Gas station without pumps

2022 August 4

Fixing my dishwasher

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:16
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I posted in 2016 about installing a Bosch Ascenta 2434 Tall Tub BuiltIn Dishwasher White, model SHE3AR72UC. Earlier this week, the dishwasher failed (with error E25), and the first fix suggested on the Bosch website (checking whether the drain pump cover was loose) did not do anything.  So today I finally got around to the second check—removing the drain pump and checking it.

The drain pump is more or less accessible from the front by removing the kick plate, but I pulled the entire dishwasher out from under the counter so that I could check the drain hose first.  The drain hose proved to be clear, but removing it from the dishwasher to check it left a lot of water on the floor.

I had to watch two videos to figure out how to remove the drain pump, as the clip that holds it in place is well hidden behind the pump, and the first video showed a different model that had a much more visible clip.

Once I removed the drain pump, the problem was obvious—a rubber band had made it past the filters and had wound itself around the impeller shaft.  It took me a few minutes with a pair of needle-nose pliers to get all the rubber band off, but once I did, the impeller turned freely again. I did check the pump with a multimeter before trying to reinstall it—the pump had low impedance between each pair of terminals (there are 3), so the coils were not burned out.

I reinstalled the pump (easier than getting it out) and put the kickplate back on.  I realized as I put the kickplate back on why it had never seemed quite right—it is clearly from a different model of the dishwasher, being about half an inch too wide.  I could only put a screw in on one side (and I had to provide the screw as there were none there).  I don’t know whether the wrong kickplate was a factory error or an error by Best Buy—both seem quite likely.

I checked out drain pump by doing a few minutes of a wash cycle with the dishwasher empty (the drain pump is used near the beginning of the cycle) and cancelling the wash cycle (which sets up a 1-minute drain cycle).  The drain pump seems to work fine now.

The whole fix took me about 40 minutes, and it would have been much faster if I’d known what I was doing (and hadn’t had to look for a second video to find the clip that releases the drain pump).  I’m sure that the local appliance service people would have charged at least $200 for a service call, so I feel pretty good about having fixed it myself.  Maybe I can go another 6.6 years before I have to repair it again.

2022 March 8

Umbrella repair

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 15:05
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I was reading Volume 80 of Make (Spring 2022), which has “repairing” as a theme.  I realized then that I had never blogged about the umbrella repair that I did last October, and so I’m correcting that oversight now.

The problem was that the umbrella canopy had gotten detached from one of the ribs on my wife’s GustBuster umbrella. On most umbrellas, this is simply a matter of re-sewing the canopy to the eye at the end of the rib, but the GustBuster has that eye in a ferrule that fits over the end of the rib, and that ferrule was missing.

What my fix consisted of was designing and 3D printing a replacement for the ferrule, then sewing the canopy to the replaced ferrule.


This photo shows two of the ribs—the one on the right has the original black ferrule, and the one on the right has my replacement, printed in gold PLA.


Here is a closeup view of the replacement rib tip.

I did the design in OpenSCAD, after carefully measuring the diameter of the end of the rib, but the first print I made had some spreading that closed the interior hole, so that the tip would not fit on the rib. I expanded the dimensions slightly and reprinted the part. It was now a little loose, but the stitching should hold it on (and the original was obviously a little loose, or it would not have come off when the original stitching failed).  The design is available at

I had planned to blog about this repair after the fix had been use-tested for a while, but we had so little rain this winter that the umbrella has not been used much, and not at all in windy conditions.

2021 June 19

Electric lawnmower finally failed totally

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 14:30
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In Electric lawnmower repaired again and again, I reported on the latest fix to the electric lawnmower,  which was the replacement of the on-off switch in the handle.  It turns out that the fix was not worth the money and time, as the lawnmower has now failed in a major way—the ceramic permanent magnet in the motor has crumbled and is jamming the motor.

I think that the problem may have been caused by overheating, as the fan that is supposed to circulate air through the motor had only 2 of its original 8 blades, and many of the vent holes in the deck were plugged with solidly packed  grass residue.

In any case, I am now declaring this lawnmower to be trash (though I may salvage the switch and the bridge rectifier).  I’ll have to start looking at reviews of electric lawn mowers, to figure out what one to buy.

2021 April 24

Electric lawnmower repaired again and again

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 14:47
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In Electric lawnmower repaired yet again I reported

After I reassembled the motor I tested the mower without replacing the cover—it seemed to work ok.  I replaced the cover, and lawn mower worked just fine.  I was too tired to mow the lawn (very little sleep last night, and the trip back from Berkeley had taken 6 hours, rather than 3 hours, because of BART delays, the BART train we were on going out of service, and missed connections), but I should be able to mow the lawn sometime in the next week.

I did mow the lawn the next week, but about halfway through I started having trouble with the mower.  The motor ran fine, but if I squeezed the handle all the way it turned off again, making the mower rather difficult to control.  I finished mowing the lawn, but decided to investigate the problem.  At first, I thought that there might be a mechanical problem, with the handle releasing the switch when pulled too far, but I saw no evidence of that when I disassembled the handle and looked at the action of the cam on the handle.

Using my multimeter, I determined that the switch operated normally when the button was pressed part way, but not when the button was pressed in all the way.  I suspected that this meant that the switch was damaged (perhaps by corrosion), so I ordered a new switch.  Unfortunately, the part is quite expensive (about $15 on eBay), because it is a custom-made switch for Black and Decker.

I ordered the switch, and ebay said it had been shipped. I thought that the Post Office had reported it delivered, but I never saw it.  I even asked the mailman about it two days after the claimed delivery, but he could not remember.  He thought he had stuffed a thick envelope in the mail slot, but wasn’t sure.  So either the post office did not deliver, or porch pirates had taken the package. [See update below.] Both outcomes seem to be likely here, based on reports on Nextdoor.

I ordered another switch which was shipped on 4/20 and arrived on 4/22.  Today, I installed the switch.


The old switch, showing how the wires were connected. I took this picture before disconnecting any wires, in case I needed a reference for where they went.


The new switch, showing the part number. I transferred one wire at a time from the old switch to the new, so I didn’t need the reference photo that I took.


The new switch in place in the handle.


I disassembled the old switch to see if the contact damage was visible. The problem was not corrosion but burned material on the contacts—probably from the short circuits from the earlier rectifier failures.

I’ll try out the mower again this afternoon, to see whether this latest fix does the job. So far I have bought two bridge rectifiers, one set of brushes, and two switches to lengthen the life of this mower. At some point (perhaps at the next failure) it may be worth getting a new mower.

Update (still 2021 April 24): I mowed the lawn with the repaired lawnmower, and it worked fine. While I was mowing, the mailman came, with the package that had the first switch I had ordered. I went back to the USPS site to find out what had happened.  It turned out that the ebay package that had been delivered was one for my wife, not the lawnmower switch.  The switch had not arrived at the post office for ten days after the company (Parts Sales) had said they had shipped it.  So the missing switch was neither the post office’s fault nor was it porch pirates—it was due to lies by the company claiming they had shipped when they hadn’t and confusion on my part about what package had been reported as delivered.

2021 March 28

Electric lawnmower repaired yet again

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 19:55
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In Vaccine vested! I reported

I also took apart the lawn mower to see it if is fixable.  As always, it took me a long time to clear out the grass packed into the recessed screw holes to get the cover off, and a long time to vacuum all the grass out of the interior of the mower.  When I did finally get access to the motor and electronics, I determined that the bridge rectifier had failed again—this time with a short circuit instead of an open circuit.  I’ll buy another GBPC5010-G‎ 50-Amp bridge rectifier, and see if this one lasts a little longer.

There is one mistake in the quoted section—the first failure of the lawnmower (back in 2017) was also a short circuit.  The new behavior was identical to the old.

When I got back from Berkeley today (where my wife and I were visiting our son), I found the rectifier and a couple of other packages that had been delivered on Friday sitting on our porch.  I took apart the lawnmower and replaced the bridge rectifier.  I verified that the old rectifier really had shorted out two of its diodes, so I was pretty confident that I had fixed the problem and I put the mower back together.

It still didn’t work.

There was no longer a short circuit that blew fuses, but the mower just ran for a few seconds and died, as if the blade were blocked.  With the mower unplugged, I could turn the blade by hand, but took the opportunity to chip some of the dried-on grass from the bottom of the mower anyway.

After removing the cover again, I inspected the motor more closely, and I decided to take off the top plate of the motor (which holds the brushes), to see if there was anything wrong with the rotor or commutator.  The commutator looked very dirty, and it looked like the carbon from the brushes (or perhaps some carbonized grass) had gotten stuck between adjacent plates of the commutator, so I scrubbed the commutator with an old toothbrush.

After I reassembled the motor I tested the mower without replacing the cover—it seemed to work ok.  I replaced the cover, and lawn mower worked just fine.  I was too tired to mow the lawn (very little sleep last night, and the trip back from Berkeley had taken 6 hours, rather than 3 hours, because of BART delays, the BART train we were on going out of service, and missed connections), but I should be able to mow the lawn sometime in the next week.

Incidentally there was another error in Vaccine vested!: the 500 is a “Rapid bus”, not light rail.  It does provide a pretty quick connection between Diridon station and the new end of the BART line at Berryessa. It was also free, because VTA is not charging for transit until April 1.  I could have ridden the Highway 17 Express for free also (because I’m old), but I just took their half-price offer for regular passengers.  I did use my new senior Clipper Card on BART for the first time, though only on one leg of the trip, as I had some money on my old regular Clipper Card to use up.  The whole round-trip to Berkeley cost only about $17, which is about what it would cost me with all the senior discounts.  I don’t plan to take senior discounts on the local buses (SCMTD really needs the money), but I will take them on BART and VTA, which have a much bigger and wealthier tax base.

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