Monthly Archives: January 2009

Cheap Fix for a Dim Display on an Oven Control Panel

A common problem on ovens and ranges with the digital display is that the display starts to go dim after a while. It usually starts gradually and gets progressively dimmer until you can barely see it. You have two choices of repair tactics:

1. Replace the electronic control board, typical cost: $250. And there’s no guarantee that the display won’t dim again in a another couple of years.

2. Replace the capacitors on the control board, typical cost: $10. And you gotta be able to solder on printed circuit boards.

Here’s the inside scoop on what’s happening. The digital display is powered by very specific DC drive voltages. Theses voltages are created by a transformer and stabilized by capacitors, all of which are located on the control board. Most of these capacitors are only rated to a working temperature of 220˚F. Well, it don’t take a brain surgeon, like yours so very frikkin’ truly, to realize that over time the heat will reduce the capacitor’s ability to capacitate thus lowering the drive voltage and dimming the display. Awwite, that’s all the theory we need to know so let’s get into the generic strategery of this repair…

The specifics will vary with the exact layout and composition of the control board you’re working on but, generally, the flow goes like this:

1. Kill power to the unit.

2. Disassemble whatever you need to to get at the control board.

3. Locate the capacitors on the control board. Typically, there are three but, again, go with what you see. They’ll look something like this:


4. Make a list of the capacitors, noting the capacitance, working voltage, and temperature rating printed on each capacitor.

5. Go to your local Radio Shack and buy the replacement caps. It’s OK for the replacements to have a higher working voltage than the original but not lower. Try to buy the ones with the highest temperature rating you can get. And match the capacitance rating (usually given in micro-farads, μf) as close as you can to the original.

6. Unsolder the old caps and solder in the new one – soldering help here. Be careful to observe the correct polarity when installing the new caps!

Now go pop yourself a cold brewski and get me one while you’re at it. Mucho domos!

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

Whirlpool Duet Front Loading Washer Leaves Water in Drum and Clothes Wet

This is an uncommon problem in the Whirlpool Duet washer (also sold under the Kenmore brand as the HE2t and HE3t): after the cycle completes, there’s still water left in the drum and, of course, the clothes are sopping wet. If the problem is something caught in the pump, usually the machine would give an F/02 (long drain) error code. Even without an error code in the display, you still gotta check the pump for stray panties and other goodies because it’s part of due diligence. If the pump is clear, then the problem is the wash cycle program. Since the cycle program is controlled by the Central Control Unit (CCU), one of the electronic control boards in this washer, then the solution is to replace the CCU:

CCU for a Whirlpool Duet washer - click it to git it, Hoss

We recently helped a talented Apprentice in the Samurai Appliance Repair Forum solve this problem. Read the gripping saga of his repair odyssey.

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

No Water from the Dispenser on a GE Refrigerator

One of the many common problems on the newer GE refrigerators is that the chilled water dispenser quits dispensing water, chilled or otherwise.

First, rule out that the water inlet valve Part Number: WR57X10032
Part number: WR57X10032

(the one in the back of the refrigerator, behind the service panel) is the problem. The water inlet valve is located at the lower left in the rear, it has a blue side and a red side

Next, test the voltage to the blue side; should get 120 volts when water on door is activated. If you don’t, then you have to troubleshoot that circuit to find out what happened to the voltage– that’s a story or another post. The more interesting question, however, is, “What does it mean if you DO have 120vac at the blue valve coil?” Does it automatically mean that the valve is bad? Not necessarily, Grasshoppah.

What if the valve is opening as commanded but water is blocked from making it out of the dispenser? What could cause this? Well, one common problem with these newer GE fridges is that the water in the dispenser tube near the dispenser assembly freezes up. Yeah, turns out this is a common problem with these units. So common, in fact, that GE came out with a special Dispenser Heater Kit for this very problem Part Number: WR49X10173
Part number: WR49X10173

And here’s what it looks like installed:

dispenser heater.jpg

Photo courtesy of Sublime Master Hvacdrd.

You can buy the dispenser heater kit here.

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


Recurring and Intermittent F1 Error Code on a Whirlpool / Kenmore Oasis Washer

A Sublime Master at the Samurai School of Appliantology recently did battle with one of these newfangled Oasis washing machines. The F1 error code was intermittent, which made it impossible to troubleshoot. Turns out there’s a service bulletin out on this problem. Come, feast your bewildered eyeballs on the wisdom of the Masters.

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

Common Repairs on a Whirlpool / Kenmore Direct Drive Washer

If you already know what’s wrong with your Whirlpool-built direct drive washer, this quick n’ handy reference for the most common repairs will get you going mo’scratchie.

But if’n you can’t figger what’s wrong or what repair needs to be done, komenzie hither to the Appliantology Academy and let the Appliantological Masters make straight your path.

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

Replacing the Cabinet on a Whirlpool / Kenmore Direct Drive Washer

The engineers got it right on this one; this is one of the easiest washers to work on ever made. The cabinet comes off like bip, bap, boom. But getting the cabinet back on can sometimes be a bit of pain for the uninitiated. Here are some tips that’ll hepya do it to it.

click for larger viewLook at the base of the washer on the sides. You’ll see two extrusions or metal tabs that mate with slots in the bottom of the cabinet. The cabinet has a lip on the bottom front that goes under the bottom frame of the washer. Place the lip under the base, let the cabinet down to mate to the extrusions on the base. Line the back up to the cabinet and replace the brass colored clips that hold the back of the washer to the cabinet. Plug the lid switch back in. Put console back in place and install the screws holding console.

The New and Improved Samurai Appliance Repair Forum is Up and Running!

The Eagle has landed! The world-famous Samurai School of Appliantology, is up and running, fully intact and operational, at our new campus. We also upgraded to new forum software while we were at it. And we had a custom theme developed for us so the forum blends in visually with this site. All in less than two weeks and that during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays! Thanks to the great folks at Data1Systems, everything went slicker than snotcicles on Mt. Lafayette. Major domos to Jim Hale and Di at Data1Systems!

The new forum software, called UltraBB, has several built-in visual design layouts called “themes.” If you haven’t registered in the repair forum yet, then you’ll see the spiffy, new forum theme by default. If you joined the forum prior to this move, then the forum will look like this to you. If you’re a forum member, you can change your forum theme anytime you want to in your forum preferences. I recommend you set it to the “Appliance” theme for the optimal Samurai School experience.

Oh, I could have locked everyone into the theme I wanted everyone to see. But that’s not the Samurai Way. That’s because the Samurai is all about choice and empowering people to take control of their Informational Modalities®. Heck, you can hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us ‘cuz, at the Samurai School, you git it yooouurr waaay!!

As always, the Samurai School is open to anyone and free to read, peruse, and search for wisdom. If you’d like to download any of the thousands of illustrative attachments or post a question, you must enter the Dragon.

There’s still a bunch of moving in stuff to do, links to add and other tweaks. But that’ll be ongoing work while the dojo is in session. Right! You got questions, I got sciatica; now let’s get stuff fixed!

The Samurai School of Appliantology is Moving…

That's right, my fellow appliantology acolytes, Sunday evening (1/11/09) this forum is moving to a new, more powerful server that will serve up forum pages faster than Mrs. Samurai serves up spam and grits!

But wait, there's more!

It's not just a new server– we're also upgrading to new forum software. You'll find it to be functionally very similar to this board but with some waay cool improvements. And a FREE cappuccino maker! … well, not really, but it does have a spiffy, new custom-designed look (check it out)!

So, the forum will go down Sunday evening and the transfer will thus commence. None of your posts or replies or anything will be lost! But the forum will be down for about 12 to 24 hours, depending on how long it takes for the domain name change to reach your particular webhood.

While the forum is transferring, I'll have this temporary forum set up for questions. You don't have to register or anything to post questions; it's totally open. I'll shut it down after the transfer to the permanent forum is complete.

How will you know when it's complete? Just keep coming to and, when it looks like this, you'll know you're at the new and improved forum. Eess seemple, da? Ha, ha, ha, you seely Ameedicans!

A little bump in the road, my dear tomodachi, and we'll be back better than ever! Mucho domos for being cool about it.

Mailbag: Which Brand of Dishwasher to Buy?

Brent wrote:

Dear Samarai,
Thank you for the great advice on your site. I have Kenmore model you described. Replaced switches and now will replace thermal fuse.

If I have to get new dishwasher, do you have any suggestion for Kenmore or other model that is made well, that is less likely to have same problems with switches and fuse as my current model ?
Thanks for the help.


Ahh, Grasshoppah, here I present to you a Great and Universal Truth of Appliantology (GUTA): All dishwashers made today suck.

You’re gonna be fixing whatever brand you buy about as often as Grandpa needs his prostate checked. Therefore, your prime criteria in selecting a dishwasher (or ANY appliance, for that matter) is to choose a brand that has the most technically precise and easily-accessible repair information available to the non-appliance tech public free of charge. Currently, only four brands fit this bill: Whirlpool (and its sub-brands: Kitchenaid, Roper, Maytag, Amana, Jenn-Air), Frigidaire, LG, and Dacor. Don’t get me wrong– they still suck. But at least with these four manufacturers you can get the information you need to fix their appliances when they surely break.

If you currently have an older model dishwasher, you’re usually better off fixing what you have rather than buying a new one. And replacing a dishwasher is a little more complicated than plugging in a toaster. You can get help fixing your dishwasher from certifiable appliance gurus in the world-famous Samurai School of Appliantology.

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