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Website owner: 
Dave Harnish
CEO: Gracie (RIP 3-16)
Dave's Repair Service
1911 Heath Hill Rd
New Albany, PA 18833
Email:
drs@sosbbs.com


Psalm 118:8


 

 

 

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The DRSNews
November 2004

In this issue:

1) How to Calibrate Your Oven's Temperature
2) A Couple of Great Ebay Tools

You'll find back issues of this newsletter here (all the way back to the first one, May 2002): 
www.DavesRepair.com/DRSNbackissues/DRSNindex.htm

1) I always find myself calibrating a lot of ovens this time of year, with Thanksgiving and Christmas closing in. 

That oven that's been a little too hot or that you've had to set 50 degrees higher needs to be *right* for all the baking you see in your near future, and this can be panic time! So I thought this might be a good time to go over a couple of the basics of oven temp's. 

First, even though electronic controls can be adjusted up or down a bit, they rarely need it, so I'll focus mainly on 'analog', or 'hydraulic' thermostats here. If it has a rotary knob and no digital display, this describes yours. 

If the temperature's 'off' in your electronic control oven , I'd contact your local pro, as there are so many different adjustment procedures for these, depending on brand, there's not space here to get into them. Check your owner's manual first, though; the procedure is often mentioned there.

We will be talking a bit about the various error ('F') codes in the electronic range controls next month, though.

Contrary to popular opinion, when you set your oven temp to 350F, it doesn't heat to 350F and *stay* there. (In a perfect world, it would, but in this old fallen one, it just doesn't work that way <grin>). 

An oven 'ramps up' in preheat - usually 5 to 10 minutes - to a temp that's usually well above the 'set' temp. At 350, for example, you'll see the average electric oven heat to around 400F before cycling off the first time. 

After preheat, the average 'differential', or range of temp's between on and off, will vary from one oven to another. But a 50 degree F differential is considered very accurate, and even electronic controls don't get much better than this in the real world. 

So what we want at the 350 setting is an *average* of around 350 or a little less. Ideally, this is an 'on' temp of around 325F and back 'off' at around 375F, yielding an average of 350. Setting this a bit lower than 350F isn't a bad idea, though. I usually aim for an average of 340F or 345F, because it's easier to put your food back into the oven for a few minutes if under - done than it is opening the door to find a 'burnt offering'. 

OK, so now we know what to 'shoot for', so how do we measure the actual oven temperature? Well, let me answer that by telling you how *not* to try it. Don't rely on those $2.99 dial - type thermometers from the local grocery or hardware store. They're never very accurate, and it's pretty much impossible to get a good idea what's going on inside the oven using one. 

One note that I'll insert here, before you start: check the position of the thermostat's sensing bulb inside the oven. Make sure it's fastened securely in its mounting, usually with two small steel clips, and is *not touching the oven wall*. This is very important. 

The t'stat senses air temperature, and if its sensing bulb's touching metal, the accuracy will be severely 'off' - usually averaging very low (electronic sensors are mounted more securely, but it pays to take a quick look at one of those before you start, too, just to be sure).

The best way to read this accurately is with a remote - reading thermometer. These days, digital ones are very inexpensive (much less than a pro's service call!), and one will last you a *long* time. I've had my old Maytag unit for nearly 20 years (!), and use it several  times per week, at least. 

Way back when I bought it, cost was around $70, but these days you'll often see temperature capability built into inexpensive digital volt-ohm meters. Radio Shack sells them at very reasonable cost, as do other retailers, and they work very well. Usually accurate to within one degree or so F, which is way more than enough accuracy for our purposes here. 

When testing, place the end of the meter's thermocouple in the center of the oven - I usually twist it around the center of a rack - and then watch the temp change up and down with the door closed. 

Allow the oven 30-45 minutes or so to preheat and run at least 3 on/off cycles up and down, then adjust, and run 2 or 3 more to verify that it's right. 

Write down the 'on' and 'off' temps for several cycles, and divide the difference between them to get the average, or total them and divide by two (remember doing averages in elementary math class? I'm feeling so old, I believe we did them on a slate! <grin>)

Adjustment procedures vary widely between brands and models, but on many newer ones,  you'll see a pair of screws on the back of the tstat  knob, and by loosening these the indicator can be rotated to the correct setting, matching the average you've measured. 

If your tstat knob has no screws, you'll commonly see a tiny screw inside the hollow tstat shaft, and this is turned a bit to change setting. 

On most of these, turning that little screw CW lowers temp, CCW raises it. The 'trick' is finding (or grinding down) a screwdriver small enough to fit. We used to buy them from our parts distributors, but I've had trouble finding them the last decade or so, so have had to carefully grind small 'pocket' screwdrivers down to fit. 

If you can't get enough adjustment to bring your oven temp into line using the available range on the knob or with that little screw (or if the screw's 'frozen' - not uncommon), you'll have to 'bite the bullet' and replace either the tstat or the range, I'm afraid. 

If it should come to that, drop me an email with your model number and I'll be happy to research one for you. We have some pretty good parts sources, and I can get parts to you pretty fast. I get a 'kick' out of helping handy folks, especially when they realize that they actually *can* do way more in this area than they previously thought.

2)  If you're a member of Ebay (and most folks are these days, it seems), here are two resources that I very highly recommend: 

* If you do any selling on Ebay, you'll save yourself a ton of time by using one of their selling tools. The (free) one I use daily's called 'Turbo Lister', and I don't know how I'd keep up without it. 

A very easy tool to learn, it allows you to save auctions on your own computer, modify them, and post them straight to Ebay at your convenience, either immediately or at whatever time you schedule. (Best time to end auctions appears to be around 10:00PM Eastern.  And Sunday nights appear to have the most traffic).

I have over 150 items saved in TL right now, and it's really convenient to open one up, or open a template I've saved earlier, modify it, add or change the pictures, and send it - all in just a few minutes! Try it! It's a free download: 
http://pages.ebay.com/turbo_lister/

* If you run a business and are looking for more advertising exposure (who isn't ?!), here's a tool that teaches you how to use Ebay to really boost your numbers! 

I highly recommend it - because it's changed my life! A really sharp guy named Jim Cockrum has come up with what I call a 'stupidly simple' system for diverting a portion of all that (worldwide!) Ebay traffic over to take a look at your business, no matter what it is - works with *any* business - and I can testify that it works *great!* And it's perfectly ethical and within Ebay's rules and guidelines!

There's another huge benefit from this technique that few people 'get': When you use this system of advertising, * all of your Ebay fees become deductible advertising costs! * (Didja get that?!). 

This saves me a bunch of money every month in fees, AND gets me tons of new traffic! (hmmm, maybe I should start charging for this newsletter - this information's just too good! <grin>)

Anyway, there's more to it than I can go into here. Get Jim's e-book that explains, step by step, how to do it. It's called 'The Silent Sales Machine Hiding on Ebay', and it's a very simple download: http://hop.clickbank.net/?birdguy/silentsale

***

Thanks again, for inviting me into your inbox. 

Happy Thanksgiving! May God richly bless you & yours!

Sincerely,

Dave Harnish
Dave’s Repair Service
New Albany, PA
drs@sosbbs.com
www.DavesRepair.com
 

Nehemiah 9:6

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

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