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.

2020 November 5

Pita bread

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:55
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This week’s bread is a bit constrained, as my oven failed on Tuesday, and the gas burner in the oven would not light.  This has happened twice before, and each time the igniter needed to be replaced.  The first time it happened, I got an appliance-repair person out to diagnose and fix it, but the second time I fixed it myself (replacing the igniter is not very difficult).  I’ve ordered a new igniter, but it may take over a week to get here.

So, I’m limited to stovetop breads.

I considered doing steam buns again, but I don’t really have time this week to make the filling and shape the buns.  My wife suggested that I make  flatbread in a frying pan—she often makes pita bread using a recipe from Flatbreads and Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.  Because I wanted to use my sourdough starter, I adapted the recipe a little.

I started the bread the day before baking.

1¼ cup wet sourdough starter
½ teaspoon dried yeast
1½ cup whole-wheat flour
1½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon olive oil

Mix the yeast into the starter.  If your starter is not soupy like mine, then you may need to add warm water. The yeast is probably not needed, but I was worried that my sourdough had gotten a bit old and the yeast in it might not have been very active.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic.  My dough was a little dry, so I kneaded in another ⅛ cup of water a few drops at a time. Leave the dough in a covered bowl to rise.

When ready to bake, divide the dough into eight parts, and roll each part on a lightly floured board into a circle about 8″ (20cm) in diameter and less than ¼” (6 mm) thick.

Heat a large cast-iron fry pan over medium high heat. Cook one circle at a time in the fry pan—15 to 20 seconds on one side, flip it and cook for about a minute “until big bubbles begin to appear”, then flip back to the first side and try to get the whole circle to balloon.  Flatbreads and Flavors has some advice on how to achieve that by pressing gently with a towel to spread the bubbles that have already appeared.  The authors also recommend adjusting the heat so that the bread takes about 2–3 minutes to cook.

I plan to make just 2 or 3 of the pita bread for bread and tea, with the rest for our dinner (and maybe one or two the next day).  If the recipe comes out as well as when my wife makes it, I might make a batch of dough to leave in a bag in the fridge, so that I can make one or two pita a day for lunch.

I made one tonight (a day before bread and tea), so that I could have a photo for this blog post:

I think I need to roll the bread just a little thinner tomorrow, and make sure that the pan is up to temperature before I start—this bread took a little over 3 minutes to cook and started browning too much before it started puffing.

2017 August 25

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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