Saturday, December 15, 2012

Repair Parts: addendum

I have a Maytag Neptune stacked laundry pair.  I bought it when I bought this little house I live in; I added a few thousand dollars to the original home loan so I could also afford a few new appliances.  The previous owner took all the original appliances with her, and frankly she was welcome to them.

She also wanted free access to dig up plants from the yard for up to a year after she moved out; we offered to take our purchase offer back and continue looking.  She acquiesced immediately as the house had been on the market for over a year and she was well sick and tired of trying to sell it.

My Kenmore refrigerator has had its share of problems.  We had to replace the defrost timer, and it currently needs a new something-or-other to get the icemaker back in order.  But these are little things that aren't hard to fix.

The Whirlpool stove is on its second oven control.  That was easy to replace, the entire electronic module just pops right out and a new one pops in.  The hardest part is scootching the stove away from the wall.

The Maytag washer has had a couple of problems.  I don't remember precisely what the first one was because I called a tech to come fix it; the price was ridiculously high.  So when it stopped spinning out the load of laundry, I started researching it.  It turns out there's a known fault with these MLE2000-series washers.  If you have the brown-tipped "wax motor" actuator that locks the door, it's likely to get moisture intrusion, short out and blow a couple of components on the control board.

The wax motor is nothing to replace.  It helps if you have small hands, and finding precisely where all the screws are to get access to the motor can be tricky, but really it's a small matter of five minutes or so to get the old motor out and a new one in.

But the control board is still dead.  The prescribed fix is to replace the control board, which costs $200 or more depending on where you shop.  However, digging around on the internet - which is how I found out that this is a "known fault" and not just a random failure - I see that it's a consistent mode of failure that disables the control board, and it's not too difficult to repair.

So I did.

Costs associated:
New soldering iron, $20 (the old one has been repurposed into a woodburning iron)
Solder, $5
New wax motor, $18.50
New 3.9Kohm resistor, $2.50 (for two)
New NTE5657 Triac, $4.50 (plus $8.50 for shipping, for two)

Total, about $50.50 for everything.  I could have maybe borrowed a soldering iron from work, but I strongly prefer owning my own tools.  About an hour and a half for disassembly and reassembly, a grand total of about 30 minutes clipping out the old electronic elements and soldering in the new ones (and cleaning up my messy soldering job), and that's it.

The washing machine is running at this time.  The "Door Lock" light, which had not been lighting up for about a week and a half, is on.  We'll know for certain whether I've done the job right when it goes into a spin cycle.  If it spins, it's a good fix and I've avoided incurring an unnecessary $200 expense.

Fixing things saves money and avoids lots of unnecessary environmental loading: manufacturing that could be avoided, landfill space that need not be filled, etc.  When that cheap $50 toaster oven won't fire up, don't toss it because it was cheap: add to its value by making it last longer.  Replace only the broken components and keep using the rest of it.

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