Introduction: Samsung Washer Wont Drain

About: I am a maker, DIY'er, Dad, Engineer, and all around life Long Learner. My mission is to try new things, attempt to do more by learning from others and share my experiences with others for enjoyable experience…

This is to repair the error that appears on Samsung High Efficiency washers in the Vintage of 2009 (my year washer). This repair worked when Samsung had discontinued the replacement parts and told me to buy a new washer and saved me over $700. Total cost of this repair was less than $50 because I chose to replace the pump for $47 but it really just needed a new relay that was less than $3 !!!

Symptoms: Washer gets to end of wash cycle and gives intermittent error of "Check Drain Filter" or "Clean Drain Filter" and "If Problem Persists call for Service." It may eventually then fail to drain at all (which is what mine did after the first errors appeared.

Model Series that this should help: WF448AAW / XAA

You can find the Model number on a sticker just inside the door on the top of the frame (see photo).

NOTE: Initial symptoms suggested my filter cage was clogged, but no, it was completely clear, and this occurred 1x or 2x in a week of about 10 loads. This fault persisted for about a week or two at the max. Then it wouldn't pump any water out at all, so it was clear that the drain pump had failed (or so it seemed!). Time to go internet hunting!


Disassembly / Reassembly: Screw driver, Flashlight, Pliers

Electrical Motherboard Repair: Electrical Patch cord 120vac, Soldering iron, solder, Desoldering wick, Popsicle stick (or equivalent), Silicone caulk, Dremel tool, Multi-Meter.

Parts: New Pump $47, New Fujitsu relay F3 AA012E $3

Step 1: Replace the Drain Pump ...?

I did the research on line, watched the video below and replaced the pump, and it was actually quite easy to do. In fact, I had the washer disassembled, pump replaced, and reassembled in about 1.5 hours total! I had removed the pump first before I ordered a new one, and put in on my work bench with a patch cord to put 120 volts AC on its contacts.

Reference this Video from Repair Clinic:

Oh oh... the bearing sounded a bit rough so I decided to replace it so I knew this would be right to do. Maybe the control board was sensing high current to the motor and was faulting it out I reasoned.

Public Service Announcement on replacing the pump ... For some reason, SAMSUNG chose to have different hose clamp types on the pump and tub collection hoses. The spring clamp shown in the picture was slightly leaking upon reassembly so I replaced it with a standard hose clamp that has a screw to tighten it. Be sure to check if any seem weak to replace them now.

However, once reassembled, there was no change in performance, in fact the washer failed to pump any water out! So then I knew it wasn't getting any power to the pump! NOW WHAT??? I was into this $47 and no working washer .... yet that is!

Step 2: Call for SAMSUNG SERVICE ???

Since the wash was starting to pile up... I decided to call for Samsung Service and was told to call a local authorized repair center (ONE GUY here in Green Bay, WI - yep Go Packers!). He wasn't returning my calls so I back to more research.

TROUBLE SHOOTING GUIDE: On the rear of the washer was a pocket protector with a technical manual for "Authorized field service technicians only." I read it cover to cover and in spite of being an engineer with a ton of electrical design experience, the manual was basically useless. All it told me was how to put the washer into a diagnostic mode that said "replace the pump" - LOL Yep, their own manual couldn't help the technician. But it does show me a really poor schematic diagram that suggests the power to the pump comes from the control board. Ok, well ALL wires go back to the control board (thanks but not enough to trouble shoot this for a REPAIR). Unless I buy a whole new Control board (read as $$$).

The Call Back: Service guy finally calls me back on day 3 after my first call to him and tells me "the Model is 11 years old, after 7 years I tell my customers to buy new." I ask him how much for a control board... he tells me they obsoleted the control board and is unavailable. Back to the internet and sure enough the control board is all over the internet, but no one has one to sell. Even if they did The cheapest I saw it was nearly $300 !!!

Step 3: Dig Into the Motherboard !!!

I was convinced the Motherboard had failed a component, so more research online and I found out the usual suspect would be a relay that the control board switches on the 120 vac to the pump when it is needed. A relay is basically an electrically controlled switch. The control board is low voltage in the microchip world and it makes the decision to turn on the pump using 12 volts dc. The relay then closes when it sees the 12 vdc and puts 120 VAC to the pump and the pump turns on. So the control board is way to the rear in the upper right of the washer cabinet.

To ensure I did not get confused with the wiring harnesses when I pulled the wires off the control board, I took a fine tip sharpie and labeled them from left to right and corresponding label on the wires. I took photos to ensure I could get it back together. Then I discovered each wire is uniquely different and there would be no way I could have mixed them up, but better safe than sorry. Some boards this might not be true !!!

So unplug the cables and pull the mother board down to the bench.

Step 4: Locate That Relay !

So I took the board to the bench and immediately noticed that the board is immersed in a clear silicone bath, or in the electronics world, it is a "potted" board. They sink the boards in silicone to keep moisture out of the circuitry and it helps prevent arcing, corrosion, etc. So it will be a challenge to replace a single component on this board. Meaning we have to dig into the potted silicone. Don't fret ! We can do this!

OK so the relays are all in a row very typically are square plastic boxes and if you look at the printed circuit board there is usually a label by each major component such as these relays. True in this case but rather cryptic.

RLY 7 or D-Motor DRY stands for Drain Motor Relay (number 7)... go figure... there are none relays on my model board (some have less) and number seven is in the middle of the row of nine!

So what we need to do is verify this relay has failed, so we have to get onto the contacts of this rely from the UNDER SIDE of the board ! If we put 12 vdc on the relay and it will not close the switching side contacts, this relay is junk and we found the problem... So we are getting close now!

I carefully measured from the corner of the plastic board housing to the relay in question and marked out a cutting zone to open this back up as in extreme brain surgery. Once I knew where to cut the plastic out, I got out my dremel tool and CAREFULLY made light passes just kissing the plastic housing and repeatedly went deeper and deeper until i was just punching through! My saving's grace was there was a good 1/16 or more of silicone between the board and the plastic housing so I never hit the printed circuit board. If that happens... you might cut a trace and throw the board away !!! GO LIGHTLY !!!

Once cut through I carefully wedged the plastic cut piece off the silicone revealing the contacts of the relay in question. Now comes the fun part... removing the silicone.

Step 5: Un-Solder the Relay !!!

Get a popsicle stick, tongue depressor or a soft flat tool of some type, maybe a disposable fingernail file will work, but the idea is to be able to dig through the potted silicone and get down to the circuit board on BOTH sides of the board.

You may need to whittle the stick to a point to dig between the relays or between the relays and the plastic side wall, but the object is to remove as much of the silicone as you can. After digging it out, blow out all the silicone dust/ crumbs and use a light brush to brush the surface clean. I used a brass brush from Home depot that worked great!

Next locate the four pins of the relay that pop through from the front of the board to the back, look at the dimensions picture to see their orientation. We have to un-solder the four pins by using copper de-soldering mesh. Put the copper mesh onto the pin, heat up the copper mesh with your soldering iron, and the solder will migrate up the copper mesh and off the board. Copper mesh is sold online or at electronics supply houses.

With the solder now gone, slightly wiggle the relay and it should pop loose. Now if you have a multi-meter and a 12 vdc power supply, you can test it but more than likely it is the culprit. If you put 12 vdc across the pins that are very close to each other, the other contacts should show continuity, without 12 volts it should show open circuit. Mine was bad because regardless of 12 vdc on the pins, the wide pins would not close the switch - hence now 120 VAC to the pump!

Ok, place the new relay into the holes on the circuit board that the old relay sat in, and solder the four pins to the board. A little solder goes a long way, so take care not to put a blob of solder across circuits traces. Now that the new relay is installed, take some silicone caulk and caulk the areas where you removed the silicone potting material from the factory. Let the caulk dry and tape up the plastic housing with duct tape or similar heavy duty tape to keep moisture out of the control box.

Remount the control panel back in the washer frame and reconnect the cables as noted before with your labels. With the entire washing machine assembled, you should now be able to get the pump to drain the washer with no more errors!