Monthly Archives: June 2007

Samurai Appliance Repair Apprenticeships

Everyday, my inbox is jammed with thousands of emails from hopeful souls all over the world pleading and begging for an apprenticeship opportunity with the Samurai. The reason is obvious: a successful apprenticeship with the Fermented Grand Master of Appliantology and the world’s one and only 33rd-degree black belt in Fixite Do is a sure ticket to a successful and lucrative career as a certifiable appliance repair technician. However, due to time constraints, I can only accept two apprentices at any one time.

Currently, my two Samurai Apprentices are Zoltan (age 12) and Osama bin Fahrtin (age 10). And since they’re also my spawn, they’ll be apprenticing with me for the next six to eight years. However, they’ve prepared the following progress reports to give you, the abnormally hopeful candidate, a taste of the magic and glory of apprenticing with the Samurai.

Samurai Apprentice Zoltan offers this summary of his apprenticeship:

Konnichiwa, I will now tell you the great honor of working with the Samurai.

First, you must train yourself in tool-to-hand combat, or in other words you must know where his tools are, and when to hand them to him.

Secondly, the tool-bearer must keep the Samurai’s tools clean and in their place, for the Samurai does not tolerate fools.

Thirdly, you must be able to deal with customers. Some customers are honored to have the Samurai in their humble abode; some treat him like a parts changing monkey.

So you must always be ready for battle when the Samurai gets a call from someone who wants him to lay on dirty floors and fix stinking appliances. Now I must go, for my master needs a socket wrench. Sayonara.

And Samurai Apprentice Osama bin Fahrtin offers this troika of haikus about the types of customers he’s met while on service calls with the Samurai:

Some people are weird:
creepy, dirty, scary like
Tales from the Dark Side.”

A few are cheesedorks,
Complaining about his fee.
They shall taste his blade!

Cheerful and friendly:
This is the best customer,
They do not complain.

Whirlpool Duet Sport Dryer: Diagnostics and Fault Codes

The Whirlpool Duet Sport dryer uses an “electronic control system” consisting of a dime-store calculator LCD display, a plastic touch pad, and a cheesy circuit board, all made in a Chinese sweat shop.

Begin call for sanity:

Dryers are simple, humble machines that do three things: tumble the clothes, get ’em warm, and move a lot of air. Why would you want or even need an over-priced failure-prone “electronic control system” for a friggin’ dryer? I can almost understand it for a refrigerator or a gourmet oven, but a dryer? Putting an electronic control board in a dryer is like installing a GPS nav system on a kid’s tricycle. Enough! Stop the madness! Friends don’t let friends buy dryers loaded with over-blown electronic crap.

End call for sanity.

You can run several diagnostics tests on the Duet’s electronic control system– most of which you’ll use to see if the wanton electronics are working right. Before starting the diagnostics tests, the dryer should be in standby mode, which simply means that all indicators are off and the dryer isn’t running.

To enter the diagnostic mode, choose any selector button other than Pause/Cancel and do this little keyboard dance:

Press and hold for three seconds,
release for three seconds;
press and hold for three seconds,
release for three seconds;
press and hold for three seconds.

A control console guide is shown below, click it for a larger view:

Whirlpool Duet Sport Dryer Console

You’ll know you’ve entered diagnostic mode because all the indicators on the console will light up for five seconds and you’ll see the code “88” in the Estimated Time Remaining display. And you’ll feel love for the Samurai bubbling up from within your heart and an overwhelming desire to buy him a brewski— it’s beautiful and totally normal, just go with it.

If there are no fault codes stored in the board, then all the indicators will momentarily turn off, then come back on and stay on; the “88” will remain in the digital display. OTOH, if there are fault codes stored in the system, the most recent will alternately show (such as F-22), then the display will switch to show “XX.” If there is an active fault code, meaning that a fault code appears in the display when you try to use the dryer to dry some clothes, it will be flashing on the display. A complete listing of all the fault codes in the Duet Sport dryer is shown below, click it for a larger view:

Whirlpool Duet Sport Dryer Fault Codes
Uploaded with Skitch!

Advancing Through the Diagnostic Procedures

Pressing More Time will toggle the left digit on the display; pressing Less Time will toggle the right digit on the display. In both cases, the control should beep. You can quit diagnostic mode at any time by pressing Pause/Cancel.

Now, it may happen that when you toggle these buttons, you don’t see anything happening on the display and you don’t hear any beeping– nuttin’, honey. After cursing superfluous electronics in appliances that just don’t need them and after appropriately berating yourself for not heeding the Samurai’s sage warning against appliances infected by shoddy electronic controls, then it’s time to cinch up your azz strap, Bubbalouie, cuz yer goin’ in. You’ll need to open the control console and check closely for a loose connection on the P5 connector on the electronic control board. Make sure that the control housing assembly is properly inserted in the front console. Next, kill power to the dryer for about five minutes. If, after doing these steps, the indicators still won’t light, then guess what? Yep: fried control board– come git you one. I would say, “I told you so,” but I’m better than that.

While you’re in the diagnostic mode, opening the door should cause a beep and an alphanumeric number should show on the display. When you close the door, there should be another beep and the control should go back to “88.” (For those of you in Palm Beach, “alphanumeric” means they’s a number and a letter; oh yeah, we professional techs know how to work with both of ’em, that’s why we make the big money. )

To test the moisture sensor while in the diagnostic mode, open the door and bridge the metal strips on the face of the lint screen housing with a wet cloth. If the sensor is good, you’ll hear a beep and get treated to another meaningless alphanumeric number on the display.

To test the motor, heater and console ID, close the door and press the Start button. The motor and heater should turn on and the display will show a meaningless console ID, such as 9b, 9C, 9d, 9E, or 9F to give the impression that important information is being presented for your contemplation because, after all, it’s an electronic beep-beep board chock full of codes and other crap that don’t really mean anything but look ominous and important. While the dryer is running during this procedure, pressing the Start button again should turn the motor and heater off, and the display to again show “88.”

If a diagnostic procedure doesn’t give any useful information (hint: usually won’t), then it’s time to get the tech sheet from inside the console and do some real troubleshooting using the wiring diagram, your meter, and that grey jelly betwixt your ears. If you need more help, come start a new topic in the Laundry Forum and we’ll walk you through it.

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

Gas Stove Burners Sparking Like They’re Possessed

Symptoms: Burner ignitors keep sparking after a burner is fired up. The ignitor may also randomly start sparking again later, while you’re cooking.

Cure: Clean the gookus and corrosion off the mating metal faces on the burner cap and burner base. For details, grok on this topic in the repair forum.

How to Keep Your Front Loading Washer Smelling Schweet, Baby, Schweet

A complaint that some new owners of front-loading washers have is that, after a while, the washer starts smelling like moldy socks. In almost every case, with the exception of the known mildew probem with the early model Neptunes, the stench is caused by user error. The Appliantology Masters in the repair forum share some pearls of wisdom for keeping your front-loader smelling schweet.

Any Good Dishwashers Today?

Lynne wrote:

I bought a DD603 (dishwasher) today which is to be delivered July 30. Now having found this website I’m scared to death that I should cancel the order for my Fisher Paykel and get something half the price.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

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I’ll answer your question about dishwashers with an astute observation from Samurai Apprentice Grizzly, a brother-at-arms in the ancient craft of Appliantology:

Observation 3. Appliances, like most consumer products, have a sweet spot at which the best long term value can be derived by purchasing items towards the middle of the price scale. Sure don’t see many catastrophically expensive repairs with 600 to 1000 dollar Whirlpool washers. Can’t say the same about Sam’s Club spec GE appliances nor for many uh dem der fancy pants Yourapeen brands.

Amen.

And let us conclude this sermon with a quote from the Samurai Scriptures:

There are no good dishwashers today. They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Yea verily all doth sucketh and fall short of the glory of the Samurai.

— Psamurai Psalms 14:3 (Shogun Tanaka Version)

Right about now you’re nodding smugly to yourself and saying, “Yeah, uh huh, planned obsolescence so the manufacturers can rip us off and line their pockets.” You wanna know the real reason all dishwashers today suck? Go look in the mirror. While you were out clamoring for a new gubmint program to wipe your kid’s bottom or some other inane activity that government has no business getting involved with, the felons in the District of Criminals passed yet another “mandate” requiring that all dishwashers comply with their Energy Star requirements. As if we can just pass a law and, walla!, all our energy problems will be solved. What they’re really saying is that you’re too stupid to be trusted with even having a choice about what type of dishwasher you want: a robust, long-lasting energy hog like yo momma used to have or a limp-wristed bedwetter that uses less energy but that you’ll be fixing or replacing every two to four years. How much energy does that save?

Service Manual for the Kenmore Front Loading Washing Machine

Samurai Appliance Repair Man,

I have a front-loading Kenmore wash machine that is about six years old. The tub would not drain so I replaced the drain pump, the coin trap, and the drain hose. That solved the drain problem but a week later the water was back on the floor. I looked in the parts manual that came with the machine and decided it must be the O-Ring that seals the front and rear shells.

I need a real service manual for this job and the folks at Sears were absolutely worthless in helping me with finding the proper manual. I am searching the web trying to find information on how to approach this job. I am asking for some guidance on validating that this is the most likely cause of the leak and tips for how to approach the repair. Thanks in advance for your time and assistance.

Rick L.

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No model number given but a six year old, Kenmore front-loading washer will be a Friggidaire-built machine. Here’s the service manual for this washer.

You may be further nourished by my uplifting and inspiring sermon on common leak sources in the Frigidaire-built front loading washer.

Lock n’ load, Budrow!

How to Replace the Clutch in a Whirlpool Direct-Drive Top Loading Washer

One of our fine Master Appliantologists in the repair forum, Tronicsmasta, posted a spiffy photo guide for replacing the clutch in the Whirlpool-built direct-drive washing machine and it’s just aching for the furtive caress of your bulging eyeballs.

Parts you may need when you embark on this repair adventure:

Clutch Assembly

Brake and Basket Drive Tube Kit

Gearcase

(This machine is also sold under the Kenmore brand.)

Haiku for Installing a New Compressor in a Refrigerator: A Song of Degrees

Bamboo Leaf
Replace compressor,
braze with silver then recharge.
One, two, git ‘er done.

(More haikus for appliance repair.)

Tactical Weapons You’ll Need for This Job

Black Max Dual Brass AC Manifold for R-12 & R-134a

Standalone Vacuum Gauge

Refrigerant Scale

MAPP Gas & Propane Self-Lighting Hand Torch

Midget tubing Cutter 1/8″ to 5/8″

If you’ve never, ever done sealed system work before but would like to learn, this sealed system how-to DVD from Frigidaire is a must-have addition to your technical library.

How to Test the Electrical Components in the Whirlpool Duet Washer

This washer also masquerades under the Kenwhore label but it’s the same machine. One of the nice things about this washing machine is that you can test all the main electrical components right at the Central Control Unit (CCU), conveniently located under the top panel, in back. Looky here:

Under the Top Panel of a Whirlpool Duet / Kenmore HE3/4 Front Load Washer

These pages will help you find your way around inside there and clue you in to what type of measurements you need to do. BTW, the service manual for this washer is the best $25 you’ll ever spend; come git you one.

Once you figger out what’s wrong, the Samurai recommends that you buy the parts you need ratcheer. You’ll get ’em fast and you can return any part for any reason.

Frigidaire-built Kenmore Front-Loading Washer Won’t Spin

Common problem with this otherwise tragically flawed washer: it will tumble and pump out the water in the tub, but it will not spin. Usually, the problem is the speed control board. However, in accordance with the Ichiban Law of the Prophecy, you should use your meter and do a few tests to prove that the board is bad.

“But, wise and besotted Samurai, what tests are those of which you utter with slurring speech and stumbling gait?”

The ones that are printed on your washer’s tech sheet, Slick, which you’ll find behind the kickplate.

This topic in the repair forum links you to a service manual for this washer and, oh, so much more. Come ye and bask in the ancient wisdom of Fixite Do with the Sublime Masters of Appliantology at the Samurai Appliance Repair Forums.

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