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(household) appliances

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by D Yuniskis, Oct 17, 2010.

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  1. D Yuniskis

    D Yuniskis Guest

    Hi,

    We're in the process of some significant
    remodeling/updating, here. Among the items we're
    looking to purchase are all/most of the major home
    appliances: frig, dishwasher, oven/stove/range,
    washer, dryer (hmmm... why isn't that "drier"? :> ),
    water softener, hot water heater, etc.

    I have been disappointed in the choices available
    for most of these items. "Too much electronic
    content" :-/

    E.g., we are in a good market (DSW) for solar water
    heating. Ignoring the exhorbitant prices these
    folks want to charge for these things (hint: you can
    buy 10 conventional water heaters -- INSTALLED -- for
    the price of one solar unit!), I am leary of the
    electronic content in some of the units we've examined
    (we have also looked at "on demand" heaters -- same
    issue applies).

    I can just see the inevitable service call: "Yup,
    you're gonna need a new computer board. That'll be
    $400...". Of course, expecting anyone to actually
    *repair* (instead of swap out) these things -- least
    of all a PLUMBER -- is ridiculous. Despite the fact
    that, I imagine, most repairs would be trivial.

    The same holds true of all the other appliances I
    mentioned.

    And, even with the right skillset, I suspect *I* would
    be screwed as the manufacturers wouldn't make available
    any detailed documentation to let me do a component
    level repair ("Does refrigerator cool? If yes, proceed
    to step 3; if no, REPLACE assembly 107X-3")

    This is further complicated by some of the numbers
    salesgrunts tout regarding life expectancy of many
    of these appliances (7 years for a $3000 refrigerator??
    Jeez! The one we have now is > 20 years old; the one
    in my folks' basement is over 50...)

    Anyone have any firsthand insights into this stuff?
    I've just started poking around to see what sorts of
    parts *are* available (to get a clue for what can be
    repaired/replaced) but my research is in its infancy...

    Maybe a cave in the hills is a better option??

    Thx,
    --don
     
  2. D Yuniskis

    D Yuniskis Guest

    Hi Neil,

    [my rants about electronics in appliances]
    My attitude towards my automobile! :>
    Yes, even the "elements" (used to be called calrods?) are now
    magical and mysterious! "Induction heating"? Can you spell
    "more expensive to fix"? :-/
    So, hopefully "problems" are obvious? I would assume all
    of the processors, etc. are custom and/or masked parts so
    there is no easy way of figuring out *why* it is refusing
    to work, etc.?

    Was your repair (replacement) something you could/did yourself?
    Or, did someone have to diagnose it for you (for a fee, above the $85
    replacement cost, of course!)?

    [i.e., labor costs are the killer]
    Exactly.

    Its annoying because you know that there isn't any real
    "rocket science" in these things. The electronics are just
    glorified relays and timers (to a first order approxmation).
    Yet, with relays and timers, you can *see* what's not working.
    With electronics, you have to wonder *why* the processor isn't
    turning on the pump, etc.
     
  3. D Yuniskis

    D Yuniskis Guest

    Hi Neil,

    [my rants about electronics in appliances]
    My attitude towards my automobile! :>
    Yes, even the "elements" (used to be called calrods?) are now
    magical and mysterious! "Induction heating"? Can you spell
    "more expensive to fix"? :-/
    So, hopefully "problems" are obvious? I would assume all
    of the processors, etc. are custom and/or masked parts so
    there is no easy way of figuring out *why* it is refusing
    to work, etc.?

    Was your repair (replacement) something you could/did yourself?
    Or, did someone have to diagnose it for you (for a fee, above the $85
    replacement cost, of course!)?

    [i.e., labor costs are the killer]
    Exactly.

    Its annoying because you know that there isn't any real
    "rocket science" in these things. The electronics are just
    glorified relays and timers (to a first order approxmation).
    Yet, with relays and timers, you can *see* what's not working.
    With electronics, you have to wonder *why* the processor isn't
    turning on the pump, etc.
     
  4. David

    David Guest

    "nesesu" wrote in message

    I agree, but with a caveat. First the caveat: The electronically
    controlled appliances can really work a lot better and provide
    more features than the older mechanical switch and relay designs.
    Now the agree part: I have a fairly new washing machine that I
    really like. Six months after the one year warranty expired on
    the washing machine, it died one day. It would not respond to any
    buttons and appeared completely dead except the front plate was
    quite warm in one place. A quick check on the manufacturers web
    site said the control board assembly was $450 (list price). I
    took the machine apart and this control board assembly has three
    separate circuit boards that have soldered jumpers connecting
    them. Two of the boards contain only push button switches and
    lights. The third fairly large board has the processor, other
    control and interfacing logic, some more user controls and
    lights, and the alphanumeric display. The power supply and
    variable speed motor control electronics were elsewhere. The heat
    was coming from an onboard 5 volt regulator operating into a dead
    short on the 5 volt line feeding all of the circuitry. To make a
    long story short, I started trouble shooting the main board and
    eventually found a very small shorted surface mount capacitor
    between the 5 volt line and ground. After replacing that,
    everything returned to normal. If the assembly was priced at $50
    I might have replaced it, but $450 provided a lot of motivation
    to do a component level repair. I hate to think what the final
    price would have been if I had called a service company.

    David
     
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