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.
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!
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.
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.
No Curmudgeon, we're not forgetting anything. Rather than have to government dictate what manufacturers need to do, we who believe in the capatalist system will buy products that do cater to our needs.
I do actually have something relevant to post as well....
is a great site for the DIY fixit folks. When I needed some help with a front load Maytag, it was indispensible. I did give a one-time donation to become a "card carrying" member, but that has more than paid for itself over the years.
Tom D.: I DO believe in the Capitalistic system! I HATE government interference as much or more than most people in this country. My comments did not introduce the faint idea that government at any level should be involved. My comments were strictly limited to the philosophy of Capitalism. Personally, I have repaired more appliances & apparati in my many decades of life than I care to remember. As a side note, I was but a child, and I was labelled "Professor" by my close friends. Whenever their bicycles, wagons, etc. failed to operate properly, my parent's garage became the local repair shop. Even neighbors brought their lawnmowers, etc. for me to investigate. I had MORE CRAFTSMAN tools in my toolbox by the time I was 12 years old than many "professionals" of the day had in their trucks!
The idea of having audio & Braille legends for sight deficient users is noble. However, as you pointed out, the market is small, and IF the manufacturers included that feature into their products, it would have to be as an optional accessory. The alternative would be that we'd all wind up paying a lot more for the appliance because of that feature.
I interview with a large UPS provider. They wanted me to fix cards with different error codes. They did not know what the error codes ment that some S/W guy put into the code. So I can believe even the OEM does not know the codes.
It occurred to me this morning that people with impaired sight must have a tough time seeing the repair or fault codes. The National Federation for the Blind has a "List of Usable Consumer Electronics" that includes information about how specific appliances adapt to sightless people. Some manufacturers supply Braille overlays for control panels and audio instructions, but I didn't find any listed appliances that have an optional add-on device that would speak control settings, error codes, and other information easily seen by most of us on LEDs and LCDs. Granted, the market for appliances for blind people seems small, but as more people get older, their vision deteriorates. My mother spent her last two years almost sightless due to macular degeneration and she relied on others to read things to her. Perhaps there's an opportunity here for an entrepreneur to add voice output to some appliances.
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