Unfortunately, the manufacturers really don't want you to know what the problem is. You are liable to try to fix it yourself which means they or their partners won't get to charge you for a service call. Even worse, when you fix it yourself you might discover generic parts from Radio Shack and not purchase their over priced "original" parts. In reality, this is not much different from the "Service Engine" light on your car. Maybe you have a real problem that will strand you on the side of the road, but more likely you have some silly pollution control sensor failure that (worst case) you will need to get fixed before your biennial emissions test.
One day our GE front load washer would not function. The door would not lock and when you pressed any buttons, LOC would display on the readout. The manual did not give a reason for the error code, so we called in a service guy who replaced the lock mechanism and took my $150 for the repair. The unit worked for a few months then the same error code, so this time I ordered the part and installed it myself, but the unit would not function. Google to the rescue. Pressing the Display and Select button resets the button lock. If the manual had shown this code, I would have saved a good bit of money.
Sounds like we need a consumer repair web site to collect all of this kind of information, organize it and make sure anyone can have access to advice, and experience of those who have gone this way before.
At least some of these things can be repaired. I know some consumer items are just not designed to be serviced.
I object to any product that is designed to improve the cash flow of service technicians rather than the benefit to the consumers. In terms of overall efficiency of the economy it is better that way right?
I think the idea of a consumer repair web site is a great one. I know you can find a lot of these quirky fixes with individual Google searches, as you said, but having a central forum to access would be ideal. What's the ideal agency or entity to head this up?
A troubleshooting web site would be helpful. While I hate to defend shoddy design/manufacturing I also understand that in our legal system the manufacturer is held responsible for the safe operation of their product FOREVER, so having them post possible troubleshooting and repair answers would only seem to increase their liability. When you fix your washer and you or the next owner get's hurt, who get's sued? Poor design and short product life are not actionable.
I have used http://www.repairclinic.com/ a few times and they have been helpful. I believe it was RepairGuru the first time I used it but they ahve since merged. I use it for an Ice Maker problem in my Amana refridgerator. I ordered the parts through them and fixed it myself.
Washing machine with temperature sensor 10K nominal: This is probably the simple 10K thermistor in an expensive enclosure. I would buy the 10K thermistor availavle on Ebay and make an enclosure myself. A lot cheaper!
What ALL of you are forgetting when you complain about companies NOT publishing or minimally publishing codes, forcing you to either purchase a service contract OR call the service technician (once called, repairman!), is that these companies ARE capitalistic entities, and CAPITALISM dictates that ALL goods & services shall be paid for. They are only following the guidelines of their corporate existences.
I understant this aspect, completely and am all for it. Capitalism also means competition, which lets me choose suppliers that make it easier for me to repair a product myself. I'm wiser now to the repair-parts scam many manugacturers foist on people.
Well, there IS competition! Here in FLA, you can choose to call the SEARS Factory service person, OR you can choose to call BROWARD FACTORY SERVICE, an independent contractor, which has offices throughout the state. They will gladly repair your appliance at the same hourly rate that the "factory" repairman does it. As one commentor stated, companies are liable for their products in perpetuity, and so they DO NOT want you, no matter how many degrees in mechanical / electrical engineering you may have to your credit. In a court of law, they are useless! It's all about litigation nowadays! Consider, for example, why we now have a business entity labeled "LLC", etc. These types of incorporation never existed in decades past. There was no need for such extreme isolation from manufacturer to consumer.
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