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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