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Danby portable dishwasher will not drain

Kds444

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
5
Location
Los ANgeles, CA
Model Number
1899WP
Brand
Age
Less than 1 year
I purchased the dishwasher unused about five months ago and installed it myself. No problems, was working great. About a month ago something started going wrong: it would fill with water, complete part of a cycle, then stop without draining and a flashing red LED would appear. I was able to restart the cycle, and the machine would more or less cooperate by draining and reloading with water, but would sometimes still get stuck on that flashing red light. Then I added rinse aid to the rinse aid dispenser, and water softener salts to the appropriate container in the back of the tub, and for a while the problem seemed solved. I would also sometimes add fresh hot water manually myself once I loaded the washer, which would make the machine perform a thorough draining before loading with more water for an actual cycle.

Well, no more. The flashing red light appeared once again, and none of these tricks works now. I have manually drained it and looked in the filter baskets: everything looks clear. I then refilled it with water manually: when I then turn the machine on, it immediately senses that it is full of water and I hear a humming noise as it attempts to drain, but none of the water exits the exhaust pipe and the tub just sits with an inch of water in it. I can see that the water is moving slightly as it does this, but none of it is getting pumped out. I have disconnected the exhaust pipe from my garbage disposal, and verified that there is nothing blocking the line as far as I can see.

I installed the machine more or less permanently under my kitchen counter, and removing it again to access the back or underside is going to require breaking ceramic tiling and yanking out insulation and molding that I had previously placed around the door, which I am very much hoping not to have to do. I have taken off the front panel of the door and verified that the control panel seems to be fine and that the detergent dispenser switch inside the door is able to click and move okay.

I suspect that if I again drain the machine manually and try to restart a cycle, either the machine will correctly sense that it is ready for water and will allow itself to perform the first part of a cycle before failing to drain again and the flashing red light will appear, or it will start by initiating an attempt to drain even an empty tub and will just sit there humming and doing nothing indefinitely. I have no reason to suspect that anything is blocking the drain hose anywhere, but like I said, getting access to the back is not going to be easy. And I need some help/ ideas. Thanks!
 

Kds444

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
5
Location
Los ANgeles, CA
Okay, I solved my own problem and am now posting what happened for future readers.

The problem was corn.

I went back to work on the dishwasher again tonight, not even knowing where to start. I turned it on, and again it started to drain for a bit, then it went to a trickle, and then stopped. I turned it off. Then I turned it on again, and there was another short burst of water, then a trickle, then nothing. I wondered if maybe, if there WAS something blocking the pump, if maybe I could somehow "blast" it through by turning the machine on and off several times. So I did...

...Presto. About three switches later, the water began to FLOW and out came two kernels of corn from some previous dishwashing session from weeks ago. They must have been blocking the exhaust flow somehow, or maybe been jamming the pump. Anyhow, they came out whole, and the water came gushing after them. I shut the machine off immediately. Now it's just a matter of reattaching the front door panel and reattaching the exhaust to the garbage disposal and doing SOMEthing to make sure that food particles like that don't EVER get get stuck in the machine again! I wonder if maybe the filter basket wasn't screwed down securely, because that is all it would take. I understand that the pumps of dishwashers are fairly delicate systems, but I am here to tell you just how sensitive they are: two kernels of corn will nearly bring a grown man to tears. Make sure your own filter basket is securely in place!!!! And if your machine won't drain except in fits and starts, you probably have something like a kernel of corn jammed in there somewhere and one way to get it out MIGHT be to turn the machine off and back on again several times and wait a day in between attempts for things to settle a bit. Maybe. It has worked for me, for now, for this incident.
 

Kds444

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
5
Location
Los ANgeles, CA
It's baaaaaaack...

The dishwasher had been running pretty smoothly since I cleared the corn out of it, but it has once again returned to its old ways: it will fill with water, complete a wash cycle, and get stuck again on the rinse portion. I have watched it drain: when it performs an initial drain at the very beginning of the wash cycle, there is a definite flow of water... But it's not exactly the torrent that used to flow through the exhaust pipe. I tried my previous technique of filling the tub with water manually and then pushing the power button on and off several times to try to clear the drain of any debris (when there is water sitting in the tub above a certain level, the machine will always respond to being turned on by initiating a drain, and will do so whether or not an actual wash cycle has been initiated or is underway; if there is no water sitting in the tub, turning the power on does not and should not do anything except turn on a few lights on the control panel). This did not solve the problem. I then decided to try hooking up the drain hose to a pretty powerful manual vacuum pump I built about 6 months ago for a different project: I would turn the machine on, and then start pumping the vacuum pump in an attempt to suck any remaining soft debris through the system. I continue to be able to get some flow of water this way, but the vacuum pump did not end up sucking out anything as obvious as corn, and the drain continues to sluggish and the machine will always stop after the wash cycle with the rapidly blinking red light indicating that it cannot drain further.

My suspicion now is that whatever is blocking the drain is not soft and/ or not biodegradable and so no amount of vacuum pressure from my "powerful" manual pump is going to clear it out. It now looks like I will need to take the machine out of the wall, turn it on its side so that I can access the drain pump, and have a look at the pump itself to see if I can identify the problem. I also suspect that whatever is now blocking the drain was the same thing blocking it before, but it was just less in the way then and now it is interfering with the process enough to make the machine stop washing and go to blinking red light mode.

Am not sure what I am going to find during this process. I have removed all of the filter screens and found nothing in them anywhere, and the only way to get access to the drain is by turning the unit on its side.

So yeah, it's a dream machine... Until the drain stops working like it should. And even then it wouldn't be so bad if I could access that drain internally rather than externally. But this machine was not designed that way. Maybe no portable dishwasher is.
 

Kds444

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
5
Location
Los ANgeles, CA
And so I proceeded to bust the machine out of the wall, ruining the nice trim I had placed around it, all to discover that my problem was of the most basic kind and required to further handling: my exhaust hose had a kink in it, just past where the hose left the machine proper. A kink filled with food particles that the vacuum pump was not able to suck past (and even if it had, that still would not have fixed the kink). What I have to do now us figure out a way (perhaps using PVC piping?) to make sure that hose never, ever gets kinked again. That cannot be a serious difficulty. But the headache that can follow when it occurs definitely is. I could not see this kink in the hose as far down the hose as I was able to see— the way the machine was mounted I could not see to its very end. That was my problem. That was my undoing. At least this repair did not require me to turn the thing on its side and disassemble to drain pump proper.

The exhaust hose from a Danby comes with a built-in network of fibers designed to keep the hose from kinking. I have news for the manufacturers: it still kinks. And when it does, Lord help the fool who can't figure this out quickly! I felt like destroying the machine just to make a point until I saw it was just a simple kink giving me problems.

The End
(I friggin' hope!)
 
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