Monthly Archives: October 2006

RepairClinic Earns the Coveted Intergalactic Samurai-Approved Certification

Intergalactic Samurai-Approved Certification, 2006 -- click for larger viewAs long-time readers of these hallowed electrons know, Samurai Appliance Repair Man awards the widely-acclaimed Intergalactic Samurai-Approved Certification (ISAC) each year to an outstanding bidness in the appliance repair field. I am pleased to announce that has earned the coveted ISAC for 2006.

Recently, I flew the Samurai Learjet to Detroit and visited the good folks at, the biggest (and best) online appliance parts store. When I landed at Detroit Metro, I was pleased to see that the limousine was already there waiting for me.

Inspection of RepairClinic Facility and Staff-- click for larger viewAt their brand-new, modern, 72,000 square-foot facility in Canton, MI, the Repairclinic machine hums away, day and night, taking orders and shipping out parts all over the US (Canada coming soon! …maybe …hopefully )– a very impressive and high-tech operation. Here’s an aerial shot of the Samurai inspecting the RepairClinic facility and staff.

So, how did RepairClinic earn the coveted and cherished ISAC? Well, for starters, all orders are received, processed, and shipped right from their own facility in Canton, MI. This means you get your parts FAST. In fact, almost all orders are shipped the same day the order is received. All the other online parts stores use some other third party, unknown to you, for order fulfillment. In addition to increasing costs for you and delaying your shipment, these kinds of third-party arrangements also complicates things like returns. Speaking of returns…

If you click through any link on this website to get to RepairClinic, such as this one, and order parts, you can return that part, no matter what it is, for any reason, even electrical parts! Lemme run that last part by you again in case you missed it, Slick: …even electrical parts. This is unheard of in all the dark, murky underworld of home appliances. I dare you to find any other vendor with a similar policy. No, I DOUBLE dare you!

The Samurai, Larry Beach, and Chris Hall sharing a laugh-- click for larger view.But, of course, it wasn’t all work during my visit to RepairClinic; we made time for socializing and getting to know each other. For example, here’s a picture of me cracking up RepairClinic’s CEO, Larry Beach (right), and President, Chris Hall (left), with my really cool Darth Vader imitation. Good times, good times.

Congratulations to the RepairClinic Team!

“My Oven Temperature is Out of Whack”

digital, high-accuracy thermocouple oven thermometerIf you suspect that your oven temperature is off, the first thang you gotta do is get an accurate temperature reading inside that oven. That means you need to start with an accurate thermometer. Your assessment of your oven’s temperature accuracy is only as good as the thermometer you’re using. So, start with an accurate thermometer, such as this one to verify the actual temperature of the oven.

During the course of my vast and awesome experience practicing the ancient martial art of Fixite Do, I’ve learned that most inexpensive dial thermometers are no more accurate than the oven’s built-in thermostat, which are notoriously inaccurate. To get a good reading, I always use a thermocouple-type thermometer. Oh, I know, that’s a big ol’ expensive-sounding title but I have one that’s very well suited for this purpose and at a good price. Check it out, Hoss.

Ovens take time to reach the temperature you set. Even a preheat cycle only gets the oven temperature close to where you’ve set it. To get an accurate reading, let the oven cycle on and off at least three times, which takes about 20 minutes.

Also, even the best oven thermostats have an ‘acceptable range’ of operation. This means that most manufacturers consider a thermostat in perfect working operation if it can achieve an oven temperature within 25 degrees of what you’ve set it to. For example, if you’ve set your oven to 350 degrees, it is acceptable for the actual temperature to be 325-375 degrees. That’s one of the reasons recipes typically offer a range of time for baking. Plus, factors like humidity and altitude also affect baking time.

Too many technicians have tried to satisfy a customer by replacing a thermostat that was 25 degrees low – only to find the new one is 25 degrees high! That’s why you need an accurate thermocouple-type oven thermometer to double-check the calibration of the oven’s thermostat.

To learn more about your range/stove/oven, or to order parts, click here.

Tres Oven Tips Just in the Nick o’ Time for Cooking Season

Here we are well into Autumn, the grills are getting stored for winter and you’re re-discovering your oven… only to find, to your utter shock and dismay, that your strategy of fixing the oven by ignoring it all summer and using the outside grill exclusively completely failed to fix anything in the oven. So, here, now, are three pearls of wisdom for the most common oven problems.

Gas Oven Doesn’t Bake Fast Enough

When the food takes far too long to finish cooking, you may have a weak bake igniter. “No, I know the ignitor’s good because I saw it glowing.” Oh, please, stop embarrassing yourself and just keep reading… quietly.

Often, you need to replace the igniter even if it seems to glow properly; this condition is often misdiagnosed as a gas valve failure. If you want to know for sure, you’ll need to spend about $100 for a clampon ampmeter, learn how to use it, which means you’ll need to read more *gasp*, understand how gas control circuits work so that you can interpret the current draw measurement of the ignitor. Or you could just use the generally-accepted rule of thumb: the gas should ignite 1 to 3 minutes after the igniter begins glowing. If it takes much longer than this, then your ignitor is bad– come git you one.

For additional potential causes of uneven baking see the range/stove/oven repair help for your specific oven type.

The Broiler in Your Gas Oven Won’t Broil

No broiler flame – This is usually caused by a weak or burned out broiler igniter. Hmm, where have we heard this before… oh yeah, see above; it’s like weird science except there’s really nothing weird about it, pretty straight-forward stuff.

The igniter (bake or broil) is a small, round or rectangular device, about 1 inch by 4 to 8 inches. Look for the igniter near the tube-type device (burner) that the gas flows through before it’s ignited. The burner has small holes on the sides where the gas when ignited forms a long, low flame. If the igniter is weak, if it glows red but doesn’t get hot enough, or if it’s burned out, the gas doesn’t flow to the burner and the burner won’t ignite. If this is the problem, you may need to replace the igniter. You can find a replacement igniter for your oven with the PartDetective.

The Oven Light Doesn’t Work

The interior oven light in most ovens (gas and electric) is a standard 40 watt appliance bulb. Often, to change the bulb, you first need to remove a shield or glass dome. It may help to see a breakdown diagram of your range before proceeding on your repair odyssey. If the bulb isn’t burned out, the problem may be with the switch on the oven door frame. If the switch works poorly, intermittently, or not at all then it’s FUBAR and you will need to replace it— it ain’t repairable, Hoss.