Monthly Archives: October 2004

Hillstomping Update, Franconia Ridge 10/26/2004

Timing is everything and we timed this one right. After struggling up the Falling Waters Trail to the summit of Little Haystack on the Franconia Ridge, our eyeballs were treated to a feast of dramatic mountain vistas, White Mountain style. Here, see for yourself.

Sam on Little Haystack Mountain

After summitting Little Haystack, we headed north on the ridge to the summit of Mt. Lincoln.

Stephen is Blown Away by the Views!

We Bad!

Looking into the Pemigewassett Wilderness from the Franconia Ridge

Our original plan was to the hike the “T” (Little Haystack, north to Mt. Lincoln, doubleback to Little Haystack, then continue south to Mt. Liberty, doubleback to Little Haystack and head back down.) But we spent so much time lollygagging and feasting on eye-candy that we ran out of time and headed back down after Mt. Lincoln. We got back to the van just as the sun was setting. Sunset comes early up here in pre-winter Yankeeland, even earlier in the mountains.

Misty View toward Cannon Mountain

Take a hike!

Appliance Repair Revelation: Fisher & Paykel DC Drive Washing Machine

appliance tip of the day archiveThese washers have been out for a few years and I’m starting to see more of them in the field. They are extremely reliable machines. Although they’re designed for residential use, I’ve seen them used in commercial applications, sustaining daily, continuous use for several years. This is a top loading machine, vertical axis, and uses an agitator like most top-loaders. These pictures are all from a model GWL08, which has been out for several years. The current model is GWL11.

The most common problem I’ve seen with these washers is a failed pump. The pump is a separate electric pump, is very easy to change by laying the washer down on it’s front panel, and is reasonably priced (about $50). Changing the pump is about a 10-minute job, and that includes time to manually bail a tub full of water.

Although it’s a top-loader and looks very similar to any other top-loading washing machine you’ve seen, it has some significant design differences.

This machine uses a DC drive motor and performs spin and agitate by directly controlling the motor–no transmission! This has three big advantages over conventional top-loaders: 1) increased energy efficiency since you don’t have efficiency losses through a transmission, 2) better reliability since there’s no transmission to fail, and 3) no belts to fail since the agitator is connected directly to the motor shaft.

The control panel lifts off by removing two phillips screws on the back of the control panel. The panel then flips over. The picture below shows what it looks like with the control panel removed.

Control Compartment with Touchpad Lifted Off and Power/Pressure Module Removed (note the water inlet valves on the left-hand side)

Not shown above are Power Control and Pressure Sensing Module, which plugs into the water inlet valve nipple, and the tech sheet, which you’ll find folded up to the left of the water inlet valve. The tech sheet gives detailed instructions for entering diagnostic mode and interpreting the binary diagnostic code generated by the LED display on the control panel touch pad.

The Power Control and Pressure Sensing Module has been removed in the picture above. It’s shown below:

Power Control and Pressure Sensing Module

Another difference with this machine is that it has no discreet pressure switch. Tub fill level is sensed by the Power Control and Pressure Sensing Module, above. This module has two fuses inside, on the control board. When one of them blows, it’s usually an indication that one of the high voltage components, pump or diverter valve, have gone bad. Surprisingly, and contrary to our experience with the abysmal Maytag Neptune Machine Control Board, this control board is amazingly robust. The board on this particular washer happened to be bad but that’s the first one I’ve seen.

The air tube from the tub pressure dome connects to a nipple on the upper right-hand side of the module. The module has a female port that connects with the water inlet valve nipple making a water-tight connection. Water is run into a heat sink tube inside the control board module to keep it cool. It’s the only water-cooled control board I’ve ever seen in the appliance world!

This last picture shows the Touchpad Module that accepts and interprets keypad input.

Touch Pad Module–Located on the Backside of the Touchpad

I haven’t seen any failures of this module. I have however, seen the touchpad itself fail but, in almost every case, it’s from the user pushing too hard on the keypad buttons. But, it’s a very inexpensive and easy part to replace.

Nice machine, as you’d expect from Fisher & Paykel–reliable, first-rate engineering, and easy to troubleshoot and repair.

grasshoppers reviewing the Fisher Paykel washing machine with the master

Most People are Libertarians…And Don’t Even Know It!

Take the World's Smallest Political QuizNot exactly a conservative? Not precisely a liberal? Not quite sure at all? What do those labels mean, anyway? Most people have the nagging feeling that this left-right, liberal-conservative pap that Big Media smears us with every day is far too narrow a view. The fact is that these labels are not only meaningless, but they exclude millions of people.

Relax–the Samurai has just what you need to figure it all out: The World’s Smallest Political Quiz. Quick, easy, painless and, most of all, revealing–you just might learn something about yourself!

Mailbag: Maytag Dryer Belt Replacement Tip

Goldenwoody wrote:

One thing you might mention in your incredibly helpful guide to the Maytag
Dryer belt
is that the evil geniuses at Maytag made a grove in the drum very close
to where the belt is supposed to run. If(make that when) the belt falls into
that groove while replacing the belt or idler wheel, when you put it back on it
will seem as though you have not properly looped it around the motor and idler
wheel, even when you have. It will seem as if the belt is (has somehow become)
too long, and drags against the alignment slot, until you rotate the drum
enough to get the belt out of the groove and up on the drum, where it belongs. I
respectfully suggest you might add this tidbit to your otherwise excellent

Now, my belt is back on. The dryer is running smoothly without banshee squeel.
Spouse is happy. Back to my quest for free beer!

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Good comment–consider it added.

Remember, also, that on Maytag dryers, the smooth side of the belt goes against the drum.

If You’re a Dumbass, Please Don’t Vote!

I don’t understand all these bleeting appeals to get out and vote. Could someone please answer this question for me: if people are ignorant about the pressing issues of the day, the principles of individual liberty upon which this nation was founded, or the basic structure and function of our government, then why in the hell do we want these boobs casting votes that affect all of us?

Oh wait, I can hear the whining and caterwauling now, “Hey, Samurai, you’re too cynical about people!” Ok, how ’bout some numbers? Warning: the following contains factual information, including statistics, and a TV-talking head is NOT supplied to inject this information directly into that void between your ears. You have to actually read it…just like you would a ballot.

by James W. Harris

New Study: Shocking Voter Ignorance

A new study by the libertarian Cato Institute indicates that a shockingly large
number of U.S. voters are almost totally ignorant about the issues and
candidates they vote on.

“Overall, close to one-third of Americans can be categorized as ‘know-nothings’
almost completely ignorant of relevant political information,” writes Ilya
Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, in “When Ignorance Isn’t Bliss:
How Political Ignorance Threatens Democracy.”

“Most of the time,” Somin notes,” only bare majorities know which party has
control of the Senate, some 70 percent cannot name either of their state’s
senators and the vast majority cannot name any congressional candidate in their
district at the height of a campaign.”

Overall, voters tend to be “abysmally ignorant of even very basic political
information… the sheer depth of most individual voters’ ignorance is shocking to
observers not familiar with the research.”

A few examples from many in the report:

  • The Patriot Act? What’s that? Three-fourths of Americans say they know little
    or nothing about it. 58 percent say they’ve heard “nothing” or “not much” about
  • Seventy percent don’t know about the $500 billion new drug benefit added this
    year to Medicare, which Somin describes as “probably the most significant
    domestic legislation passed during the Bush administration.”
  • A majority cannot make even a rough estimate of how many Americans soldiers
    have been killed in Iraq.
  • 61 percent believe that there has been a net loss of U.S. jobs in 2004.
  • Over 60 per cent don’t know that, during President Bush’s term, there has
    been an explosion in domestic spending (about 25 percent above previous levels)
    that has enormously increased the national debt.
  • Last year, 58 percent of Americans could not name a single federal Cabinet

And such voter ignorance is, alas, nothing new:

  • In 1964, at the height of Cold War tensions, only 38 percent of the public
    knew that the Soviet Union was not a member of NATO.
  • In 1994, after Republicans took control of Congress under the
    highly-publicized leadership of Rep. Newt Gingrich, 57 percent of Americans said they’d never
    heard of Gingrich, despite the avalanche of press coverage.
  • In 1996, 67 percent couldn’t name thei
  • r congressman, and only 26 percent knew
    that senators serve six-year terms.

  • In the 2002 elections, only 3
  • 2 percent of voters knew that the Republican
    Party controlled the House.

In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free,
in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

Looking at the grave threats to liberty now facing America, one can only
conclude Jefferson was right.

(Source: Cato Institute study:

Toll-Free Appliance Repair Hotline Update

Due to time constraints, I’ve been unable to return calls on the Toll-Free Appliance Repair Hotline for the past several days. Consequently, so many messages had piled up that there was no way I was going to be able to return them. So I had to delete them and start fresh. Hey, whaddya want for nothin’? R-r-r-r-r-rubbah biscuits?

Anyway, I’m back and available to take hotline calls. If you called the Hotline in the past several days and still need help with your appliance problem, go ahead and call the Toll-Free Appliance Repair Hotline again. Of course, first-time callers are also welcome to call.

Talk to you later.

Appliance Repair Revelation: Fisher & Paykel DD602 Dishdrawer: F1 code

appliance tip of the day archiveI had the opportunity to work on a Fisher & Paykel DD602 dishdrawer a couple days ago. By the way, I’m a big fan of Fisher & Paykel equipment–if you ever have the opportunity to work on one, you’ll see why. The engineering is elegant in its simplicity. Well-engineered equipment is actually much easier to work on because they’ve designed serviceability into the product.

Anyway, the problem with this particular dishdrawer was that the top drawer (with an 11 minute wash) was giving an F1 error code after the initial rinse, about five minutes into the cycle. The F1 code indicates an overfill condition. One of the most common causes for an overfill fault is that the dishwasher cannot pump out the dirty water due to a plugged drain hose.

So, I put the dishdrawer into diagnostic mode and tested the fill and pumpout functions–everything was peachy. I ran the top drawer in a normal wash cycle and, sho ’nuff, the drawer faulted out on F1 after the first rinse. Well, Houston, we had a problem and it was time for the Samurai to break open a can of whup-ass on this dishdrawer. First thing I did was pull the front panel off the drawer, like ahso:

Fisher Paykel DD602 dishdrawer with the front panel removed

Fisher Paykel DD602 dishdrawer with the front panel removed.

With that front panel off, I pulled the wire harness connectors off the main control board (lower right-hand side) to inspect for gookus. None found–my quest continued.

The next step to remove the botton drawer from the unit so I could inspect the flood switch. In order to do this, I had to remove the wire harness cover on the underside of the drawer. This is what the underside of the dishdrawer looks like with the botton cover panel removed:

Fisher Paykel DD602 dishdrawer - looking at the underside of one of the drawers with the wire cover plate removed
Fisher Paykel DD602 dishdrawer, looking at the underside of one of the drawers with the wire cover plate removed.

With the bottom cover off, I could unclip the wire harness, fill hose, and drain hose. Then I unclipped the linkage at the back of the drawer and lifted the drawer off the slider arms. All this to expose the flood switch, shown on the left-hand side of the bottom panel in the picture below:.

Fisher Paykel DD602 dishdrawer with the lower drawer removed
Fisher Paykel DD602 dishdrawer with the lower drawer removed. The flood switch in mounted on the base, left hand side.

After noting the positions of the wires on the flood switch and removing them, I unclipped the switch housing from the base panel. The switch housing contains one switch for each drawer. The switches are wired normally closed (NC) and each switch has three spade connections, so it’s important to note where the wires went. With the switch housing out, I could ohm out both switches and both checked good. I inspected the contacts and noticed that one of them was oxidized, evidenced by discoloration.

I had a flash-back to my Navy days and heard Petty Officer (AT1) Crowe’s voice in my head, “Here, take this ruby red eraser and clean off them contacts. That’ll restore the current flow for that circuit. Good to go, Sailor.” You gotta understand, Petty Officer Crowe was my technical guru in the Navy; he taught me many of the practical and theoretical troubleshooting skills that I still use today.

So I cleaned the contacts as instructed by Petty Officer Crowe’s mental image in my brain and reassembled the dishdrawer. I ran the top drawer and…no F1 error code! I ran it several more times just to be sure.

Good to go, Sailor.

grasshoppers sitting with the master to eat their pressed rats and warthogs on dishes cleaned in their newly-repaired Fisher and Paykey dishdrawer.

Eeyore and Mrs. Samurai

Mrs. Samurai recently found out that a very nice friend was planning to vote
for John Kerry. When asked “My heavens, why?!”, this friend, whom we will call
Eeyore, responded with her concerns (to put it mildly) about the Republican
party. Mrs. Samurai responded to these concerns in the hopes of opening Eeyore’s
eyes to the truth of the two-party scam. We thought you might enjoy this
interchange as well. Can you handle the truth?

Eeyore: The Republican Party, in all honesty, hasn’t got an inch of ground to
stand on when they talk about standing up for life. This government cares only
for the richest people in our society, and is willing to sacrifice everything
and everyone else in the attempt to ensure that the interests of that top
percent are protected.

Mrs. Samurai: In theory, Republican policies would benefit most of society by
minimizing government interference, thus allowing a vibrant economy so people
have decent jobs, and minimizing the tax burden so a one-income family can live
comfortably. Charity would stay where it belongs – in the community.
Unfortunately, Republicans do not live up to their supposed philosophy of minimal

Furthermore, Republicans want to be re-elected. That can’t happen if they only
“help” the top few percent. Even if it’s self-serving, every Republican
administration tries to help the economy be better so lots of people – including the
non-rich – are doing well and will vote for them again.

Democrats, on the other hand, claim to care for the little guy, but the social
programs they institute backfire. We now have a multi-generational welfare
class. We also have the minimum wage, NAFTA and GATT, which put so much burden on
businesses located in our country that jobs have flown out across our borders.
The Democratic party has seriously betrayed the very people they claim to be
helping. The Democratic party doesn’t like to talk about it, but, there are many
big businesses who support Democrats. Even Martha Stewart is a Democrat!

Eeyore: I don’t think Bush or the people around him care, underneath the
pro-life hype, for the person that that fetus is. When the baby is one day old does
she have that same right, even if her parents don’t have health care? What
about at a year? Does she have the right to eat and have a roof over her head

Mrs. Samurai: I have to agree with the Founding Fathers here. We have the
right to life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness. Not the GUARANTEE of
happiness (or health care, or a roof over our heads, etc.). Before there were so many
government programs, there were lots of charity hospitals and free clinics.
These places are closing down under the weight of government regulation. I have
a doctor friend (a Republican, by the way) who got in serious trouble for
trying to see the occasional poor patient free-of-charge. Outrageous!

Eeyore: What if her father has a minimum wage job at Walmart and her mother,
with two other preschool children, is unable to work?

Mrs. Samurai: Minimum wage laws have actually forced a decrease in the wages
that could be earned by people who are not brand-new to the work force (i.e.,
teenagers). Our awful tax burden has created the situation where many families
cannot survive well on one income. Democrats and Republicans alike have
contributed to the decline in real wages over the last few decades. I don’t know
which party has been the most deceitful.

Eeyore: If a child, heaven forbid, is not American, does she have the right not
to be bombed in an attempt for America to secure the oil that lies under the
earth by her home, so that people can continue to drive SUVs and other new cars?

Mrs. Samurai: We do not belong in Iraq, but I don’t buy that we went there
over oil. It’s bigger than that. There are a lot of forces in our government
pushing for increased involvement in the Middle East, particularly the
pro-Israel-at-any-cost segment. And don’t forget that the Democrats got us into Vietnam
and also bombed Kosovo and aspirin factories. Again, neither party makes us or
the rest of the world safer.

Eeyore: Does a child have the right not to have to breathe foul air or dirty
water that’s been polluted by the companies owned by those fat cats who found it
so much to their advantage to sing her praises in the the months before she was

Mrs. Samurai: Be sure you include many Federal politicians of both parties in
your “fat cat” moniker. I was an environmental engineer for several years
before having kids, so I’ve got some background here. A large amount of the
pollution to date has occurred because government has ALLOWED industries to pollute
government property. The U.S. government has been a terrible steward – under
both parties. Private property ownership encourages cleaner practices because
people want to protect what they own.

If you still suspect that we need government to make sure we don’t pollute,
consider this: Cars built in the 1960’s polluted less than those in previous
decades. Did the EPA come down on the auto manufacturers? No – the EPA didn’t
exist yet. The cars became cleaner because that’s what people wanted, and that’s
what they got as soon as the technology existed.

Big corporations are a problem in many ways. But it’s important to know that
they have flourished in our country precisely because there is a powerful
Federal government. There is an incredible regulatory burden on business, and
smaller businesses are at a decided disadvantage when trying to keep up with them.
Big corporations have tax advantages over smaller businesses as well. The
reason big corporations give so much to BOTH Democrat and Republican campaigns is
that politicians at the Federal level have a lot of power to grant favors. If we
could significantly scale back the Federal government, then these people would
have no big favors to bestow and smaller businesses would have more of a chance
to flourish. As citizens and consumers, we would in turn have more influence
over them.

Eeyore: In other words, you can’t be for life if you protect the first nine
months of a person and then damn to hell all the months and years that follow.

Mrs. Samurai: Just because someone doesn’t think a government program should
take care of a lot of these needs doesn’t mean they don’t care about these
people. Many of us know from experience that government programs hurt a lot of the
people they are supposed to help and that private charities are generally more
efficient and successful. As Harry Browne said, “If there seem to be ten
thousand people who can’t help themselves, pass a law to help them and there will
suddenly be ten million who can’t help themselves. The new law will provide the
incentive to qualify as needy.”

Eeyore: I cannot support all of the Democratic positions (the stand on
abortion, and stem cell research, for example). But I do not support the Republicans
on anything. Even the way they talk about abortion seems to me to be so
hypocritical that I feel offended by their rhetoric. They use the emotional issue of
abortion to mask their true feelings about the value of human life.

Mrs. Samurai: I think your condemnation goes a bit too far. I know an awful
lot of Republicans personally who are amazingly compassionate people. Granted,
there can be a big difference between the upper echelons of a political party
and the rest. That’s true for both parties. The guys at the top get their
supporters to believe they are going to help them, but it’s a lie. I am offended
equally by the rhetoric of both parties!

Eeyore: Our country is in the most dangerous position that it has been in
during my lifetime, if not in its history. If Bush gets in again, I don’t think we
will ever recover as a nation or as a world.

Mrs. Samurai: The Democrats are great at scaring people with their rhetoric,
but Bush is simply the result of more than a century of the centralization of
power in the Federal government by both parties. We have a professional class of
politicians and bureaucrats whose main goal in life is to keep their positions,
not to do what’s actually best for people. The Democrats and Republicans play
a game where they pretend to have huge differences so we feel like we’re making
a choice when we vote, but things never really change for the better under
either party. I always thought everyone accepted the axiom that “power corrupts.”
How can we keep giving them more and more and expect something better to come
of it?

Vote Libertarian!!!

Mailbag: Whirlpool Duet Dryer Stuck in Control Lock Mode

Glenn Smith wrote:

I have a Whirlpool Duet Gas Dryer model no. GGW9200LW0 that is stuck on “control locked” mode. I am unable to use my dryer due to this problem. Please send me any info you have that can help me with my problem, thanks..

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Ahh, Grasshopper, the Samurai is pleased to help you out of your dilemma. Come, sing along with me…

To unlock the Control Locked feature:

Press and hold the End Of Cycle Signal button

for 3 seconds to turn this feature off.

NOTE: When the dryer is running and Control

Locked light is on, the dryer can be stopped by

pressing the Pause/Cancel button, but cannot

be restarted until the control is unlocked.

Pro-Life Movement: Not Just for Religious Nuts Anymore!

I just submitted this letter to my local newspaper. It succinctly explains the often-overlooked scientific arguments that support the pro-life position. If you like this letter, feel free to use as much of it as you want in your own letter to your local rag.

Mrs. Samurai

Dear Editor:

Let me first state that I support neither Kerry nor Bush in the upcoming election. (My candidate, Libertarian Michael Badnarik, sadly won’t be on the NH ballot.)

A letter in last week’s issue defending Sen. Kerry’s apparent contradiction when it comes to abortion claimed that determining when life begins is a religious issue, and therefore each person should be free to make their own “choice.” This commonly-used argument oversimplifies the abortion issue by ignoring the fact that there is compelling scientific reasoning against abortion. After all, there are even atheists who are pro-life.

Science, not religion, tells us that from the moment of conception a fetus has a complete set of human genetic material. We have identified no point in the pregnancy or birth at which something else is added to transform “tissue” to “a human being.” To allow abortion assumes that there is at least a period in a pre-born’s time in the womb that it does not deserve the same protection as an older fetus or someone who is outside of the womb. This is a serious assumption! Particularly when scientific advances have consistently moved our ideas of when a fertilized egg becomes a full human-being in one direction only – towards the point of conception. There is the life of a (potential, to some) human being in the balance, and we err on the side of murder?

That the pre-born baby needs the “life support” of the womb for awhile shouldn’t affect her status as a human being. After all, an infant is still completely dependent on others for survival, and that doesn’t make it our choice whether or not to let her live. To use another analogy, let’s say a person is on life-support in the hospital, but it’s almost certain that he will fully recover within 9 months’ time. Most, if not all, would agree that it would be unthinkable to unhook him from that life-support.

Just because pregnancies sometimes occur in difficult situations doesn’t change how we should view our options. Lots of humans can cause difficulties in our lives – mentally ill family members, special needs children, elderly parents with dementia, etc. There are various ways we can cope with these situations, but murder is not an accepted one. I think we’ve only gotten away with abortion all of this time because, unless we have an ultrasound, we can’t see the baby, so we can pretend it’s not a real person. Unfortunately, many young women who undergo abortions never hear these arguments, but later realize with guilt and sorrow the truth about the “choice” they made.

Mailbag: Dryer Blows Circuit Breaker on Heated-Dry Cycle Only

rho wrote:

beaumark dryer older Ge style runs for 2-3 minutes then blows circuit breaker fuses, runs fine on air fluff circuit any ideas?

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

You didn’t say whether this is a gas or electric dryer; however, in my infinite wisdom and mercy, the Samurai divines that you have an electric dryer. Therefore, we shall proceed on this infallible divination. If I’m wrong, ask for a refund.

This might be a classic case of a grounded heating element. Oh, I know what you’re asking, “A do-what?” Say it with me one time: grounded heating element. This is where the electric heating element (which is really just a coil of steel that glows orange-hot when current runs through it) has split in two and one part is touching the dryer cabinet or the heating element housing. (A bobby pin or coin or some other conductive debris that got into the heating element area can create this same condition.) This makes a direct connection from one leg of the power supply to ground, i.e., a short. The circuit breaker is doing its job in cutting power to the dryer.

The other possibility is that the circuit breaker itself has gone bad and is no longer able to carry a load without tripping. If you do need to replace the breaker, make sure you use one with the the same current rating as the original. For example, don’t replace a 30-amp breaker with a 40-amp breaker.

Ok, happy fixing!

To learn more about your dryer, or to order parts, click here.

New Hampster’s Election Rat Race

I just learned that Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Presidential candidate, will be on the ballot in 48 states. I was delighted that my party was going to have such a strong national presence in this upcoming election but was also curious about which two bonehead states excluded him from the ballot. Turns out they are Oklahoma and, to my eternal shame, my very own Live-Free-or-Die New Hampshire! I confirmed this depressing news at the New Hampshire Secretary of State website. You can read lots of good discussion on how this happened here.

Ralph Nader, however, did make the ballot in New Hampshire (but also not Oklahoma–what the hell is the problem with those nutty Okies?). Although I disagree with Nader on several key issues, he is absolutely a league above the Tweedledumb vs. Tweedledumber choice the we have with the R’s and D’s and he is a candidate with integrity. As Justin Raimondo observed, beneath his leftist garb, Nader has a glimmer of the Old Right in him.

So, cheated out of the option of voting for my ideal Libertarian Presidential candidate, I will settle for casting my vote for a man with whom I don’t agree 100%, but whom I trust and respect. Although it’s true that he doesn’t have a prayer of being elected, the idea is to send a message to the Beltway Bandits telling them that we’re wise to their one-party scam masquerading with two different names. Can you imagine the shockwaves that would ripple through those spineless thieves in DC when third party candidates rack up just 5% of the vote? Let’s make ’em crap their pants!

If you’re in New Hampshire, vote Nader for President. Outside New Hampshire (except Oklahoma), vote Badnarik. And if you live in Oklahoma, just stay home on November 2 and boycott the faux-election.