August 28, 2006

What's a GP mechanic like me do on his days off?

A couple days after I returned from Brno, I finally had enough energy (or rather, enough discipline) to start doing my laundry from that race, and also start preparing my gear for the 3 fly-aways races starting next week.

First load? Relatively minor, four shirts, seven pairs of socks, seven briefs, and a pair of pants. Pretty standard, right? Second load, just about the same, probably even easier. Five work shirts (three polyester, two cotton), a pair of cargo pants, and another pair of socks. Everything was working just fine, and doing back-to-back loads meant I was getting a lot done - cleaning up my room and working on the internet while the machine was doing it's thing! When I threw in the third load (which was again, minor), I thought I was home free. Meaning, I thought I would get all the major stuff out of the way and be packed up with a week to spare, more or less. I'm taking two carry-on sized pieces of luggage, but I'm splitting my work gear up, in the event that one bag gets lost in the shuffle. Just after I started the third load of laundry, I was getting restless and ready to leave the house - so I did.

Nothing like having a nice ride to the beach area and stopping in the Borne district at (what I believe to be) the best Pizzeria in Barcelona.

Come back a couple hours later and find my clothes sitting in the machine in a large puddle of soapy water. Well, not really a puddle (and not really soapy, either!), but it was obvious the machine had loaded the tumbler with water and soap, and then stopped. The soap crystals (yes, I know, how cheap and barbaric. I don't even have liquid laundry detergent!) weren't broken down, and were spread out over all my clothes like giant dandruff. I thought, hmmm, it IS Spain, so it's possible the machine got lazy, or just needed a long lunch break. To top it off, the door was electrically locked shut, so I couldn't open it and get my clothes out if I wanted to. I played with the settings, tried making music with the control panel buttons, but nothing happened. I gave up and unplugged to machine to see if it would perform some kind of master reset. And I waited. A day. Two days. Nothing.

By this time, my roomate, Daniel, had started to notice that there was a load of laundry in the machine constantly, so he asked me what was up and I tried to explain it to him. Needless to say, you cannot be a professional mechanic of any kind and not be expected to work on Everything. Got out the handtools, pulled the machine (which was surprisingly heavy!) away from it's little corner, disconnected the water lines, and got down to some nitty gritty with a machine from god knows where and with parts from Thailand, China, Italy, and who knows where else. Score! For having time away from the GP garage, I sure wasn't expecting to be working on a another high-horsepower beast, so I was happy. Happy that I was turning wrenches, but still, c'mon. It's a washing machine fer-crissakes!

C'mon, said the little rabbit. Just follow me down this hole!

God, I was sooo hoping it was going to be something simple like a proper mechanical failure. Like maybe the belt was broken from the motor to the tumbler or something. But nooooooo. Nearest I could tell, with the amount of errors the settings were giving me, and also the electric lock's failure to open even though the system was drained of water, it was electrical - and I think I know where the problem is. The problem is somewhere in here . . .

Yup, this area looks a little burnt. Like it got a little H-O-T.

Further evidence of the heat was wiped away inadvertently by my roomate, who needs to touch everything.

Oh well, that's it for my feeble laundry machine repair technique - hopefully my diagnosis is confirmed when the part is replaced. In the meantime, check out some of my other electrically based problems - here.


Cool site. Just came across it today and really enjoyed reading it. We've got similar jobs, although your life seems strangely more glamourous than mine!

Hey Liam,

Just wanted to throw out an idea on ur broke washing machine. Our washer kinda did the same thing a couple weeks ago. But it wasn't anything electrical. It was the fill sensor that got clogged w/ lint. Changed it out and it's back in action. Good luck w/ that and have a safe trip to my homeland (half ching-chong-chow, half white) ;)

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