Monthly Archives: March 2009

Appliantologist Merit Exam

appliantologist merit exam.  click to take it.So, Grasshoppah, you think you’re smarter than the average grasshoppah? You think you got what it takes to be a Merit Apprentice Appliantologist? Or maybe even a Buckaroo Banzai Appliantologist? Well then, come strut yo’ stuff in the Master Appliantologist Merit Exam and we shall indeed see if’n you got what it takes to become one of the most fearsome and elite appliance repair shock troops the world has ever seen!

Mailbag: How High Can a Washing Machine Drain Hose Run?

Keith wrote:

This is a weird gravity defying question for you folks & I tried searching but…… Today we have our washer on the 1st floor in the kitchen….we’re redoing the kitchen & the washer will join it’s sister in the basement… There is no plumbing the basement as the basement is well below grade. The main drain is ceiling height in the basement. 2 appliance “salesmen” have told me that the pump in the washer “should” be able to pump the water the 6 or so feet required to get it into the main drain tie-in. Does that make sense???? If not I’ve been told that I will have to install a laundry sink & then a small electric pump to make this work. Any thoughts?


Good question, thanks for axin’! Most washing machines made today, whether front loader or top loader, can pump out to a maximum height of eight feet. The stock drain hose that comes with the washer is only six feet long. So, in your situation, you’ll need to install a longer drain hose, like the one shown here.



You can also buy drain hose in bulk if you need something longer or more customizable.



As for the sink and sump pump situation, that’s pretty common in basement laundry installations. We had that same situation at our house before we moved our laundry upstairs outta the dungeon. This pump mounts to the bottom of your utility sink and pumps automatically as the need arises.

Mailbag: whrirl pool washer with a a clicking nosie on the main switch

Tommy wrote:

I have a LSQ9544KT0 whrirl pool washer. I washed a load today wemt down 30 mins later the wsher was full of water. it would not drain out, I messed with the nob when I put on wash the wash gator would turn when it came time for the water to start drainin out I could here like a clicking nosie on the main switch. do you have any Ideals thank you for your time

One of my highest Ideals is to use a spell chekr on everthg I wright. And I like to re-reed it to re-reed it to make sure I catch composition problems when I re-read it. Especially if I’m emailing someone for free advice.

The Noise You DON’T Wanna Hear from Your Refrigerator

If your refrigerator is warming up and it makes a noise like the one here… (wait for it, wait for it…)

… then you need to unplug the refrigerator immediately before you do some real damage.

Chances are that the noise featured in the video is caused by a bad start relay on the compressor— a simple control repair. But if’n you let the compressor keep trying to start, you’ll fry that sucker like a deep fried rat.

Yep, each time you hear that low hum when the compressor is trying to start, the compressor is sucking an ocean of electricity and gettin’ reeeel hot. Eventually, the insulation over the motor windings breaks down. Once this happens, the compressor won’t start even if you do replace the start relay; nawsir, it’s what we professionals call FUBAR.

Replacing a compressor is an expensive job that requires lots of special tools and training.

OTOH, you can replace a compressor start relay with a screwdriver and needle nose pliers.

So, listen up!

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

The Appliance Guru: Fast, Expert Appliance Repair Service in New London, NH

Call 526-7129

If you live in the New London, New Hampshire area, and you need a major kitchen or laundry appliance repaired, call The Appliance Guru for service so good it’s beyond exceptional– it’s sublime!

  • We are: Honest, dependable, and experienced.
  • Your Call: When you call for service at 526-7129 you’ll usually get a live human. In the off-chance that you get voicemail, it’s because of poor cell phone coverage in the Lake Sunapee area. And if you do leave a message, your call will be returned ASAP!
  • How Soon? We can usually get to your home the same day or the next day.
  • Our Arrival: We can usually schedule a one-hour window for arrival at your house so you’re not waiting around all day.
  • Fee Structure: Our service call/diagnostic fee is $85 but it is waived if you go forward with the repair. After diagnosing your machine, the complete repair price, including all service fees and parts costs, will be quoted to you up front. You can decide whether or not to go forward with the repair. If you choose to do the repair at the quoted price, you only pay for the quoted repair without the service call fee.
  • Payment Terms: For your convenience, we accept checks, cash, credit cards, PayPal, gold, silver, and winning lottery tickets for payment when the service is completed. If you pay the entire repair fee by cash, gold, or silver, we’ll take $25 off the bill!
  • Our Guarantee to You: All repairs are backed by our unmatched 110% guarantee: If, in the unlikely event that The Appliance Guru’s work does not fix the problem, you will receive a 110% REFUND. We stand behind our work 110% and we put our money where our mouth is! Furthermore, if the repair is initially successful but then the part fails within one year, it will be replaced at no charge (the 110% refund does not apply in this case).

The Appliance Guru

The Appliance Guru provides prompt, convenient service in the following towns in New Hampshire: New London, Elkins, Wilmot, Springfield, Georges Mills, Sunapee, Mt. Sunapee, Newbury, Sutton, Bradford, Warner, Grantham, and the Eastman Community.

Or, use this nifty form and I’ll reply ASAP:

Fill out my online form.

Broken Dryer? Fuggetaboutit and Get High (& Dry)!

So your dryer shat the bed. Now the horns of an enema confront you: spend the yen to repair your energy hog clothes dryer or buy another keg of Old Milwaukee. Yeah, life is full of tough choices like that. Well, Hoss, tell you what I’d do: I’d scrap all the old parts out of that broken dryer and sell ’em on eBay. Then, with some o’ dat dinero I made on eBay, I’d git me a slick new High & Dry and never have to worry about a broken dryer again!

highndry-450x683.jpg
(click for larger view)

For more information about the revolutionary new High & Dry, send an email to Talia at highanddry@wildblue.net.

FAQs for Replacing the Motherboard in a GE Refrigerator

The GE Arctica and Profile line of refrigerators use an actual compooter muthaboard. It’s like the one in your PC or Mac except not nearly as durable. Like most of the cheesy electronics used in appliances, this muthaboard fails frequently and is expensive to replace. There was a rash of these problems a few years back. Still a common problem today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did I buy a refrigerator with a muthaboard?

Beats me. I’m still trying to figger out why you even *need* a muthaboard in a refrigerator.

What kinds of problems with my refrigerator may indicate a bad muthaboard?

What has GE done about this to take care of their customers, mainly me?

Well, they wrote this reel nize concession letter.

How’s a wide-eyed grasshoppah supposed to know how to replace the muthaboard?

You’re not, that’s why it comes with instructions.

Is there anything I can do to extend the life of the muthaboard?

Use a surge suppressor with all your electronified appliances.

Where’s the best place to buy the new muthaboard?

Ahh, Grasshoppah, you have saved the best question for last! Come git you one.

ge refrigerator motherboard

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

Easy Fixes for Two Common Problems with the Whirlpool “Even Heat” Dryers

You can usually tell you’re dealing with one of these puffed-up beasts (also sold under the Kenwhore label) because it’ll have the words “Even Heat” somewhere on the control panel. This dryer is a perfect example of how buying appliances with needless and overblown electronics is hazardous to your financial health.

So, my brothers and sisters, let us begin today’s sermon with a plaintive plea for sanity from another one of my sermons:

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.

In today’s sermon, I’ll ‘splain easy fixes for two common problems with this needlessly electronified dryer:

  • no heat;
  • dryer starts when the start button is pressed but stops running when the start button is released.

Both problems, by the way, are a direct result of using an electronic control board and chintzy relays instead of a reliable mechanical timer and simple, rugged mechanical switches.

So, as you expect, most of the time the problem is going to be either the Even Heat control board or the motor/heater relay (there are separate relays for motor and heater but they are the exact same part).

We’ll start by opening up the control panel so we can make some simple electrical tests. Unplug the dryer and remove the two screws on either side of the console and flip the console back so it’s all opened up like ahso (click for larger view):

Inside the Control Panel of the Whirlpool Even Heat Dryer

And here’s a pictorial diagram of what you’ll see (click for larger view):

Control Panel Anatomy in a Whirlpool Even Heat Dryer

Now, start with a visual inspection. If the Even Heat board is the problem, you may see a burnt component on it, like this (click for larger view):

Whirlpool Even Heat Control Board with Burnt Resistor

But remember that electronic boards can- and commonly do– fail without any visible signs of failure. So just because an electronic board may appear okay, this does not mean that it IS okay. Otay, Buh’wheat?

Anyway, a few simple electrical measurements at the relays will usually tell the story. Here’s a closeup of the relays:

wpl-even-heat-dryer-relays.jpg

The relay coils are outlined in red. A good coil will have a resistance in the range of 2 to 3 k-ohms; a bad coil will either read infinite resistance or something in the mega-ohm range.

The Even Heat control board sends 48 vdc to the relay coil to close the switch in the relay output. When the relay switch closes, it sends power to either the motor (in the case of the motor relay) or to the heating element/gas burner assembly (in the case of the heater relay).

Armed with this knowledge, you can determine whether the Even Heat control board or the relay itself is causing the problem by doing exactly two simple tests on the appropriate relay. Let’s break it out by type of problem.

No Heat

Test 1: Measure the coil resistance on the heater relay. Remember: resistance measurements are made with power off the circuit, so unplug the dryer for this test. If the heater relay coil is open or very high resistance, replace the relay.

motor/heat relay in a whirlpool even heat dryer

Test 2: If the relay coil tests good, then we check for 48 vdc (that’s volts-DC– double check your meter setting when you measure for this) at the relay coil. This is done with the dryer running on a heated dry cycle and all the wires still attached to the relay. If you don’t get 48 vdc at the relay coil, replace the Even Heat control board.

even heat control board, whirlpool even heat dryer

But what if you do get 48 vdc at the relay coil but still no heat? Then we may have a problem elsewhere in the heater. We can confirm this by verifying that the relay is closing its contacts when the coil gets voltage with another live test. Again, dryer running in a heated dry cycle, set your meter for the 120vac range and measure the voltage across the relay contact terminals (the ones with the heavy red wires attached to ’em). If no voltage reading, that means the contacts are closed and the relay is doing its job; so the heating problem lies downstream in the heating circuit. We can help you troubleshoot this in the Samurai Appliance Repair Forum.

Motor Stops Running When the Start Button is Released

Same two tests as for the heating problem above except you do all the tests on the motor relay. That makes for a nice and easy symmetry, don’t it?

If you get 48vdc at the motor relay coil but still the motor doesn’t run, then we have a problem downstream in the motor circuit to troubleshoot. Again, we can help you with this in the Samurai Appliance Repair Forum.

Can I hear an “Amen?”

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

Converting a Gas Dryer from Natural Gas to Propane

All gas dryers come from the factory setup for natural gas. If you’re gonna use propane with your dryer, you’ll need to convert it. The cost for this conversion is generally not included in the delivery fee because a company assumes significant liability if they do it wrong, like this guy did.

First thing you’ll need to do is buy the gas dryer conversion kit, Part Number: 49572A
Part number: 49572A




They’re all the same so this one will work just fine. The kit comes with instructions and stickers. Follow the instructions to the letter and affix the stickers on the dryer as instructed. The purpose of this post is to give you a peek at what’s involved and to supplement the instructions, not replace them.

Before you start taking the dryer apart, you need to stop and do two things:

1. Unplug the dryer and

2. Shut off the gas to the dryer, shown below.

07D6FE40-4CF9-42A1-8273-97F8F19AB26B.jpg

Now we’re ready to go inside ‘cuz that’s where all the action is, including the gas burner assembly. This page will help you with disassembly for most models. More dryer disassembly help is in the Laundry Appliance Repair Forum.

Next step is to get familiar with the basic anatomy of the gas burner in a dryer. Here’s an picture a typical burner assembly.

Anatomy of a Gas Burner Assembly in a Dryer

Here’s a closeup of the ignitor itself, just so you can see what it looks like.

The Ignitor in a Dryer Gas Burner

So, stepping back and looking at the big picture with the drum out, the guts of a typical gas dryer look like this.

Gas Dryer Guts with the Drum Removed

Enough anatomy, let’s get on with the conversion! Turning first to the gas valve and regulator, there’s the brass plug with a little nylon pin sticking out of it (see the conversion kit picture above). That white nylon pin is called the blocking pin. Unscrew the plug on the valve, called a leak limiter, and replace it with the new one that has the blocking pin. This changes the gas regulator pressure setting for propane.

The Valve Coils on a Gas Valve in a Dryer

Next, change the orifice metering plug in the burner. This controls the amount of gas that enters the combustion area.

Dryer Gas Burner Orifice

One point of technique here. Both the metering orifice and the blocking pin plug are made of brass and going into a steel valve body. Brass is softer than steel and will make a gas-tight seal without having to use gorilla force. When you screw these brass fittings in, don’t go nuclear, just snug ’em down.

Here’s a pictorial diagram that summarizes the entire conversion process.

Pictorial of a Gas Dryer Burner Conversion

Next, turn the gas back on and leak check around the blocking pin plug. You can make a solution of dishwashing liquid and water and just dabble a little bit on there. If no bubbles, then you’re good to go. Wipe it off and let’s move on to the last step.

Last step is to put the dryer back together and run it to make sure that the burner fires up and doesn’t stink like rotten eggs. If all that checks good, go pop yourself a cold one and grab me one, too, while you’re at it, Budrow. Domo!

Need dryer parts? Part Number: dryer parts
.

Mystery Leak from a Bosch-built (Kenmore-labelled) Dishwasher

Water Staining from the a Leaking Kenmore-by-Bosch DishwasherGot a call on one of these Kenmore-by-Bosch dishwashers. These are made by Bosch but sold under the Kenwhore label. Complaint was that it leaked a bit on the right hand side during each wash staining the rug in the kitchen.


Puckered Top Seal on a Kenmore-by-Bosch DishwasherOnly thing on the dishwasher itself that looked weird was the top seal.


Following the Detergent Trail Down the DoorAccording to the Seventh Law of the The Prophecy, “All leaks are visual.” So, in my efforts to comply with the sacred appliantological scripture, I took the door apart and could see a detergent trail going from the top of the door to the bottom hinge…


Detergent Residue Inside Door…and running down the inside edge of the door. What do you conclude is the problem and how do you arrive at your conclusion?


Introducing the apophatic method of troubleshooting and Occam’s Razor. These concepts are powerful weapons to have in your troubleshooting arsenal. The apophatic method of troubleshooting is useful when you cannot directly prove that a thing is causing the problem you’re trying to fix. Instead, you prove that everything else is okay, which, by elimination, confirms the suspect item as the offender. The Occam’s Razor concept says, “When all the plausible possibilities seem equally likely, the simplest solution is usually the correct one.”

So I checked out and eliminated the other potential causes of door leaking: gookus or splits in the spray arms, deflected spray from incorrectly loading the dishwasher, loose door latch, overfill condition. The only thing left was the puckered top door gasket. Even though I didn’t have eyeball positive proof (cataphatic proof) that water was leaking past that seal, I did have apophatic proof and the assurance of Occam’s Razor.

So I ordered a new top door seal and replaced it. Problem solved!

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

Maytag Neptune Front Loading Washer Motor Won’t Spin and LR Error Code

The LR error on your non-spinning Maytag Neptune is usually, though not always, accompanied either by a burn spot or a blown fuse on the Motor Control Board.

Burn Spot on a Maytag Neptune Washer Motor Control Board
Burn Spot on a Maytag Neptune Washer Motor Control Board (click to enlarge)
Blown Fuse on a Maytag Neptune Washer Motor Control Board
Blown Fuse on a Maytag Neptune Washer Motor Control Board (click to enlarge)

Either way, it means just one thang: a new motor and motor control board kit are in your future.

Motor and motor control board upgrade kit for a Maytag Neptune front loading washer-- click it to git it, Hoss!
Maytag Neptune Motor and Motor Control Board Upgrade Kit (click it to git it)

Maytag upgraded the motor and motor control board because this problem was so prevalent. Big rash of these a few years back.

Anyway, easy job, probably a una-mugger on the world-famous SUDS-o-meter. It’s all plug n’ chug; just follow the directions that come with the new kit and you’ll be fine. Here be some words of encouragement from Liquified, a talented Senior Apprentice Appliantologist in the repair forum who recently installed this kit in his Maytag Neptune MAH5500BWW washer:

Ok, so I ordered the part from repairclinic and overnighted it. Sure enough, it showed up the next day.

Here’s some info about the install for anyone who is interested down the road:

Installing replacement motor, motor control harness, and motor control circut board.

Pretty easy install. On a scale of 1 to 10 (ten being hardest) I’d call it a 3.5. If you can use a screwdriver, a wrench, and have played with legos before, you can probably do this job. It took me about 3 hours to do, but this was with inferior tools, and two smoke breaks included.

Minimum tool requirements: Adjustable-head cresent wrench (8″ or smaller handle), phillips head screwdriver, utility knife.

Recommended tool equirements: Small ratchet with socket set, ratcheting screwdriver with phillips head and small socket attachments, brew.

The instructions are pretty clear. Once you pull the front panel off, there are two braces at ~45 degree angles on the lower corners of the washer. The instructions don’t ask you to, but I would remove the brace on the left to make life easier. This gives your arm more room to work and makes it easier to pull the motor out the front.

They ask you to remove the wiring harness from the motor first and then pull the harness out with the control board. My wrench was too big to get to the bolt to remove the harness from the motor. All I did was cut the harness – since they supply a new one – then pull out the control board, then pull out the motor. As far as getting the pulley off, slip it on and off at the large wheel, this is much easier than taking it off at the small motor drive shaft. The only other thing of note is to make sure you look at the diagram for the conectors a few times before you snap it together. There are a few ways you could hook it up wrong so pay attention. There should be no loose ends when you finish. Also, I couldn’t get the flange back on on the rear acess panel when closing it up, but it doesnt seem to serve muc purpose besides asthetics, so I tossed it.

The $200 for the parts and shipping was well worth it. I saved about $150-250 to do it myself, the wife was impressed, and I felt like a real man afterwards. The only wierd thing is since the repair, the machine squeaks briefly when changing directions during the wash cycle. It sounds like the belt but I’m not really sure. Anyway, hope this info helps someone, Good Luck. <3

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

Appliance War Story: Silencing a Squealing Bosch Dryer

Once upon a time, in a land filled with ice and snow, there was a Bosch dryer that was squealing like a… well, like a dryer when something’s wrong. In addition to the squeal, the dryer would make an undulating RAT-A-TAT-TAT sound as it ran.

So the parents of this noisy dryer went online and found that Samurai Appliance Repair Man makes housecalls! Their squeals of delight drowned out the loathsome squealing from their dryer as they called the Samurai. Seconds later, the Samurai was on the scene ready to do battle with another appliance that has refused to fulfill its design function.

This dryer tears down differently from most. Pray to St. Applianopoulous, the patron saint of appliance techs, that you don’t have to do any repairs on this dryer for which you need to remove the front panel. I pity the fool who has to remove the front panel. You would need to remove the front panel for things like the front bearing, fan, door switch, and gas valve (on gas dryers). But St. Applianopoulous heard my prayers and I only had to remove the back panel and drum.


Fortunately, most repairs on this over-designed, over-blown, puffed-up dryer can be done from the back. But, in typical Bosch fashion they had to do it differently from everyone else. In this case, Bosch hired an engineer with a screw loose who designed this dryer so that you have to take out a bizillion screws to remove the back panel. Fortunately, I had my trusty DeWalt driver. You better git you one, too, or you’ll be back there for three hours just removing screws. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit… but just a bit.


Inside a Bosch Dryer without the DrumWith the drum out, I had good access to all the rolling components: motor, idler pulley, belt, rear drum bearing, and front drum rollers. I spun the front drum rollers to make sure they were quiet. They both spun freely and smoothly. So I warmed up that cholesterol-based compooter betwixt my ears and calcumulated that the front rollers could not be the source of the ratcheting noise. Long, drawn out squeals mean that something is scraping or rubbing during the entire revolution of the drum. But what could it be?


Looking for FOD Behind Bosch Dryer Drum RollerHere’s where my decades of accumulated appliantological wisdom not only gave me The Edge, but pushed me right over it. You see, Grasshoppah, the left drum roller (as viewed from the back) has a small gap between it and the front panel. Turns out that gap is just the right size to catch little nik-naks left in pockets, like screws.


FOD Found Behind the Drum Roller in a Bosch DryerSo I stuck my favorite finger back there and… behold the screw! Folks, I am not making this stuff up– this is a real-life Appliance War Story. And you can take that to Lehman Brothers bank!


Bosch Dryer Motor and Idler Pulleykeen, Vulcan squinties to the idler pulley. One flick of my favorite finger proved that its useful service life has ended because it would barely roll. I replaced the idler roller with a new, upgraded roller, shown here.


So I slapped that puppy back together and they all lived happily ever after.

The End.

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