credit for ingenuity.

kelseymh (author)Phil B2008-10-23

Very nice option, Phil; thanks!

In our first house, the W/D were out in the garage; now, they're in a closet in the kitchen behind a pair of closed bifold doors. Either way, the light-bulb idea wouldn't be great for us.

However, having said that...your design is an excellent example of assistive technology --- a dryer notification for the deaf or hard of hearing.

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