Sunday, November 04, 2007

I Can'nae Change the Laws of Physics, Cap'n!

That's my oven. It's a 20-year-old Whirlpool with the oven underneath, a microwave on top, and controls for both at the upper right. Yesterday, the control panel went dark. Dead. Joined the choir invisible. Same for the microwave. The oven still worked, although if we wanted to do something fancy like set a delayed cooking time--not that we ever have before--we were out of luck. We couldn't live like that ... like animals. Something had to be done.

It is understood that repairing a broken microwave costs more than replacing it. This wasn't just the microwave, though; it was the whole control panel, too, and they're both integrated with the oven. Either we would have to call in a sure-to-be-exorbitantly priced repairperson or replace the whole darn thing, and what are the odds we'd ever find anything that'd fit into our 20-year-old cabinet hole? Neither option was appealing.

This morning I figured I'd take a peek at its guts. Just in case there happened to be a huge, clearly labeled switch inside that had somehow flipped from "Work" to "Don't Work," because if it were more complicated than that I was pretty sure I was out of luck. I turned off the circuit breaker, unscrewed the control panel at upper right...
"What should I tell the paramedics?" asked my wife.
"Probably 220 volts," answered I.
And there, sitting fat and pretty under a tangle of wires with a big blinking neon arrow pointing at it saying "Look Here!" was a 20-amp fuse. Gingerly reaching in (yeah, I know what a capacitor looks like), I pulled the fuse and checked it with my multimeter. Resistance = infinity; that's a hopeful sign (a good fuse would have had a resistance near zero). Called the hardware store half a mile away, went and picked up a new fuse for $3.75, and popped it in. Asking my wife to watch the oven and scream in panic if she saw sparks or flames, I flipped the circuit breaker and.....

It worked.

I think I now understand how a soldier feels dragging a wounded buddy to safety under fire. How a surgeon feels pulling a patient back from death's icy grip. But mostly, I now know what it feels like to be this guy:



R said...

Hee, very cool! I didn't know you could peek inside the control pannel...

Jan said...

WOW - I'm impressed! So the oven won't need to be beamed up!

Live long and prosper!

ronnie said...

To celebrate your achievement I hope you got drunk and sang "I'll take you home again, Kathleen", preferably over some kind of P.A. system.


Brian Fies said...

R., I'll show you sometime. But don't try it yourself!

Jan, this oven ain't quittin' on MY watch!

Ronnie, wish I'd thought of it. And had a P.A. system. "One! More! Time!" Everyone else is looking at us funny now, but we know.

Mike Lynch said...

To paraphrase THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE: Fiesy, you've earned your pay for the week!

Now .. go fix shield 4. The damn thing is buckling all the time!

bint alshamsa said...

"Joined the choir invisible"? Now that's funny, so funny, in fact, that I'm going to have to steal this line and plant it firmly on the surface of my cancer blog! ;)

Brian Fies said...

Bint, I steal all my best material from Monty Python. Thanks for reading.