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Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 5:33 am

Idea2: Pi driven washing machine

Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:48 am

Has anyone built a Pi to drive a washing machine?

I have a washing machine that I call Bruce (from Die Hard).. He's 35 years old, and might need replacing.. I've sort of got attached to him as he's served me well.
Within the machine the components are quite simple,
1) Main Motor (2 speeds) and direction
2) water on off relay control thingy,
3) a pressure thingy to detect the water level and stop the water,
4) soap and softener dispenser
5) heating element with thermostat
6) drain pump

So I though if I could learn how to drive each one of these potentially through a MCP23017 I could have a Pi driven washing machine, and to be able to build a smart phone app to see the progress of my washing,
and with the Pi and camera I could hook the camera up to the front of the washing machine to see how it's doing, or with the camera detect how dirty the water is and to automatically adjust the washing timer and cycles?

What do you think?

Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:32 pm

Re: Idea2: Pi driven washing machine

Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:38 pm

Good Afternoon!

I had to sign up after i googled pretty much the same exact question just now and to see that you beat me to the punch by a day!

I was thinking along the same lines as the retro fitted microwave that was shown a couple of weeks ago.

An older washing machine would have the main components required (the barebones and parts) the raspberry pi could be used to control and run each sequence.

I believe you could gain a lot of efficiency by creating your own programs, I would like to try this out at a time when it would be possible for me!

I can see lots of possibilites.

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:26 am

Re: Idea2: Pi driven washing machine

Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:54 am

Yes i want to do this, lots of possibility's, I have one and a half perfectly good front loader washing machines...

both having electronic controller boards, both no longer work....

this will be my first pi project...

I'm in Australia where water is well worth saving...
I'm also interested in replacing the 240 volt Motor and Solenoid Valves for 12volt... as a washing machine gets used for say 2% of its time that means it has 98% charging time... (I've lived off grid)

that just leaves the door lock needing some modding...

it would be fun(better) to have I found the odd sock function.... (so u can open the door)
this would need a tank to dump the water into... hence
Water saving functions: grey water if you have a store (tank) a volume of water the same water can be kept (clean) by a nature cleaning process...

i am okay a building stuff....

so i need to get a Raspberry PI...

Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:32 pm

Re: Idea2: Pi driven washing machine

Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:10 am

so did anyone ever do the washing machine thing?

I may need to rebuild an industrial machine and the pi fits the BILL nicely.

Would love to know what has been don so far.

BTW the 12v versions of the inlet valves are murder on the pocket money, you might want to think about rewinding the coils yourself.

I think the normal 240v ac motors can be run at about 70v dc its on the web somewhere.

Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:34 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Idea2: Pi driven washing machine

Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:35 pm

Hi inventors ...

One way to drive solenoids, 240V relays etc from logic levels is to use a MOC3081 Imageor equivalent. It is a opto coupled thyristor for small loads. Add external thyristor for higher loads. I have used it in previous projects and it works well driving 240V relays.

A second solution involving less effort but higher budget mitt be to use solid state relays. In this case it might even be OK to add a small 5V relay to drive a larger 240V relay etc.

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:22 pm

Re: Idea2: Pi driven washing machine

Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:55 pm


It's been a long time since someone replied here. But the question still remains.

How to use a rasberry pi as a replacement for the washing machine controler?

I personally have NO experience with programming the RPI but have made this set up of components and the sequence it has to run for a washing machine to work. But first something about washing machines in general to make it more easy to understand the choises I made.

The complexity of washing laundry is largely overrated as a process. All you do is soaking, shrubbing and rinsing. Procter and Gamble have established that in the early fyfthy's already. The washing efficientcy depends on a couple of factors where you always have a trade of between longer soaking time, higher temperatures or more shrubbing. The longer you make it soak, the less shrubbing and tetergent you'll need. But more time. The les time you want to use, the more detergent and agitating (shrubbbing) you'll have to do to compensate for that. So all the gazillion different programs you have in most modern washing machines are complete and utter rubish. A study done by students at Delft univercity in holland in the eighties showed that a prewash with cold water and a long soaking time will remove more than !à% of all dirt you want to remove. The extra 20% is easily removed is you add SOME detergent and allow sufficient soaking time with enough agitation to schrub en cold rinse afterwards. Yes temperature plays a role in the disolvement of both detergent and dirt in your clothes. But basically, if you have a cold water prewash you'll save both on detergent and on electricity for the same result.

Why is all this important? Well, you only need ONE program for your washing machine, making it a lot easier to program. Temperature can be adjusted separately from that. The other cycles remain the same.

So what does this cycle look like and what components do we have, what input do they require to control these and how do we set this up?

Look at the list below: I have given each different component his own number that can be related to in the programing as well.

Feel free to provide your positive and constructive feedback. Keep your verbal vomit to yourself.

Thank you.


1 Power switch 220V 16amp
2 Electric water valve 220v
3 Heating element 220v 2000w
4 Door lock 220v
5 Vacuum switch 220v
6 Electric motor 220v 1200w
7 Spinning rotor
8 Detergent switch 3 position
9 Spinning speed selector 5 positions
10 main selector 12 positions
11 Thermostat 0° 30° 40° 60° 95°
12 Timer
13 ..... The part I have forgotten??

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:32 pm

Re: Idea2: Pi driven washing machine

Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:51 pm

A work in progress Not PI but Arduino

it was Harder than i thought

95% complete just fine tuning of the code left


Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:09 pm

Re: Idea2: Pi driven washing machine

Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:15 pm

so did anyone finish the project id like to do it to with the or even with the arduino but I'll need some pointers because I'm amateur at electronics

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