Why I hate Sears


July 8, 2011

In 2006, I bought a new Kenmore range from Sears. It failed 5 years later (it started displaying E0 F2 on the clock), and Sears doesn't even maintain enough parts to repair it.

Here it is, not working:

stove

And here is all the controller would say:

I wanted a new glass panel with the buttons on it, but Sears doesn't have any. The code changed from E0 F2 to E1 F2 in the picture, because the glass panel on the front was no longer connected to the computer that displays the message while I was waiting for the $150 replacement for the computer to arrive. (It's $150 because I ordered a used, rebuilt one. It didn't fix the problem.)

To repeat: I bought it in 2006, and in 2011 it is unrepairable because Sears doesn't maintain a parts inventory.

This is obscene.

I don't know who to recommend who would do any better, but I know I will never buy another appliance from Sears.

Here's a promise I made: if the rebuilt computer didn't fix this, I would post photos of me drilling a hole right through the middle of the glass panel and installing an old mechanical oven control.

July 12, 2011

Okay, Sears called today to say that the controller I ordered was in.

Only $146.

Easy to install, same probjem.

So I called Sears, to see if I could find a used touch panel. Yes! They have one in stock! It's in London, ready to pick up! What's my credit card number?

I give them the number. The store where it is in stock closes in 40 minutes, but I'd have time to drive there to get it. My wife makes the sensible suggestion to call the local store to confirm. I did, it's on back order, won't be available for at least 2 weeks.

My bet is that it's not available at all. I hate Sears.

Looking for a drill to go through the glass panel.

July 13, 2011

Found out today that drilling through tempered glass is a really bad idea: it's very likely to shatter, because tempering makes glass stronger by creating all sorts of internal stresses in it. You have to drill first, then temper, never the reverse.

Got an email from Sears, saying that no, there's no way I can return the $146 rebuilt controller: it's electronics. According to Sears, electronics is magic, and once it leaves their sight there's no possible way to know if it works or not.

That got me mad, so I decided I would figure out which button on the panel is broken (there are 19 of them), disable it, and live with an 18 button stove. To my surprise, I succeeded! In case anyone else has this problem, here were the steps:

  1. To determine which button was bad, I plugged in the touch panel, and pressed every button on it. On all but one, the controller complained with 3 beeps. On the "Hour down" button, nothing. Conclusion: that's the switch that is permanently pushed. Pressing it again doesn't change things.
  2. Looking at the back of the panel, I saw that every button corresponded to a kind of square full of lines of PCB traces. Here's a photo:
    photo of PCB
    This shows two buttons. The PCB squares are labelled P19 and P17. Each had a couple of very small components (resistors?, labelled R33, R34, R37, R38), a tiny 6-pin package holding the processor to handle the button (U17 and U19), and another 3-pin package (a driver transistor?, D15 and D17). I decided to cut the wire running from the processor to the transistor: you can see the messy cut I made (using an exacto knife) on one of the pins on D15.
  3. Put everything back together, plug in the stove, and it works! Hurray! (Well, 18 buttons work: I'm willing to push the "Up Hour" button 11 times instead of pushing "Down Hour" once.)
If anyone wants a used (but still functional) timer/controller, Sears part number 880-9757269R, make me an offer.

Last modified: 13 July 2011

 

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