Things I Love: My (Broken) F&P Smartdrive Washer

“It’s just a washing machine” you say. Next to perhaps your oven and fridge, there’s nothing more mundane than your washing machine. It sits there in the corner, chugging away on load after load, barely noticeable. Each load is perfectly clean, the water level always accurate, and the clean, drain, rinse, drain, rinse, drain, spin cycles tick away like clockwork. Well, like LM555work if you’re going to be pedantic.

If you load it wrong, with all the towels on one side, it calmly stops spinning and goes back to a rinse cycle in an effort to redistribute the load. After two attempts it stops and beeps politely. “Excuse me. Hello? Someone? I seem to have a maladjusted load.”

motor-controller And then it explodes. A bang heard 3 rooms away, tripping a circuit breaker and shutting down my PC disgracefully (yes, I really should get a UPS). I hold no grudge: this washing machine is over 6 years old, and a single failure in that timeframe is just fine by me.

And the reason I love this washing machine? I love when it breaks down, that despite the incredible, repeatable, electronic reliability, it only has about four parts. It’s either the CPU board, the motor controller, the drain pump, or (incredibly infrequently) the main motor.

In my case, I opened the control panel (two screws), and smelt the tang of magic smoke from the motor controller. One phone call, a 30 minute drive, 30 minutes of reassembly. Done. I love this machine. Each plug on the motor controller is individually shaped. There is no way to reassemble it wrong. The replacement part comes with instructions on how to ‘program’ the controller to your size of machine.

Remember kids: if you can’t open it, you don’t own it.


  1. @Ben
    I have a samrtdrive 051 that has blown two motor controllers in two months…. what would cause that to happen? Is there a fault in the motor? (The 4 amp fuse in the contorller also blows so obviously some big current being drawn?) I have been running the machine on a surge protector after the first controller blew – this didnt trip so its not dirty power related. What gives?!

  2. Hey Vaughan, have you had the motors (main drive and pump motor) tested? When I replaced my motor controller, I had the parts shop test the pump motor, because they said a worn motor is often the culprit.

  3. Interesting… I replaced the pump motor a year or so back. I will call the service shop and ask about this. I might suggest that they should have done this last time and see if they replace the motor contorller on warranty or something?

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