Error codes are a way for appliances like washers to tell us when something is wrong. Owners of Samsung washers, in particular, may come across the 3E error code, also known as the ‘Drive Motor Error’.
The 3E error code on a Samsung washer might be caused by mechanical problems like a cracked spider arm or worn drum bearings. Electrical problems like a faulty position sensor, faulty motor control board, or wiring problems can also be reasons. Lastly, brushed motor models with worn-out motor brushes may also cause the 3E error code to appear.
In this article, we will explore each of the possible reasons behind the 3E error code. By the end, you’ll understand what causes those problems and how to fix them.
What Does The Error Code 3E Mean On A Samsung Washer?
The 3E error code on a Samsung washer is also known as the “Drive Motor Error”. As the name suggests, the code is triggered when the appliance’s Direct Drive motor is drawing an excessive electrical current.
For example, there may be a foreign object like a broken piece of the cracked drum spider arm jamming the drum rotation. As a result, the motor will draw more power to try and force the rotation to happen, triggering the 3E error code.
The jammed motor is just one example. In reality, there are a handful of reasons why that error code may appear. They generally fall into two categories: mechanical reasons and electrical reasons.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Some mechanical reasons behind the 3E error code on Samsung washers include a cracked spider or worn bearings.
Cracked Drum Spider Arm
What it is: When it comes to Samsung washers, the spider is the part that supports the drum.
You’ll find this part located towards the back of the machine. It has multiple arms which are bolted directly onto the washer drum.
As the drum spins during a washing cycle, the spider’s purpose is to support the drum and keep it stable.
That’s why the drum can spin safely and smoothly, even at such high speeds.
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Unfortunately, the spider is not always made of the most durable materials. Over time and with repeated use, this part can start to become problematic.
How it fails: As mentioned before, the spider in many washing machines is not made of very durable materials.
Over time, especially with long-term exposure to moisture and detergent, the spider on your Samsung washer may deteriorate very rapidly.
The metal used to make that spider will become brittle, and cracks will form to the point that one or more of its arms could break.
Without the spider’s stability and support, the motor will have a very tough time trying to spin the drum.
The motor may draw on excess electrical current to spin the drum effectively, leading to the 3E error code appearing.
How to fix: Whether you do it yourself or call a qualified technician, here’s what the process will look like.
First, the machine must be disconnected from its power and water supply.
The whole drum inside the washer must be removed and placed safely on the floor. That will allow you to access the spider and replace it very quickly.
To do that, you’ll have to remove the bolts or screws that attach it to the drum. Doing that will allow you to place the new spider in its place and secure it with bolts or screws.
Then, you’ll work backwards to place the drum back into the washer and re-attach any access panels you may have removed earlier.
Worn Drum Bearings
What it is: Bearings are a crucial part of any washing machine, including your Samsung washer.
The reason they’re so critical is that they allow the washer drum to rotate smoothly and safely, even at high speeds.
On top of that, high-quality bearings also allow for fast rotation with minimal noise, even during the spin cycle.
Typically, you’ll find these bearings at the back of the machine.
Washing machine bearings can be made in different shapes, though you’ll usually find them as steel balls encased in metal rings. The balls allow for the smooth rotation of the washer drum.
How it fails: Remember: whenever the washer drum is moving, so are the bearings.
That’s why they experience plenty of wear and tear, probably more so than most other parts in the machine.
As that wear builds up, they lose their ability to turn as smoothly as they used to.
Washer bearings will wear out gradually. At first, they might have a more challenging time rotating, which requires more force from the motor.
Over time, their condition may get so bad that it’s almost impossible to turn at all.
The motor will continue to draw on an increasing amount of electrical current to try and overcome this.
But that might get too much for the motor at some point, resulting in the 3E error code appearing.
How to fix: First, the washer must be disconnected from its water and power supply.
Then, access panels on the machine must be removed. The idea here is to remove the drum and the tub that it sits in so that you can lay it on a proper work surface and gain access to the bearings.
The bearings are usually located on the back of the tub, which is why it’ll need to be opened and the drum inside removed.
Three parts must be removed and replaced: the front bearing, the rear bearing, and the bearing seal.
Doing this will involve gently knocking out the old parts and then gently (very gently!) knocking the new bearings into place.
Once that’s done, you’ll need to work backwards. Load the drum back into the tub, which you’ll seal back up.
Then, load everything back into the washer and replace any access panels that were removed before.
The 3E error code can also be caused by an electrical fault, such as a faulty position sensor, motor board, or wiring problems.
Faulty Position Sensor
What it is: The position sensor, also known as the Hall sensor, is a component that monitors revolutions and positions the washer’s motor. Simply put, the sensor helps the machine ensure that the motor is working at the proper levels during the correct cycles.
For example, the motor should spin much faster during the spin cycle and much slower during other cycles.
The Hall sensor will measure magnetic fields to determine how fast the motor is working to do its job effectively.
How it fails: Just like any other component in your washer, the position or Hall sensor is also prone to failure after being in use for a long time.
For example, it may mistakenly sense that the motor is working at maximum speed, even though it’s idle. As a result, it won’t supply any power to the motor even though it’s in the middle of a washing cycle.
How to fix: The Hall sensor on a washer is typically located at the stator assembly towards the machine’s rear.
The repair process starts with disconnecting the power and water supply to the machine before removing the rear access panel.
To identify and locate the component, it’s best to refer to the user manual or technical sheet. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for.
Once you’ve removed the stator assembly, you can unplug the Hall sensor and replace it with the new one.
Then, work backwards and put the stator assembly back in place before replacing the access panels that were removed before.
Faulty Motor Control Board
What it is: You can think of the control board as being the brains behind the motor.
It controls every aspect of the motor, like supplying the motor with the power to speed it up or making it slow down.
More importantly, the control board ensures that these actions happen right when they’re supposed to, at every stage of the washing cycle.
How it fails: Control boards are circuit boards with plenty of smaller components on them.
Unfortunately, they’re prone to failure from things like wear and tear and also electrical problems.
For instance, a sudden power surge, like during a thunderstorm, could cause some components on the board to burn.
When something like that happens, the control board may lose its ability to power and drive the motor correctly.
How to fix: Control boards are typically replaced rather than repaired. To do this, you’ll need to refer to the user manual or tech sheet to locate the motor control board.
Then, you’ll need to remove the closest access panel so you can remove the faulty one and replace it with a new board.
What it is: Electrical appliances like Samsung washing machines have plenty of wires running through the entire machine.
They deliver power to wherever they’re needed so each component can do its job correctly.
How it fails: There are two things about washing machines that can cause wiring problems: lots of water and lots of vibrations.
When it comes to the 3E error code, it’s possible that the motor’s electrical wiring has come loose or undone entirely, causing it not to receive any power.
How to fix: Fixing this requires a close-up inspection of any wiring related to the motor.
That means removing the rear access panel and using a flashlight to inspect all wires and connectors along the way.
Once the problem is spotted, the wire can either be replaced or cut and spliced back together.
On Brushed Motor Units
Worn out motor brushes
What it is: Some Samsung washers use brushed motors rather than brushless motors.
The difference is pretty straightforward: brushed motors are commutated internally rather than externally as a brushed motor does.
How it fails: Because of how a brushed motor is built, the carbon brushes inside are constantly spinning and can wear out over time.
When that happens, the washer’s electromagnetic motor will lose its ability to generate the power that the washer needs. As a result, the 3E error code may be triggered to appear.
How to fix: On a Samsung washer, the carbon brushes are attached to the outside of the motor. Thankfully, that means you won’t need to remove the motor or any other major component in the washer.
All you’ll need to do is remove the access panel next to the motor and unscrew its carbon brushes. Then, you’ll simply attach the new ones on, and you’re done!