We went through two used washers before figuring out that there is a specific type of washer we needed to make a DIY Greens Spinner. We got the correct washer on the third try and it has been working great.
This project involves modifying a top-load washer to spin with a harvest basket full of greens on a timed switch. There are plenty of videos out there about converting a washer into a greens spinner and even some with a DIY aspect to them. I found them to lack some critical information that could save those out there attempting this the frustration I had.
Disclaimer: The capacitor will kill you, it has stored energy, research discharging it before you take this project on!
Getting The Right Washer
Sounds simple right? get a used washer convert it to just spin, it is not as easy as that. The washer needs to have three major parts to it,
- It MUST have a 1 phase motor with a capacitor.
- No agitator(tall piece normally present in middle of the tub).
- Must be a top-load washer.
We did not know this and our first washer had a direct drive 3 phase motor and the second had an agitator. Residential power is 1 phase you cannot run a 3 phase motor from single phase power. Washer manufacturers get by this using a computer to do that work making things much more complex. For the purpose of this project it is not recommended to use this style washer. I will be going though what we did with our Whirlpool washer. It had the correct motor, is top load and has no agitator (highly recommend).
Below is an image of our washer we found, it is important to locate the black cylinder on the right side, this is your capacitor. The capacitor starts the motor and is very important in this system. If the washer you have selected has this you are on the right path. Sometimes the capacitor is located away from the motor, as a backup if you cannot locate the capacitor, read the writing on the motor if it is reachable, it should say “1 phase” somewhere on it. For reference, the component to the left is the motor that switches high/low speed and the motor is behind the plastic cover in the motor.
Now that you have confirmed that the correct motor/capacitor we need to verify that the agitator is not present. This is as simple as opening the washer top and looking inside. It should look something like this image.
*You can use a washer with an agitator, it requires work to fit the basket in the tub and/or cutting out the agitator out. Be aware though, some agitators have a long splined shaft that will not be removable.
Once you’ve got you’re washer home it is time to modify it. you will need to remove everything from the top of the washer to be able to fit the basket(orange) in the tub. See the below image of the finished washer for reference on what needs to stay.
When removing the control panel be sure to cut the group of wires going down to the bottom of the tub as HIGH as you can to make them as long as possible. If these wires are cut short you will have to add length later. It is not important now what wires do what, just be sure the wires going down are long, everything else can go.
This would be a good time to disassemble with as much as you are comfortable with and clean everything!
This may seem complicated but its pretty easy. Using the below image for reference(we have a whirlpool washer, colors may change). The bundle of 4 wires on the right side are what we need. The others are not important to us and can be cut or tucked away.
- Green = Ground
- White = Neutral
- Orange = Low Speed
- Red = High Speed
If you are comfortable with a multi-meter you can check the resistance on the 4 wires to find your high and low speed wires. High speed will have a resistance about 8 Ohm and the low speed will be about 4 Ohm.
You will need a few parts: dishwasher power cord, 15 minute timer, metal 1-gang box and 1/2″ EMT tubing with fittings for entrance and exit from the box. The height of the timer will depend on the length of the wires from the motor. If you cut these long enough you should have the length to have the timer about 12″ above the washer. Feed the wires though the 1/2″ EMT pipe and attach to the back plate of the washer like below and reinstall the back plate. Make sure there is slack around the motor for the wires to move with the tub when it spins.
Attach the 1-Gang box to the top of the pipe after cutting roughly 12″ above the washer. The wiring is pretty simple from here,
- Neutrals: White(dishwasher power cord) to White (from washer motor)
- Ground: Green from washer motor, green from dishwasher power cord and the bare ground wire from the timer switch all get attached to the metal box with an eyelet and screw (check parts from the washer top parts, you probably have one). This grounds the whole system, make sure you have metal-metal contact, ground must be connected to the washer.
- Power: Orange from washer motor, low speed to one terminal on the timer. Black from the dishwasher goes to the other terminal on the timer.
- Orange coming from the motor gets terminated, a piece of electrical tape works fine.
At this point everything is wired up and all you need to do is screw the timer face plate on and put the basket in the tub. Done!
The orange baskets are made by a company called Joy Fish and are called Fish Baskets. We got ours at Dubois Ag.
Thanks for reading. If you have questions feel free to reach out!