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July 25, 2021

Repair of a VacMaster VP215 Commercial Vacuum Sealer

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:50 pm

the sealer unit, all fixed

One of my neighbours brought over a nice vacuum sealer that wasn’t sealing bags properly. The model is a VacMaster VP215. Vacuum operation seemed to be OK, insofar as the pressure dropped and stabilized after several seconds of pump operation. However, appearances were that the bag seal area wasn’t being heated uniformly, so I first tried replacing the nichrome heater wire, but the problem persisted. After more careful observation, I realized that the unit was releasing vacuum before applying heat to the seal rather than afterward. (more…)

January 16, 2021

Viking Fridge Compressor Replacement

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:15 pm

The compressor in our Viking Professional 36 inch fridge had failed. It had been in service for about 12 years. Replacement of this compressor is non-trivial. Don’t try it yourself unless you have some familiarity with vacuum systems and refrigerants. First, the specific Embraco compressor is no longer in production. I found a suitable replacement, by Sikelan, with approximately the same electrical and mechanical specs (1.7 runtime amps, 10.9 LRA locked rotor amps, 1/4HP).

Failed compressor, before removal

Steps to replacement:

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2007 Subaru Forester – Neutral Start Switch Replacement

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:58 pm

The neutral start switch, AKA inhibitor switch, on the transmission of our rough road vehicle, a 2007 Subaru Forester, was failing intermittently. Symptoms were that the car would not start (engine would not turn over on start) intermittently, but wiggling the transmission shift lever sideways would get it to start again. The starter motor had checked out OK. I found a new replacement switch, same part number, on ebay for about $100.

Failed Inhibitor Switch, removed

(more…)

December 14, 2020

Microwave Oven Repair: Another Interlock Switch Failure

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:39 pm

the failed switch -note the depressed button

Over the past several years at Campbell River Repair Cafe events and elsewhere I’ve seen at least a dozen microwave ovens need repair because of failure of a specific component -one that is inexpensive and easy to source and replace: a door interlock switch. (more…)

November 14, 2019

Ultrasonic Humidifier Repair – The Unoscillating Nebulizer

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:01 pm

One of the items that was brought in by a friend to a recent Repair Café event in Campbell River was a non-functioning portable humidifier, a Honeywell model HUD-200. I didn’t have time to get to it during the Café afternoon, but was able to fix it afterward. These devices are based on an ultrasonic “nebulizer”, basically a piezoelectric element in a high frequency oscillator circuit generating ultrasound waves in water, and thereby causing droplets to form and flow out in an airstream from a fan. The symptom was that water was flowing through the device, but no moisture was being created.

the nebulous humidifier

(more…)

November 7, 2018

Circa-1993 Bose Clock Radio Repair

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:44 pm

One of the most interesting and challenging repairs to come my way at the recent Repair Café in Campbell River, BC was a Bose clock radio. This radio had no audio output other than a loud buzz from the speakers when turned on.

Bose Clock Radio, post-repair


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Repair of a Hot Water Tub Pump Motor

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:08 pm

Recently my neighbour’s hot tub wasn’t functioning; the water pump motor would not start. This is a fairly common symptom, with a number of possible causes. In this case the pump was a “Century LASAR Pool/Spa Motor” part number 7-177783-02 by A.O. Smith and Company. The repair required both freeing up seized bearings, and cleaning contacts in the starter capacitor circuit.
(more…)

May 12, 2017

Repair of an "Instant Pot" Pressure Cooker

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:39 am

This post is about another case that reinforces my claim that “most repairs are easy” -especially when you know what to look for! One of my neighbours recently brought over a pressure cooker that had ceased to function. In quick initial tests, the unit powered up normally, and panel display and controls seemed functional, but the device heater did not come on. Other key observations were that the relay that supplies AC to the heater could be heard to “click” as expected. This relay is of a common type used in many appliances and electronic thermostats to supply relatively high currents to resistive heaters.

the patient, chest cavity opened


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September 20, 2016

The Disintegrated Spider – Fixing a Sears Kenmore – Samsung Front-Loading Washing Machine

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:19 pm

This brief post is about repair of what is apparently a common fault of front loading washers that have been made by Samsung and other manufacturers in recent years.  Recently, our Kenmore model 592-49057 had started making alarmingly loud thumping noises during operation, especially during high speed spin cycle segments. The cause turned out to be a broken support flange or “spider” inside the washer tub. Sears Canada was unable to supply the part I needed, but after finding the Samsung model number, actually 59249057 (surprise!), I was able to figure out the Samsung replacement part number DC97-14875B for the spider for our “Kenmore” machine. I found it on ebay via a parts source in Pennsylvania by searching on the part number. It was about Cdn $140 with shipping to BC. The actually repair is pretty easy but a lot of parts have to come out before you can get at the spider.

corroded and broken

I need a new spider

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July 13, 2016

Removing a Bathtub Drain That Has Broken Crossbars

Drain Extractor tool


A plumbing problem I had to deal with this week was removal of an old bathtub drain flange. What sometimes happens with these drains, and had happened in this case, is that corrosion weakens the metal crosshairs located at the bottom of the flange inside the drain that are normally used to trap a drain wrench such that the flange can be unscrewed. I tried a few standard tricks, including using a cutting wheel to notch the drain collar such that a screwdriver could be hammered against it to cause it to rotate. None of those tricks were successful. Fortunately there is a good custom tool on the market for just this job. (more…)

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