Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Small Household Appliances and Power Tools


  18.3) Controlling an inductive load with a triac

Thyristor based controllers need to be designed with inductive loads
in mind or else they may not work correctly or may be damaged when
used to control a motor or even a transformer or large relay.

There are a couple of issues:

1. Will it switch correctly?  Assuming it uses a Triac to do the switching,
   the inductive nature of the load may prevent the current from ever turning
   off.  Once it goes on the first time, it stays on.

2. Inductive kickback.  Inductive loads do not like to be switched off
   suddenly and generate a voltage spike as a result of the rapid change
   in current.  This may damage the Triac resulting the load staying
   on through the next millennium.

3. Heating.  Due to the inductive load, this will be slightly greater for
   the switch but I wouldn't expect it to be a major issue.  However, some
   derating would be advised.  Don't try to switch a load anywhere near
   the rated maximum for a resistive load.

Where feasible, adding a light bulb in parallel with the load will decrease
the effect of the inductance.  There is no way of knowing whether it will be
effective without analyzing the design or trying it.

Using a relay controlled by the Triac to then switch the inductive load
may work but keep in mind that a relay coil is also an inductive load - a
much smaller one to be sure - but nonetheless, not totally immune to these

  18.4) Dan's notes on low voltage outdoor lighting

(From: Dan Hicks (danhicks@millcomm.com)).

Most major brands of 12V lights are "sort of" interchangeable.
(Occasionally you have trouble getting the wire from one brand to
connect with the fixtures of another brand, but with a little fudging it
can usually be done.)  So look for the brand/model that gives you 
most of the lights you want in the styles you want, then augment with
add-ons from other brands.  Be aware of the current limit of 
transformers, though -- some kits have small transformers not sized for 
add-ons, while others have quite a bit of excess capacity.  I've got a 
(mostly) Toro system I'm semi-satisfied with, though the built-in
photocell system has failed twice.  (I'm going to install a separate
photocell & timer and just set the transformer to "On".)

  18.5) Effects of brownouts and blackouts on electronic equipment and appliances

Brownouts down to 100 V, maybe even 90 volts should not affect electronic
equipment.  It is possible that there is a no-man's land in between 0 and 90
volts (just an estimate) where strange things may happen.  Whether this will
cause permanent damage I cannot say.  The surge, spikes, and overvoltage
possibly associated with repeated brownouts or blackouts can damage
electronics, however.

Induction motors - the type in most large appliances - will run hotter
and may be more prone to failure at reduced line voltage.  This is because
they are essentially constant speed motors and for a fixed load, constant
power input.  Decrease the voltage and the current will increase to compensate
resulting in increased heating.  Similar problems occur with electronic
equipment using switching power supplies including TVs, some VCRs, PCs and
many peripherals.  At reduced line voltage, failure is quite possible.  If
possible, this type of equipment should not be used during brownout periods.

  18.6) Grounding of computer equipment

While electronic equipment with 3 prong plugs will generally operate properly
without an earth ground (you know, using those 3-2 prong adapters without
attaching the ground wire/lug), there are 3 reasons why this is a bad idea:

1. Safety.  The metal cases of computer equipment should be grounded so that
   it will trip a breaker or GFCI should an internal power supply short occur.

   The result can be a serious risk of shock that will go undetected until
   the wrong set of circumstances occur.

2. Line noise suppression.  There are RLC filters in the power supplies of
   computer and peripheral equipment which bypass power supply noise to
   ground.  Without a proper ground, these are largely ineffective.

   The result may be an increased number of crashes and lockups or just plain
   erratic wierd behavior.

3. Effectiveness of surge suppressors.  There are surge suppression components
   inside PC power supplies and surge suppression outlet strips.  Without a
   proper ground, H-G and N-G surge protection devices are not effective.

   The result may be increased hard failures due to line spikes and overvoltage

  18.7) Removing gummed labels (or other dried or sticky gunk)

My order of attack: water, alcohol, WD40, Windex, then stronger stuff like
ammonia, acetone, degreaser, flux-off, carburetor cleaner, lacquer thinner,
gasoline.  WARNING: most of these are flammable and harmful to your health -
use only in a well ventilated areas away from open flames.  Test that they
are safe for plastics and painted surfaces by trying some in an inconspicuous
location first.

(From: Paul Grohe (grohe@galaxy.nsc.com)).

I use "Desolv-it", one of those citrus oil (orange) based grease and 
"get's-the-kids-gum-out-of-your-carpet" cleaners (These are usually touted
as "environmentally friendly" or "natural" cleaners).

Spray it right on the label and let it soak into the paper for a minute or two,
then the sticker slips right off (it also seems to do well on tobacco and
kitchen grease residue).

The only problem is you have to remove the oily residue left by it. I just use
Windex (a window cleaner) to remove the residue, as I usually have to clean the
rest of the unit anyways.

(From: Bob Parnass, AJ9S (parnass@radioman.ih.att.com)).

I spray the label with WD40 and let it soak in for several minutes.  This
usually dissolves the glue without damaging the paint and I can remove the
label using my fingernail.

  18.8) Preventing radio frequency interference from whacking out appliances

This probably applies to many of the new high tech appliances including touch
lamps, smart irons and coffeemakers, etc.

(From: James Leahy (jleahy@norwich.net)).

My lamps were flashing each time I transmitted on 2 meters. HF
transmissions don't seem to cause any trouble. (that just knocks the
neighbor's TV out, har de har). Believe it or not, a simple snap-on
toroidal choke with the lamp cord wrapped as many turns possible near the
plug end cured it. Didn't want to bother with the several type of filter
circuits one could build to fix the problem. It may be a simple fix for
others with similar 2-way interference problems. One can get these chokes
at Radio Shack among other sources.

  18.9) Yard lights cycling and maintenance humor

(From: John Rowe (johnrowe@lightresource.com)).

The new maintenance man at one of our customers, a rather large apartment
complex in Minneapolis, had purchased from us a case of 200 watt incandescents.
He returned to our office about a week later with the lamps, complaining that
they 'flashed' and that the residents were really upset that these lights
(used outside) were not letting them sleep.

Under the 'customer is right' rule, I replaced them immediately, no questions
asked.  Of course I tested the 'bad' ones and found no defects.

When he returned with the new batch and the same complaint, he was really
upset, because the residents were now complaining to the management company
(his employer) about the situation.

I sat him down and asked him about the application.  He explained that they
were being used in 16" white poly pole lights, along all the footpaths around
the complex.

I asked how they were switched, and he replied that they used to be on timers
but that after complaints that the lights were on during the daylight hours,
he had purchased, from his local hardware store, screw-in photocells.  The type
into which the bulb screws.  These were then, inside the globes with the bulbs.

Of course the reflection within the poly globe was enough to prompt the
photocell to switch the circuit off and cycle the lights all night.

It took him a minute or two to comprehend his error.  I was able to recommend
an electrician to install more appropriate photocells.  He remained a good
customer for several more years after this incident.

My amusement comes from the picture I have in my mind of the residents of this
rather up-scale apartment complex looking out of their windows to see all the
walkway security lights going on and off all night, and wondering what the heck
was going on!  I imagine it was quite a sight.

  18.10) Will a hard-wired appliance save energy over a plugged in variety?

The resistance of the connection may be slightly lower - .05 versus .1
ohm, for example.  Other than the reduced amount of power lost in this
wiring, there is otherwise no functional difference.

With fancy expensive test equipment you might be able to detect it but
not in normal use.  The savings of a hard wired appliance would be quite
small even for a high wattage device like a space heater.

However, the hard wired connection will be more reliable and should not
deteriorate over time whereas a plug and outlet can corrode and the
spring force decreases with multiple plugins and outs.  The added resistance
will increase the losses.  So, in this regard, directly connecting the device
into the house wiring is better.

Note that if the cord and/or plug gets hot in use, this is a loss (though
for a space heater, the heat is just coming from the cord/plug instead of
the elements inside) - and a possible fire hazard as well and should be
checked out.  Sometimes, all it takes to remedy such a problem is to expand
the metal strips of the prongs of the plug so it makes better contact.

  18.11) A short history of heat

(From: Bill (bill394@juno.com)).

In the beginning we had but rocks and wood, not an efficient safe or practical
way to heat your home.  This system was refined and did do a fair job, as long
as you didn't mind cold spots or care about your safety.

Then we got more creative and used coal and then oil.  Oil was a far safer and
a better controlled system.  Then came gas now that's the fuel, the fuel of
choice for most.  It's also the one we are here to explain.

The older systems were really very simple.  You had a small pilot light which
was always on.  No safety, it just was lit, and we hoped it stayed lit.  When
the thermostat called for heat we opened a solenoid (electric valve) and
allowed gas to flow in and hopefully get lit by the pilot light.  If the pilot
had gone out the theory was that the majority of the gas would go up the
chimney and vent to the outside.  This simple system, used for years did a
fair job.  It lacked many features we take for granted today.

With the coming of more technology people started thinking more of safety and
expected more from there equipment.  A device commonly known as a thermocouple
was a great start in the direction of safety.  It is a union of dissimilar
metals that when heated generates electricity.  Now we had a way to stop gas
flow if our pilot went out.  By putting a solenoid in the pilot gas line we
could use a thermocouple to keep it powered open by the heat of the pilot.
Thus if our pilot went out the thermocouple would cool and stop producing
power to hold the solenoid open, gas flow would be interrupted.  Power from
this control was also required prior to the main valve opening, this making
uncontrolled gas flows a thing of the past.

With the coming of the R.E.A.  (Rural Electric Authority) power to every home
became a reality.  We now could introduce a new concept, blowers.  The fan
motor made forced air heat a reality.  Now even the most distant room could be
heated and even temperatures became a real happening.

The addition of electricity allowed for the addition of safety controls which
resulted in greatly reducing the fiscal size of a furnace.  We now had the
means to control running temperatures using the fan - turning it on and off by
the temperature and the on and off valve of the fire.  Should by chance the
fan not start, the furnace would over heat and a high temperature switch would
turn the fire off.  No melt down! very safe.

We all know that something simple that works well can't be left alone.  Man
just has to make it more labor complex.  Soon came the addition of some
actually neat ideas.  First being the addition of humidity, in cold climates a
must, that also lowers your heat bill.  The ability to run the fan just to
stir air, not add heat or cool.  Then the electronic air cleaner.  This one if
you have allergy is a must.  I don't have one so can't tell if it is on or
off.  BUT my son can tell in a matter of hours if its off.

And let's not forget the best of all air conditioning! In my world a must.
All of these additions were working steps towards our modern furnace.

The older burners were called ribbon (they sat in the combustion chamber) and
did a good job until we started going for higher efficiency.  Then a major
problem arrived, with colder heat exchangers came condensation.  This caused
the mild steel burners to rust and the size of the openings to get smaller,
making for a poor air to fuel ratio and just a terrible dirty burn, lots of
soot.  The good news is stainless steel burners did solve this, how ever it's
an expensive fix.

Now remember what we said about something that worked? You got it! new style
burners, not all bad though.  With the high efficiency furnaces comes a colder
stack temperature (fumes to chimney).  They are cold enough that they possibly
would not raise without a little help.  So a venter (blower) motor is used to
draw the fumes out of the heat exchanger and up the chimney.  This made
possible a new style burner.  It is in reality a far better burner then the
previous style.  We call it, in shot.  This burner is self adjusting for it's
air mixture and is positioned out side of the heat exchanger.  It is more like
the fire from a torch.  The fire is now sucked in to the heat exchanger by the
draft of the venter.  keep in mind the burner sits out in mid air.  In most
modern furnaces the heat exchanger is basically a piece of pipe with a burner
on one end and a venter on the other.

Knowing that good things get better, next we worked over the controls.  Rather
then using temperature to turn on the fan we use a solid state timer.  This
controls all fan functions.  Remember the pilot light?  It's gone.  We now use
either a hot surface igniter or if your lucky a spark.  The hot surface is
much like the filament of a light bulb.  It upon demand gets very hot and is
used as the source for ignition, unfortunately like a light bulb it burns out.
Again remember the thermal couple? Yes it to is gone.  We now use a micro
processor and electronically sense if the fire is lit.

On most modern furnaces the sequence of operation is as follows:

1.  The thermostat call for heat.  It starts only the venter.

2.  The venter comes to speed and if the chimney is not blocked and intake air
    is present it will draw a vacuum on the heat exchanger.  This is sensed by
    a vacuum switch, it now will turn on our timer.

3.  The timer lets the ignition come on and after a delay the gas valve opens
    and if all is well we finally get FIRE!

4.  A rod in the fire passes an extremely small current through the fire to
    ground.  If the microprocessor accepts the signal the fire will remain on.

5.  Our timer will soon turn on the blower.

When the thermostat no longer calls for heat:

Venter stops.  Vacuum is lost.  Fire is turned off.  Blower will run till
timer tells it to stop.  You still have the old style over temperature
switches.  All of this has made new furnaces extremely small, efficient and
safe.  Do they require more maintenance? YES.  If someone tells you different,
they tell less then the truth!  But I will gladly pay the cost to have my
family safe and comfortable.

Chapter 19) Service Information

  19.1) Wiring diagrams

Many larger appliances like washing machines and microwave ovens have
a wiring diagram or connection diagram pasted inside the cover.  However,
this is rare for small appliances.

In most cases, wiring is trivial and five minutes with your Mark I Eyeball(s)
and a pencil and paper (remember those?  If not, use your PC and a schematic
capture software package) will result a complete schematic.  There may still
be some uncertainties with respect to motor, transformer, or switch wiring
but testing with an ohmmeter or continuity checker should eventually prevail.

  19.2) Removing screw with stripped head

Even if a Phillips head screw head is severely damaged, it is sometimes
possible to free it just by applying enough pressure while turning with
a properly shaped screwdriver.  This can only be attempted if it is possible
to press hard without risk of breaking or damaging anything.

Other more drastic measures:

1. Drill it out - the same way you would remove a rivet - with a sharp
   twist drill bit on slow speed.  If necessary, use a metal or plastic
   sleeve to guide the drill bit.

2. Use a Dremel tool with a disk cutter or fine hacksaw blade to cut a slot
   in the head and then use a straight blade screwdriver to remove it.

3. Take a pair of sharp diagonal cutters and grip between the center and
   one edge or the entire head.  Or, grab the head with a pair of miniature
   locking pliers (Vice-Grips(tm)).

4. Drill a hole in the head and use a screw extractor (E-Zout(tm)).

Take care to avoid excessive mechanical shock to delicate equipment and avoid
allowing metal particles to fall into the interior of the appliance.

  19.3) Fil's tips on improvised parts repair

Whenever I'm stuck with some "Unprofitable" with a broken part,
I see if I can duplicate the functionality of the part. My
raw materials include:

5 minute 2-part epoxy (under $8 from a RC hobby store)
30 minute 2-part epoxy (under $8 from a RC hobby store)
wire: copper, steel, SS, "piano", spring, etc.
springs (a box of 1000s from hamfests, stripped monsters)
plastic stock: all types (you will learn which glue well)
plastic build up kit: two parts - foul smelling polymer and "dust"
Al stock: from thin foil to .080" to .5"
brain: regular edition :-)

As long as you know what the part does (you need not HAVE it...
as long as you can see where it goes in, what it moves, what
activates it, etc).

If it's something intricate, my parts bin door is NEVER closed..
and it gives it's "body" to science :-)

If you have part of the old plastic lever, it's usually easy to
build up the broken off part. I like to heat up a segment of
piano wire and insert it into the remaining part in such a way
as to hit the most "meat" of the part. Then, using either epoxy
or plastic build up material, I form something that does the job.

Overall, I have about a 75% "plastic broken part" repair ratio.
After a while, you will be able to judge if it's doable. "lever"s
are usually easy... sliding assemblies are a pain in the @ss...

  19.4) Fixing stripped plastic threaded holes

(From: Gordon S. Hlavenka (cgordon@worldnet.att.net)).

Simply set the screw on top of the hole, and press LIGHTLY on it with the tip
of your soldering iron.  The iron will heat the screw, which then slides into
the post.  After everything cools, you can take the screw out normally and the
threads are as good as new!  If the post is badly stripped, you may want to
stuff the hole with extra plastic shaved from some non-critical area to
provide additional material.

You have to be careful not to overheat, or push too hard.  But it works very

  19.5) Interchangeability of components

The question often arises: If I cannot obtain an exact replacement or
if I have another appliance carcass gathering dust, or
I just have some extra parts left over from a previous project, can I
substitute a part that is not a precise match?  Sometimes, this is simply
desired to confirm a diagnosis and avoid the risk of ordering an expensive
replacement and/or having to wait until it arrives.

For safety related items, the answer is generally NO - an exact replacement
part is needed to maintain the specifications within acceptable limits with
respect to line isolation (shock prevention) and to minimize fire hazards.
However, these components are not very common in small appliances.

For other components, whether a not quite identical substitute will work
reliably or at all depends on many factors.  Some designs are so carefully
optimized for a particular part's specifications that an identical
replacement is the way to return performance to factory new levels.  With
appliances in particular, may parts which perform common functions - like
thermostats - utilize custom mounting arrangements which precluded easy
substitution even if the electrical and thermal characteristics are an
exact match.

Here are some guidelines:

1.  Fuses - exact same current rating and at least equal voltage rating.
    I have often soldered a normal 3AG size fuse onto a smaller blown 20 mm
    long fuse as a substitute.  Also, they should be the same type - slow
    blow only if originally specified.  A fuse with a faster response
    time may be used but it may blow when no faults actually exist.

2.  Thermal fuses and thermal cutouts - exact same temperature and current
    rating (if stated).  Physical size may also be important when these are
    buried in motor or transformer windings.

3.  Thermostats - temperature range must be compatible (or slightly wider
    may be acceptable).  Electrical current and voltage ratings must meet
    or exceed original.  With some devices, hysteresis - the tendency of
    a thermostat that has switched to stay that way until the temperature
    changes by a few degrees - may be an issue.  For example, electric
    heaters use a thermostat which has a typical hysteresis of 3-5 degrees F.
    However, heating appliances like waffle irons and slow cookers may depend
    on the thermal mass of the castings and use a thermostat with very little
4.  Resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, switches, trimpots, lamps and
    LEDs, and other common parts - except for those specifically marked as
    safety-critical - substitution as long as the replacement part fits
    and specifications are met should be fine.

5.  Rectifiers - use types of equal or greater current and PRV ratings.  A
    bad bridge rectifier can be replaced with 4 individual diodes.  However,
    high efficiency and/or fast recovery types are used in parts of electronic
    ballasts and other switching power supplies.

6.  Transistors and thyristors (except power supply choppers) - substitutes
    will generally work as long as their specifications meet or exceed those
    of the original.  For testing, it is usually ok to use types that do not
    quite meet all of these as long as the breakdown voltage and maximum
    current specifications are not exceeded.  However, performance may not
    be quite as good.  For power types, make sure to use a heatsink.

7.  Motors - small PM motors may often be substituted if they fit physically.
    Make sure you install for the correct direction of rotation (determined
    by polarity).  For universal and induction motors, substitution may
    be possible but power input, speed, horsepower, direction of rotation,
    and mounting need to be compatible.

8.  Sensor switches - some of these are common types but many seem to be
    uniquely designed for each appliance.

9.  Power transformers - in some cases, these may be sufficiently similar
    that a substitute will work.  However, make sure you test for compatible
    output voltages to avoid damage to the regulator(s) and rest of the
    circuitry.  Transformer current ratings as well as the current
    requirements of the equipment are often unknown, however.

10. Belts or other rubber parts - a close match may be good enough at least
    to confirm a problem or to use until the replacements arrives.

11. Mechanical parts like screws, flat and split washers, C- and E-clips,
    and springs - these can often be salvaged from another unit.

The following are usually custom parts and substitution of something from
your junk box is unlikely to be successful even for testing: SMPS (power
supply) transformers, microcontrollers, other custom programmed chips,
display modules, and entire power supplies unless identical.

  19.6) Appliance repair books

Your local large public or university library should have a variety of
books on appliance repair and general troubleshooting techniques.

Here are a few titles for both small and large appliance repair:

1.  Chilton's Guide to Small Appliance Repair and Maintenance
    Gene B. Williams
    Chilton Book Company, 1986
    Radnor, PA 19089
    ISBN 0-8019-7718-5

2.  Chilton's Guide to Large Appliance Repair and Maintenance
    Gene B. Williams
    Chilton Book Company, 1986
    Radnor, PA 19089
    ISBN 0-8019-7687-1

3.  Major Appliances, Operation, Maintenance, Troubleshooting and Repair
    Billy C. Langley
    Regents/Prentice Hall, A Division of Simon and Schuster, 1993
    Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
    ISBN 0-13-544834-4

4.  Major Home Appliances, A Common Sense Repair Manual
    Darell L. Rains
    TAB Books, Inc., 1987
    Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214
    ISBN 0-8306-0747-1 (Paperback: ISBN 0-8306-0747-2)

5.  Home Appliance Servicing
    Edwin P. Anderson
    Theodore Audel & Co., A Division of Howard W. SAMS & Company, Inc., 1969
    2647 Waterfront Parkway, East Drive
    Indianapolis, IN 46214
    Telephone: 1-800-428-7267

6.  Handbook of Small Appliance Troubleshooting and Repair
    David L. Heisserman
    Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1974
    Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
    ISBN 0-13-381749-0

7.  Fix It Yourself - Power Tools and Equipment
    Time-Life Books, Alexandria, VA
    ISBN 0-8094-6268-0, ISBN 0-8094-6269-9 (lib. bdg.)

8.  Readers Digest Fix-It-Yourself Manual
    The Readers Digest Association, 1996
    Pleasantville, New York/Montreal
    ISBN 0-89577-871-8

    Overall, this is an excellent book which I would not hesitate to recommend
    as long as one understands its shortcomings.  The coverage of both small
    and large appliances, tools, and common yard equipment, as well as a
    variety of other categories of household repair (furniture, plumbing, etc.)
    is quite comprehensive.

    It is very well illustrated with hundreds upon hundreds of easy to
    understand exploded diagrams.  In fact, that is probably its most
    significant feature.  Where the equipment is similar to yours, it is
    possible to use the pictures almost exclusively for understanding its
    construction, operation, and disassembly/reassembly procedures.

    The discussion of each type of more complex equipment provides one or
    more troubleshooting charts.  Each entry includes the level of difficulty
    and identifies any needed test equipment (e.g., multimeter) for dealing
    with that problem or repair.

    However, this book is at best an introduction and once-over.  Much of the
    material is presented based on one or two models of a particular type of
    devices while sort of implying that all the rest are similar.  In all
    fairness, very often this is sufficient as most models of simpler differ
    only in details.  However, for all but the most general repairs on the
    more complex appliances, a book with more specific information would be
    highly desirable before actually tackling the repair.

    One significant shortcoming is that there are NO wiring diagrams of any
    kind for any of the appliances.  Their approach seens to be to just check
    parts for failure.  While this will be successful in many cases. a wiring
    diagram would be useful when explaining appliance operation and would
    help in logical troubleshooting to localize the problem.

    Although there is a chapter on home electronics - audio, video, computer,
    security systems, etc. - don't expect anything useful beyond very general
    information and simple repairs like replacing belts and looking for bad
    connections.  While it isn't surprising that the treatment of this complex
    equipment is superficial at best in a book of this type, in some cases it
    is as though the editing was based on a page limit rather than including
    a more complete summary but with fewer details.  For example, the only
    repair on a CD player beyond belts and lens cleaning is to test and replace
    the tray loading motor (one particular model).  Unfortunately, some of the
    specific information is not entirely accurate either and may be misleading
    and expensive.  The safety instructions for the electronics (as well as
    microwave ovens) is also a bit lacking considering some of the suggestions
    for troubleshooting and parts replacement.

    Some errata: Testing of microwave oven HV diodes (good ones will test bad),
    HV discharging of TVs and monitors always (not needed) and possibly to
    wrong place (should be to picture tube ground, not chassis ground) but no
    mention of power supply capacitor discharging, not specific enough on
    'good' and 'bad' resistance readings for various parts like motors.

9.  All About Lamps - Construction, Repair, Restoration
    Frank W. Coggins
    Tab Books, 1992
    Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214
    ISBN 0-8306-0258-5 (hardback), 0-8306-0358-1 (paperback)

10. How to Repair and Care for Home Appliances
    Arthor Darack and the Staff of Consumer Group, Inc.
    Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1983
    Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
    ISBN 0-13-430835-2 (hardcover), ISBN 0-13-430827-1 (paperback)

11. Popular Mechanics Home Appliance Repair Manual
    Hearst Books, NY, 1981
    ISBN 0-910990-75-1

12. Microsoft Home (CDROM)
     Based on the Readers Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide
     The Readers Digest Association, 1991
    Microsoft, 1996
    ISBN 0-57231-259-9

    This isn't the Fix-It-Yourself Manual but I expect that is coming on CDROM
    if it is not out already.  However, there is some information including
    nice diagrams relating to door chimes, telephone wiring, incandescent and
    fluorescent lighting fixtures, electrical switches, and heating and air
    conditioning systems (in addition to everything else you ever wanted to
    know about how your house works, tools and tool skills, materials and
    techniques, and home repair and maintenance).

  19.7) Large appliance repair manuals and Web assistance

These appliance repair manuals are supposed to be written specifically
for the do-it-yourselfer.  Manuals are currently available for about
$20 each for washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators,
and ovens and cooktops:

* EB Large Appliance Repair Manuals via Internet
  Email: info@appliancerepair.net
  Phone: U.S. (toll-free) 888-974-1224, Canada, 714-974-1224
  Web: http://www.appliancerepair.net/manuals.htm

They may be available from your local appliance parts dealer for even less.
The web site has a list of parts dealers organized by telephone area codes
(though it does not appear to be very comprehensive at the current time).

There are several web sites devoted to large appliance repair.  Here are two:

* Appliance Clinic, http://www.phoenix.net/~draplinc/

  Tips (often by manufacturer/model) for clothes washers, dryers, and
  refrigerators/icemakers.  Also, some parts other info, free email replies.

* Large Appliance Repair - Garrell's Appliance Center, http://members.tripod.com/~garrellsappliance/#Index

  Washers, dryers, stoves, ovens, refrigerators, air conditioners.  Parts,
  manufacturers, manuals, free email replies.

  19.8) Manufacturer support

Major manufacturers may provide a variety of types of support for their
products including technical assistance, parts sourcing, unadvertised repair
or replacement beyond the expiration of the warranty, upgrade or replacement
to fix known defects whether covered by official recalls or not, etc.

I have on several occasions been pleasantly surprised to find that some
companies really do stand behind their products and all it took was a phone
call or short letter.  One only hears of the horror stories!

(From: lizard3 (lizard3@ix.netcom.com)).

Sears sells schematics and plans of all their appliances. This includes a
breakout of the entire machine with each part number. They have a toll-free
number to call. All you need is the model number and a credit card.  We have
used their washing machine schematic a couple of times to replace some very
minor parts.

  19.9) Parts suppliers

Common parts like cordsets, plugs, wire, and some light bulbs can be found
a larger hardware stores, home centers, or electrical supply houses.  Small
electronic components like resistors and capacitors, can be found at any
electronics distributor - including even Radio Shack in a pinch.

The original manufacturer of the appliance is often the best source for
unusual or custom parts.  Many are quite willing to sell to the consumer
directly.  Check for an 800 number and have complete information on model
and a part number if possible.  However, their prices may be high - possibly
rendering a repair uneconomical.

There are numerous appliance repair centers that may be able to obtain parts
at lower cost - check your Yellow Pages.  Their prices may be less than half
of those of the original manufacturer.

The following is a good source for consumer electronics replacement parts,
especially for VCRs, TVs, and other audio and video equipment but they
also carry a variety of common electronic components and appliance parts
like switches, range elements, defrost timers, light bulbs, and belts

* MCM Electronics                 (VCR parts, Japanese semiconductors,
  U.S. Voice: 1-800-543-4330.      tools, test equipment, audio, consumer
  U.S. Fax: 1-513-434-6959.        electronics including microwave oven parts
                                   and electric range elements, etc.)
  Web: http://www.mcmelectronics.com/

Also see the documents: "Troubleshooting of Consumer Electronic Equipment" and
"Electronics Mail Order List" for additional parts sources.

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