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Washing Machine Carbon Brushes - Advice & Fitting Video

Last Updated: 5 Feb 2016

This article will explain everything you need to know about washing machine carbon brushes, including a video showing you how to fit them, and identifying the different types of carbon brushes that you’ll find on different brands of washing machine.  We also discuss what symptoms you can expect if your carbon brushes are worn or damaged.

You can find replacement washing machine carbon brushes for all major brands here.

What do carbon brushes do and how do they work?

Washing machine carbon brushes transfer electricity to the armature of the motor.  The armature will then spin and the drum will turn via the drive belt.  Washing machine carbon brushes are spring loaded in order that they are always touching the motor armature.  Once they are worn to the point where contact is no longer possible the washing machine motor will not turn.

Of course there are other components including electronics that are also responsible for motor rotation but worn carbon brushes are one of the most common reason for your washing machine drum to stop turning and spinning.

If your brushes are worn or damaged when you come to use your washing machine it will fill up with water, appear to sit idle for the duration of the wash and spin cycle (because the drum won't turn), and then drain out the water, and when you open the door of the machine to remove your clothes they will still be soaking wet!

You can find further help and advice here relating to other faults that can cause your washing machine drum to stop turning.

Highlighted in the image below is the carbon brush making contact with the armature.

Motor Carbon Brush

How to replace washing machine carbon brushes

In the following video, we show you the step-by step replacement of your washing machine’s carbon brushes.

Find the right washing machine carbon brush for your appliance.

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Lee from Ransom Spares and in this video I’ll be showing you how to replace the carbon brushes on a washing machine. Now, I’m going to be demonstrating on this Bosch washing machine. However, the procedure will be very similar no matter what make or model of appliance you have.

First of all, let’s take a look at the two most common types of carbon brushes that you’ll find on a washing machine. Firstly, there will always be two (or a pair) of brushes fitted to your machine. Mostly, they will come in a plastic holder like these ones. However, on some machine, such as this Bosch machine, they come without a holder.

The carbon brush transmits electricity to the armature of the motor, which makes it turn. Over time, the carbon will wear down and eventually contact will be lost and the washing machine will stop turning. It’s at this point that they will need replacing.

First things first – always ensure that your washing machine is unplugged from the mains before carrying out any repairs.

Sometimes it is possible to replace the carbon brushes without removing the motor. However, I’m going to demonstrate the procedure, including removing the motor.

The first thing we need to do is remove the belt.

Next, I’m going to turn the machine on to its side so that I can get to the underside of the machine. Always make sure that your machine is completely empty of water, and it’s always a good idea to lay the machine on a couple of towels.

Now, we can see the motor at the bottom of the washing machine. We need to remove the wiring block, and the four bolts that are holding the motor in place.

The carbon brushes are located here on the motor. The space connectors need removing, and then the brushes can be eased out of the motor. If the brushes on your washing machine are in holders, then they will simply be screwed into place.

Now, we can replace the old brushes with new ones.

So, there you go, that’s how to replace the carbon brushes on a washing machine. Remember, carbon brushes and all other washing machine spares can be found on the Ransom Spares website. Thanks for watching.

How to tell if your carbon brushes are worn?

All carbon brushes will wear out eventually because they are in constant contact with the motors armature which turns many revolutions during even just one wash cycle.  Depending on how often the washing machine is used will obviously depend how long the carbon brushes will last.  When it comes to replacing your carbon brushes it is always a good idea to replace both, even if one isn’t completely worn.

In the image below you can see the right hand carbon brush protruding from the black holder is worn to the point where electricity would be unable to pass to the armature, and therefore the motor wouldn’t turn.  The washing machine drum would simply stand idle throughout the wash cycle.  In contrast a perfectly good brush is pictured on the left side and has plenty of carbon protruding.

How do I know which carbon brushes I need?

Unfortunately quite often the model number of your washing machine isn’t enough to identify the carbon brushes that are fitted to your washing machine motor.  Manufacturers often change the type of motor they fit during production of a model and so the type of motor you have fitted to your model of washing machine will determine the type of carbon brush replacements you need.

Carbon Brushes without holders

The most common carbon brush that is supplied without holders are those fitted to Bosch, Siemens, and Neff washing machines.

Carbon brushes with holders

The most common washing machine carbon brushes that come with holders are:

GDA Motor Brushes – These were popular on older Hotpoint washing machines where the carbon brush slotted in the side of the motor.  The motor was located at the top of the machine underneath the lid.

Sole, CE SET and FHP Motor brushes - These types are common on Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Ariston, Bosch, Siemens, Hoover, Candy, Zanussi, Electrolux, and Beko washing machines.

Bosch washing machine carbon brushes

The most common carbon brushes fitted to Bosch, Neff and Siemens washing machines come without holders, as stated above.  They are the actual ones used in the fitting demonstration video above and fit literally 1000's of models manufactured by Bosch.  They can be found here.

Zanussi, AEG, Electrolux washing machine carbon brushes

Motors fitted to Electrolux branded machines, which include AEG, Zanussi, Electrolux, Tricity Bendix, John Lewis, etc. have been alternatively fitted throughout production and therefore it is necessary to check which motor you have fitted in order to identify the correct carbon brushes.

Unfortunately there is no way of knowing from Model or Production Numbers which motor has been fitted to your machine.  Below should help point you to the correct replacements brushes for your motor.

Sole Motor Carbon Brushes

SOLE motors can normally be Identified by the name being on the sticker which is normally attached to the side of the motor.

These Carbon Brushes are nearly identical.  The main difference being that the terminal on the first set is protruding out to the left side of the holder, whilst on the 2nd set it is point upwards.

Click on the image to go to the product page, here you can enlarge the image if required. 

CESET Motor Carbon Brushes

CESET motors can normally be identified by the name CE SET on the side of the motor or the code on the motor starting with 'MC...'.  The brush slope on these carbon brushes is Left to Right.

Click on the image to go to the product page, here you can enlarge the image if required.

FHP Carbon Brushes

Although FHP Carbon brushes look similar at first glance the have important differences which in most cases makes them incompatible with each other.

Set 1.  The holders are marked with an 'L' and are 46mm long.  The Brush Slope is from Right to Left.  And the terminals are 2.8mm in width.

Set 2. The Holders are marked with an 'L' and are 57mm long. The brush Slope is from Right to Left.  And the terminals are 4.8mm in width.

Set 3. The Holders are marked with an 'R' and are 46mm long.  The Brush slope is from Left to Right.  And the terminals are 4.8mm in width

Set 4. The Holders are Marked with an 'L' or an 'LX' and are 46mm long.  The Brush slope is from Right to Left.  And the terminals are 4.8mm in width.

Click on the image to go to the product page, here you can enlarge the image if required.

By Lee Gilbert