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Website owner: 
Dave Harnish
CEO: Sadie
Dave's Repair Service
1911 Heath Hill Rd
New Albany, PA 18833

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The DRSNews
November 2003

In this issue:

1) ‘Who Turned Off the Lights?’ – Freezers, Electronics, and GFI Receptacles
2) Why Your Electric Dryer Runs When There’s No 240V
3) Cleaning Long Dryer Vents – Fast and Easy!

Before we get into the main topics this month, I want to quickly add to last month’s tip about lubricating retracting cord reels with car wax. Thanks to Earl Proulx for pointing out that wax also shines (sorry!) at lubing tape measures - he’s right!  Just clean it well, apply a light film of wax, let it dry, wipe it off, and that old tape will ‘go home’ like it’s supposed to.

1) 'Encountered yet another thawing upright freezer-full of meat after a power outage this week, and I thought I’d better give you a heads-up on this one.  In this case the owner had run his home generator, then noticed the dead freezer the following day, so it may have been caused by ‘dirty’ generator power.

If you have one of the upright freezers with LED indicators and a temperature alarm in the door handle area, keep a close watch on it if your lights flicker or the power has been off. These are marketed primarily through Sears, but are manufactured by Frigidaire, and I assume models carrying both names are susceptible to this.

A microprocessor cycles these units’ compressors via a relay on a controller circuit board, and again I have to ask, uh, WHY? For the life of me I can’t understand why manufacturers are determined to complicate the simplest of appliances this way. Everything seems to boil down to the love of a dollar these days, so it must be cheaper than a simple, conventional thermostat.

But now there’s a thermistor, potentiometer, and processor board used, along with a lot more wiring and a 9 volt battery alarm system, so I’m not sure cost is the motivation. If any of you have any ideas about this, I’d love to hear ‘em - it’s getting a little crazy out there!

Anyway (OK, I’m settled back down now), if you have one of these and the power comes back on but the freezer doesn’t, first try unplugging it for several minutes. I’ve been able to reset the processor this way in a couple of instances, and it just might get you up and running. If that doesn’t work, remove the 9 volt battery for a few minutes and reinstall. I haven’t had as much success with this, but it’s worth a try. Thirdly - and I haven’t seen all the models in question, but this applies to those I have – there’s a tiny reset button hidden on the circuit board. This can be carefully pushed with a small non-metallic pin, toothpick, etc. Those we’ve seen have a small hole in the pcboard’s metal case, over the reset switch, for just this purpose. It’s not easy to find, as the pcboard assembly is mounted on the compressor compartment ceiling.  Use a small mirror to locate this. 

If it won’t reset, call in a pro.  If it should need a controller, a good tech can temporarily bypass it to keep your food frozen while the board is ordered.

But in every case so far, one of the above methods has succeeded in restarting the freezer.

If any of you other techs have experienced this problem, we’d love to hear from you and ‘compare notes’.

While we’re on the subject of appliances and electronics (and it’s getting to be a major subject), I’d caution you about running your freezer, refrigerator, or any other motorized equipment you depend on heavily, on a GFI receptacle. These can ‘nuisance trip’, especially out here in the country where power isn’t always ‘clean’. I’ve seen more than one freezer-full of meat lost to this little ‘glitch’ now, and that gets expensive! Many freezers aren’t accessed every day, and by the time you discover this has happened, it may be way too late!

2) We’ve written a lot on the subject of the ‘no-heat’ dryer before, but I’ve neglected to mention something that we get questions about. I don’t see this as much these days when most of our electrical systems use circuit breakers rather than fuses, but it still happens.

If there’s no 240V supply to an electric dryer, there’ll be no heat but the motor can still run, and this can be confusing. The simple reason is that the motor operates on only 120V, which can still be present even when one ‘leg’ of the 240V goes down. Hope that clears up the confusion a bit. Sorry I wasn’t clear on this in previous articles.

3) Here’s a quick way to clean that long dryer vent system, again using ‘Clyde’ the ol’ wet-vac. I carry a 30-foot central vac hose in the truck, as it’s very handy for cleaning these ducts from the  outside of the house. If your vent hood is the louvered type, it’s a breeze. Just pop the louvers off by bending them slightly, and run that long hose in with Clyde and the dryer both running (on 'no heat'). This will do a thorough job in very little time.

If you have a central vac system installed in your house, you already have the hose. If you can connect it to the wet-vac hose temporarily, it’ll work great. Just take care with the hose ends, and don't use the central vac itself for this job. This can move a pile of lint, and the place for a hose clog is NOT inside your wall!

By the way, if your long exhaust system is run in flexible plastic, please replace it with 4 inch smooth wall aluminum as soon as possible. You’ll save electricity in the long haul, and you and I will both sleep better.

Thanks for allowing me into your inbox again this month. I hope you benefit from this little project half as much as I enjoy writing it for you.  Thanks yet again for all your encouragement - I really appreciate it!

May the Lord richly bless you & yours, and may He continue to have Mercy on America. She really needs it these days.

Dave Harnish
Dave’s Repair Service
New Albany, PA
‘One conversation across a table from a wise man is worth a month's study of books.’



"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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