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Why doesn't the detergent cup open?
To avoid personal injury or death, disconnect your appliance from its power source before you start any troubleshooting or repair work. Use caution when working inside any appliance.
If the detergent cup doesn't open, check the detergent cup, the bi-metal switch or wax motor, and the timer. Make sure that no dishes are blocking it from opening.
The cup that holds the detergents can get caked and gooped up with old detergent. You should try to clean away any old detergent. If you can't clean the detergent away, you should replace the cup.
The bi-metal switch is activated by the timer and is an electrically operated device that bends when electricity is applied to it. It uses two different metals that are bonded together. As they warm up, they expand at different rates causing the metal to bend. The degree of bending can be set with a high degree of precision. Many devices use the bi-metal switch. A lot of newer dishwashers use a wax motor instead of the bi-metal switch. The wax motor has a wax block that gets heated up when the timer sends electricity to it. The wax expands as it gets heated up, and it pushes a plunger that opens the detergent door. Depending on how your dishwasher is wired, the switch may be wired through the motor circuitry or through the heating element. If the heating element is broken, there will be no electricity to properly activate the switch or heat the wax block in the wax motor to open the cup. If the motor doesnТt let enough electricity through its circuit, the bi-metal switch won't operate properly, or the wax motor wax block won't get heated up to expand and push the plunger.
On many dishwashers, an actuator arm links the timer to the detergent cup. When the timer reaches the correct time of the cycle, it activates a lever that opens the cup. If this link is broken or in any other respect faulty, the cup will stay closed, and won't let the detergent into the dishwasher. Check this linkage and either fix or replace it.