Error E52 on a Zanussi Washing Machine

Error E52 on a Zanussi washing machine is defined as, “no signal from the tachometric generator”. This is referring to a part on the motor that we call the tacho coil. It’s a small coil on the end of the armature that monitors a magnet that turns when the motor runs.

So each time the motor turns, so does the magnet, and this tacho coil can sense the movement of the magnet. Each time one of the magnets poles passes the tacho coil it generates (presumably) small currents or pulses that can be sensed by the control module. This method is the perfect way to sense the speed of the motor and to control it.

So Error E52 means the control module or PCB is getting no signal from this coil. But there’s no other fault detected so the washing machine essentially doesn’t know what is wrong. All it knows is that it is sending power to the motor but it is not receiving any signal that the motor is in fact running.

Possible causes of E52

The logical assumption is that the motor is physically jammed, which is why most technical manuals report that as a likely explanation. A jammed motor certainly is a valid explanation, but there is more than one possible explanation. These are all the possible explanations I can think of –

1: The motor is jammed, so it cannot physically turn even though it is getting power and there is nothing electronically wrong with it. It could be caused by motor bearings seizing up, which is quite rare. A mouse jammed inside, which is considerably rarer but one that I actually have seen in real life – once. Or it could be that the drum is jammed for various possible reasons. You can discount any of these possibilities though if you can turn the drum by hand easily.

2: The magnet on the end of the armature has broken or dropped off. This would stop the washing machine being able to detect that than motor is turning. However, this should also commonly cause the washing machine to lose control of the motor and it may well surge up into spin instead of turning slowly.

3: The tacho coil has physically fallen off the motor, which is a similar issue to the last one. Both of these can be checked for by removing the motor cover to inspect the tacho coil and the magnet.

4: There is a connection fault somewhere between this tacho coil and the control board. You can try checking the connections to this coil on the motor and all the way back to the PCB. You can also check the resistance of the coil in case by any chance it is open circuit, which again is very rare. Be aware that the resistance on this tackle coil is usually very high, and could look very close to open circuit on a manual meter).

5: Carbon brushes worn or sticking. A washing machine should not be giving this type of error code if carbon brushes are at fault. However, a few people in the comments below have reported that this is exactly what caused their Zanussi washing machine to display the error E52. Therefore also check the carbon brushes – do I need to change the carbon brushes?

More on tacho coil faults

For more details on the tacho coil and this type of error see my other article for the same fault on a Hoover washing machine with Error 7

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11 thoughts on “Error E52 on a Zanussi Washing Machine”

  1. In my case E52 was caused by worn out carbon motor brushing preventing the motor being driven.
    Replacement simple enough esp when removing the motor from the machine first.

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Thanks Eric. That’s unusual, as worn carbon brushes normally creates a different error code. E52 normally means it thinks everything on the motor is OK but can’t understand why it still isn’t running. Your experience shows it’s always worth checking everything on the motor.

  2. This is a great article, I’m also experiencing the same problem with E52 on my Zanussi ZJD12191 built in washing machine (PNC number 914601218/01). It appears to go through the various cycles, and it does fill and drain, but the drum does not spin.

    The drum and motor both spin easily by hand so I can discount (1). I’ve taken the washing machine apart and I can’t see anything obviously wrong.

    I want to check points 2 and 3. I have tried getting what I think was the motor cover off (from the back) but it wasn’t easy. I took four long torx screws out and two hex bolts, and also tried removing the two small torx screws holding on the electronics.

    How does the motor cover come off?

    1. I accessed the end of the motor without removing the cover by turning the washing machine on its side and going through the bottom. After fiddling with the brushes a bit of carbon dust came out, and after fiddling with what I think is the magnet sensor, the drum is spinning again. Running a test wash now and so far so good. I don’t think I’ve really “fixed” it though, I’m expecting it to stop again like it did before.

      I think it might be worth replacing the brushes, do you recommend that? Is it difficult?

      Is the magnet sensor a squarish block near the top brush that has a wire coming out of it?

      1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

        Hello JP. It could be that the disturbed a poor connection, or it could even be that the carbon brushes were sticking you have helped dislodge them. However, if you are getting the errorcode E52 and the Tacho coil is the main suspect. If the washing machine is running okay now and it sounds okay, and making any funny noises or sparking and I’d be tempted to keep fingers crossed and continue to use it.

        You really need to take off the motor to be able to deal with anything like this. They are usually three or four bolts holding the motor place but it should not be difficult to see exactly how it is fixed in place. The Tacho magnet and coil are right at the end of the motor. The opposite end to where the belt fits.

        1. Thanks for your reply Andy. Yes I get the E52 code when I press the start buttons together.

          I’ve been testing it on the 10min spin cycle. It worked a couple of times, then it did stop again, BUT giving the machine a thump got it going again. After that, I tried the fingers crossed approach and started a wash. It got through most of a cycle and then tripped the power! After that neither a thump nor a fingers crossed approach seems to help. I can get the motor off. I have a feeling that it needs new brushes.

          1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

            Hi, If it tripped the power, it could have an insulation fault. Without a specialised insulation test meter, you can’t safely test the machine or troubleshoot what caused it.

          2. Hi Andy. Just to let you know I resolved the issue. It turned out to be similar to eric jansen’s above. The carbon brushes were worn down and there was actually some wire core exposed on the one. I replaced the brushes with a pair from amazon for less than 2 quid, and it’s now working perfectly! The 16 year old machine lives on. I’m a bit worried that the brush wire core could have scratched the armature but so far, so good.

            Although it’s strange that it got an E52 message, the worn brushes explains the intermittent fault that could be corrected sometimes with a good bang. If it lasts for a couple of months I might even treat the machine to a new dryer heating element, which I disconnected after getting an E38 message awhile ago!

            Thanks so much for your help and an excellent site and article.

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