Question about Whirlpool GEW9250 Electric Dryer

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After replacing our 3 prong cord with a 4 prong cord, it no longer works. Have we fried the control panel?

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First, go back and check the power cord configuration. There is a difference between how a 3 and 4 prong power cord is connected. Copy and paste the following link to your browser:

http://www.fixya.com/support/r3575913-installing_a_220_vac_appliance_cord

If you connected the power cord wrong, you may have simply blown the thermal fuse. This is a small plastic looking component (usually white in color) with two wires attached to it. Its located on the air blower housing inside the dryer.
If the model number is correct, you can access the thermal fuse by following these steps:
1. Remove the lower toe panel directly below the door, by locating the screws under the bottom front edge. You can gain better access to the screws by propping up the two front feet of the dryer (a 2 x 4 works well for this).
2. With the screws removed, the panel will drop down, then come off.
The thermal fuse should be located on the air blower housing directly below the drum in the front. A resistance check should read something close to zero ohms (short) if good. If you have no continuity, the fuse is blown.
NOTE: Make sure you have the dryer UNPLUGGED and the wires disconnected from the fuse, when taking resistance checks.
If you have questions, or need further assistance, please post back and let me know. I hope this helps you.

Posted on Aug 05, 2010

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4-prong to 3-prong Power Cord Conversion.


On a 4-prong power cord you have 2 hot wires, one neutral wire, and one ground wire. On a three prong cord, you have 2 hot wires and one neutral/ground wire. The difference is the on four prong the neutral wire goes to electrical neutral bus in the breaker panel and the ground wire goes to the ground bus in the breaker panel. Since the neutral and ground buses, although separate, both go to physical ground, on a three-wire setup, you are just putting the neutral and ground wire together, Most dryers actually have a place at the pigtail connection to do just that.

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So you have an, ahem... problem....you have a Code compliant dryer (with it's 4 wire cord and plug)....and have moved into an older home that is not Code compliant (with it's 3 prong receptacle outlet)....and this is fairly common.

At this point - you have two choices....replace the wiring from the dryer's breaker to the receptacle with all new 8/3 with ground romex (it more then likely only has 8/2 with ground now)....and replace the receptacle with a 4 prong grounding receptacle to match your dryer's cord....OR - as an alternative - you can replace the cord on your dryer with a 3 prong cord to match the existing dryer receptacle outlet.

Out of the 2 choices....the first one will bring the old wiring in the home up to current Codes (all NEW homes must have this 4 wire/4 prong set-up per Code...but older homes are grand-fathered)...but it is clearly the most involved, time consuming and most costly approach...and it is recommended only an electrician do this work. If this approach is taken....your dryer cord can stay as is...it will now fit the new receptacle outlet with no modifications.

The second approach - is to pick up a 3 wire 3 prong cord at your local hardware store to match the existing 3 prong receptacle.....and replace the 4 wire cord on your dryer with it. Although this is the least desireable - it is an allowed approach because this is an older home with existing wiring. This is a much less involved approach...all you need to buy is the 3 wire dryer cord (they come all ready to go) remove the 4 wire cord and install the 3 wire cord to your electrical connections at the back of the dryer. Hopefully...when the 4 wire cord was installed on your dryer, the ground strap wasn't removed completely (this is a metal strap that will connect the white wire to the metal frame of the dryer)...because now you will need to re-use the ground strap. For more on this....see the images of the differences of the 3 wire and 4 wire dryer hook-up at:
http://www.applianceaid.com/general.html#3to4

NOTE: the only real difference between the 3 wire cord and the 4 wire cord is now the white neutral and the ground are kept seperate in a 4 wire..the green ground will connect directly to the dryer frame....where in a 3 wire there is no seperate ground wire - ground and neutral are one and the same...the ground strap connects the frame to the white neutral. The 4 wire permits a better safety measure...in the event of an electrical problem (ground fault) in the dryer...the fault now has a seperate path to your panel's ground...and less chance of a shock from touching the metal frame of the dryer.

The choice of how to proceed is up to you....if you go with completely updating the dryer wiring from the breaker outward...I recommend an electrician do this work for you (it's about an hour's work...plus materials). Then your exisiting dryer's 4 wire 4 prong cord can stay as is....the electrician will install a 4 prong receptacle made to fit your cord.

If you go with simply replacing the dryer's cord....changing it to a 3 wire so it will fit the receptacle...make sure the ground strap is re-utilized as seen in the images at the site above.(also make sure all work is done with the dryer breaker (or fuse if a really old home) off before starting any work. If you change the cord yourself...make sure to reconnect in exactly the same manner as the previous cord was connected...(make a note on paper or take pictures so that there are no mistakes)..and that you tighten the nuts securely to the posts once the wire lugs are on them. Where you state you do not have a background in electrical work...you can have an electrician change this cord for you...(typically in under a half-hour)....or you can do it yourself - by carefully following the pictures.

The choice is yours...if it was me - I'd change the wiring from the breaker outward...making the older home meet today's current Codes and be complaint for this dryer..and then you wouldn't need to change a thing on the dryer....but you can go either way....Codes allow this grandfathering in older homes with existing wiring.

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Get yourself a 4-prong cord and note that it has red, black, white, and green/yellow wires but sometimes, like the 3-pronged one, the red and black wires are both replaced by same color wire, usually gray and can also switch places. All you have to do now is connect the 3 wires in the same manner they are connected as 3-prong cord to the terminal block. The ground strap wire now just need to be connected to the remaining 4th wire, the green/yellow wire instead of the center terminal together with the white (neutral) wire. Reinstall the terminal block cover and it's done.

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