Monthly Archives: January 2003

Appliance Tip of the Day Encore: Genuine Appliance Manufacturer’s Repair Manuals

appliance tip of the day archiveYes, Grasshopper, your journey into appliance repair excellence begins with good technical information. While it’s true that is the Muthah of all appliance repair websites and offers an extensive online library of information, a do-it-yourself repair forum, and live help, there’s just no way we can reproduce all the esoteric information contained in genuine manufacturer’s repair manuals. Something about copyright laws, I dunno. Anyway, a good repair manual can be a valuable adjunct to the vast repository of appliance wisdom here at Come git you some.

Whirlpool / Kenmore Repair Manuals GE / Hotpoint Repair Manuals
Washing Machine (Direct-Drive) Repair Manual Washing Machine Step-by-Step Repair Manual
Washing Machine (Belt-Driven) Step-by-Step Repair Manual Dryer Step-by-Step Repair Manual
Dryer Step-by-Step Repair Manual Refrigerator / Freezer Step-by-Step Repair Manual
Dishwasher Step-by-Step Repair Manual Dishwasher Step-by-Step Repair Manual
Ice Maker Do-It-Yourself Repair Manual Electric Range Step-by-Step Repair Manual
Trash Compactor Manual (this space intentionally left blank)
Refrigerator / Freezer Do-It-Yourself Manual (same here, move along)

Maycor Repair Manuals Speed Queen & Amana Manuals
Maytag, Jenn-Air, Magic Chef & Admiral Top-Freezer Refrigerator Amana Washer Repair Manual (newer one-belt style)
Maytag, Jenn-Air, Magic Chef & Admiral Side-by-Side Refrigerator Speed Queen Dryer Repair Manual
Maytag SE100 Stacked Washer and Dryer Sub-Zero Technical Service Mini-Manuals
Maytag Neptune Front-Load Washer Repair Manual Series 500 Models
Maytag Performa Washer Repair Manual Series 600 Models
Maytag Atlantis Washer Repair Manual Series 700 Models
Frigidaire Repair Manuals (this space intentionally left blank)
Next Generation Side-by-Side Refrigerator Repair Manual Microwave Ovens and Ranges
Front Load Washer Manual Repair-master Microwave Oven and Ranges Repair Manual (covers most American built models)

grasshoppers thumbing through genuine manufacturer's repair manuals with the master

Appliance Usage Handbook

Ahh, yes, the Appliance Usage Handbook: the bible of optimal appliance usage. This fine comprehensive reference was compiled by Maytag and is invaluable for answering questions on using your washer and dryer, dishwasher, stove and refrigerator.

Additionally, this valuable handbook contains information on the basic operation of all household major appliances, regardless of brand. I refer to it all the time when answering appliance questions. It’s a two-inch thick, three-ring binder crammed full of arcane and exceedingly useful appliance information such as:

  • answers to common appliance usage questions,
  • solutions to common problems,
  • energy conservation ideas,
  • stain removal for washers and dryers,
  • cooking basics for stoves,
  • what not to wash in your dishwasher and why,
  • and tons of other stuff too detailed to get into here.

Oh, I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, "Ok, Samurai Cyclops, how do I get one?" Great question! I will send this cornucopia of appliance wisdom as a gift to the first five grasshoppers who contribute $25 or more to the United Samurai Beer Fund. That’s right, I only have five copies left. If you’ve been thinking about making a contribution to the Beer Fund but have been putting it off because you had to pull hair outta the drain or something, then this little pearl should be enough to nudge you into going ahead and doing it. Go ahead, all your other friends are doing it.

Appliance Tip of the Day: Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances

appliance tip of the day archive
you need this book!Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances. If you need to learn the fundamentals of appliance repair, like how to make basic electrical tests, how to read a schematic diagram, testing a refrigerator defrost timer, how to read a washer timing chart, and lots and lots of other cool fundamental stuff then buy this book. Don’t tell anyone, but I still look stuff up in this book when I need to freshen up on the fundamentals. And if you’re just getting started in professional appliance repair, this book is a must-have.

grasshoppers sitting with the master thumbing through their copies of Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances

Whirlpool Microwave Oven Tidbits From the Factory

If your Whirlpool Microwave Combination Built-In oven is giving you the error code “door” in the display and you can’t restart the unit, then the door-monitoring portion of the microcomputer board is fried. The only cure is to replace the microcomputer board. Whirlpool just started making more of these boards in July 2002 so there could be some delays in getting a new one but you can special order it here.

Appliance Tip of the Day: No Ice in Your Whirlpool or KitchenAid Side-by-Side Fridge with In-Door Ice

appliance tip of the day archive
So your fancy Whirlpool or KitchenAid Side-by-Side with the in-door icemaker quit making ice for your margaritas? And it’s one of those space-age looking icemakers with the red LED and infrared ice level sensor? Well, Grasshopper, go pour yourself a tall cold one, and get me one while you’re at it, because the Samurai is gonna ‘splain to you how to fix the two most common reasons these suckers stop making ice.

Reason Numero Uno: Frozen Fill Tube

These units have the fill tube in the freezer ceiling that can keep freezing up. The cure is to replace the existing fill tube with a new kit from Whirlpool, consisting of a modified fill tube and a fill tube heater. You can buy it here. This, of course, assumes the icemaker and level sensing circuitry are attempting to function normally. You can test the icemaker by manually initiating a harvest cycle. Do this by pulling the front cover off the icemaker and jumpering out test points T and H with an insulated wire. The other most common problem is bad optics circuit boards. Keep reading.

Reason Numero Duo: Bad Optics Circuit Boards

If the red status LED is not lit on your ice level sensor receiver (it’s the only LED in there, Hoss, so don’t go gettin’ all cross-eyed on me ’cause I’m using fancy words), then you may have bad optics circuits. Close the freezer door and wait five minutes, then open it back up. If still no status light, then you need to replace the optics boards, emitter and receiver. You can buy them here.

Ok, go fix your icemaker and buy me a margarita. I like ’em smooth and made with Jose Cuervo Tradicional.

grasshoppers happily munching ice from their newly-repair in-door icemaker with the master

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

Samurai Web Cam

Samurai Web Cam--click for the latest shotI just got one of those cool web cams, you know, those X-10’s that you see in popup ads everywhere you go on the web? Yeah, one o’ those. Well, I finally broke down and bought one. It was easy to set up and seems to work pretty well. I have it set up here on top of my monitor, taking pictures while I’m working. Here, check out the latest shot from the live Samurai Web Cam.

See you later.

All Systems are GO (if you don’t count Microslop)

Looks like MSN .NET passport servers are having another bad hair day. I can’t sign in to .NET passport to check email or answer questions at the Appliantology Group. Anyone else having this problem? Seems like the .NET passport servers go down about once a week. I’m just glad Microslop didn’t surprise me by going and getting all reliable on me.

The Samurai School of Appliantology is still functioning within design parameters so you can post your questions there and the resident uber-guru, Moostafa, will be happy to hurt you…help you, I meant, help you. Tell me I did.

A Higher Source

So, Grasshopper, you’ve carefully studied the vast repository of appliance diagnostic and repair information in the Appliantology Files but you are still confoosed. In this case, you must seek wisdom from a Higher Source. Two founts of divine appliance wisdom are available to you:

What’s the difference? Read and learn.

The Appliantology Group

The Appliantology Group is an MSN group hosted by Samurai Appliance Repair Man. It has a variety of features, such as a message board, photo album, chat room, links, etc., making it a good venue for disseminating appliance repair wisdom. Group members can post their appliance woes in the message board, seeking appliance wisdom from the Samurai. A copy of each new post to the Samurai’s homepage is also sent to the group’s message board, so you can keep up with the latest rants, er, I mean, tips.

The Samurai School of Appliantology

The Samurai School of Appliantology is a venerable institution of higher appliance learning. The School is hosted on our own servers so we don’t have all the bloat and spyware that accompanies all Microslop products. You don’t even need to register at the School forum to post a question.

Which One?

You don’t need to choose one or the other. You are welcome, even encouraged, to participate in both of these fine institutions of higher appliance learning.

Appliance Tip of the Day: Hooking Up a Gas Dryer

appliance tip of the day archive
Here are some fundamental guidelines that you shall obey when installing a gas dryer:

The flex gas line diameter shall be 3/8″ and the length shall not less then 6 feet. The 6 ft. length is so the dryer can be slid forward to clean and work behind it without having to remove the gas line flex.

The gas supply pipe extending out of the wall should be 1/2″. This means you’ll need a 1/2 by 3/8 shut-off valve for that pipe. The shut-off’s female end attaches to the pipe while the flex line attaches to the male end of the shut-off valve.

This diagram from the People’s Republik of Vermont Extension Service might help, too.

Happy Piping!

grasshoppers comparing pipe fittings with the master in preparation for their gas dryer installation exam.

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

Kid’s Letters to God

Dear God,

Please put another holiday between Christmas and
Easter. There is nothing good in there now.


Dear God,

Thank you for the baby brother but what I asked for
was a puppy. I never asked for anything before. You
can look it up.


Dear Mr. God,

I wish you would not make it so easy for people to
come apart. I had to have 3 stitches and a shot.


Dear God,

If we come back as something, please don’t let me be
Jennifer Horton – because I hate her.


Dear God,

It rained for our whole vacation and is my father mad!
He said some things about you that people are not
supposed to say, but I hope you will
not hurt him anyway.

Your friend (I am not going to tell you who I am).

Dear God,

I read the bible. What does begat mean? Nobody will
tell me.

Love, Alison

Dear God,

How did you know you were God?


Dear God,

Is it true my dad won’t get in Heaven if he uses his
bowling words in
the house?


Dear God,

I bet it’s very hard for you to love all of everybody
in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our
family and I can never do it.


Dear God:

Did you really mean Do Unto Others As They Do Unto
You, because if you did then I’m going to fix my


Dear God,

I like the story about Chanukah the best of all of
them. You really made up some good ones.


Dear God,

My Grandpa says you were around when he was a little
boy. How far back do you go?

Love, Dennis

Dear God,

Who draws the lines around the countries?


Dear God,

It’s o.k. that you made different religions, but don’t
you get mixed up sometimes?


Dear God,

Did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it
an accident?


Dear God,

In bible times did they really talk that fancy?


Dear God,

What does it mean you are a jealous God? I thought you
had everything.


Dear God,

How come you did all those miracles in the old days
and don’t do any now?


Dear God,

Please send Dennis Clark to a different camp this


Dear God,

Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much
if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.


Dear God,

I keep waiting for spring but it never did come yet.
Don’t forget.


Dear God,

You don’t have to worry about me. I always look both


Dear God,

My brother told me about being born but it doesn’t
sound right.


Dear God,

If you watch in Church on Sunday I will show you my
new shoes.

Mickey D.

Dear God,

Is Reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you just know
him through business?


Dear God,

In Sunday School they told us what you do. Who does it
when you are on Vacation?


Dear God,

We read Thomas Edison made light. But in Sunday
School, they said you did it.
So I bet he stoled your Idea.

Sincerely, Donna

Dear God,

I do not think anybody could be a better God. Well, I
just want you to know but I am not just saying that
because you are God.


Dear God,

It is great the way you always get the Stars in the
right places.


Dear God,

I am doing the best I can.


Dear God,

I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the
sunset you made on Tuesday.
That was Cool.


IM Madness

The IM world used to drive me nuts. Some of my friends are on Yahoo Messenger, some on MSN Messenger, others on AOL Instant Messenger. I got so fed up with all the fragmentation in the IM world that I just punted IMing altogether. But I just discovered a very cool service that changed all that: Trillian. Using Trillian, you don’t need to install three or more different IM services so you can talk to all your online friends because Trillian talks to everyone! You still have to sign up for user accounts in each of the IM services you want to communicate with but you can do all that through Trillian, just takes a second and it’s free. Trillian itself is free, too, although they do have a Trillian Pro version with more features for a mere $25/year. I’m currently registered with three IM services. On Yahoo Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger, my handle is Zenzoidman; on MSN Messenger my handle is Zenzoid. OK, talk to you later.

Return from the Dark Side

I’m back from my brief foray into the Dark Side of the Web: MSN 8. I jumped over to the Dark Side a couple of months ago after I downloaded Intellisync from Yahoo and it crashed my computer. In a fit of rage, I deleted the Appliantology group at Yahoo Groups and reincarnated it at MSN Groups. I even went so far as to subscribe to the new MSN 8 software. I just cancelled my subscription to MSN 8 and am easing back into Yahoo-based services.

Bottom line: MSN 8 looks reeeal purdy with the pastel colors and that damn butterfly everywhere you go but, like all Microslop products, it’s ate up with bugs (in addition to the ubiquitous butterfly) and has some annoying design flaws, too. It’s a product well-suited to users who are comforted by a highly controlled internet environment, such as AOL users. Power users and anyone who’s outgrown AOL will quickly become frustrated with MSN 8.

The Gory Details

If you subscribe to the software only, it’s $9.95 per month. For that, you get access to the MSN Money Plus (not to be confused with MSN MoneyCentral or Microsoft Money), 10mb of storage in your email account, 30mb of storage for MSN Groups, and lots of purdy icons in the MSN browser to feast your bleary consumer squinties on. Or, for only $19.95 per year, you can buy an extra storage subscription and get 10mb of mail storage and 30 mb of storage in MSN Groups. You don’t get access to MSN Money Plus, but you can still use the billpay portion of MSN MoneyCentral.

Frankly, all the different MSN-this and MSN-that are so similarly named that they’re pretty damn confusing. And not just to me, either. When you call in for technical support, which you’ll do a lot, with a question about a specific MSN something-or-other product, many times even the "technical support specialist" would get confused about which product you’re taking about. If the distinction among features is so subtle that even their own tech support people don’t get it, it’s time to re-think the structure of the whole MSN thang.

It’s ironic that MSN chose a bug, the butterfly, as it’s symbol because, as you’d expect with any Microslop product, MSN 8 has an entomological catalog of bugs built into it. You’ll spend lots of time talking to tech support, accounts and billing, customer service, the janitor…and whoever else you think can solve one of your many problems with the service.

Speaking of tech support, I hope you like waiting a long time on the phone so you can talk to someone who has no idea how to resolve your problem. After logging over 13 hours on the phone with various MSN support entities and a couple dozen service tickets, I got to know the MSN support system pretty well. The main number is 1-800-386-5550. You’ll get a recorded menu accompanied by the warning that waits may be longer than normal because they’re "experiencing higher than normal call volume." Since this message plays each time you call, it begs the question of what is considered normal call volume.

Once you get through to someone at tech support, the fun really begins! You’ll patiently explain your problem and the rep will explain that you need to talk to accounts and billing. They’ll even transfer your call for you so you won’t have to re-dial…except the phone will usually get disconnected and you’ll have to re-dial anyway. Once you get through to accounts and billing and explain your problem to the rep, they’ll tell you that this issue is a tech support problem and that you’ll need to call them. Ever read The Trial by Franz Kafka? How about Joseph Heller’s Catch 22? To preserve your sanity, these are required reading before dealing with MSN support.

But what about the much-ballyhooed email environment in MSN 8? Yes, it has built-in spell checking IF you have MS Word installed on your computer, which I don’t–I use the more powerful and streamlined Star Office. But one thing really bugged me about the MSN 8 email client: no link button. So there was no way to embed a long, hairy URL into text like this. Instead, you had to cut and paste the entire ugly URL into your email. Bearable if you have a nice, tidy little URL like But what if you had a URL to your online photo album, like this:

Who but the most pale of computer geeks would want to see all that crap in their email? Worse yet, MSN 8 email completely chokes on this type of URL–it wraps the URL creating the dreaded "page not found" error when clicked by the recipient. And, no, there’s no option allowing you to code in the HTML directly. The MSN 8 email client is like a beach babe in a thong: fun to look at but, damn, is anyone in there?

The thing that finally broke it for me was when I tried to create an MSN 8 account for my son. You’re supposed to be able to add nine other users to your account. Well, I couldn’t. Even after more than three hours on the phone with a Tier 3 tech. One of my maxims in life is "Go with the flow." This wasn’t flowing. The butterfly is dead, plastered on Yahoo’s windshield.

Samurai’s Recommendations

So, just because MSN 8 has bugs, does that mean that MSN as a whole is trash? No. There are still some good features in MSN, but use them with your conventional browser, forget about MSN Explorer. Here are the services from various portals that I use and can recommend :

  • Email: Yahoo Mail Plus. Hands down, this is the killer web-based email app available.
  • Online Billpay Service: MSN Billpay. Easy to use and reliable. It costs $2.95 per month. Paypal offers a billpay service that seems to cover as many payees and it’s free, but I haven’t tried it yet. As soon as MSN Billpay pisses me off, I’ll switch to Paypal billpay.
  • Homepage Portal: My Yahoo. Again, Yahoo gets this one because it’s so customizable, variety of content to choose from, and it links to your photo albums, so you can display a new picture from your albums each time you load the page. Lots of other cool features make this the best homepage portal.
  • Groups: Tough call. I can’t decide which I like better: Yahoo Groups or MSN Groups. I’ve used both (the Appliantology group is currently hosted at MSN Groups) and there are things I love and hate about each. I could write a whole ‘nother post about Groups services, but I don’t feel like it. Check ’em out yourself.
  • Search: Google. Is there anyone else that even comes close? I use Google for lots of stuff besides searching. For example, it’s also my online spell checker. And now it offers news, too.
  • Web Publishing: Blogger Pro. ‘Nuff said.

Stop the Madness!

I hate junk faxes. People that send ’em are nothing more than sleazy little thieves. They’re even a notch below email spammers because they steal my paper and toner to get their stupid message to me. And what kind of half-wit responds to scam offers in unsolicited faxes? There must be enough mental midgets out there to make it worthwhile for junk faxers to continue their evil trade.

Did you know that junk faxes are illegal? Oh yeah, big time. It’s a Federal crime under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). Most states have laws forbidding junk faxes, too.

Here’s what I do each and every time I get a junk fax:

  • Send the junk fax with a cover memo to:

    Consumer Information Bureau
    Federal Communications Commission
    445 Twelfth St. SW
    Washington, DC 20554

  • In the subject of your memo, at the top, write in bold print:

  • Here’s the text of what I write, you can copy it and use it yourself:

    I received this unsolicited fax. I did not invite this fax, nor did I give permission for it to be sent. I request that the Commission take appropriate action against the sender.

    Fax received [date received] at phone number [your fax number].

    [You must sign the memo]

  • Then mail it off and crack a cold Bud Light knowing that some scumbag is facing a $1500 fine. BOOYAH! claims you can win money by prosecuting or even threatening to prosecute these thieves. There’s even a junk fax attorney who will take your case on retainer! I’m telling you, junk faxes are a big hairy deal. So stop throwing away your junk faxes in disgust. Be part of the solution, stop the madness!