Monthly Archives: January 2005

Appliantology Repair Forum: Glitch or Hack?

Somehow, almost two months worth of posts were deleted from the repair forum at the Appliantology Group. This is an extremely active forum with dozens of posts per day. You’ll notice that the most recent post (after the current ones) are dated 11-30-2004. I have no idea how all those posts got deleted but I do know that neither myself nor any of the group assistant managers deleted all those posts. As incredible as it sounds that a Microsoft product might have a glitch, I can only assume that this is exactly what happened in this case. I’ve sent an email to MSN Groups help and am optimistic that I’ll get a reply soon, maybe even within the next 12 months. I’ll keep you posted.

The more insidious possibility is that the group was hacked. Even though this is a free repair forum where other techs and I donate our time and expertise to help people fix their own appliances without charging a dime, I will not tolerate this kind of vandalism– if indeed it is. So I am putting up my own money as a reward to help nail one of these hacker punks.

If you have personal knowledge that the Appliantology Group was hacked, I am offering a cash reward of $1,000 if you can provide the proof that will allow me to prosecute and convict the dirtbag perpetrator.

Thanks for your help.

New Member Settings for the Appliantology Group

As you Appliantology groupies may have noticed, there’s been an increase in spam postings in the repair forum recently. Because of this, I’ve had to change the group membership setting from open, meaning anyone can join without needing my approval, to restricted, meaning I have to approve all new members before they can post in the forum. I hate having to do this because 1) I like the group to be completely open and 2) it means more work for me– never a good thing. But, from experience, I know this is an effective deterent to spammers because they’re easy to spot. They always use nonsensical usernames like, ngkhj876, or they give some vague reason for wanting to join that makes no reference to appliance repair such as, “I really like your group!”

Unfortunately, it also means a slight delay before a new, prospective member can get help in the forum. But, while I’m laid up recovering from the microchip implant in my spine, I can check in with the forum more frequently and approve pending members. So, the inconvenience for the new member would be equivalent to, say, running out of toilet paper while on the john and waiting for their spouse to bring a new roll. Or something like that. You get the idea.

Anyway, this will all hopefully be only temporary until this wave of spammers passes us by. In the meantime, I invite you to join me in singing a rousing round of Popeye the Sailor Man.

Today’s Affirmation for Effective Appliance Repair: All of me is beautiful and valuable, even the ugly, stupid, and disgusting parts.

Appliantology 3000 Microchip Implant Now Available!

As many of my long-time grasshoppers know, the CIA occasionally calls upon the Samurai for special assignments which are particularly dangerous (for example, this assignment I did in Iraq).

I have recently completed yet another covert assignment for The Company; this one involved testing a prototype of an implantable microchip. My assignment was to be the human test subject and to have this protoype implanted into my spine. This was the real reason for the back surgery that I previously told you about. For obvious national security reasons, I was unable to reveal the full nature of the surgery to you at that time.

The Agency has declassified portions of this project and I am now free to tell you about this brilliant technological breakthough. The microchip is called the Appliantology 3000® Total Appliance Awareness Microchip Implant (TAAMI). Its purpose is to provide appliance repair technicians with instant and total access to information on every appliance ever made or that will be made. TAAMI meets or exceeds all of its design objectives. Below is a photograph of the Appliantology 3000® Total Appliance Awareness Microchip Implant:

Appliantology 3000 Microchip-- click for larger view
Appliantology 3000® Microchip

I cannot emphasize strongly enough how much of a windfall TAAMI is for our national security. The successful implantation of TAAMI into every appliance repair technician in America will make our nation invulnerable to all threats, foreign and domestic.

I know many appliance technicians reading this have serious concerns about receiving such an implant. Some of you are concerned about civil liberties issues such as privacy; others may be apprehensive about having a device surgically implanted into your spine. Let me assure you that you have nothing to fear on both counts. Privacy in this electronic age is an illusion–Big Brother already knows everything about you.

As for the surgery, ain’t nothing to it. A skilled surgeon implants the chip into the lumbar region of your spine, as shown below:

Location of TAAMI Implant-- click for larger view
Location of TAAMI Implant

The procedure only takes about an hour and half and you’re out of the hospital that same day. You’re left with a tiny, permanent lump at the base of your spine which is completely unnoticeable. You can barely see it in the picture below:

Side View of TAAMI Implant Site-- click for larger view
Side View of TAAMI Implant Site

But wait, there’s more! The Appliantology 3000® Total Appliance Awareness Microchip Implant is also an integrated communications device. Throw away your cell phone, voice recorder, and all those other gadgets. Since the Appliantology 3000® microchip is uplinked to the global satellite phone system, you can make phone calls to anyone in the world from whereever you are by simply talking! Here’s an example of a voice recording I made today on the implant by simply speaking normally:

The sound quality is a little muffled because the sound has to travel down my spinal canal to reach the microchip at the base of my spine. But still, you can hear the words clearly. Sound quality enhancement is one of the design goals slated for the second generation of TAAMIs.

If you are a currently practicing appliance repair technician, the Department of Homeland Security will be contacting you soon to schedule your implant surgery. In the meantime, I am available to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you may have regarding the Appliantology 3000® Total Appliance Awareness Microchip Implant. Feel free to post your questions or comments here; email me at samurai AT; or call me at (603) 526-7129. Remember: we appliance repair technicians are the vanguard defending Truth, Justice, and the Ameedican Way!

Samurai Appliance Repair Apprenticeship Training

As many of you know, the Samurai had back surgery last week for a ruptured disk at L4-L5. The surgery went well but I’m out of action for the next three months while my back heals up. Last week, just four days after my surgery, our neighbor’s refrigerator crapped out on them… again. The refrigerator is a Maytag top and bottom with one of those wimpy Panasonic evaporator fan motors. I had previously replaced the motor because it had burned out and, from what they described (fan in the freezer not running), it sounded like the motor might have burned out again. Dayyam! Well, the Samurai is dedicated to his craft and, fresh back surgery not withstanding, I was duty-bound to fix that refrigerator. So, I did what any Samurai Appliance Repair Man would do in my situation: I drafted two of my Samurai reproductive units into service to help me fix our neighbor’s refrigerator.

So I grabbed a fresh brewski (Sam Adams Winter Lager) and summoned two of my reproductive units to begin their apprenticeship training. Ollie grabbed my tool bag from my workshop, Samenilla tucked my clipboard under his arm, and together we trudged outside into the frigid New Hampshire day. I fished a new evaporator fan motor out of my service van and hobbled off through the snow and ice with my two apprentices to our neighbor’s house.

Our neighbors weren’t home so we went on inside and were greeted by their two elderly and rotund rottweilers. I opened the freezer door and, sho ’nuff, the fan motor was dead. I instructed my two apprentices to remove everything from the freezer. Once emptied, I guided Samurai Apprentice Ollie on removing the freezer back wall retaining screws so we could access the fan motor. Here she is in action:

Samurai Apprentice, Ollie, Dismantles the Freezer Compartment.  Click for larger view.
Samurai Apprentice, Ollie, Dismantles the Freezer Compartment

As soon as the back wall tilted forward, the fan motor started running! My slightly fermented brain told me that we had a bad connection somewhere. My keen, Vulcan squinties located the problem right away as soon as I removed the power plug to the fan motor. One of the wire pins in the connector was fuzzed out with blue mold, as you can sort of see below:

Moldy Evaporator Fan Motor Connector Plug.  Click for  larger view.
Moldy Evaporator Fan Motor Connector Plug

Connector Socket on the Evaporator Fan.  Click for larger view.
Connector Socket on the Evaporator Fan

The preferred fix in this situation would be to replace the connector plug. But I didn’t have one. Now, here’s where my years of being a certifiable appliance parts changer paid off in spades. I picked out as much mold as I could with a piece of wire, reconnected the harness and the motor ran fine. Then I gave it the tug test: good to go.

Everything was proceeding nicely except a new problem suddenly emerged: I had finished my beer and was now working sudsless! This was a crisis of the highest order so I made an emergency phone call to Mrs. Samurai. She sprang into action and sprinted down to the neighbor’s house with a fresh brewski. Now that’s what I call the perfect woman!

Samurai Apprentice Samenilla re-assembled the freezer back wall. Here he is in action:

Samurai Apprentice, Samenilla, Demonstrates His Nutdriver Technique.  Click for larger view.
Samurai Apprentice, Samenilla, Demonstrates His Nutdriver Technique

So, with the help of two apprentices, the Samurai fixed a refrigerator just four days after having back surgery. If I were doing all the work myself (before back surgery), I could have torn the freezer apart, made the repair, and reassembled it all on a single bottle of beer. And rightly so, since this repair only rates a single mug on the SUDS-o-meter. But here’s the moral of the story: you have to invest time in your apprentices if you’re going to pass on the craft to the next generation of appliance parts changers thus preserving and defending truth, justice, and the Ameedican Way.

New and Improved Sounds at

sfdfgsdfgsdf wrote:

the sound on your website is REALLY F*CKING ANNOYING. do YOU like it when websites have really long annoying sounds when you go to them? didnt think so.


Message sent from IP:

It’s exactly this kind of constructive criticism that enables us continually to refine the unique user experience we strive to achieve here at Based on this email, we’ve made some modifications to our website’s sound system. Play the clip below to hear the pleasing new sound that will play on each and every page of this website to enhance your user experience:

Obituary: Common Sense. Died 24/7/1960 in America’s Heart, USA

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend by the name of
Common Sense who has been with us for many years. No one knows for
sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in
bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such
value lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the
early bird gets the worm and that life isn’t always fair.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t
spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults,
not kids, are in charge). His health began to rapidly deteriorate when
well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for
kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash
after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student,
only worsened his condition. It declined even further when schools
were required to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a
student; however they could not inform the parents when a student
became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Finally, Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten
Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and
criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after a woman failed to
realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, she spilled a bit in
her lap, and was awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and
Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his
son, Reason.

He is survived by two stepbrothers; My Rights and Ima Whiner.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was

Thanks to Matushka Galina Tregubov for passing this along.

The Government Program that Saved Us from the Jungle

dude wrote:

The public school system is what made this country a world power instead of a thirdworld jungle. Remember, the clues have the little blue paw prints on them. Find one.

The public school system is what made this country a world power instead of a thirdworld jungle. Remember, the clues have the little blue paw prints on them. Find one.

(I typed it twice so I wouldn’t type it incorrectly.)


Message sent from IP:

What a witty and informative email! I never knew that we had jungles in this country before public schools came along. Whew! I don’t like humid heat and bugs the size of my foot.

Unfortunately, this clever fellow suffers from a common misconception regarding the history of public schooling. Most people don’t even know when public schools started or why. The when is around the 1850’s. The why is a bit more complicated, but had a lot to do with assimilating the immigrant children quickly and helping them to conform with the existing population. (A lot of the intellectuals of the time had grave concerns about the effect of the Irish and others on the quality of the U.S. citizenry.)

By the time public schools opened, the U.S. had already rocketed to premier first-world status and was an amazing financial success story. This was due to the unprecedented freedoms in our country at that time. Simply speaking, the government stayed out of its citizens’ lives and the result was prosperity and relative peace. Most of you can look at our country’s history since the mid-1800s and see that public schooling was just part of a pattern of increasing government intervention.

The result? Our literacy level has steadily decreased since the first public school opened it’s doors. Many people mistakenly think that we had a bunch of barely literate country bumpkins in this country in the early years. Not so! As an example, Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” was estimated to have been read by half of the adult population at that time. Now, it is considered difficult reading for high schoolers. Furthermore, over the span of the 20th century as public schooling became the norm for the majority of children, functional illiteracy (unable to read or write a simple message) doubled to over 20%.

I see public education as an experiment that has failed. I look around me at all of the great services, products, and medical advances that exist because of free enterprise. Given competition and a profit motive, it is rare that a failing system will survive for long (Microsoft Windows is arguably the notable exception to this). But given government protection, a mediocre (or worse) program can live on forever. Think of it – how does a private school increase it’s income? By having a successful, appealing program that draws more students and justifies higher tuition. How does a public school get more money? By proving that they have failed to produce adequate results and therefore need more funds to address the problem. The quality of students continues to decline (the author of the above email excepted, I’m sure), yet we are expected to pay more and more. Is it just me, or is this insane?

If you are interested in learning more about the history of education in this country from someone who really knows about it, read the excellent books written by John Taylor Gatto.

Louie and the Samurai Reproductive Units

Louie is overweight, blind, deaf, severely arthritic, and prone to seizures, but he never seems to let that get him down. He’s a sweet dog who belongs to our next door neighbor, Bill, who hasn’t been able to bring himself to put Louie to sleep, although he knows it is time. On Christmas Day, Louie wandered off into the woods behind our house and, despite a search by many of the neighbors, he was not found. After a few days, everyone assumed that Louie had gone off into the woods to die. Bill feared that my kids, who spend a lot of time there, would come across his body at some point. And today, 17 days later, the kids did find Louie — alive!

The Phillips Preserve is about 70 acres of woods that abuts our property. There are hiking trails in it, but this time of year the snow clears away all of the underbrush and you can go just about anywhere you want. Ivey, Stephen, and Sam went out late this morning to take Ouzo for a long walk in the woods and after about 15 minutes of hiking … there was Louie curled up next to a tree! He was thinner and very weak, but otherwise seemed okay. Ivey ran back home and told the Samurai who, of course, could do nothing about it being only 24 hours post-surgery. (I was in town running errands.) So she got a big sled and dragged it back to where the boys waited with Louie. They got Louie onto the sled and took turns dragging him home over hilly terrain. Once here, they covered him with a blanket and gave him food and water.

Bill and his wife were away for the day, so when I got home we loaded Louie in our van and drove him to the vet. They were amazed! They couldn’t believe he had survived so long without food or medication and was in such relatively good shape. Finally, Bill returned home and heard the news. He rushed over to see Louie, then I saw him afterwards. He said Louie was strong enough to walk. Bill’s not an emotional guy, but he told me to tell the kids that he was forever in debt to them, and that they had made an old man happy.

There’s so much that’s amazing about this story. First of all, that Louie survived for so long. Also, that he happened to be in the area that the kids were hiking in so that they would find him.

Many of the neighbors are calling this a miracle and saying the kids are heroes. The kids feel kind of funny about that – they just did what had to be done. Louie is the one who did the hard part.

Appliance Repair Revelation, The Secrets of Household Electricity… REVEALED!

appliance tip of the day archiveClick here to check out sample clips of this amazing DVD!If you’re looking for a good reference to help you understand
simple home wiring, the Samurai recommends The Basics of Household Wiring DVD. If you think you already know it all, then you don’t know what you don’t know. Think about that, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” You know, the mark of an educated person isn’t that they know everything or even a lot of things; no, the mark of an educated person is that they do know what they don’t know. I’ve been working with electricity for over 30 years and there were things in this DVD that even I didn’t know.

My Diddy always telled me, he said, “Son, the only real sin is wasting good beer.” No, wait, wrong quote; he used tell me, “Son, the day you stop learning is the day you might as well check out ‘cuz yer brain done died so what’s the point of living?” Yeah, my Diddy taught me lots of stuff. He even taught me how to tell time on his watch, which he never took out of his pocket. But, hey, that’s a story for another post. What were we talking about?

Oh yes: The Basics of Household Wiring is a professionally produced DVD by the production company, Getting Up To Speed. This excellent tutorial is designed to help you clearly understand electricity in your home, and demonstrates how to safely perform simple electrical projects. You can feast your Vulcan squinties on sample clips of this DVD here.

Topics covered in this comprehensive DVD

  • The Basics of Electricity
    • Safety, code reference, permits and insurance compliance
    • Wire colours and their meaning
    • How electricity is distributed in your home

  • Service Panels
    • Understanding the purpose and function

  • Grounding
    • The importance of grounding

  • Circuit Breakers
    • Their important role and function
    • How they operate
    • What to do when a breaker trips and how to reset

  • Household Wiring
    • Different types and sizes of wire
    • Wire colors and their meaning
    • Cabling
    • Wire gauges and how to interpret wire size

  • Understanding Amperage
    • How to choose the appropriate wire size based on
      required amps

  • Short Circuits
    • The causes of short circuits

  • Amps, Volts and Watts
    • Definitions
    • Understanding circuitry in your home
    • Learn how to calculate the safe capacity for a circuit
    • How to avoid overloading a circuit in your home

  • Safety & Testing
    • Safe practices for working around electricity in your
    • Proper testing of currents using voltage meters

  • Electrical Outlets
    • Understanding receptacles
    • The anatomy and function of common receptacles
    • How to properly replace an outlet

  • G.F.C.I.’s
    • Understanding the role of a Ground Fault Circuit
    • How they operate

  • Switches
    • The basics of a two-way or single pole switch
    • Testing a switch with a continuity tester
    • Safely replacing a switch

  • Light Fixtures
    • How to safely install a light fixture in your home

This DVD is a must-have if you’re planning on tackling any home electrical project. Also, if you’re attempting any electrical repair on your appliances, it is essential that you arm yourself with a solid understanding of electricity in your home and the basics of wiring. The Basics of Household Wiring does exactly that.

Ok, so right about now you’re saying, “I’m a believer! Gimme, gimme! How much?” That’s sweet of you to offer to buy it, but this DVD ain’t for sale. Nope. Since the Samurai is all-touchy, all-feely, and all-smelly, he is giving this DVD away as a free gift to his tired, his poor, his huddled grasshoppers yearning to fix it now with your love-offering of $40 or more to the United Samurai Beer Fund.

Recommended Reading: Making Basic Electrical Measurements.

grasshoppers sitting with the master watching The Basics of Household Wiring DVD

Mailbag: Whirlpool/Kenmore Calypso CE Error

kenmore calypso washer wrote:

Can I do anything to correct a CE error on a kenmore calyspso washer before calling for service.
A frustrated layman????

PS the machine is 18 months old and is just out of warranty. can you suggest any help to honor the warranty after being out of warranty. It is probably an electronic component.

Thanks Your my “LAST SAMURAI” help


Message sent from IP:

Alas, another unsuspecting Calypso owner. The problem you’re having now is the first of many that you’ll have with this washer. Go ahead and buy the repair manual now–you’ll need it.

The CE error stands for “Communications Error” and refers to a breakdown in communications between the machine controller and the motor controller. In practical terms, this problem is usually caused by a bad wire connection. The most common trouble spot is the quick disconnect at the motor connector–I’ve seen this problem a lot. Usually, if you just take off the connector and re-attach it, that clears it up… IF the appliance gods are grinning down upon you. But, you may not be so lucky and you may have to make a sacrifice in the temple of Appliantology to appease the appliance gods. Y’see, lots of other things can cause the CE error, too.

motor controller board on the calypso washer--come git you one!For ezzample, another common problem is a blown fuse on the motor controller board. Unfortunately, this ain’t a trivial repair like re-seating the quick-disconnect plug at the motor connector. Nawsir, in this case, you gotta replace the entire motor controller board.

Now, you might delude yourself into thinking you’re being all slick and clever by replacing just the fuse and save a wad of moola. Oh, my, but how I giggle and nearly wet myself when disheartened grasshoppers tell me of their folly in replacing the fuse on the motor control board only to end up with a burned out motor, too! Good times, good times.

Kitty in the Microwave

budthedog wrote:

I thought the cat in the microwave was an animation of some type, is there a link to the original version available? There is a bet of a case of beer riding on this. Thanks


Message sent from IP:

You must be thinking of my banner created by talented graphic artist and famous internet personality, You Hurt My Brain. Here it be:

Samurai banner

As you can see, the kitty is still in the microwave. Enjoy those brewskis!

Mailbag: Making Simple Repairs Complicated

Popeye wrote:

Mr. Samurai……….

I have a 5 year old Kenmore Washing machine with a direct drive. All is well until the start of the spin/rinse cycle. At that point, a distinctive regular clicking sound eminates from the bowels of the machine. Everything else functions normally. Water drains, rinse water is applied, water drains, tub spins. On the final high speed cycle, the clicking continues at a rythmic pace, the tub spins faster and towards the end of the cycle a distinctive smell of rubber can be detected.

I took the back off and there is no evidence of any leaking fluids, undo vibrations, or other abnormal visual signs of any problems.

So, Mr. Samurai, what’s is your diagnosis? Also, what is your favorite beer? We would like to contribute to the fund.

Popeye the Sailor Man


Message sent from IP:

Shiver me timbers, you went and turned a simple problem into a complicated one. Argh!

Your washer needed a stunningly simple repair which rated a single beer on the SUDS scale and that you could have done in 30-minutes. But, nooooo! Instead of spending a few minutes reading my enlightening disassembly instructions, you dove right in without knowing what you were doing, just like Popeye, and removed the back panel. Take a moment now and read this— go ahead, I’ll wait.

As you read there, you disassembled your washer completely wrong. In addition to being no closer to fixing the problem, you’ve created a whole new problem in getting that back panel re-attached correctly, with all the accouterments. Now’s the time when you smack your head with a hammer and yell, “DOH!”

So, what’s the real problem with your washer? Bad drive coupler– this page explains how to fix that the right way.

Instead of making simple repairs complicated, take the time to learn that which you do not know (but think you do) and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and aggravation.

For more information on your washer or to order parts, click here.