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Samurai Appliance Repair Man's Blog



Wall Oven Wiring Fail

Posted by Samurai Appliance Repair Man, in Oven-Range-Stove Repair 14 December 2013 · 1,421 views
wall oven, wiring
I went to remove a wall oven today and ran into a little problem. Can you find it?

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I run into this kind of problem all the time up here in the backwoods of New Hampster. It's an endemic problem with electricians and handymen not bothering to read the installation instructions. For the record, this installation fail was done by a licensed electrician. Kind of a wake up call for the whole licensing racket, isn't it? Having a "licensed" electrician is still no guarantee that he knows what in the hell he is doing or is capable of reading simple installation instructions.

In case you're interested, you can read the manufacturer's installation instructions yourself here: http://manuals.frigi...n/318206002.pdf

BTW, those specs are typical for all manufacturers.

Bottom Line with any wall oven installation: You need to have enough slack in the power wire conduit to be able to remove the wall oven from its compartment.


A word of inspiration and hope for aspiring Appliantologists

hope, inspiration, light
Sometimes, undertaking an appliance repair can be daunting. You'll be met with frustration and unpleasant surprises, obstacles over things that seem like they should be easy. In these dark times, remember the words of the Samurai...


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What about Protection Plans or Extended Warranties for New Appliances? Are they worth buying?

protection plan and 2 more...
I get asked about new appliance protection plans and extended warranties a lot both during real-life service calls as The Appliance Guru and via emails from this site. So, FWIW, I thought I'd offer my contemplations and musings on the topic.

First off, you gotta realize that protection plans and extended warranties are only as good as the people offering or doing the actual service work. Protection plans are basically a form of insurance. Lots of companies want to get in on the protection plan biz because, structured correctly, it’s a highly lucrative arrangement: you pay a chunk of money for service that the warranty company is betting you won’t need. Insurance companies have this game figured out in all aspects of our lives, including home and appliance warranties.

But there’s one big difference.

In auto, home, and medical insurance, for example, all the insurance company has to do is write a check for a claim. Insurance companies are all about cash so even writing big checks are no problem for them.

Now consider an appliance repair insurance plan— which is basically what protection plan and extended warranties are. When a claim is made, what’s the payout? Instead of a check, the payout is usually a repair. And herein lies the dirty little secret about appliance protection plans: they are only as good as the repair services available in your area, as in a live, skilled technician coming to your house and fixing your broken stuff.

When you’re being sold on the plan, they’re trying to implant the Fantasy Scenario vision in your head:

The Fantasy Scenario

The technician gets there the same day or next day, knows exactly what the problem is, has the part on his vehicle and gets you all fixed up right then and there. This almost never happens in a real-world warranty situation but that's the fantasy when you buy the plan.

Okay, let’s come back to planet earth and look at how these protection plans work in the real world.

Suppose something breaks and you need service. Depending on who is actually providing the service for the protection plan, the response will likely be one of the following scenarios:

The Typical Sears Scenario

You call and get an appointment for two weeks from now. If you're lucky, you'll get a decent tech who can troubleshoot the problem accurately. But much of the time you'll get an undertrained guy who "thinks" he knows what the problem is but, since corporate policy prohibits him from carrying inventory on his service vehicle (to prevent employee theft and moonlighting), he has to order the parts and come back. That’ll take another two weeks. On the second trip, the servicer installs the new part only to realize that he guessed wrong. Whups! “Golly, ma’am, must be sumpin’ else!” Or, “Dang, another bad board outta the box, that’s the 5th time today!” He scratches his head, takes a guess at another part, and has to come back yet again. Each trip is a four hour window for the servicer’s arrival so that’s two or more half-days you’ll need to take off work to wait for him. Oh, and they may call you on the day of the scheduled appointment to cancel for that day and re-schedule.

The Typical Home Warranty Company Scenario

There are several of these types of companies out there-- NEW, American Home Shield, and others. They all work the same way: you pay them for an appliance warranty plan (repair insurance) and, in return, they’ll cover any repairs that need to be done under warranty. Sounds great on paper and they do a great job selling these plans. But, as you might expect, there are not one, but two big Achilles’ Heels with this arrangement.

1. Their service is only as good as the independent servicers they can find in your area. If you live in a densely populated area, this may be a non-issue. But if you live in a sparsely populated area, this could be a problem. The warranty company won’t have any easier time finding a qualified servicer than you would on your own. In fact, they’ll have a harder time because of the second Achilles’ Heel:

2. Most independent servicers hate working for warranty companies because 1) they are difficult to deal with like any corporate bureaucracy, 2) they are either slow to pay or pay very little compared to COD rates, or 3) they have gotten a reputation in the industry for stiffing servicers and not paying at all after the repair is successfully completed so, as a result, many independent service companies flat out refuse to work with particular warranty companies. The result is a delay in finding a servicer willing to work with the warranty company which means a delay in getting your stuff fixed. This miserable process usually culminates with you spending hours on the phone with the warranty company (most of that time on hold listening to blaring muzak or repetitive announcements telling you how awesome they are).

Protection Plans from Independent Retailers

This requires careful investigation on your part because, again, their warranty is only as good as the service to back it up. Some dealers service what they sell. Okay, fine. But are their technicians any good or are they parts changing monkeys? Hard to know. One way to find out, though, is to use the Internet and see what people are saying about them on places like Google reviews, YP.com, and the Better Business Bureau. Do a Google search of the company’s name and see what you come up with.

Most service companies should have a company website that tells how they do business and a social web presence, at least a Facebook Page. If they don’t, that’s a red flag right there. I don’t say that because I’m a Facebook fanboy, but because it shows something about the company-- that they have a public reputation they are cultivating and want to protect. It also shows that they’re in business for the long-haul.

If you are inclined to go the protection plan route, a good way to go is with a local dealer who services what they sell and one whom you have personally vetted nine ways to Sunday. You don’t want to end up in the situation where you call your local dealer for a protection plan service only to find that their phone has been disconnected. Hey, a lot more common and possible in today’s economy that you may think.

What would I do if I were me? No, wait: what should you do if you were you? No, wait…

IMHO, the best thing to do is to find a good local servicer (using the vetting suggestions discussed above) and establish a relationship with them. Some may offer some kind of protection plan you can purchase. Otherwise, just budget a little money each month into savings to cover eventual repairs.

Here are a few more vetting strategies...

If you don’t get a live human when you first call, don’t leave a message. Call back another time and see if you get a human then. You’re looking to see if getting voicemail is how these people roll or was that a fluke due to bad cell reception or something else going on with them. You want a service company that strives to always answer the phone, even after hours and on weekends. Honestly, in this day and age of cell phones, there’s no excuse for not doing this… unless they just don’t care whether or not they get your work. And that’s what you’re trying to assess.

You also want to find out what their typical response time is. What do they claim their response time is at their website? You’re looking for someone who strives for same day-next day service. The best service companies will offer Saturdays as a regular working day because that’s when people are home and it’s convenient for them (that’s why it’s called appliance repair service).

Once you’ve found this golden service company, cherish them, woo them, nurture that relationship, send them Christmas cards, bake them Kwanza cookies, carve them Hanukah dradles, knit them Ramadan kufis, whatever you think will solidify your connection with them because, when your fridge breaks on a Saturday and you have a houseful of guests, you want them out there that day to get that box cooling again taco-pronto.

If you have the supreme good fortune of living in the Kearsarge-Lake Sunapee Region of New Hampshire, call The Appliance Guru for fast, expert appliance service, including weekend and holiday emergency service at no extra charge. Learn more here: www.ApplianceGuru.com


Soot: A Clear and Present Danger in your Gas Oven

Posted by Samurai Appliance Repair Man, in Oven-Range-Stove Repair 06 December 2013 · 1,679 views
gas, oven, range, soot and 2 more...
I was at a service call on gas range the other day for an oven that wouldn't bake or broil. The cause turned out to be a bad range control board. Nothing unusual about that. The astonishing thing with this range was the inside of the oven cell-- all the surfaces inside were coated with a thick layer of soot (click the images for a larger view):

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This is NOT a normal condition in any gas range. If you see soot accumulated on your oven cell walls, even a little, STOP USING IT AND GET IT CHECKED OUT!

Soot is a product of incomplete combustion. So is Carbon Monoxide (CO), dubbed "the silent killer" because it is odorless and kills by displacing oxygen in your blood, making you sleepy and, in high enough concentrations, can make you take that final dirt nap. We've all heard the stories of people dying in their homes from CO poisoning. Improperly adjusted gas appliances, like the oven shown in the photos above, is one of the more common ways this happens.

A standard practice in the appliance industry is that all gas appliances, ranges, ovens, dryers, etc., come ready to burn natural gas. If you're going to use propane (also abbreviated LP for "liquid propane"), you have to convert the gas system in the appliance to safely burn it without producing soot or unsafe levels of CO.

Since propane burns hotter than natural gas (2,500 Btu/cu ft for propane vs. 1,030 Btu/cu ft for natural gas), it needs more air to make a "complete" (or at least safe and soot-free) combustion. If the air-fuel ratio (AFR) is too low (too much fuel or "too rich" in automobile terms), you'll create soot and unsafe levels of CO. If you're interested in some numbers on the AFR for natural gas and propane, start here.

While no combustion is 100% complete, you can still get close enough to prevent soot formation and keep CO production to safe levels.

The range in this service call is a Kenmore (Frigidaire-built) range that was purchased from a famous, nationwide retail chain (I'll give you one guess; hint: it's a Kenmore). This range, like all gas appliances, came ready to burn natural gas and needed to be converted for use with propane.

The customer paid the retailer for the conversion but it wasn't done properly. They converted the gas burners on the cooktop correctly by replacing the gas metering spuds for each burner with the smaller diameter spuds sized for propane. But they completely neglected to convert either of the gas burners in the oven (bake and broil). Behold (click the images for a larger view):


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To make matters even worse, when the customer called the retailer's customer service department to complain about the soot in the oven, they advised her to run the self clean feature which successfully produced copious amounts of soot and, at the 900F temperatures reached in the oven cell during self clean, baked the soot onto the oven walls. The soot will never come out. This range is only three years old and the oven is effectively ruined.

So how is the strange and mysterious conversion process done in gas ranges? It's really not a mystical experience at all. It's as simple as following the instructions and installing a few pieces that all manufacturers provide for this very purpose. For example, here is an official conversion instruction sheet that Frigidaire includes with the conversion kits for its ranges. GE's conversion instruction sheet has similar information but I think it's a little more comprehensive and easy-to-follow (you'll need to be an Appliantology Apprentice to download it).


The Silver Bullet Fix for LE Error Codes in LG Dishwashers

Posted by Samurai Appliance Repair Man, in Dishwasher Repair 06 December 2013 · 549 views
LG, dishwasher, LE, error code and 1 more...
Of all the error codes seen in LG dishwashers, the LE error is probably the common one asked about in The Samurai Appliance Repair Academy Kitchen Forum. So much so that it seemed like this one needed a Silver Bullet answer. And who better to fire that silver bullet than the Dean of LG Appliantology himself, john63. Y'all go grab you a cold one and let's listen to the big guns going off:

Replacing the SUMP ASSY (AJH31248604) and protecting/repairing (as needed) the Wire Loom inside the door assembly---will resolve your immediate problem ("LE" error).

The "LE" error is *extremely* common for all LG dishwashers built from 2004 through mid-2008.

The cause of the Wash Motor failure is due a process during manufacturing---that degraded/damaged the Wash Motor.

Replacing the entire Sump Assy makes perfect sense in this case (as opposed to just the Wash Motor) since the new design Sump Assy has a much better design internal gasket.
The original Sump Assy gaskets were extremely challenging to re-install (disassembly is required to replace the Wash Motor).
Replacing the Sump Assy---also has the benefit of having a new...

1) Wash Motor
2) Heating Element and internal Thermistor
3) Drain Motor
4) Soil Level Sensor
5) Vario Motor (switches water from lower washer arm-to-middle and upper wash arms---every 90 seconds)

After removing the door panel----inspect the Wire Loom from the bottom of the door-up-to-the-Detergent-Dispenser-Assy.

Repair wiring as needed.

Wrap the entire Wire Harness with electrical tape---from the bottom of the door up to the Detergent Dispenser Assy

Insert a cardboard cut-out---behind the Wire Harness---to further isolate the wiring from the Tar-Like Thermal/Sound Insulation of the door liner.

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<<<I haven't fixed appliances before, but I'm a DIY guy in general.>>>

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In that case---I'll provide some recommendations to further improve the dishwasher performance & reliability (especially if you are planning to replace the Sump Assembly).

Replace the following items:

1) Guide Assembly (4975DD1001A)

The Guide Assembly has been updated (improvement)---to eliminate the oft-elusive symptom of once-in-a-blue-moon water leaking from the lower corner of the door.

Replacement Guide Assys include a new FLOAT ASSY. Not only has this been re-designed (elimination of Styrofoam floats)---but since Tri-Sodium-Phosphate (TSP) is no longer used in dishwasher detergent (beginning July 2010---many FLOAT ASSYs are becoming clogged with fatty/greasy residue. This in turn---causes incorrect water fill/filling then draining/poor wash performance/water-on-floor-complaints.
This accumulation of sticky residue is becoming so commonplace---that replacing the Guide Assy is virtually mandatory (when I service an LG dishwasher).

Prior to July 2010---TSP in dishwashing detergent would chemically-react with the fatty/oily deposits in the dishwasher---and CONVERT it to a soap/detergent.
This chemical change (fat-to-detergent) is called "Saponification".
Today---dishwasher detergent cleans---not by saponification---but by "Enzyme" method (breaks down fatty/oily deposits into smaller pieces).
Hence---the oily/fatty residue remains with the wash water---and ideally or in theory---should be eventually rinsed/drained from the dishwasher---provided that the cycle duration/run time is longer than a "normal" cycle AND the wash/rinse water temperature is hot enough to effective remove the residue---sufficiently.

My experience has been that---over time---deposits will gum-up the Guide/Float Assy (and the hose leading to it from the Sump Assy) to the point of rendering the dishwasher essentially useless.

It's also why I believe that LG introduced an all-new re-designed dishwasher---shortly after the TSP-ban (entirely different water level sensing method---a water frequency sensor rather than using floats).

As an option---the Drain Hose (AEM6943803) can be replaced as well. This re-designed hose is intended to be used with the (also re-designed) Guide Assy. The correction was to prevent loss-of-wash-water during the Wash Cycle---especially in situations where the drain hose has been incorrectly installed into the floor---to a drain connection in the basement/crawl space.
This would eliminate "air sucking sounds" and heating element damage due to frequent insufficient amount of water in the tub during the cycle.

Lastly---installing a new (yes-re-designed) Filter Assy (ADQ32598202) can reduce the possibility of hard debris entering the Sump Assy during the cycle. The filter area has smaller openings to resist glass shards and other debris---such as a toothpick.

Before I forget---if you've replace the Sump Assy---and all works beautifully---but now you're noticing a whistle/growling sound during the wash cycle---post back:)

The CHOPPER/MASCERATOR was inexplicably changed from a good design with not-so-pointed ends on it----to a design which best resembles the tip of an indian arrowhead.
This pointed tip---causes whistling and/or grinding during wash.
The original Chopper was brought back---to stop the noise complaint (sigh).

Good Luck!



Source: LG LDF6810ST Error Code "LE"






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