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Never Worry or How To Approach Any Repair With Confidence.



Went to a range repair last week. Old electric Frigidaire drop-in. Not much info to be found. One burner not working. No worries I say, for I am DurhamAppliance.

Didn't have a manual and never disassembled one of these before... no worries I say, .. How hard can it be?

Get out there and discovered it uses those really thick swivel style burners.... No worries I say, probably just a bad connection.

Tried to remove the burner screw, it wouldn't budge and became damaged. No worries I say, I got me a dremel.

Went to my truck but forgot I used the dremel for house renovations the other day. No worries I say, I'll just take apart the console and test the switch. If the switch is good then I'll just get a burner and bring my dremel the next time.

Never disassembled such an ancient stove before, no worries I say, how hard can it be?

After about 30 minutes of fumbling around I got it apart, for I am DurhamAppliance.

Tested the switch... it passed, No worries I say, all I have to bring next time is a burner and my dremel.

Reassembled the console... tight fit, took only another ten minutes but I got it back in place, for I am DurhamAppliance.

Turned the power back on, check the burner and a short yet spectacular explosion of sparks shot across the room. One of the wires connecting to the burner light indicator came off and fused against the inside of the stainless steel control panel causing a burn spot that permeated through to the front side. No worries I say, I'll just buff it out with some Barkeeper's Friend next time I come.

Put the console back together, this time removing the light indicators from the console and installing them after the console was back in place. This way I can keep my eyes on those pesky connectors. Turned the power back on, tested everything.. no sparks, no explosions, no screaming, for I am DurhamAppliance.

So now, pack up... list of things to bring, dremel, burner and Barkeeper's friend.. but the burner is no longer available. No worries I say, for I know people.

The guy I was getting the burner from says he has plenty of 'em, his office is about 30 mins away so I' ll just stop by and get one... but he says he is not in the office. No worries I say, I'll get one tomorrow.

The next day he left the office and forgot to leave one.. No worries, I say, I'll get one tomorrow.

The next day he left the office and forgot to leave one.. No worries I say, ... I'll get one tomorrow.

The next day he left the office and forgot to leave one.. No worries I say, ... I'll get one tomorrow.

The next day he left the office and forgot to leave one.. No worries, I say... I'll just get one the first of the week... damn.

Finally got the burner, got my dremel and some Barkeeper's Friend and now I can make my triumphant return, for I am DurhamAppliance.

Dremel in hand, plug in burner and some polish. I figured I'll be in an out in less than 20 minutes but the slot I cut in the screw with the dremel did not work... it always has in the past... but the screw head was just too soft. No worries I say, I got me a drill.

I drilled through that screw in no time and the burner came loose, for I am DurhamAppliance.

Easy replacement for sure until i notice the original burner did not have male connectors like the replacement. It was hard-wired. No worries I say, for I can crimp female hi temp connectors on the wires.

Connectors went on, put the burner in place and cut the power on.... no heat... took the burner down tested the line and got 240...then worries I say, that switch must be intermittent.

Disassembled the console once again, tested the switch and sure enough it tests bad this time. No worries I say, .. I'll just replace it with a ge generic switch.

Went to my truck, then realized I used my last switch earlier that day. No worries I say, I'll just drive 30 min round trip to my parts supplier and get one.

Triumphantly re-returned again that day, took apart the console like a pro this time, replaced the bad switch and reassembled the console in no time. Turned the power on and the burner sprang to life for apparently the first time in over a year, for I am DurhamAppliance.

Checked the temp of the burner and wouldn't you know it (I bet a dollar to a donut that Sensei Budget already guessed my problem) the simmer and Hi settings were reversed. Damn.. However no worries I say, I'll just order the oem burner from Repairclinic.

The part is available and pretty good price since the 8 inch switch is $56 bucks so the 6 inch has to be pretty cheap. Going to fix it at a good price for the customer for I am DurhamAppliance.

Scrolled down on the price listing and there it was.. the 6 inch burner switch.... $168! Customer will not go through with the repair at that price. No worries I say, I'll call up my local parts house and ask them for a generic switch that is opposite the normal ones they carry.

Got them on the phone and they asked if the "hi" is on the right or the left. Looked at the dial and the "hi" is on the right. Okay they said $14 and it will be in tomorrow. Told the customer the good news and set an appointment for my third triumphant return early next week, for I am DurhamAppliance.

I had time to stop by my office before the next appointment. As I. walked in I noticed one of our stoves for sale. It had the "hi" on the right but the temps were written on the stove not the dial.... if hi is on the right and marked on the stove, you turn the button to the right but if "hi" is written on the right side on the dial itself, you turn the dial to the left! Damn I gave the wrong info to the parts house and the day's order deadline is fast approaching.

I couldn't get the salesperson who I talked with earlier on the phone... i guess calls were pouring in since it is the end of the day... so I drove there. Made it... out of breath I shouted "change the switch to the other way! " By this time the manager walks by and I explained it all to him. And guess what he said?... yep, you guessed it.... "No worries!"..... For they knew what I meant. (man I love D&L parts)

As I left the store, I pumped my fist in the air. Happy that something finally went right. It had to, for I am DurhamAppliance. But there are some days I wished I was someone else.


I have had similar things happen and at times even wonder why we do what we do but I have a reputation of getting things done.Like they say, if it was easy anyone could do it.I do appreciate your story Durham. I will need the inspiration tommorrow!

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I believe, and I live by it, that this was the right thing to do.  Certainly not the easiest, not the least frustrating, and most likely under appreciated....but the right thing to do.  You have to treat ypour customers fairly and with honesty.  If they turn out to be the northbound end of a southbound warthog, well, don't take their job next time.

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    • Samurai Appliance Repair Man
      Oscilloscope Primer
      I'm not sure what you're saying here, but here's what I was saying:   This is true with acoustic waveforms but not voltage waveform! But you can't apply this to voltage waveforms because you'd be ignoring some fundamentally different physics. Just because a physical phenomenon like sound or voltage can be represented by waveforms does not mean they behave the same and you can't ignore the basic physics involved with each.  Voltage waveforms do not cancel each other out. When two voltage waveforms are 180 degrees out of phase with each other, the voltage potential difference DOUBLES because this is how electrons see it.  Yes, and if we're talking about the split-phase voltage from the secondary winding of a center-tapped transformer, the reference is that center tap and from either end of the secondary. In fact, if we're talking about voltages from the secondary of a center-tapped transformer, there simply aren't any other reference or measurement point that makes sense-- those are exactly the reference points to use.  Be careful with construction-oriented forums-- they are not a reliable or informed source of information on these topics. Lots of well-meaning seekers, some knowledgable information but mixed in with lots of gobbledy-gook. Can be very difficult to parse out true physics from misunderstandings.  A much more reliable and informed resource is All About Circuits - forums, tutorials, reference guides, articles, and a fantastic newsletter that I recommend you subscribe to.   
    • QualityMike
      Oscilloscope Primer
      thanks scott, its true if you use the center tap of the secondary as your reference, the two waves are mathematically out of phase, but you are using two opposite points for your positve instead of one. in my case i am using L1 as a reference. this makes more sense as far as adding 120+120=240. i found a good link two identical waves cancel each other out, in this case with neutral as a reference, one has L1 as the posotive and the second wave is L2 as a positive. if these two points are tied together there is a short. these two mathematically out of phase waves do not add up to 240, they would add up to 0… IF both waves were on the same positive line.  the advantage/disadvantage of the full wave rectifier is twice the current potential at half the voltage. and as kinda explained in the 2nd video easier to control dc ripple. just putting a center tap on a transformer doesn't change the fact that it is a singe phase transformer. i think the critical piece is what point is one using as a neutral reference. a great forum topic on this is here:  
    • Samurai Appliance Repair Man
      Oscilloscope Primer
      Great info on o-scope selection! Thanks for putting that together.  In the latter part of your video, you had a drawing with the that the center-tapped, split-phase voltages in phase with each other. The split-phase voltages (from end to center-tap) are really 180 degrees out of phase with each other. This is exactly why it's called split-phase voltage and it's just the physics of how transformers work. If you look at each phase on a dual trace scope, you'll see it. Transformers resist changes in current and the counter-EMF produced in the secondary is always opposed to the inducing EMF (from the primary). When the secondary is center tapped, you are effectively splitting the secondary into two windings. Since the center tap is shared between the two windings, the voltage picked off between the two half windings are 180 degrees out of phase with each other.  Here's a reference that may help explain it: If you were to look at each split-phase voltage on the secondary using a dual channel scope, you would see the inversion, as this video shows:   The phase-splitting (and inversion between the two phases) in the secondary of a center-tapped transformer is why exactly these transformers are used with fullwave rectifiers, as this video explains:         
    • QualityMike
      Oscilloscope Primer
      Thank walter, You blow something up? thats a streatch…  what is the model you got? 1.i use my scope primarily on anything contacts that will give me a non DC voltage. ac or data or liie the compressor inverter output, real odd looking… even though it has the dmm i rarely use it and if you can save a buck by not getting it, i would recommend that. 2.i have not seen any limitations in the field for using the handheld scope. one thing the bench scope has is the ability to fine tune voltage division. the handheld jumps from 1v per division to 2, to 5. not a big deal though. i dont see an advantage for going cheap then expensive, just following and understanding afew simple guidelines would be good. connecing a scope to ground is a good place have an alarm in your head to be careful and doble check that your connections are right. 3.ive used both in the past and the digital scope for our purposes outways the analog scope, (i have used mostly digital in the past because i favor it). with an analog scope you see the waveform in realtime, thats one of the downsides of the digital scope, but for our applications in the field i don't see a need for that. a slight delay (downside) but the ability to record and scroll through a pause is a big advantage for the digial scope. (im really gonna stick with talking about budget scopes, not the ones that are $10k, $100k and up) a good analogy is the old style analog voltmeter (the one with the needle that goes from left to right as the voltage gets higher for the melenials) the digital multimeter does not sample and record the voltage so if you test a compressor starter ac input at turn on you dont get the whole story of what the voltage is doing. you can see it in realtime on an analog meter. this could be an advantage theoretically in the field, but its not enough for me to carry one on my van. my new fieldpiece SC640 has an inrush current feature that i havent really needed to use quite yet, but im sure will come in handy. (this mimics analog) 4… you guys are so demanding  im glad to be of help to you guys, we all are contributing in our way, thats what makes this a community. i learn just as much from you as vice versa. and ty i saw your electronics set, NICE!
    • AlboGator
      Oscilloscope Primer
      Good job, great info in there! That would have saved me many hours 3-4 months ago, lol. I went for the handheld with isolated channels because I'd find a way to blow it as well.