Monthly Archives: December 2004

Mailbag: Using Your Gas Range to Heat Your Home

Big Ed wrote:

Used my cheap MagicChef Gas Oven to heat the house for about a week, (after the wall heater went out). Now it won’t burn over 275/300 degrees. Even then, it takes 15 minutes to light.

Message sent from IP:

The only thing “big” about Big Ed is that space between his ears. Heating your house with a gas range is one of the most stupid and dangerous things you can do. Why? Two words: carbon monoxide (abbreviated as CO).

For some background information on CO, its health effects and exposure limits, check out this OSHA fact sheet on carbon monoxide. I’ve summarized the main health effects and CO exposure limits in the table below. The CO exposure limits are listed in PPM, which means parts per million. Don’t worry about what this means, all you need to know is that PPM is a common way of expressing the amount of a contaminate, like CO, in the air.

Health Effects CO Exposure (PPM)
Slight headaches, tiredness, dizziness, nausea after 2-3 hours. 200
Frontal headaches within 1-2 hours, life-threatening after 3 hours. 400
Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 minutes. Unconsciousness within 2 hours. Death within 2-3 hours. 800
Headache, dizziness, and nausea within 20 minutes. Death within 1 hour. 1,600
Headache, dizziness, and nausea within 5-10 minutes. Death within 30 minutes. 3,200
Headache, dizziness, and nausea within 1-2 minutes. Death within 10-15 minutes. 6,400

Now, after reviewing the above table, here’s a Fun-Fact-to-Know-and-Tell that’ll blow your mind: manufacturers are allowed to make ovens that give off up 800 ppm of carbon monoxide from the bake burner. Look in the table above and read about the health effects of CO at 800 ppm. Hello? Is this thing on?

Ok, I know what you’re saying. You’re wondering, “Well, Dr. Samurai, if breathing 800 ppm of CO for 2-3 hours will kill you, how is it that Big Cranial-Void Ed lived to write you an email about his gas range problem?”

Maybe his trailer is extra drafty and dissipates CO quickly. Maybe he didn’t spend much time in the kitchen where the concentration of CO would be the highest. Maybe the CO really did give him headaches, dizziness, and nausea but he thought it was because his mother-in-law was visting. Maybe he’s a neanderthal and is already clinically brain-dead. Who the hell knows? Bottom line: pure dumb luck. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, “Do you feel lucky, punk?”

Master Appliantologists at the Appliantology Group Repair Forum

The repair forum at the Appliantology Group has become very active lately and I’m grateful for all the help from other Master Appliantologists in answering appliance repair questions. Many questions would go unanswered without their help. I’ve put together this roster of Master Appliantologists to introduce grasshoppers to the experts who hang out at the Appliantology Group and answer questions.

Star Warz: XM vs. Sirius

If you haven’t heard about satellite radio, it’s time to pull your head out of the muck and tune-in. I’ve written previously about satellite radio and you can see a list of past posts here. If you have heard about satellite radio but are still trying to decide between Sirius or XM, this post might help you make your decision.

I subscribe to both Sirius and XM. I started by subscribing to Sirius back in September, 2004. Then, a couple weeks ago, my wife bought me the XM MyFi set. For a quick, crude comparison of the two services, check this out; it’s shortcoming is that it doesn’t offer any personal exeriences, it’s just a bland presentation of facts and stats. Now that I’ve been listening to both, I’m pleased to announce that I can now offer the much-awaited Samurai comparision of the two services.


In terms of the sheer number of music channels, both services are very comparable. Both have the usual decades, rock, pop, and schlop. Sirius has a strong lineup of mainstream pap (yes, I meant pap), hip-hop and rap crap accompanied by lots of latin noise. That’s all great if you are black, brown or have very urban tastes. But I’m a middle-aged white guy who lives in rural New England and I don’t want to hear urban or foreign noise aimed at malcontents, people-of-color, and losers suffering under delusions of oppression. What’s a cracker to do?

XM has two excellent channels that are engineered for the contemplative white ear: Audio Visions (ch. 77) and Fine Tuning (ch. 76). It’s refreshing to find such audible treats in an obstreperous sea of hip-hop, rap, and other aural assaults. Sirius does not have any such comparable counterparts.

Both Sirius and XM have three comparable classical channels: symphonies, operas, and pops. The biggest difference between the two services in their classical lineup is in their opera channels. Sirius calls its opera channel Classical Voices (ch. 85) and plays strictly classical operas. XM’s opera channel is called Vox! (ch. 112) and, in addition to classical opera, plays a healthy dose of Gregorian-style chant. I’m still waiting to hear Byzantine chant.

Both services carry a folk music channel (Folk Village on XM and Folk Town on Sirius–ain’t that cute?). They are very comparable and I enjoy both of them.


No contest here: Sirius wins hands-down. Both services carry the usual suspects: Fox, CNN, BBC, ABC News-Talk, C-SPAN, and The Weather Channel. XM also carries pMSNBC and CNN Headline Snooze–neither one is missed in the Sirius lineup.

This table points out the main differences between Sirius and XM in their news/talk channels:

  Sirius XM
Public Radio NPR Now, NPR Talk, Public Radio International (PRI), World Radio Network (WRN). All are first-class radio listening. XM Public Radio (lame)
Bloomberg Radio Carries the full 24-hr, seven day broadcast. Full European and Asian market coverage all night long. Only carries the live broadcast during market hours; freaky, automated weather-radio-station-sounding voice during all off-hours.
Weather Carries The Weather Channel regional reports. Only carries the one-size-fits-all Weather Channel reports.
Political Two right-wing channels: Patriot and Talk-Right. Michael Savage, Michael Reagan, Jerry Doyle, Tammy Bruce, World Net Daily Radio, Rusty Humphries…the usual neo-con clatter.
Also has two left-wing channels: the optimistically-named Air America and Talk-Left; the latter channel features unique hosts not heard on broadcast radio: Lynn Samuels, Alex Bennett, Ed Shultz, and the Young Turks. Sometimes, if you listen reeeeal hard, these hosts start to sound like libertarians…then they start talking about gun control and the sanctity of Social Security and you realize they’re still big gubmint liberals.
One right-wing and one left-wing channel. Both are the usual neo-con and liberal clap-trap with no unique hosts or points-of-view.

Neither service has a Libertarian channel, which would be very refreshing. Sirius has a Patriot channel, but it’s just more of the same neo-con, big gubmint yak. I remember when the Patriot movement I supported was synonymous with small government. How ironic when I hear all the modern “patriots” cheerleading the biggest, most destructive gubmint program of ’em all: foreign war. I wonder if these “patriots” would still be such enthusiastic cheerleaders if a Democratic administration was in charge of the Iraq war program… and if the indignant Left would be nearly as self-righteous. Seems no one operates by a consistent, fundamental set of principles anymore. It’s all what’s most expedient for the moment.

For my Libertarian fix, I tune in to Scott Horton’s excellent Weekend Interview Show. Scott also makes his interviews available as MP3 files so I can download ’em and listen on my Rio MP3 player while I’m on the job breaking, er, I mean, fixing appliances.

Bottom Line: The music channels are more diverse on XM and the news/talk is more diverse on Sirius. If you can only subscribe to one service, then choose according to your primary listening interest: for music, pick XM; for news/talk, pick Sirius. If you can afford it, subscribe to both services.

Mailbag: Bad Ignitor or Valve on a Gas Oven?

GregF wrote:

As you describe my glow plug glows on my gas range but gas valve does not open up unless I tap on the valve. Ignitor or valve?



Message sent from IP:

Despite my enlightening opus on how to diagnose gas oven ignition problems, I still get lots of questions like this. Presumably, grasshoppers have seen the ignitor current draw specifications contained in that gas oven troubleshooting guide. They may have even read my equally enlightening tome on how to make basic electrical measurements, which includes instructions on how to measure current draw.

So why do I keep getting these questions? Do these grasshoppers have a reading impairment? Or are they simply lazy and just want someone to tell them the answer so they don’t have to do any work themselves?

Even the Samurai, in all his awesome omniscience, measures the ignitor current draw in these situations. In fact, the secret to the Samurai’s total appliance awareness isn’t anything mystical or arcane; no, his secret lies in knowing which electrical measurements to make and what they mean. And, since the Samurai makes this knowledge available to all, it’s really not much of a secret, is it?

The fact is that without measuring the current draw through the ignitor, there’s no way of being absolutely certain whether the ignitor or the valve is bad. But, the Samurai is merciful and compassionate, and recognizes that many grasshoppers just want to be spoon-fed the answer. So, if you have a problem with your gas oven not firing up, such as GregF’s above, and you don’t want to be bothered measuring the ignitor current draw, here’s whatcha do:

  • universal gas oven ignitor made by Maytag--click for larger viewPurchase a universal ignitor kit, such as the one shown here to the right. This one is made by Maytag but fits almost all gas ranges. Click the picture for a larger view or to purchase it.
  • Install the ignitor.
  • If the oven fires up, great, problem solved.
  • If not, return the ignitor for a refund–even after it’s been installed! This return policy is only available if you order the ignitor here.

Oh, I know what you’re asking, “But, most wise and merciful Samurai, how is it that you can offer such a generous return policy? Won’t you go broke?”

If I go broke, grasshopper, it’ll be from the other myriad costs associated with running this website but not this particular parts replacement advice. Why? Because a bad ignitor is the problem in about 88.7656% of the gas oven ignition complaints. So, the odds are in our favor.

“Well now, Mr. Samurai-Geek, why the hell didn’t you just tell me to change the ignitor in the beginning instead of making me wade through all this crap?”

Thanks for reminding me of our Lord’s admonition against casting pearls before swine. What’s your next question?

“I don’t have time for this nonsense! Now that I know what’s wrong with the damn oven, I just want some broke-dick appliance servant to come replace the ignitor for me but I don’t want to get ripped off. How much will it cost to have a parts-changer come to my house and replace the ignitor in my oven?”

You’ll be pleased to know that there’s a new economy appliance service which just opened in your area and it specializes in parts-changing. Give ’em a call!

Appliance Repair Revelation, Making Basic Electrical Measurements

appliance tip of the day archive

Digital Multimeter--come git you one!

Appliances are electro-mechanical devices— that’s a fancy word that means they have electrical and mechanical parts. This also means that appliances can have either electrical or mechanical failures. Most people with one eye and half a brain in their skull can figure out the mechanical part. But very few do-it-yourselfers have even the basic skills needed to troubleshoot an electrical problem in an appliance such as reading a schematic and wiring diagram and using an inexpensive multimeter, like the one shown here to the right ($15), to make electrical measurements.

Reading wiring diagrams and schematics is something I do all the time with enrolled students in the Samurai School of Appliantology. But if you don’t know how to use a basic multimeter to make two simple electrical measurements, then you don’t have a prayer of troubleshooting even the most minor electrical problem–all you’ll be able to do is guess about which part might be bad. That’s what we call the Shotgun Parts Changing School of Appliance Repair.

Also, if you don’t know how to use a multimeter, you’re not even eligible to enroll in the Samurai School for live appliance repair help. I used to spend hours on the phone, explaining to grasshoppers how to use the $20 multimeter they just bought from Radio Shack to measure continuity or voltage. “Ok, put the black probe in the ‘-‘ slot and the…” Those days are over.

Ok, grab ‘hold of those two large lumps at the base of your spine and let’s light this candle.

Resistance and Continuity Measurements

measuring resistance and continuity--click for larger view
Using a Multimeter to Measure Continuity or Resistance

The picture above shows how to measure resistance (click it for a larger view). Resistance is measured in units called “ohms.” You’ll commonly want to know the resistance of things like bake elements and solenoid coils. For example, a good bake element typically has a resistance of about 30 ohms. If your oven’s not baking and you measure the resistance of the bake element and the meter doesn’t move, then you know you’got a bad element.

A special type of resistance measurement that we commonly make in the field is a continuity measurement. When we’re testing continuity, we don’t care what the actual resistance is, we just want to know if the thing being tested (switch, wire, fuse, etc.) will allow electricity to flow through it. Continuity is a “yay” or “nay” measurement, a component either has continuity or it doesn’t–it’s kinda like pregnancy in that sense.

Two things to remember when making resistance measurements: 1) the circuit should be de-energized (for those of you in Palm Beach, this means to unplug the appliance first!) and 2) remove at least one wire attached to the component you’re testing to disconnect it from the rest of the circuit so you’re not getting a false reading by measuring through the rest of the circuit.

You wouldn’t believe the number of grasshoppers I talk to who just off and changed the bake element when the oven didn’t work only to find that that wasn’t the problem! A simple ohm measurement would’ve saved them a lot of money and headache. But, some people can’t be bothered with a bunch of “useless theory.”

Voltage Measurements

measuring voltage--click for larger view
Using a Multimeter to Measure Voltage

The picture above shows how to measure voltage. A voltage measurement at the outlet should be the first thing you do whenever you have an appliance that is completely inoperative, or if you have an electric dryer that’s not heating, or an electric range that doesn’t get hot enough. You’ll need to know the basic anatomy of these various electrical outlets to know what to measure for. Check out the links below for illuminating illustrations of these outlets:

Obviously, to measure voltage, there must be power present. This means you can have a hair-raising experience if you touch the wrong thing with your bare hands. As long as you’re holding the probes by the insulated handles and are careful about where you place the metal points of the probes, you’ll be fine. I’ve been working with electricity for over 30 years and I still get shocked every now and then. It only hurts a little, kinda like a snake bite, and it fades quickly. So don’t freak out.

Besides the outlets, you’ll frequently need to measure voltage at various points inside the appliance. Usually, you’re measuring this voltage with respect to ground. That just means that you can clamp one probe to an unpainted metal place on the appliance chassis and then touch the other probe to the points of interest. Your other hand should either be tucked in your pocket or behind your back. This way, you won’t get shocked because you won’t be giving the current a path to flow through your body. Easy, da?

Current Measurements

measuring current--click for larger view
Using a Clamp-on Amp Meter to Measure Current

Here’s a clamp-on ampmeter (or amp meter) being used to measure current flow through a wire. This is a common test for determining whether or not a gas oven ignitor is good or bad–the only way to really know is by measuring its current draw and comparing to rated draw. And, yes, Homer, the ignitor can glow orange and still be bad.

You’ll also want to measure current draw in cases where you have an electric motor that runs a few minutes then shuts off to see if the problem is with the motor drawing excessive current.

Recommended reading:

Buy Appliance Parts Here

grasshoppers measuring the master's electric personality

Appliance Repair Revelation, Converting a Gas Range

appliance tip of the day archiveAt some point in during the life of your gas range, you may need to convert from LP to natural gas or vice versa. The two pages below illustrate the most common tasks needed to complete the conversion (click the pictures for a larger view):

Converting a Gas Range
Page 1 of 2

Converting a Gas Range
Page 2 of 2

Recommended reading:

For more information on your range or to order parts, click here.

grasshoppers sitting with the master doing a special gas conversion

The Orbiter Crashes

As you know, I’m a huge fan of satellite radio. I bought a Sirius Orbiter receiver at the local Radio Shack in September and have been hopelessly addicted to satellite radio ever since.

Last night, while lying in bed and listening to Ernie Brown’s show, America at Night, my Orbiter fell from communion with the Sirius mothership and fried its little silicon brains. Bile burned the back of my throat as the prospects for a good night’s sleep were mercilessly incinerated. O, Death, where is thy sting?

My bowels quivered with anxiety as I contemplated the hassle and bickering that surely lay in store for me when I tried to exchange the receiver, still well within the one-year warranty, in the morning. Would my local Radio Shack even have any more in stock this close to Christmas? Would Radio Shack demand merely the soul of my first born child in exchange for a new receiver or would they greedily demand the soul of my semper fi canine hiking companion, Bubba? I struggled mightily with these tempestuous demons as I tossed and turned in my cold, silent bed until the gray light of dawn peered through my window.

I arose at first light and called my local Radio Shack. Just as I suspected, they knew I would be calling and refused to answer. My wife pointed out that it may have had something to do with the fact that it was only 6:37am and the store doesn’t open until 9:00am. I told her that she must be a collaborator with the Great Satan at Radio Shack and that her ruse wasn’t working on me. Then I grabbed the smoldering Sirius receiver and ran screaming, in my skivvies, out of the house and into the sub-zero morning to drive to the Radio Shack.

When I arrived at the store at 6:57am, the door was locked and lights were off inside. Uh huh, the old turn-off-the-lights-and-pretend-we’re-not-home trick. I was an old pro at this game and if they were hoping I’d get bored and leave, well, they just didn’t know who they were dealing with. I was a man on a mission. And I wasn’t wearing any pants.

As confirmation that my wife was in cahoots with the local Radio Shack, an employee walked up and opened the door at 8:59am, holding a tall, steaming cup of Green Mountain coffee. As the employee opened the door and walked inside, I was out of van and inside the store before the door even closed. The employee, pretending to be startled, jumped and dropped his coffee, yelling something about “freak” and “underwear,” I don’t know, I didn’t pay attention to his babbling. I was focused on the mission. I held up the fried receiver and told him I needed a new one… NOW! He stammered something about verifying. I stepped toward him and he ran around behind the counter, telling me that he’d have to make some phone calls to sort through the warranty process. I fought back using the only weapon I had with me: .

After unleashing my thunderous fury, the room filled with an ethereal chartreuse cloud. The Radio Shack punk started gagging and spitting in a vain attempt to expell the foulness. I think he might have thrown up in his mouth. With cheeks bulging and tears streaming from his eyes, he grabbed a new Sirius Orbiter receiver box set and threw it at me, then pointed to the door. I tossed him my old receiver and left. Victory was mine!

So, while I was disappointed that my Orbiter receiver failed after only three months of near-continuous use, I was pleased that Radio Shack was quick to exchange the receiver for a new one. Ok, America at Night is coming on Sirius and it’s time to get to bed. Later, freak.

Mailbag: Mental Therapy for Appliance Repair

me wrote:

Was looking for advice on repairing the ice maker (yeah, cheap plastic hose) and found your site. Got the answer I needed, then spent the next hour hoping around non-repair readings.
Will bookmark the site for future therapy.



Message sent from IP:

For a therapeutic brain massage, be sure to check out these tips for maintaining a healthy mental attitude while doing appliance repair.

Mailbag: Love Letter to the Samurai

Mary Miller wrote:

Can’t tell you how you have saved me from a stroke. My dishwasher is a kenmore and a pain, but you have helped me fix it without getting raped by Sears again. I am so thankful for your wonderful website. You REALLY know whats up…even though you probably voted for Bush…I love you anyway…thanks again


Message sent from IP:

I feel the love, yo!

So you love me then kick me out of bed by telling me I voted for Bush. Oy, I feel used! The only thing I can say is this.

And I’ve written previously about the Sears jailhouse rape.

Heavy Metal Irony Award Nominee

Our latest nominee for the Heavy Metal Irony Award:

Fr. Jerome prepares in the Proskomedia under fire

Brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of
His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and
blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of
the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the
heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may
be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the
breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the
preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of
faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the
wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the
Spirit, which is the word of God…

Ephesians 6:10-17

Fr. Jerome is an Orthodox priest and Navy Chaplain who serves the troops in Iraq. Incoming mortars during Proskomedia (the service of preparation for Divine Liturgy) mandated that Fr. Jerome wear protective clothing.

Ahh, savor the irony.

Got Parts? and the Appliantology Group offer a complete line of appliance parts for all brands and models through our parts partner, RepairClinic. Special internet-only offer: if you order parts from RepairClinic by clicking the parts links at either or the Appliantology Group, you can return the part for any reason, even after they’ve been installed! This applies to all parts, including motors and electronic boards. You won’t find this offer anywhere else on the internet! And you’ll be helping to support this website.

So, after you’ve used the extensive repair helps available at both and the Appliantology Group, come get the part you need to finish the job.

The Samurai School of Appliantology: Now Accepting New Students

The Samurai School of Appliantology boasts students from all over the globe. I have talked many frustrated grasshoppers through all types of appliance problems, ranging from the mundane to the bizarre. Today, I received this email from one of my students:

Randall Frank wrote:

The $$ I spent on “tuition” is among the best $$ I’ve spent in my life. Over the first 6 months it’s probably saved me over $1,000 in service calls, not to mention hours of waiting at home for repair persons who will be there “sometime between 8am and noon”. He even told me how to fix a dishwasher circuit board (that I’m sure a repair person would have simply replaced) by re-soldering a cold connection, including the precise location of the connection that was “cold” (saved cost: $300). He has a 1000 batting average in picking the failed part based simply on a phone description of the problem! The repair manual library is invaluable for fix-it-yourselfers. This is an amazing service!

Randy Frank
Weston, MA

The Samurai School of Appliantology is now accepting new students. Learn more more about the Samurai School of Appliantology here.

Satellite Radio Gizmology

So Friday night I came home after a long day of running appliance service calls and Mrs. Samurai surprised me with an early Christmas present. Oh, take your mind out of the gutter! She bought me the new XM MyFi set (would it be too corny to say she bought me an XMas present? ok, nevermind). In case you’ve been too busy drinking Bud and watching Gilligan, XM is the largest of the two big subscription satellite radio services; the other is Sirius. I already subscribed to Sirius earlier this year and have been an acolyte at the altar of satellite radio ever since. As a dutiful American consumer, doing my part to power the economy by spending money on stuff I don’t really need, I adhere to the motto that, “More is better.” So now I subscribe to both satellite radio services!

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, “Well, Mr. Samurai money-bags, you must be getting rich doing appliance repair to be able to afford all that!” All what? The monthly subscription fee for XM is only $9.95 and Sirius is $12.95. Even combined, that’s a lot less than the typical cable TV monthly bill and since we don’t do TV in our house, that leaves lots of money left over for beer! What’s your next question?

“Ok, Mr. Smarty-pants Samurai, well, uhh, why’d your wife get you XM if you already had Sirius?”

Good question, thanks for asking. It really came down to the hardware rather than the programming. The programming between each service is very similar: dozens of commercial-free, CD-quality music channels, and dozens of news and talk channels including all the usual suspects such as Faux News, Communist News Network (CNN), Bloomberg Bidness News, C-Span, and BBC.

In my much sought-after opinion, which I’ll give you here for free, Sirius has a slightly better news lineup. XM has a slightly better talk lineup. For example, XM carries three of my favorite radio shows: The World-Famous Phil Hendrie Show, The Rollye James Show, and Coast to Coast AM. Both carry my favorite investment show, MoneyTalk.

The music lineup of XM and Sirius are very similar. The main difference is that Sirius has unique DJ personalities, some of whom are very entertaining, whereas XM runs its music channels largely on autopilot. Some audiogeeks claim they can hear a difference in the music quality. Depending on who you talk to, some say XM sounds better while others say Sirius sounds better. I can’t tell a difference–they’re both CD-quality sound and any differences in sound quality is probably more a function of your audio equipment rather than the satellite service.

But my dear wife saw me drooling over the sexy new XM MyFi rig. The appeal with this hot little gizmo is that it’s small, portable, and includes everything you need to listen to XM at home, in your vehicle, or while walking. I’ve read some cheesedorks whining about the $350 price tag but this is nothing more than naive petulance from the “gimme something for nothing” crowd. Look at all the equipment that’s included with the MyFi package, along with the receiver (shown above):

I’ve spent at least that much on the various docking stations and other equipment so I could listen to Sirius in my bedroom (I like to drift off to sleep while listening to the radio), my downstairs workstation, and my service van.

And the Sirius equipment didn’t come with the Tivo-like feature that the MyFi has where you can record five hours of programming. This was the big selling feature for me. Now I can record one of my favorite shows on the MyFi then clip it to my belt and listen on the go. One especially cool feature is that you can skip through commercials by just pressing a key; it’s not a fast forward, either, it skips right to the next segment. Waaaay cool.

Since the audio is stored in flash memory, not an iPod-esque mini hard drive, battery life of the MyFi is excellent. I don’t know how long yet, but I do know that the battery lasts far longer than the five-hour recording memory capacity because I still have full battery bars after listening to five hours of recorded audio.

The only thing I wish Delphi (the manufacturer of the MyFi) had included is a sandisk memory expansion slot. With a 512 mb sandisk, you could increase the record time from five hours to 18 hours, maybe more.

These two new satellite radio services will force land-based broadcast radio to change or become obsolete. Broadcast radio, in its current format, sucks: eight minutes of pap followed by four minutes of commercials and all the same bland diet of pap and pablum. We can thank the FCC for much of broadcast radio’s current sorry state of affairs. Many smaller, community-based radio stations, such as WNTK here in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont, are operating on shoestring budgets. So when the FCC, the Keystone cops of the airwaves, threatens to levy fines for indecency (which, incidentally, is not defined anywhere in the FCC rules–it’s all complaint-driven) these smaller stations are so paralyzed with fear they they dare not innovate or air controversial shows or personalities.

With the advent of satellite radio, the days of the nationally syndicated talk shows and corporate music playlists are numbered. Why put up with that crap when you can get a larger selection of better talk shows and commercial-free music all in CD-quality sound by going to satellite radio? The only salvation for broadcast radio will be local color: local talk shows such as WNTK’s Morning Liftoff, local news, local weather. Leave the one-size-fits-all programming to the big birds in the sky.

Mailbag: Whirlpool / Kenmore Calypso Washer Debacle

Kenmore Calypso wrote:

I have just purchased a Calypso, my appliance guy recommended it. Anyway, there is a leak somewhere inside the cabinet in the rear door of the drainhose. The repairman accused me of having “old plumbing” when he came out to check the water draining onto the floor and into the basement and my upright freezer! I had to pull out the dryer and watch the thing run a whole cycle to discover the source. I have also just gotten a C1 error message. Have I just been swindled?




Message sent from IP:

I’ll bet my left kidney that your “appliance guy” got a kickback from the dealer. Why else would this jackball recommend a washer which sucks so bad that a class action lawsuit has been filed against it? This washer is manufactured by Whirlpool and also sold under the Kenmore brand.

Cranial RectitusAnd then the ‘tard couldn’t even troubleshoot a leak on a washer that he recommended you buy!? Dammit, Janet! You didn’t actually pay this buffoon, did you? Judging by the picture you sent me of your appliance guy (shown here at the right), I think it’s a good bet that he’s suffering from what we Master Appliantologists call Cranial Rectitus. I personally do not know any professional practitioners of the appliance repairing arts who would, in good faith, recommend that someone buy a Calypso washer. Overall, Whirlpool makes decent stuff. But the Calypso washer is one for the “Oops!” file.

Have you been swindled? Well, swindled is such a harsh word; more accurate descriptions of your transaction might be: bamboozled, bilked, conned, defrauded, diddled, duped, extorted, fleeced, flimflammed, fooled, gouged, gulled, gypped, hoodwinked, hornswoggled, hosed, humped, jived, plucked, rimmed, ripped off, rooked, sandbagged, scammed, screwed, shafted, shucked, skunked, soaked, stiffed, stung, trimmed, or victimized. But to say you’ve been swindled is, perhaps, going a bit too far.

The Calypso washer has been a huge debacle for Whirlpool in exactly the same way that the Neptune washer was a black eye for Maytag. My best advice to you: return this washer for a full refund NOW. Failing that, buy the Calypso washer repair manual–you’ll need it because you’ll be spending all your free time repairing it.

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