Thursday, January 7, 2010

Some things never change

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Of wall ovens and such that stupidity can effect

When we purchased the palatial retirement compound, cat fish pond and BBQ stand, we started an exhaustive, right down to ripping out some walls, re-do. Those guys on TV have nothing on me. In the process, being the "real greenie" that I am we added insulation, replaced both heating systems with high efficiency units as well as all the kitchen appliances... except for one. A Jenn-Air wall oven that worked well and looked good.

Three days ago, when bake was selected and the temperature set, it started to buzz and the bake process shut off.

Now the "buzz" is the warning that is supposed to come on when the meat probe finds that the center of the meat has reached the set temperature. The bake/broil cook cycle is then ended until the temperature is increased or the probe removed. It has a jack in the side of the oven wall were the probe is plugged in/out. In this case it wasn't in use and in fact has never been used because it was lost during the remodel and my life time love and activity director has never used it or wanted it.

Since this had happened before and been fixed with a gentle tap on the oven wall on/near the probe's jack; that solution was tried with decreasing gentleness of the taps. Turning the thing off, supper became a fried affair rather than baked and I proceeded to pour through all the paperwork left by the previous owner.

Finding the Jenn-Air Operations Manual I waited until the next morning, retirement is a hard task and I am not cleared for overtime, before going through all the steps just to make sure it wasn't cockpit error. It wasn't.

Just to be sure I hadn't missed it I went back through the papers looking for a schematic. None were found, To the Internet and Google is your friend. Nope, sorry.
To the telephone and Jenn-Air. Nope, happy to sell you another but no information on that model.... I mean it is 18 years old! Do the American thing and buy a new one.

Okay, pull the oven out a bit measure the cutout and visit the Internet. All kinds of wall ovens for sale. Most of them have specs for the cutout.(That's where the oven fits in the wall.) All of them give the dimensions of the oven. Except one small thing. None of'em give the dimensions of the "lip" that extends up, down and to the side of oven. You know, the part that keeps the oven from sliding all the way in and has screw holes to attach it as well as holding the controls.

Now being more or less intelligent on odd days of the Full Moon I understood that if I had the spec'd cutout dimensions and the oven dimensions I could subtract and get the size of the lip. No problem. Well, yes there was a problem. The unit I wanted, sold by Sears, has a curved top. Now the existing cutout height is 28 1/4. The spec'd cutout height is 27 1/4. Now I can fix that by slipping a piece of plywood underneath but how wide is the top curved top at its low corners? Using the subtract method the lip is 13/16. Is that at the highest or lowest point?

To Sears with my folding rule in hand. Many, many, many wall ovens. None of them the model I want. Find a salesman. He determines they don't have the unit in the store. When I point out that I can order it myself, but the question is the cutout size he suggests buying another (more expensive) unit.


Told him no, that I want that one and because he can't tell me the dimensions I'll look around. He is disappointed. I ask if I am the first person who has commented unfavorably about this.

"Well, yes it has caused some problems...."

Wow. No kidding Sherlock. Imagine customers needing specifications.

I wonder if the manufacturer's Product Manager has ever asked the sales people about what customer's think? Probably not. I think most Product Managers now have come under Marketing and toss around terms like "macro" and annual warehouse turns."

Back home and square one. Boss lady points out that an oven is considered standard equipment in her world and the decision is a simple repair or replace and would I please give her an estimate when, at least, that would be done.

Women are just so logical about things like that.

Is there a certified Jenn-Air center around here? Yes. To the telephone. And a pleasant surprise. Got a tech on the line, explained I was trying to make a buy or repair decision, gave him the symptoms and he agreed that the problem was probably in the probe jack. Very helpful. Spoke English. Wow.

Went to Radio Shack. Explained I wanted a can of contact cleaner and a phone jack.

Blank stare. I explain. You know, a plug on the cord they plug into sound systems.

Am led to display drawer. Find what I need. Pay. Go home. Spray oven jack with spray.
Push plug in and out a few times. Jiggle. Remove.

Turn on oven. Works perfectly.

Virtue is its own reward. Call wife in to display my intelligence and lay the object of my work at her feet as my ancestors would have displayed a deer.

Two hours later as she starts to prepare dinner.

"Hey Mr. Fixit who use to claim to be an engineer.... IT"S BROKE AGAIN."


Dinner's desert is Humble Pie.

More Google. No information on the unit to be found.

More searches for new ovens. All are more than I want to pay or have dimension problems. To bed.

Come morning and I decide I am going to take the temperature probe's jack out and look at it. Had cup of coffee and decided that the jack will be either normally closed or normally open, and my memory said a normal jack would be closed. But this isn't a normal audio use.

Slide out unit (as my back is now reminding me) and discover the sides are lipped under the top cover and screwed on. Easy to remove if unit is completely removed and accessible top and bottom.

Grrrrr. Say nasty words.

Have another cup of coffee. Deciding that I can do no additional harm I removed the control panel and now had a clear view into the top of the oven between the shell and the oven's wall. And what did I find.

All folded up and laying inside a plastic bag, the schematic. Brown and crisp due to heat, but the schematic. Opened same, determined the jack was normally closed, found the two wires going to the jack.

Just to be sure. Cut them. No change.

Took the two wires going to the electronics, stripped and twisted them together and the unit was fixed.

Now this isn't about me fixing the unit and saving a cool $1200 bucks or so.

And it isn't a rant about Jenn-Air not having any information. Nope, there is a reasonable limit on how long a manufacturer should carry documentation and parts and Jenn-Air is one of the best.

And it isn't about Sears not having the information I needed. Nope, not at all. Their punishment was loss of a sale.

Nope, it is about an installer who left a piece of paper inside an oven that could have easily caught fire as can be seen by the brittleness of the paper. I shutter to think of how many times, especially during the clean cycle, it hovered close to Fahrenheit 451, the temperature that paper burns and would have likely destroyed the oven and perhaps started a fire that burned down the home.

Hey guy! You had your head up your behind that time! Pay attention or turn in your boots and truck. The world is a tricky place and we don't need people who can't concentrate and do it right the first time.

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On Twitter I am Lesabre1

Obama quote of the day for 1-7-10

The United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam.

Well, we know that he won't. 11/2012 cometh.


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On Twitter I am Lesabre1

Obama quote of the day for 1-8-10

Why can't I just eat my waffle?

On Twitter I am Lesabre1