Gas station without pumps

2020 November 11

Oven fixed

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 19:33
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Our gas oven (LG brand model LRG3093SW) stopped working last week, just as I was about to heat a plate of nachos. I suspected that the problem was that the oven igniter had failed, for three reasons:

I first went through the trouble-shooting instructions in the manual, which are a very short list of things to check (like whether the stove is plugged in and the gas turned on), ending with calling a professional.  Under “Oven Control beeps and displays any F code error”  subpart “You have ‘F11′” (the code it displayed), it suggests checking the oven gas shutoff valve (and cross-references “Surface burners light but oven burner does not”).

I did not bother checking anything this time—I just ordered the cheapest igniter I could find that looked ok and claimed to be compatible (it was a tossup between Walmart and Amazon, and I went with the one on Amazon).  I went with a cheap one, because even the mid-priced one I ordered last time only lasted a little over three years. I could buy one of the cheap ones every nine months and still come out ahead. I ordered on November 4 and the part arrived on November 9.  Today (November 11) was the first day I felt I had time to deal with it.

I had to look at a RepairClinic video to remember how to take the door off, but after that things went quickly: I disassembled the oven (taking off the door, removing the bottom plate of the oven, removing the heat diffuser over the burner) and turned off the power to the stove at the outdoor breaker box (having remembered this time that there was no indoor breaker for the stove or the laundry room). Turning off the breaker was easier this time than last, as there was no paint seal to break.

I pulled out the old igniter and plugged in the new one. Just to reassure myself that my diagnosis was right, I tested the old one for continuity with an ohmmeter—the igniter was definitely broken, showing an open circuit.

While I had the oven partially disassembled, I vacuumed out the oven cavity and cleaned the bottom edge of the door.  It seems that there are three screws missing from the bottom edge of the door—I wonder what size they were originally and whether they are worth replacing.

I had no trouble this time reassembling the oven and getting the door back on.  I didn’t even have look anything up on the web.

The whole repair took about half an hour—much less than last time!  The differences were the following:

  • I knew what I was doing.
  • The breaker box wasn’t painted shut.
  • The screws holding the igniter were properly installed, so easy to remove.
  • I didn’t drop and lose any of the screws.

It looks like I’ll be able to bake bread for Friday this week—I wonder what recipe I should use.

2017 November 8

Bathroom timer knob

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:26
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On Saturday, as a break from the mechatronics midterm, I rode my bike over to Gary’s Plastics (105 Bronson, opposite the Pacific Edge climbing gym) to get some acrylic sheet for cutting out electrode holders for my applied electronics course.  It took me a while to find the place, because 105 Bronson is mainly a metal-working place.  Gary’s Plastics has only a tiny sign on the side of the building, and they are at the back of a junk-strewn parking lot.

I bought the 1/4″ acrylic sheet I needed at a much lower price than San Lorenzo Lumber, which had only 1/10″ sheet, but it was clear that they did not stock a lot of stuff—if you want something specific, you probably have to order it in advance or go over the hill to TAP plastics.

While I was there, I picked up a scrap of white HDPE for another project—fixing the knob on the timer for the fan in my bathroom.  The knob for the timer broke about a year ago, and my first thought would be that it would be a trivial fix, as I had several knobs available that I had bought for various projects.  Unfortunately, none of them fit!  The standard knobs are all for 6mm shafts, and the timer had a 4.77mm shaft.

The bare shaft, which is too skinny for standard knobs, which expect a 6mm shaft.

For a while we used pliers to turn the timer on, but this was inconvenient and ugly, so I kept looking for a different solution. After a while, I found a part that was designed for a 5mm shaft, though it wasn’t intended as a knob—it is an aluminum coupler base for the Eggbot.

The aluminum coupler base from the Eggbot—looks ok but rather hard to turn with wet hands.

We used the Eggbot coupler for quite a while, but we all got irritated by the difficulty in turning it. Eventually, my son noticed that the set screw for the coupler was a standard 10-32 screw thread, and we stuck in the only 10-32 screw I happened to have on hand (I have a lot of 10-24 screws, but those have too coarse a thread).

The result worked well and has a certain “there-I-fixed-it” charm, but did not really appeal to my wife or me.

I took the scrap of HDPE, cut off a chunk with my new bandsaw, drilled a hole through it with my drill press, put it on my wood lathe (a tool that has sat idle in my garage for at least 20 years), and turned a decorative cover for the screw. HDPE is much easier to turn than wood is—there’s no grain to tear out!

I didn’t quite get the dimensions I wanted—the screw head is wider than the handle rather than matching, but the result is much better that the bare screw.

I still have enough of the scrap to make a couple more attempts, and one of these days I’ll redo the handle to be wider with a flat-head screw countersunk in, rather than a pan head sitting on top.

2017 August 25

Door locks replaced

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:19
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Today was my day for repairing things.  Not only did I fix the oven (see Oven repair headache), but I replaced the deadbolts on the front and back doors, plus the lever set for the back door.

A week or two ago, the deadbolt on the back door started feeling funny—it still functioned, but the key and the thumbturn seemed loose.  I opened it up and noticed that a metal spring had broken—this spring normally sits against flat spots in the shaft, giving the lock its bistable characteristic.  Without the spring the lock easily slid from one end to the other, without clicking into the “open” and “locked” positions.

The brand of deadbolt that we had no longer seems to exist (at least, the only example I found on the web was a used one on eBay), so I decided to upgrade to new Schlage locks.  Because the front and back deadbolts are keyed the same, I needed to replace the front deadbolt at the same time.  My wife also requested that the door knob on the back door be replaced to be the same finish as the new deadbolt on the door.  She wanted satin nickel for the back door and antique brass for the front door.

I ordered the locks from, who had decent pricing.  When the order arrived, I realized that I had made a mistake in the entry of the order, and ordered a satin chrome deadbolt instead of a satin nickel one.  The lever set for the door was satin nickel, and did look better.

So I had to call their customer support to find out how to rectify the mistake.  They needed to know the number stamped on the key, so that they could send me a properly keyed replacement lock, and they sent me email to print a UPS return label, promising to credit my credit card when they got the lock back.  A few days later the replacement lock arrived, properly keyed and in the right finish.

Putting the deadbolts into the doors was fairly straightforward, as the backset and drill sizes he been fairly standardized for a while (the doors on the house are at least 30 years old, and probably more like 50 years old).  The holes in the edge of the door were just a tiny bit tight, so I used a round file to open them up just enough to squeeze in the new deadbolts.

The lever set was a bit more of a problem—putting it into the door was no problem, easier even than the deadbolts, but the strike plate was smaller than the old strike plate on the door jamb.  The bottom screw needed to be in the same place as for the old strike plate, but the top screw would have gone into empty space where the larger old strike plate had had an opening.

To fix the problem I used a razor saw to cut a tiny piece of pine (1″×½”×⅝”) and glued it into the hole with Gorilla wood glue.  I’ll have to wait a day for the glue to dry, then shave a little off the block to make the strike plate fit perfectly.  I’ll probably also prime and paint the bit of wood so that it doesn’t stand out, though the whole door and jamb really need painting.

Oven repair headache

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:46
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Our gas oven (LG brand model LRG3093SW) stopped working a week or two ago—it wouldn’t light any more.  It had been flakey for a while, but it had finally failed completely.  I suspected that the problem was that the oven igniter had failed, for two reasons:

  • It is the most failure-prone part on gas ovens.
  • We had had the igniter replaced once before in a similar situation (on the same stove).

I first went through the trouble-shooting instructions in the manual, which are a very short list of things to check (like whether the stove is plugged in and the gas turned on), ending with calling a professional.  Under “Oven Control beeps and displays any F code error”  subpart “You have ‘F11′” (the code it displayed), it suggests checking the oven gas shutoff valve (and cross-references “Surface burners light but oven burner does not”).

I decided to check the oven gas shutoff valve first, before checking the igniter.  The manual shows where the valve is located, but the drawing is so poor that it is not possible to make out what it is supposed to look like.  “PULL TO OPEN” is not very informative.  I ended up looking at oven gas shutoff valves on the web, and realized that the “lever” was a sheet-metal cam that pulled the valve open.  I toggled the lever and made sure I left it with the gas valve open, but this did not restore function.

I then looked at videos online for testing and replacing the igniter.  The videos by RepairClinic are pretty good, even if their parts price is among the highest on the web.

I disassembled the oven (taking off the door, removing the bottom plate of the oven, removing the heat diffuser over the burner) and checked whether the igniter glowed when the oven was set to turn on—it didn’t.  So my next step was to turn off the power to the stove to take out the igniter.

Unfortunately, the outlet for the stove is inaccessible (behind the stove, under the counter), so I needed to turn it off at the breaker box.  The stove outlet is not on the indoor breaker box, so I had to use the breaker in the outdoor box.  That turned out to be more effort than I expected, because the contractor who installed my solar panels 2 years ago had painted the box to match the house.  Unfortunately, he had painted the box shut, and I couldn’t slide the front down to swing it open.  I had to chip out the paint in several places with a knife, then tap the panel with a hammer and a solid screwdriver, before the paint seal was broken.

Having opened the box and figured out which of the unlabeled breakers was the stove, I turned off the stove to test the igniter. (I labeled that breaker when I was done.)  I didn’t bother removing the igniter, just made the wires to it accessible and tested for continuity with an ohmmeter.  The igniter was definitely broken, showing an open circuit.

I cleaned the pieces and put the oven back together (having a little trouble getting the door back on, until I watched the video again and realized that I was missing the step of opening the door completely after re-inserting it).

So I spent a little time on-line looking for a decent price for the igniter.  I found prices from $20 (on eBay for a generic igniter that looked like the one that had just failed) to $125 for ones that claimed to be OEM (original equipment manufacturer). I finally chose to go with a mid-priced option: $68 from Sears Parts Direct which claimed to be manufacturer-approved (though not necessarily OEM).  I believe we had bought the stove originally at Sears, so it was not too surprising that they stocked parts for it.

The new igniter arrived today, so after supper I decided to replace the broken one.  Because I had recent disassembled the oven, I figured that there would be no trouble—it would be a quick job. Ha!

It did go smoothly at first.  Oven door off, racks out, bottom panel removed, heat diffuser removed, igniter cable detached (and screwdriver inserted to keep connector from falling back into the oven out of reach), first screw holding the igniter removed, and then frustration. No matter how much I turned the second screw (the back one that was harder to reach), it would not come out.  It turned, but did not back out of the hole.  I enlisted my son’s aid—he had no more luck than me. (He did help me find the one screw that I had gotten out—it had wandered half a room away.)

Eventually, I decided to take out the whole burner assembly (it is only held by two easily removed screws), so I could get better access to the screw.  This didn’t help much. Eventually I tried pushing on the tip of the screw, while turning the screw head with a phillips screwdriver bit in a socket-wrench handle.  I got the screw about halfway out when the head broke off.  So I grabbed what was left of the screw with visegrips and managed to unscrew it the rest of the way.

I now had the broken generic igniter off the burner assembly, but I was short one screw for reassembling everything.  The screw needed appears to be a coarsely threaded self-tapping sheet metal screw, probably #8.  I looked through all my boxes, jars, bags, and piles of screws and finally found one that looked like it might work (I’ve no idea what it was left over from).  It wasn’t self tapping, but the threads seemed to be the same size as the remaining screw.

I cleaned out the hole where the stuck screw had been by screwing and unscrewing the self-tapping screw that remained a few times.  After that, my newly found screw worked in the hole with no problems.  I then attached the igniter to the burner assembly, replaced the burner assembly, turned on the power, and checked to see with the new igniter glowed.  It did! and the stove lit!

I turned off the stove, replaced the heat diffuser, the bottom plate, the oven racks, and the door.  There were no problems with the reassembly this time.  I checked the stove once more, and it ignited fine.  I ran the oven at 350°F for about half an hour to drive out any residual fumes from packing materials or whatever—there was some smell, so there probably was something that needed to be burned off.

The repair took me about three times longer than I had expected, and the unremovable screw was pretty frustrating, but I’m pleased now that I got it fixed. And that my outdoor breaker box is now accessible in an emergency.



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