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Saturday, May 31, 2003

Mailbag: Washing Machine Overfills and Floods

Michelle wrote:
My washing mach. fills up, but it never stops filling up. The house has flooded twice now. Please HELP.

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Yea verily, Grasshopper, you must replace the water inlet valve on your washer. To prevent this problem from occurring again, take counsel from this sacred Samurai scripture of Appliance Repair. Go in peace, my child.

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Thursday, May 29, 2003

No Excuses!

The next time you feel like God can't use you, just remember . . .

NOAH was a drunk.

ABRAHAM was too old.

ISAAC was a daydreamer.

JACOB was a liar.

LEAH was ugly.

JOSEPH was abused.

MOSES had a stuttering problem.

GIDEON was afraid.

SAMSON was a long-haired womanizer!

RAHAB was a prostitute!

JEREMIAH and TIMOTHY were too young.

DAVID had an affair and was a murderer.

ELIJAH was suicidal.

ISAIAH preached naked.

JONAH ran from God.

NAOMI was a widow.

JOB went bankrupt.

JOHN the Baptist ate bugs.

PETER denied Christ.

The Disciples fell asleep while praying.

MARTHA worried about everything.

The SAMARITAN WOMAN was divorced ... more than once!

ZACCHEUS was too small.

PAUL was too religious.

TIMOTHY had an ulcer ... AND


No more excuses now!
God's waiting to use your full potential.

(Shamelessly stolen from the Orthodox Christianity group.)

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Mailbag: Kenmore Washer won't Agitate

Don wrote:
Kenmore washer 70 series. My washer will fill up with water, but will not wash. You can manually turn the dial to spin and get it to spin out; however it will not complete a wash cycle.
Could this be a timer problem or something else?

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

It could be a timer problem, but I usually find the culprit is a bad water level control switch (also called a pressure switch or a fill switch). Look at this simplified schematic of the circuit in your washer that controls fill and agitate. You'll notice that both the timer and the fill switch are involved in this action. I would start troubleshooting at the fill switch and make sure it's doing its job by switching over from fill to run mode once the water level in the tub is reached. You can do this as either a continuity test with the machine unplugged or a voltage test with power applied to the circuit--your choice depending on your comfort with electricity. More help on making electrical tests here. The wiring diagram for your washer will show the exact terminals and wires to check.

If you're still confused, post your question in the repair forum at the Appliantology group. Of course, Moostafa is always happy to help out, too.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Mailbag: Stinky Ice!

Dave Robinson wrote:
I have a ~1986 GE side-by-side (model #TFX22ZGB, S/N VS-211967) with their standard crescent-cube icemaker. Recently the ice has developed a foul taste and odor-- it is clear with no particles, but it just stinks! I can find no filter to replace on the water line. Which filter do you recommend I install? Do I need to install it on the supply water line before the solenoid valve, or can I install it on the plastic line on the backside of the fridge between the valve and the icemaker? Thanks for your help.

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

In-line water filters can be installed on any refrigerator. They're easy to install and they literally snap in-place in the 1/4" water supply tubing behind the fridge. The filter kit comes with instructions and all the fittings you need to install it. After a while, the filter becomes saturated with icky stuff so it should be changed every six months--read more about that here.

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Monday, May 26, 2003

New Web Pages at

The Samurai hears his Grasshoppers when they chirp. You wanted an easy way to find my Mission Reports and Lessons in Liberty and the Samurai has harkened his pointy, fuzzy ears to your peeping and twittering. In my relentless efforts to make my pearls of wisdom more accessible to you, my loyal Grasshoppers, I've added two new webpages:

  • Samurai on Assignment
    As many of you know, the CIA frequently calls upon the Samurai for special assignments to defend truth, justice, and the American Way. Here is an on-going collection of my mission reports for the various assignments I've completed.
  • Lessons in Liberty
    Short lessons in the American heritage of Liberty to help you cut through all the Orwellian doublespeak polluting your brain.

Now, please, stop emailing me about this. Mucho domos.

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Friday, May 23, 2003

Liberty Quote of the Day

"IN the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes." read more...

--Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

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Appliance Tip of the Day: Indoor Air Pollution Control

appliance tip of the day archive

The best product for home or office indoor air pollution control is the AirSource 3000 Air Purifier. We use one at our house and it does a great job eliminating odors and airborne allergens such as pollen and cat dander (both big problems this time of year).

The filterless AirSource 3000 is the only purifier with an exclusive patent-pending combination of two technologies: Phyotohydroionization and Electron Generation, which work together to quietly and safely clean up to 3,000 square feet of air.

The AirSource 3000 reduces all three major forms of indoor air pollution:

  • Particulates: 95% of larger particulates (like pollen) were reduced twice as fast as normal; very small particulates (like those found in cigarette smoke) were reduced one-and-a-half times faster
  • Microbes: Mold and yeast counts were reduced by an average of 94% over a six-day period and bacteria counts were reduced by an average of 95%
  • Odors & Gases: Butyl acetate, a solvent used in paints, lacquer, plastics, and adhesives was reduced by 31%; Methyl methacrylate, a chemical found in plastics and countertops, was reduced by 44%; d-Limonene, a common cleaning chemical, was reduced by 84%

Learn more about the AirSource 3000 and order yours here.

grasshoppers breathing easy with the master

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Mailbag: Water Flows into the Washer and then Right Out the Drain Hose

Tara wrote:
Got a newer GE washer from a friend...will pull water to fill tub, but tub won't hold. Goes right into pump and out the other hose. Pump will kick on if set on rinse cycle, but obviously there is no need to pump water out, because it is on a continuous flow into the tub, thru the pump, and out of the drainage hose. Should the pump be controlling the tub filling, or is it something else?

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

This is the infamous water siphoning problem resulting from your drain hose not being raised high enough. Observe:

drain hose height criteria for washing machines

Now go and do likewise.

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Thursday, May 22, 2003

Mailbag: Whirlpool Dryer Noise

Richard wrote:
I have a Whirlpool Gas Dryer #LGR4634E00 that is only 2 years old. The stupid thing is making a grinding noise that sounds as if it is coming from the bottom/back of the drum . I removed the back and top and couldn't see anything. With the dryer running I can pull the drum toward the door and the noise stops. Could this be the rollers? I have tried to find a drawing of this model to what type of rollers or bearing it has but to no avail. I need this fixed so my wife can get back to work!! Cna you give me some advice, I heard you were pretty good at this stuff!!!!!!

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

First problem is that you wrote down the model number wrong. Read The Ten Commandments for Reading Appliance Model Numbers. I believe you mistook a 'Q' or a '0' when you wrote down your model number--the correct number for your dryer is LGR4634EQ0. With a good model number, you can easily find a parts breakdown diagram for your dryer.

Based on your problem description, the problem could be the drum rollers, a worn plastic bearing ring at the front of the dryer drum, or something caught in the blower chute . You'll need to remove the drum to check all these things out. A genuine Whirlpool dryer repair manual is definitely worth a few shekels and will pay for itself over and over again.

Awwite, go whup-up on that bad boy.

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Appliance Tip of the Day: The Ten Commandments for Reading Appliance Model Numbers

appliance tip of the day archive I can't tell you how many times grasshoppers ask me for help repairing their appliance and they either give me a bad model number or none at all. Without a valid model number, I can't look up diagrams or find out anything about your appliance. If you can't provide a good model number, don't waste your time or mine typing out a question to email me or to post in the repair forum. So, here are the Ten Commandments for Reading Appliance Model Numbers:

  1. Thou shalt read the model number directly off the manufacturer's tag affixed to the appliance.

  2. Thou shalt use these diagrams to help you locate the manufacturer's tag if you are having trouble.

  3. Thou shalt not offer up the excuse that the manufacturer's tag could not be located on the appliance; yea verily, this is bullsheist that doth stinketh in my nostrils.

  4. Thou shalt read the model number under the illumination of a flashlight.

  5. Thou shalt not offer up the model number unless it was read under the illumination of a flashlight.

  6. Thou shalt double and triple check the accuracy of the model number before offering it up.

  7. Thou shalt not offer up a model number until its accuracy has been double and triple checked.

  8. Thou shalt not offer up any model number found on any printed manuals associated with the appliance.

  9. Thou shalt not omit the three digit number to the left of the decimal point in the model number for a Kenmore appliance.

  10. Thou shalt offer up thy fermented praises to the United Samurai Beer Fund.

grasshoppers offering their verified and accurate model numbers to the master

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Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Appliance Tip of the Day: Adapting to Adaptive Defrost

appliance tip of the day archive Ahh, the good ol' days when refrigerator defrost cycles were controlled by simple mechanical defrost timers. Yeah, used to be a man could go out on a refrigerator service call and make an easy $150 replacing a silly little $25 timer. The old mechanical timers would simply click the fridge into defrost mode every six or eight hours and fire up the evaporator defrost heaters for 21 minutes or so whether it needed it or not. But life never stays simple, does it? Alas, those days are rapidly disappearing.

Instead, the manufacturers have starting using the fancy-schmancy electronic timer boards so they could add an "adaptive defrost" feature. Supposedly, adaptive defrost makes the fridge more energy efficient by making the defrost cycle contingent on the number of door openings and other factors. I think it's just an excuse to sell more expensive electronic parts that don't really perform as advertised. It's probably driven by some gubmint bureaucratic program--you know, the same geniuses who gave us the load of crap about how we can't use R-12 anymore because it hurts the ozone layer.

Well, no use whining about it 'cause adaptive defrost is the wave of the future, for better or worse. And if you have a newer, high-end fridge, chances are that it has adaptive defrost. And one day, at the worst possible time, it will break.

The adaptive defrost board on Maytag fridges looks like this. To put this board into defrost, short "L1" and "Test" with a small screwdriver and wait three seconds. You should hear a clicking noise from the relay and the fridge will shut off and go through a defrost cycle.

The adaptive defrost on Amana fridges is a little different. A test procedure for this board is shown here. To initiate the defrost cycle, press refrigerator light switch five times in six seconds. If you press it five more times within six seconds, this will cancel defrost and take the fridge straight into run mode. The operation is similar on both the bottom mount and side-by-side fridges. After the defrost terminator/thermostat opens, there will be a six minute delay before the compressor and condenser fan motor start running again, and a 10 minutes delay before the evaporator fan motor starts running. This is important to know because you can really start chasing your tail when things don't start running when you think they should.

Whirlpool also has some adaptive defrost boards out there. I don't need to post the diagnostic info on them here because it's all in the mini-manual that comes with your fridge, usually folded up into a little itty-bitty square and tucked into a slot on the backside of the condenser grill, in front of the fridge.

Ok, so let's say you've determined that your adaptive defrost board is fried. Well, you'll need to replace that bad boy. Come git you one:

Maytag Adaptive Defrost Control Board
Maytag Adaptive Defrost Control Board
Amana Adaptive Control Board for Side-by-Side Models
Amana Adaptive Control Board for Side-by-Side Models
Amana Adaptive Control Board for Bottom Freezer Models
Amana Adaptive Control Board for Bottom Freezer Models
Whirlpool Defrost Control Board
Whirlpool Defrost Control Board
Whirlpool Defrost Timer Control Board
Whirlpool Defrost Timer Control Board
Whirlpool Defrost Control
Whirlpool Defrost Control

grasshoppers adapting to the master's awesome wisdom

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Leeches: Q & A

Q. What could be more fun than a handful of leeches?

big, honkin' leeches--click for larger view


more big, honkin' leeches--click for larger view

Q. What equipment do you need to hunt for leeches?

A. Just your bare hands and a specially-trained leech hunting hound.

hunting for leeches--click for larger view

Q. Where do you hunt for leeches?

A. The best place we've found is Mill Pond at Pillsbury State Park.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Special Offer from the 21st Century Zenzoid Man

Small book of prayers with icons.While supplies last, the 21st Century Zenzoid Man is giving away this Small Book of Prayers with Icons free!

This book is a product of Tregubov Studios, makers of fine iconographic products: greeting cards, festal cards, prayer books, embroidery instructions, and free email cards. Here's their description of it:

This is a very useful, small book, in which Word and Image together bring us into the presence of God. Anybody with a busy lifestyle can keep this book in his/her pocket.

There is a full color icon reproduction on every other page of the book (Yes, it means 12 of them.) And there is a selection of the most essential prayers, including the prayers to the saints and guardian angels, for peace, for friends and families, and for the sick.

The composition on the cover of the book symbolizes the Tree of Life, the fruit of which is the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Taste this book and see!

And I can tell ya', this makes one helluva addition to any toolbox! To get your free copy of this book, simply a mail self-addressed, large-size envelope with $0.60 postage affixed to:

The 21st Century Zenzoid Man
P.O. Box 809
New London, NH 03257

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Monday, May 19, 2003

Appliance Tip of the Day: Loud or Weird Noises in Your Fridge

appliance tip of the day archiveThis topic comes up a lot in the forum in various ways, some of them pretty bizarre. In my tireless efforts to help my precious grasshoppers achieve ultimate appliance satori, I've put together this handy list of common sources of fridge noises.

  1. Some of the newer-design compressors produce a higher pitched sound which can be mistaken as being louder.
  2. The evaporator fan (the one in the freezer) makes noise while it does it's job of pushing cold air around the freezer and fresh food compartments. That's just what happens when you move air around rapidly in a confined space. On some models, this fan can sound louder than on others.
  3. If your fridge is on a floor that's not level or is weak and buckling, this can cause distortions in the cabinet and make buzzing or rattling sounds, especially around the compressor and condensate drip pan.
  4. Occasionally, you may hear a sizzling sound from the freezer. This is just part of the defrost process where ice accumulated on the evaporator is melting and dripping on the defrost heaters below. Defrosting: it's a good thing.
  5. When the fridge goes through its defrost cycle and then cools back down to operating temperature, they's a whole lotta expandin' and contractin' goin' on in there. This can cause all those mass-produced metal and plastic parts that're smooshed together to move a little bit and you'll hear popping and crackling. Don't sweat the load, everything's fine.
  6. Sometimes, you'll hear a bubbling or gurgling sound, like boiling water, inside the fridge. Relax, it's just the refrigerant doing it's job. The refrigerant boils at a much lower temperature than water. So when it boils and goes from a liquid to a vapor, it's sucking up heat from inside your fridge. So, this all boils down to this: boiling refrigerant = cold fridge.
  7. If you hear a dripping sound from underneath the fridge, it's just condensate water dripping into the drain pan like it's supposed to. By the way, if you have a problem with your fridge leaking water on the inside and you pull the condensate drip pan from underneath and it's bone-dry, that's a sure sign that the condensate drain port inside the fridge is plugged with ice or gookus.
  8. Mechanical defrost timers can make noticeable clicking noises when they switch into and out of defrost mode.
  9. Icemakers make some of their own noises. The water valve buzzes when it opens to let water into the icemaker mold. You may hear a trickling sound as water flows into the icemaker. And then there's the periodic and welcome rattling sound as the icemaker dumps ice into the tray.

grasshoppers basking in the light and wisdom of the master

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Sunday, May 18, 2003

Appliance Tip of the Day: Preventing Washer Floods

this is you, grasshopperYou put a load of dirty clothes in your washer, start it up and walk away to watch Jerry Springer just like you have a thousand times before. Only this time, something goes wrong...very wrong!

After the booing and cheering on the Jerry Springer show stops, you hear an unfamiliar sound of running water coming from the laundry cubby just down the hall in your trailer. You set the bag of Doritos aside, grab your can of Old Milwaukee and grunt your way out of your Lazy Boy as you exhale the last drag of your Marlboro and shuffle down the hall to investigate. You don't get 10 steps before your pink bunny slippers are sloshing through a huge pool of water. Now the bile starts burning the back of your throat and you feel your sphincter dilate as you prepare to do battle with the single greatest horror of your lifetime: a washer flood out.

FloodstopYes, it finally happened: your washer dutifully filled with water and just kept right on filling, and filling, and filling... Turns out that the water level control switch in your washer decided to take a permanent vacation and so never told your washer to stop filling with water. Hi. Welcome to my world. Oh! But if only you'd listened to that nice appliance repair guy not long ago who told you that you really, really needed to have a Floodcontrol on your washer and that it was cheap insurance against a devastating washer overfill. But that money was earmarked for that Dish TV you've been lusting after for so long and, besides, you're not sure you trust people who can throw around fancy words like "devastating." Damn straight! Well, Bubba, now you've got one helluva mess to clean up in your trailer, ain't ya? Hey, newsflash: do yourself a favor and come git you some o' dis.

Universal Stainless Steel Water Fill HoseAnd while you're at it, go ahead and upgrade those cheesy 12-year old rubber fill hoses on your washer to the steel braided hoses. What, you're gonna wait for those to burst and find water spraying out from behind your washer like a firehose on that '71 Cutlass you got parked out front? Haven't we learned our lesson by now? How long? How long? I say, how long must this bullshit go on? How 'bout when we do a job, we go ahead and do it right? Ok then, come git you some steel braided hoses, too.

grasshoppers watching jerry springer with the master while they do a load of wash confident that their trailer won't get flooded out on them because they just installed a floodcontrol.

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Friday, May 16, 2003

Lesson in Liberty: What is the Matrix?

Don't Tread on MeGreetings, fellow Coppertops. The Matrix is Caesar! (Not that I'm obsessed about it or anything...ok, maybe a little.)

The plot was far more "Brave New World" than it was Christian. The Matrix itself was a representation of government creating a tightly controlled world for its citizens, most of whom had no idea they were slaves. That the Matrix was mechanical was a parallel to the cold, impersonal bureaucracy of gubmint. The agents were amusing parodies of faceless bureaucrats, officiously lording their power over us--I immediately thought of IRS Special Collections agents. To complete the analogy, the movie even depicted the parasitic nature of government, literally sucking the life out of people, while giving them a sense of security and comfort to keep them docile and enslaved.

The world of the Matrix was not simply an illusion. It was very much reality to the citizens--if you died in the Matrix, you died for real. It was real, but not a full Reality; it was just a very narrow segment of frequencies on the infinite spectrum of created Reality.

Some citizens had the nagging desire to know the true nature of the Matrix--a metaphor for yearning for Liberty (some would say a yearning for Truth--both quests lead to the same place). They still had the power to make choices, even the choice to leave the Matrix. The red pill that Neo took was, after all, just a mental construct within the Matrix but represented his declaration that he is a free man.

And then there's the question of what freedom Neo and the others actually gained. The freedom depicted in the movie was grimy, looked like a jail, and had boring food. The movie presents a Hobson's choice: be a comfortable slave for Big Bro or be "free" sucking gruel in a tin prison and smelling really bad. Is this the Liberty that Christ offers us? I gotta say, if I didn't know better and was given the false choice as presented in the movie, I'd keep my job as an Energizer bunny for Big Brother.

Neo could be considered messianic only in the Jewish understanding: God's chosen mighty warrior coming to free His people by waging war against Caesar using the power of his own strength and intellect. Of course, as Christians, we recognize this as an image of antichrist. Compare this with the real Christ: after He made it clear that He would not lead an army against Caesar, the Jews quickly went from shouting "Hosanna!" to "Crucify Him!" The antichrist messiah leads his people to a phony liberty which turns out to be just another prison. The real Messiah leads His people to true Liberty, revealing the full spectrum of the Reality continuum (mental, physical, and spiritual). Neo is an antichrist.

Live Free or Die!

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Thursday, May 15, 2003

Mailbag: Reparar la Electrodomesticos Americanos

Jorge wrote:
Hola a todos los colegas del mundo

Soy un tecnico radicado en Buenos Aires ARGENTINA y me dedico a reparar toda la linea blanca de electrodomesticos americanos (USA)

La pregunta puntual a los miembros de la lista es la siguiente

Alguien sabe de una pagina tan buena como esta pero en CASTELLANO?

Un saludo a todos desde Bs As y gracias por su tiempo

Jorge Schmidt

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Thank you, Jorge, for your thought-provoking email. I offer the following comments in the hopes you might find them helpful.

If one examines postconstructive desituationism, one is faced with a choice: either accept the textual paradigm of discourse or conclude that government is capable of truth, but only if nihilism is invalid; otherwise, art is impossible. Thus, Debord's model of cultural capitalism holds that culture serves to reinforce outmoded, sexist perceptions of art. The subject is interpolated into a predeconstructive theory that includes narrativity as a paradox.

It could be said that the premise of the deconstructivist paradigm of reality holds that government is a legal fiction, but only if language is interchangeable with sexuality; otherwise, we can assume that art is capable of social comment. The subject is interpolated into a predeconstructive theory that includes language as a totality.

So, in summary, the answer to your question is '27' but only on Thursdays.

By the way, I don't speak or read Spanish, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Mailbag: Recharging an RV (propane-powered) Refrigerator

Robin Briggs  wrote:
Could tell me where you find the ammonia mixture to recharge a RV gas refridgerator. We are repairing the coolant unit.

I Thank You very much for your help

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Both the volume and strength of the ammonia mixture in propane-powered refrigerator cooling units are custom made according to formulas from the manufacturer. The concentration of ammonia and the volume of the entire amount of mixture are designed to give optimal performance from that cooling unit.

The mixture is "cooked" by letting pure anhydrous ammonia bubble through a column of aqueous-ammonia and chromate (a rust inhibitor--makes the misture look bright yellow) until the desired concentration of ammonia is reached. This ammonia concentration is measured in units called baumé (it's a French unit of measure for specific gravity) using a hydrometer that floats in the column of liquid. As more ammonia is bubbled through, the density of the mixture decreases and this density change is measured by the hydrometer. When the correct baumé is reached, the mixture is now a refrigerant and is ready to inject into the cooling unit.

After injecting the refrigerant into the cooling unit, the head space is charged with pure hydrogen gas. The required hydrogen pressure varies, but it's usually in the range of 250 to 300 psi.

Of course, none of this should be undertaken until the original leak has been located and welded shut. More information on repairing your cooling unit here.

Have fun!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Mailbag: Gas Oven Won't Fire Up (Redux)
--- Larry Cagiwa  wrote:
> I just read "gas oven that's not firing up".  Does
> this troubleshooting apply to an oven that ignites
> (can hear the click,click,click) but doesn't fire
> (no flame from the burner). We've had multiple
> technitions replace parts with the same result.  The
> trouble shooting guide refers to "polarity".  I
> plugged in a tester and the correct lights light up
> (meaning the wiring is fine).  I'm not sure if it
> checks polarity.  Any help would be appreciated.
> Thanks, 
> Larry Cagiwa
> _______________________________
> The above message was sent when you were offline,
> via your LivePerson site.
> Message sent from IP:

The article you're referring to explains how to troubleshoot gas ovens that use what's called "hot surface ignition." But this is a very good question because it's a point of confusion for lots of folks. So much so, that I decided it needed its very own Appliance Tip of the Day to 'splain it to folks. Check it out.

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Appliance Tip of the Day: Gas Oven Ignition Systems

appliance tip of the day archive

Oh boy, it's frozen pizza night...except the oven won't fire up. If your gas oven isn't firing up, the first step in fixing it is figuring out what type of ignition system you have. This Appliance Tip of the Day will 'splain all that to ya.

The two types of ignition systems used in gas ranges today are:

  1. hot surface ignition and
  2. pilot flame ignition.

Click the links for pictures of each type. The ignition used on your range will be one of these two types. What's the difference? Hang with me a moment and I'll 'splain it to you.

Hot Surface Ignition

Hot surface ignition systems use what's called an ignitor. Common flat ignitors look like this. The heart of an ignitor is the carborundum material at the end. That's the gray part, usually in a protective cage, attached to the ceramic base. The carborundum is a very fragile material that gets very hot and glows bright orange when you run a electrical current through it. The carborundum can also be round but most are flat.

The ignitor is wired in series with a special part of the gas valve called the bi-metal. As the ignitor heats up, it's resistance drops allowing more current to flow through it and on to the bi-metal in the gas valve. As current flows through the bi-metal, it heats up, too, and it's designed to bend. When the bi-metal bends, it opens the port allowing gas to flow through. This gas flows to the oven burner tube and out some special holes drilled in tube right next to the ignitor. Since the ignitor is really hot, the gas bursts into flames, igniting all the gas in the burner and you happily go about your bidness of baking a frozen pizza.

As these ignitors are used, they develop little itty bitty cracks in 'em that increase the resistance of the carborundum. Eventually, the carborundum won't pass enough current to open the bi-metal in the gas valve so no gas ever squirts out. So, the only way to really know whether the ignitor is bad or not is to measure the current flow through the ignitor when you turn the oven on. Lots of gory details about that on this page.

Pilot Flame Ignition

The other type of ignition system used is the pilot ignition. Within the the world of pilot ignition ovens, two types of pilot flame systems are used:

  1. the pilot flame is either always on (called a "standing pilot") or
  2. a spark lights up the pilot flame when you turn on the oven (called a "spark-assisted pilot").

If your oven is a pilot ignition system, how do you tell which type it is? Good question, grasshopper, now you're thinking! First, look at the pilot assembly in your oven. They come in various shapes, some common ones are shown here. If you see a pilot flame with the oven turned off, then you know you have a standing pilot system. If the pilot flame only comes on when you turn on the oven, then you know you have a spark-assisted pilot ignition system.

In both types of pilot systems, the purpose of the pilot flame is the same: to heat the sensing bulb, which is attached to the gas valve, and to ignite the gas in the burner tube. The sensing bulb lives in the pilot flame. The flame needs to heat the bulb up enough to tell it to open the gas valve. Several things can go wrong here that keep this from happening:

  1. The pilot flame may not be hot enough, usually because the flame is yellow instead of pure blue or is too small. The cause for this is usually a dirty pilot assembly. The pilot assembly would either need to be cleaned or replaced.
  2. The sensing bulb may not be positioned properly in the flame. You can't heat the bulb properly if it's not in the pilot flame! The sensing bulb needs to live in the upper third of a pure blue pilot flame--that's the hottest part of the flame.
  3. The sensing bulb itself may be burned out. It happens. It's a integral part of the gas valve so, no, you can't just change the sensing bulb separate from the gas valve. Life's never that easy, is it? How do you tell the sensing bulb is bad? Well, figger it out by process of elimination: if the pilot flame is good and doing what it's supposed to do, then the sensing bulb is bad.

"Hey, what do you mean, 'if the pilot flame is doing what it's supposed to?' I thought the pilot flame was just supposed to be a purdy blue flame." Well, that is an important part of what it's supposed to do, but that's not quite all of it. The pilot flame moves around and does different things according to what's going on with the oven. With the oven off or with the thermostat temperature satisfied, the flame just stands there looking purdy (in a standing pilot system).

But when you turn on the oven or the thermostat calls for heat, the pilot flame gets bigger and jumps down so it can heat up the thermocouple bulb. This extra gas to increase the pilot flame size comes from the thermostat. This is important to know because it leads to a couple of fine diagnostic points:

  • If the pilot flame jumps upwards or just gets bigger, but doesn't shoot down, then you need to replace the pilot assembly.
  • If the pilot flame size does not increase or jump down when turning on the oven thermostat, then the problem is the thermostat not sending enough gas to the pilot assembly. It's also possible that the pilot gas supply tube has a hole in it somewhere.

One final point on the spark-assisted pilot ignition systems. The spark comes from the spark module--the same module that sends spark to your surface burners to light them up. If you're not getting a spark when you turn the oven on, then there are several possibilities:

  • There could be a problem with the switch in the thermostat. You can confirm this by doing a simple continuity test of the thermostat contacts. If you don't read zero ohms when you turn the switch on, replace the thermostat.
  • The spark module could be bad. You'll need to measure the voltage at the oven terminals of the spark module when you turn on the oven. If you get 120v but no spark, it's probably a bad spark module. Replace it.
  • Could be a bad spark wire or broken electrode. Feast your Vulcan squinties on that stuff. Maybe get real fancy and use your ohm meter to measure continuity from the spark module end of the wire to the electrode tip. Use your imagination. Go crazy...sort of.

If you're still confoosed and need more help, post your question in the Samurai Appliance Repair Forum. And, Hoss, be sure to include your model number.

Awwite, go bake you some pizza!

grasshoppers sitting with the master visualizing the different types of gas oven ignition systems

To learn more about your range/stove/oven, or to order parts, click here.

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Monday, May 12, 2003

I just found this great new source of freedom-related news and libertarian commentary. It's Check it out, and check it often.

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Sunday, May 11, 2003

Mailbag: Gas Oven Won't Fire Up
--- jared wrote:
> Oven broke:
> My Tappan (model 12-1062-30)automatic pilotless
> ignition oven stopped heating. I disassembled it to
> find what looks like the oven igniter assy that
> promptly glows but does not "fire-up" the oven. 
> Does this need to be replaced?  Or could it be
> something else?   Thanks for your help,  My daughter
> can smile again once we can toss pizza back in the
> oven
> Cheers
> Jared
> _______________________________
> The above message was sent when you were offline,
> via your LivePerson site.
> Message sent from IP:

The ignitor may be bad. But before you just cross your fingers and change it, you can find out for sure by measuring the current draw of the ignitor using a clamp-on amp meter. This page explains the current draw specifications for the ignitor and where to measure it. If you need help on how to use a clamp-on amp meter to measure current, this page will help with that.

Once you confirm the ignitor is bad, you can order a new ignitor here using your model number.

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Saturday, May 10, 2003

Liberty Quote of the Day

What is government itself but the greatest of reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.

-- James Madison, The Federalist # 51

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Friday, May 09, 2003

Liberty Quote of the Day

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!

--Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, May 08, 2003

Mailbag: Refrigerator Runs Constantly
--- Ron wrote:
> My refrigerator runs constantly.  The temps in both
> the freezer and frig are where they should be, but
> it never shuts off (except when it is in defrost
> mode I think).  I was going to replace the
> thermostat or the controller.  Your pick?
> _______________________________
> The above message was sent when you were offline,
> via your LivePerson site.
> Message sent from IP:

You have correctly identified the two possible suspects: the defrost timer and the cold control. If you're sure the refrigerator cycles off for defrost, then the cold control electrical contacts are sticking. Replace it.

If you're not sure the fridge cycles off for defrost, then it's easy to test. Locate the defrost timer on your fridge and turn the knob until you hear a big click. This is defrost mode. Then wait approximately 21 minutes and 37 seconds for it to come out of defrost mode and start running again. If it doesn't, then the defrost timer is bad. Replace it.

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Hodji's Liberty Buzz

Here's Hodji's latest Liberty Buzz:

New survey results: 96% of Americans are liberals.

How to make a problem bigger: have the gubmint declare war on it.

President Bush has surrounded himself with pointy-headed neocon war hawks who openly contend that America's first priority is to protect Israel. But does that mean he has to be one of them?

The poltergeist plan for Iraq: GET OUT! Sounds good to me.

Today's vocabulary lesson:

Your Slave in Liberty,


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The Story of O

Awwite all you cool grasshoppers, go grab you a beer and the Samurai'll tell you a story.

Once upon a time, in a place that was once called the "land of the free," there was a big ol' company called Dupont. Now, Dupont made a thang that we old timers held near and dear to our hearts and that was R-12, a refrigerant used is just about every type of refrigerator ever made, including beer coolers. But Dupont had a problem: their patent on R-12 was about to expire and everyone else and their Momma was gonna start making it, too. Well, it don't take a rocket scientist, like yours truly, to figger out that once this happened, the price of R-12 was gonna take a nose dive.

Now, Dupont, being a company with lots of money to throw around, paid off a bunch of fancy-pants scientists and engineers at these high-dollar universities to show that R-12 was bad and needed to be banned. So these fancy-pants university types cooked up some numbers showing how all them nasty little molecules in R-12 was eatin' up the orzos in the somethin' like that.

Anyway, Dupont goes and presents all these high falootin' studies to one of the fourth branches of the gubmint, the EPA. The EPA said, "Hmmm, we can't be eatin' up all them little orzos like that there. Gubmint has to do something about that!" So they came out with a big ol' riot act of new regamalations where they said everyone what works on beer coolers has to have a new-fangled recovery unit to catch all them bad molecules.

Well, I didn't know no better and besides, I didn't wanna hurt them little orzos 'cuz, heck, they ain't never done nothin' to me. So I lined up with all the other suckers, er, I mean, tradesmen and plunked down a bunch of money for a fancy new recovery unit.

Funny thang happened though. When the EPA got into the bidness of regamalating refrigerants, their prices all went sky high. So the cost to replace the compressor on your average beer fridge went from $150 to, oh, say $400, once you figger in the higher refrigerant cost and a refrigerant recovery charge. Well, at that price, people were just hauling their old fridges off to the landfill and buying new ones. Lots of good fridges piling up in landfills today. But, hey, the gubmint knows what's best 'cuz they're here to help!

Meanwhile, Dupont is back in bidness, happily raking in the big bucks selling it's new line of R-12 replacement refrigerants. Ain't gubmint great? I think everybody awwta own one!

And so the gubmint and the big shot corporations who benefit from their regamalations all lived happily ever after.

The End

I can tell you that my recovery unit makes a reeel spiffy footstool in my workshop 'cuz that's all I ever use it for. Never even used it once. Wanna buy one cheap?

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Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Hodji's Liberty Buzz

Here's Hodji's latest Liberty Buzz:

Look, if the Libertarian Party, the should-be beacon of Constitutional Liberty in this country, can't even get it right, then how can we possibly expect more from the sheeple? Ilana Mercer refines the Samurai's theme of McLiberty in her latest article. And Jason B. Romano give a good rigorous treatment to the problems with a state-run defense system.

"Homeland Security" or "Gubmint Security?" You decide.

Other people can see it, even the frikkin' Germans see it. Why can't we?

Meanwhile, back in the doghouse, the trotskyite neocon dogs are salivating for some Syrian meat.

Ok, so which was it: self-defense, a preemptive strike or responding to an immediate threat?

Might as well face it, you're addicted to drug warz.

Should a mall be able to kick out people who are walking around with anti-war t-shirts? Should a restaurant be able to deny service to black people? If you answer 'no' to either of these questions, you need a good primer on Free Speech, Free Association, and Private Property.

I love paying taxes. Yeah, giving money to pornographers so they can distribute condoms, mailing Socialist Insecurity checks to fugitives...what, you didn't know you were paying for that? Oh yeah, all that and lots, lots more!

Speaking of taxes, I didn't know that most of what I'm paying for in a cold, frosty mug of beer is gubmint bureaucracy. Now they're starting to hit me where it hurts!

Can you say "Hail, Caesar?"

Your Slave in Liberty,


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Mission Report: The Samurai Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln

The Samurai chatting with the President on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln--click to listen.Regular students of the Samurai School of Appliantology know that the CIA frequently calls on the Samurai for special assignments in signal processing and counter-intelligence.

Although prohibited from telling you at the time, the Samurai was on-assignment aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln when President Bush made his famous carrier landing. To the right, you see a picture of me chatting with the President on the flight deck. My mission was to monitor all signals to and from the ship during the president's maritime photo-op and to identify anything unusual. During President Bush's speech, broadcast to bizillions of people all around the world, the Samurai detected a highly anomalous signal hiding in the high frequency sideband of the broadcast transmission, just within the subliminal range of human perception. I've stepped the frequency down into the normal hearing range. Let's listen:

Powered by audblogaudblog audio post--click to listen

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Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Libertarian Appliance Repair

After browsing through the Samurai School of Appliantology, many of you are left wondering, "Just what does all this Libertarian propaganda have to do with fixing my dryer?" Why, everything in the world, my dear grasshopper! To help you see the connection, my good friend, Lee Browne, on the the Left Coast, wrote this pome that'll 'splain it to ya:


Appliances should feel
Free to do
What they like
With whom and who.

They should not
Worry about
What you think
And whether you shout.

They should run
When they choose
And then shut down
And leave no clues.

It's up to you
To try to discover
What is wrong
And how to recover.

This poem shows
The firm connection
Between Libertarian
And flaw detection.

You see? Simple, da?

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Friday, May 02, 2003

Lesson in Liberty: Liberty 101

Don't Tread on MeLike most of you, I lay awake at night and ponder the nature of Liberty in this era of Big Gubmint. I stumbled on this delightful flash animation from the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire that gives a fun, five-minute introduction to the philosophy of Liberty.

Live Free or Die!

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Mailbag: Refrigerator Door Gasket Replacement
--- Brad Holcomb wrote:
> kenmore upright manual-defrost freezer (old) model
> 106.8221510; the door doesn't seal well anymore; do
> gasket magnets wear out? maybe the rubber isn't
> pliable anymore and can I treat it with something
> like ArmorAll (automotive vinyl treatment)? Do I
> HAVE to get a new gasket for $50???
> _______________________________
> The above message was sent when you were offline,
> via your LivePerson site.
> Message sent from IP:

First, make sure that your door closing problem isn't being caused by bent or misaligned door hinges. If the hinges check out OK, then you probably are dealing with bad gaskets.

Freezer door gasket for a Kenmore freezer, model number 106.8221510 -- click to order.Refrigerator and freezer door gaskets can fail in several ways: they can split or crack allowing cold air to escape, they can come loose from the door and start drooping or sagging, they can get bunched up and deformed (this is usually caused by bent door hinges, in which case you'll need to replace the hinges and the door gasket).

Do you have to spend $50 to replace the gasket? No, you could continue to use the freezer in its current condition. This would cause the compressor to run longer, wasting lots of electricity and money and leading to other problems like excessive condensation inside the fridge.

Or you could just buy a new door gasket. For guidance on the fine art of door gasket replacement, check out this page.

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Thursday, May 01, 2003

Lesson in Liberty: ...and McLiberty for All

Don't Tread on MeIf you really believe that you can go into a foreign nation as an outsider and liberate them in any lasting or meaningful way, you really don't have the first clue about what Liberty is all about. Only people living in a fast food culture and spoon-fed sound bite arguments would really believe that they could bring Liberty on a platter to another nation. "Here's your order of McLiberty! Would you like hummus with that?"

Take Iraq, for example. Ever wonder how it was that one dude was able to get into the position of oppressing an entire nation? Ok, sure, he had some leadership capabilities and an ego the size of an aircraft carrier but so do lots of people and you don't see them being dictators. The answer is simple: because the Iraqi people themselves are so clueless about Liberty that they allowed themselves to be oppressed. Yeah, so now with the dictator out of power, are you really so naive to believe that freedom will ring throughout Iraq? At the first opportunity, these people will descend right back into oppression and slavery because they have no culture of Liberty. There are no Iraqi Founding Fathers who wrote a fountainhead of Liberty wisdom to refer to. It's not as though they were once a free people who will now fall back on their roots of freedom. The same conditions that allowed Saddam to become dictator still exist in Iraq today and will always exist: a conspicuous absence of a culture of freedom. In fact, the very concept of Liberty is not only alien to the Muslim culture, it is widely regarded as a heresy.

The Liberty of a nation is something that springs from within the individuals of that nation. You can't impose it externally. If a people are unable to find Liberty within themselves, they will never adopt it as part of their national psyche. That so many Americans actually bought into that bilge about liberating Iraq reveals a pathetic misunderstanding of the real nature of Liberty. How can we engage in wars of "liberation" around the globe when we ourselves are living under an oppressive Big Brother right here at home? Take a step back and consider the invasion of government control and regulation into our lives that we simply accept. We are:

  • forced to report every detail of our personal finances,
  • forced to pay for schools that no longer educate but indoctrinate,
  • told how we can use our own land,
  • told who we must serve and what activities are allowed (e.g., smoking bans in restaurants) in our places of business,
  • told we are all equal under the law, but some (homosexuals, cross-dressers, racial and religious minorities, etc,) are more equal than others,
  • in many places, denied the Constitutionally-protected right to carry firearms,
  • prohibited from using certain drugs, recreational or medical, when such use poses no threat to anyone else,
  • regulated in myriad other ways--this list could go on, but you get the idea.

If you accept any of the above examples of Big Brother's yoke, you have lost sight of the original function of government as envisioned by our Founding Fathers; you are one of the sheeple, the great unwashed herd wallowing in Big Brother's pigpen.

Oh, I know what you're saying, "Yeah, but we're still the most free nation on earth!" That's like a group of kids rolling around in the yard who all get dog poop on them and one of the kids says, "Yeah, but I got less poop on me than you guys!" That may be true, junior, but the fact remains that you still stink. Does it make sense to compare ourselves to all the other stinky kids? How 'bout we compare ourselves to the undefiled standard of Liberty so eloquently articulated for us by our illustrious Founding Fathers? Once we do that, we will wretch on the foul odor of tyranny in which we live and we will long for the pure air of Liberty.

Live Free or Die!

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