I had been going to write a fluffy post about how all my BiCon stress has melted away over the past couple of days. But then my washing machine broke down containing a load of the clothes I've been planning to take with me, and argh argh argh!
We have a Bosch Classixx combined washer/dryer that has stopped being able to agitate the clothes during the wash cycle, spin them before drying, or while tumble drying. When you switch it on, the dial moves slowly as usual, indicating that the programme should be progressing - but it isn't. It will not spin at any speed - 1200 or 600 rpm, or in any of the programmes.
There exist several "how to fix random domestic appliance" web forums. This washing machine FAQ is quite useful. However, it seems that the two "standard" reasons for washing machines not spinning are belt wear/breakage or worn carbon brushes - and both of those appear to be fine!
The drum will turn freely by hand, either by rotating the drum itself or by turning the belt. The belt appears to be fine. The motor also turns when the drum turns.
Richard believes that the carbon brushes are fine and in good contact with the commutator. (He checked by looking inside with a torch - although the things don't look at all brush-like to me, not like standard GCSE Physics lab motors!). All of the wiring between the motor and the control board and timer is visually intact. He believes that the motor is fine because there is no visible sign or smell of any burning or "magic smoke escape". There is also no sign of any visible damage to the circuit board.
Apparently the next thing to check is "the circuit across the terminals on the motor, because there is a thermal overload switch inside which may have tripped", but he couldnt find that. Sites also suggest "checking" the voltage across the terminals with a voltmeter or multimeter, but they never say what the voltage should be! (Surely not 230V?).
So I now need to post on the random domestic appliance fixing web forums until I find someone who Has A Clue and can help. I looked at the prices of parts on the Bosch web site, and a new motor is £175.49, while the "motor module" is £50.54. The washing machine only cost ~£300, so I dont really want to order parts at random - and I dread to think how much they'll charge to come & look at it. Also, Richard's done a great job at troubleshooting it so far (without any kind of service manual to tell him how), and I'm sure he could fix whatever's broken - if we could work out what!