Fixin’ Stuff / Best Part of the Internet?

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The Internet is a two edged sword for me.  For most people I think.  It really makes many things much easier and enjoyable, but there is the too much deal.  It really has replaced the television as the source of entertainment for the majority of people.  With that, you get the guilt of overuse.  Am I wasting my precious time on the computer when I could be doing something way more useful?

I’ve been trying to curb that by not “surfing” the net much.  I do go to a few websites on a daily basis, but I don’t sit on my computer for hours just for nothing.

One thing that I never regret when using the Internet is when I’m trying to fix something.  There is always someone out there that has fixed the same problem as I have and feels like sharing it. And it is getting more common.  I’ve never made a video of fixing something, but when I do run into something that I find an easy fix for, I feel it is my responsibility to share that with all the guys that have saved me so much time and energy by posting their experiences.

Case in point is on a project I’m doing right now trying to get my ice maker in my refrigerator working.  It has been broken all summer, so my insulated bottles are sort of valueless.  But, ice is a nice thing, energy intensive, but nice all the same.   Bill’s refrigerator has had sort of the same issue, so I figure I’d research mine and maybe figure out his.

I initially thought my problem was the water flow.  I’d had that problem before.  Those cheap ice maker kits that punch a hole through your copper water line are valueless.  I cut mine out and replaced it with a 1/2 inch T and a proper 1/4″ valve.  I decided not to sweat in a new  t, since the pipe was wet, I bought a removable Sharkbite T and valve and it worked awesome.  It cost about $8 more, but the whole process took me about 10 minutes.

Anyway, nearly all the icemakers in all the refrigerators are the same.  And there are multiple Youtube videos out the how to fix them.  I think it you get lucky, you could probably fix your ice maker for less than $5.  But even if you have to replace the whole thing, it is only around $45, which is a steal compared to calling a repairman.

My main issue with this repair is my knee.  It involves some kneeling, which isn’t conducive right now.  But, I persevered.  I had already ordered a new ice maker from Amazon for $45 and then I was making sure it wasn’t the water  solenoid or some other problem.  I used this Youtube video for most my information.  The guy seemed smart and covered most of what I needed to know.

It turns out the heating element that helps release the cubes somehow fritzed out on mine.  I learned this by disassembling it.  I thought that maybe I could have just gotten a new element, but it had melted the plastic and circuit board.  Whatever, a new ice maker is showing up tomorrow.

So, I’m stoked that I found the problem and that it is a easy, relatively cheap, fix.  Most things around the house are the same, you just need to hope it is a common issue that someone has posted a Youtube video that show you have to fix it, step-by-step.

Just cut the old plunger thing out of the copper cold water pipe.

Just cut the old plunger thing out of the copper cold water pipe.

It is the thing above the new piece.

It is the thing above the new piece.

It puts out some much more water pressure. The Sharkbite connection was slick.

It puts out some much more water pressure. The Sharkbite connection was slick.  It is removable.

Ice maker disassembled on my kitchen table.

Ice maker disassembled on my kitchen table.

Melted heating element.

Melted heating element.

It melted the circuit board, so it is toast.

It melted the circuit board, so it is toast.

Tucker usually rubs his face with his paws before he goes to sleep. It is very cute.

Tucker usually rubs his face with his paws before he goes to sleep. It is very cute.




20 thoughts on “Fixin’ Stuff / Best Part of the Internet?

  1. Dave

    In the summer I just freeze my water bottles solid with the cap off. As I ride they melt About as fast as I can drink it.

  2. numbnuts

    friggen ice machines, way back when … I had an ice machine with an expensive fridge. The thing broke many of times. After working big defence (lockheed, EDS, DRS etc…), things are designed to break. That’s how manufactures collect in later on… thus the MTBF on an ice machine must just be months and not years… meant to break. Pieces of crap they are.
    but, don’t you love PEX connectors though. No more soldering, man0man I hate soldering… having an electronics background I had to solder and solder well. But, I damn well hate soldering copper pipe for plumbing. Typically it gets messy, yah have to hold the torch at weird angles and in tight spots and its hard to get all the water out of the pipe which impacts the weld etc… with PEX, things can get done in minutes. Then again, plastic has a shorter lifespan though. So, I dread the day I have to replace all the PEX stuff I installed in my old 1940’s house.

    As for the internet, has it good and bad points like anything else. I don’t have a cell phone, nor cable nor internet at home. Thus, I’m very limited in the time I spend on the internet (mostly at lunch time). I hate paying the high price (over priced) bills for internet (40 bucks a month), cable (75 a month), cell (40 bucks a month). It all adds up. There are enough wifi spots and internet cafes around now a days, I can’t justify having all those things at home. I’d sooner spend that money on a good piece of beef or bikes 🙂

  3. 82medici

    I bought a fridge with an icemaker maybe ten years ago. After about 3 years it started leaking. I didn’t realize that until it had started flooding my darkroom directly below the kitchen. So, I disconnected it and went back to 59-cent ice trays from Target. They work almost as well; you just have to remember to fill them!
    Like Dave, I also freeze my bottles (when I remember.) But I only fill them about 3/4 full and top them off with water before I go out. It speeds the melting a bit. Maybe I drink more, earlier, than he does.

    You may want to include a long-ish piece of plastic tubing (similar to what was probably there originally) in your installation, to drop the pressure before your solenoid valve. The valve included with the ice-maker may not like the higher pressure you will get with the larger diameter piping. (DD, less flow resistance results in lower pressure drop.)

    1. Larry T

      +1 How freakin’ hard is it to fill a gawdamn ice tray? Or think ahead and freeze a bottle or two the night before? Everyone I know who has a fridge with one of these “features” complains about how crappy it is while they’re f__king around trying to get jammed cubes out or wondering why it stopped working.
      Reminds me of the old NASA space program’s gas-pressurized ball-point pen so the astronauts could write in space, even upside down! What a breakthrough!!! Meanwhile the Russians got by with a …pencil.

      1. Loren

        The pencils were a very bad idea as they left small particles of graphite floating around. I bet you hate double ply toilet paper because hey, that’s what all that junk mail is for.

      2. Larry T

        Yep, those pencils killed the USSR’s space program, didn’t they? But today Russian rockets are the only ones taking people to the international space station while the USA is one of the few civilized countries where folks still clean themselves after using the toilet with paper. Even the ancient Romans knew better.

  4. Wildcat

    I gave up. The small cubes melt too fast anyway. Went on Amazon and got four trays that make 2″ ice cubes.

    Swap them out when needed as soon as I get home. I make my own bags of ice using WM bags and keep them in the chest freezer down stairs.

    The giant cubes don’t melt as fast in the cooler, but they don’t fit a bike bottle. I don’t mind warm water.

  5. Joe C

    Those sharkbite connection are awesome. And now there is a cheaper, plastic version at Lowe’s. I replaced some frozen lines at my house in northern New Mexico with LED and sharkbite connections, and it was so simple.

  6. Loren

    I don’t have as many opportunities for fixing stuff as Steve does, but beside the money saving aspect, there is immense satisfaction of doing something yourself. And don’t forget to let your wife know so you get the richly deserved credit.

  7. John H

    I get the most interesting benefits from reading this blog. I bought a new home 6 months ago. It’s got decent appliances that came with it. But the ice maker wasn’t working. I had checked the water flow it seemed ok. And then didn’t touch anything for 6 months. I currently live in Atlanta, GA. Ice makers are pretty important(yes, I also have acquired trays in the mean time; ice is important).

    So I watched the video. Went to remove the maker and found the plug was undone. Plugged it back in and it started working.

    Thanks for the random help!

    Time to ride!


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