It’s good that the days of vibrating washing machines are gone, when several batches of laundry had to be washed in one change of water. The current automatic machine is a joy for the hostess in every respect. Such a faithful assistant erases perfectly, works silently, saves a lot of time. Modern washing is good for everyone thanks to such complex household appliances, but its danger lies in the form of unexpected power surges, because it cannot work without electricity. And, it would seem, some small voltage drop can disable the washing machine. And after that, worries begin with repairs, which result in a huge amount.
Surge protector for an automatic machine: what is it and why is it needed
In order not to pay for expensive repairs, you can take care of the proper protection of the washing machine in advance. A surge protector for a washing machine comes to the rescue. Network filter:
- perfectly smooths out any voltage drops;
- saves equipment from breakdown due to power surges and its sharp drop;
- ensures a normal washing process, without any interference;
- protects household appliances adjacent to the washing machine from high-frequency currents that can enter the mains during the operation of the washing machine.
But you should not mistake an extension cord that has several outlets for such a protective filter. The extension cord can be used for all household appliances in general, and the surge protector takes over the protective functions of the complex system of the washing machine and other household appliances surrounding it.
Surge filters can be built into the machine at the factory, or they can be purchased separately by the consumer to connect the washing machine through it to the power source. The built-in mains filter is a housing made of impact-resistant material that does not conduct current. All parts are protected by a non-conductive liquid poured into the housing.
Modern washing machines are very complex systems that require reliable protection, smooth and stable power supply. If the component equipment receives high or, conversely, low pulses, it burns out and needs to be replaced. This is especially true of machines with touch controls, they are very sensitive to even the slightest voltage drops. Therefore, network filters are installed on such devices by the manufacturer. As a rule, it is located at the exit point of the electrical cord.
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The principle of operation of the protective device
There is an opinion that it is possible to use an automatic machine without such a protective device. But, this applies only to devices of the old type. Connecting modern washing machines without a built-in or external protective device does not guarantee that at the next start of the washing cycle, due to the instability of the electrical network, the control panel, asynchronous motor or heating element will remain intact. Due to damage to the touch control, programs may spontaneously change washing modes.
It doesn’t matter what type of surge protector is used, the main thing is the presence and operation of capacitors, they affect both the quality of the device and the price. The machine already has inductors and capacitors installed, but they have such a small capacitance that they cannot withstand a strong voltage surge.
The mains filter built into the machine passes vibrations that have a frequency of 50 GHz, others — larger or smaller — are immediately blocked. This is an important factor, since if we take into account interruptions, power surges, then they are different from a sinusoid with bursts of amplitude, and very significant ones that can disrupt the systems of an automatic machine, even putting them out of action.
It should be borne in mind that the device also has instability, and every time the relay is activated and the asynchronous motor is turned on, peaks are generated or currents dip, but this process should not enter the network, otherwise such instability will cause high-frequency harmonics, and the merit of the network filter — to level this process.
So that consumers do not neglect the protection of their washing machine, many modern manufactured models of automatic machines are programmed in such a way that if the built-in surge protector fails, all operation of the device is blocked until the protective device is replaced.
Network filters: types and their features
Network filters differ in the way they are connected to the automatic machine. There is an internal filter, and there is an extension filter.
The internal one is already installed during production, it needs to be separately purchased and connected. Failure of such a filter will entail its complete replacement. You will need exactly the same part, which is very problematic: it is usually difficult to find original spare parts in stores. Leading manufacturers of washing machines are constantly improving the protection of their machines and produce a wide variety of filters, so in certain models they have differences in appearance, and most importantly, they differ in the level of protection. This means that filters will react differently to:
- rated current;
- allowable voltage threshold;
- shutdown time of the machine after a power surge;
- maximum load and maximum current.
As an additional protection, you can use a surge protector-extension. In the event of a short circuit or power surge, the fuse of such a device operates and cuts off the supply of electric current.
Features of external filters
The extension cord is reliable and beneficial in that you can choose the one that is most convenient for use. They are produced with various types of protection:
The extension cord can be selected with the required number of outlets, from 3 to 8. Individual models contain convenient devices, which include: buttons for turning on or off the mains on each outlet, as well as special protection against small children.
An extension cord with a large number of outlets is needed for rooms in which several electrical appliances are located close at once. This is a versatile and powerful device, but the price of such a protective filter will be much higher.
The extension cord also has different lengths from 1 to 5 meters. Before going to the store to purchase a surge protector, it is recommended to measure the distance from the outlet to the washing machine and calculate the required wire length.
Another important characteristic is the maximum load. It indicates the range of energy surges absorbed by the filter. If there is professional protection, then the figure will be 2500 J, compared to the usual ones — 960 J. The most expensive are those that can withstand a lightning strike.
The speed at which the device can fire is also important. This will determine whether the operation of all devices connected to it and the level of protection of electrical appliances will be blocked in time.
There can be several fuses, the main one must be fusible, and the rest: thermal and fast.
An extension cord equipped with an LED indicator is much more convenient. After all, with its help you can find out the status and serviceability of the protective device.
There are certain prohibitions when working with an external network filter:
- It is forbidden to connect an extension cord to a 380 V network;
- The socket into which the protective device is connected must be grounded;
- the power of the device operating through an extension cord cannot exceed 3.5 kW;
- If there are several similar devices at home, it is not recommended to include them in each other.
If the filter is out of order
If there is any doubt whether the surge protector is working, it is necessary to ring the terminals — at the input and output.
Sometimes the input impedance can fail, for this you will have to bite the “crocodiles” on the plug. If the terminals in the line filter area are detachable, they must be undocked, and only then measured. The result should be 680 ohms.
If the standard check gave normal results, you can check the capacitors. It is required to connect them in parallel, and sum up the ratings. If you turn on in turn, the reciprocal values are added. A discrepancy with the required indicators indicates that the condensate has burned out and needs to be replaced.
The issue of protecting the washing machine from sudden voltage drops is quite serious. Each consumer needs to choose and install a surge protector on his washing machine.