Gas station without pumps

2013 October 1

Crosscountry is faster than across town

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 15:13
Tags: , , , ,

I recently had to order a new part for my gas dryer, which was shipped via UPS from Illinois, about 2000 miles away. I’m too cheap to pay for 2nd day air and other expensive options, so it went the cheapest way: UPS ground. It was interesting (though a bit frustrating) to track the progress of the package:

Santa Cruz, CA, United States 09/30/2013 5:44 P.M. Delivered
09/30/2013 5:57 A.M. Out For Delivery
Santa Cruz, CA, United States 09/28/2013 4:47 A.M. Arrival Scan
South San Francisco, CA, United States 09/28/2013 3:14 A.M. Departure Scan
South San Francisco, CA, United States 09/27/2013 3:50 P.M. Arrival Scan
San Pablo, CA, United States 09/27/2013 2:40 P.M. Departure Scan
09/27/2013 11:17 A.M. Arrival Scan
Hodgkins, IL, United States 09/24/2013 9:35 A.M. Departure Scan
Hodgkins, IL, United States 09/23/2013 11:52 P.M. Arrival Scan
Addison, IL, United States 09/23/2013 11:16 P.M. Departure Scan
09/23/2013 7:56 P.M. Origin Scan
United States 09/23/2013 6:39 P.M. Order Processed: Ready for UPS

I found it interesting that the largest delays were in the last 85 miles. From the entry into the system to being put on a long-distance truck took about 15 hours—not too bad considering that the company doing the shipping didn’t enter the package into the system until 6:39 p.m. Then the long, 2100-mile drive across country took about 74 hours, an average speed of 28 miles per hour. That seems a little slow for two drivers on the interstate, driving a combined 16 hours a day, and too fast for one driver driving 8 hours a day.

Once it got to San Pablo, though, it took another 78 hours to do the final 85 miles.  It took under 5 hours to get out of San Pablo and to South San Francisco (26 miles), 11 hours to get from South San Francisco to Santa Cruz (65 miles), then 60  hours for the last 2 miles.  Note that all these times are slower than bicycle delivery—the last leg is slower than a baby crawling.  It is about the speed of a garden snail, which is substantially faster than a banana slug (so I suppose I shouldn’t complain).

I was buying a part for a Maytag Epic Z dryer.  This is the second time the dryer has failed in the 2.5 years I’ve owned it.  The first time it failed, I tried to get Western Appliance to honor the extended service contract I bought from them with the dryer in March 2010, but they claimed it had expired, and gave me the name of a local repair person who worked fairly cheaply.  He repaired the dryer for about $200.  I recently got a renewal notice from the company that back the warranty, Assurant Solutions, claiming that the service protection agreement ends 2013 Nov 7—I don’t know what good an extended warranty is, if the company that sells it doesn’t honor it.  I probably won’t be buying any more appliances from Western Appliance (though they’ve sold me most of the appliances I have in the house), and I certainly won’t be renewing the Assurant Solutions extended service contract—I’m rather angry with them for selling me a worthless piece of paper.

Since I was under the mistaken impression that I had no warranty for the dryer (rather than just one that the seller wouldn’t honor), when the dryer failed the second time, I figured I would see if I could fix it myself.  The first failure was not one I would have wanted to deal with (loud squeaking), as it could have come from any of several different mechanical parts, some of which are quite hard to access and replace.  The second failure was an electronic one, which seemed more likely to be within my capabilities—when the start button was pressed, the dryer waited for a few seconds then displayed the message “F-01”, which I found on the Internet means “primary control failure. Replace the machine control electronics.”

I found a repair manual online and saw that the “machine control electronics” were pretty easy to access (unlike most of the mechanical components).  I tried disconnecting and reconnecting all the cables and blowing all the lint off the board (the manual warns that corroded contacts can be at fault), but nothing helped and I saw no signs of corrosion.

So I looked on-line for a replacement board.  The same motor control board is used in many “different” brands of dryer—so there are several places to get the replacement.  Almost all of them were about $200–$250, which seemed a bit much when a new dryer is only about $600–800.  I finally found a company which sold “reconditioned” control boards with a 6-month guarantee for only $109.50, so I decided to risk buying one.  If I’d had to deal with the company directly I might not have (they had rather mixed reviews on the one review site I could find that mentioned them), but I could order from them through Amazon, where their ratings were fairly good, giving me a bit more confidence.

When the board finally came last night, I replaced the old motor controller with the new, and it worked right away. The next time the dryer fails, I’ll probably have to replace it—it doesn’t seem like Maytag makes long-lived appliances any more.

Whirlpool W10111606 Electronic Control Board for gas dryers.  Several brands of dryers use this control board.

Whirlpool W10111606 Electronic Control Board for gas dryers. Several brands of dryers use this control board. This is the dead one that I removed from the dryer—I wonder if there is anywhere that will “recondition” it by replacing whatever has failed. It seems a shame just to add to the e-waste stream.

3 Comments »

  1. You know what? I think I may use this data for introduction to motion in my grade 9 science class. A variety of times and distances that will make a pretty interesting introductory graphing exercise. We can talk about what other kind of graphs, other than scatter plot or line graph, could represent this information in a visually intuitive way.

    Comment by J Tinkering — 2013 October 1 @ 16:23 | Reply

  2. I wonder if they may have aged the package so that it wouldn’t be too fast and yet still meet the delivery standards. They do want to differentiate their 2-day service from their “slow” service so that they can charge more for the 2-day service.

    I’ve been having trouble with a leaking washer, rather than a dryer. I got it used. But it turns out that, yes, these days appliances last for less than 10 years. I’ve been meaning to fix it, but haven’t had the time yet. Fixing my computers is more important.

    Comment by Patrick Lam — 2013 October 3 @ 09:16 | Reply

    • I doubt that the delays were intentional, as the original delivery estimate was for the Friday, and they had to revise the estimate when the package lingered in South San Francisco. What I don’t understand is why they did not deliver on Saturday—the package arrived in Santa Cruz early enough Sat morning (4 a.m.) to make it onto the delivery trucks.

      I suspect incompetence—it is the simplest explanation for most of what I see these days.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2013 October 3 @ 09:37 | Reply


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