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Internet...amazing tool to figure out how to do stuff!
Old 11-19-2012, 05:34 PM   #1
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Internet...amazing tool to figure out how to do stuff!

I was confronted with a 10 year old oven that would not light. Figured I'd call the guy, be at least $150. Then I thought, well let's just look into this. Turns out it's not a pilot light (didn't think so) or a spark igniter. It's a "glow bar" that the juice heats up. The current that it takes to glow tells the gas valve it's OK to open. Usually it's this igniter bar, which is diagnosed with an ammeter (mine in fact was glowing just fine). Now, in all my 61 years of futzing with stuff I've never needed anything but a multimeter, not an amprobe. So off to Lowe's I go, where they're about 3x what I expected, $70. As it was something I'd likely never need again, I stood there and thought a while. There's an igniter on the broiler! So I went home and switched (took 20 minutes) and voila! Now the oven worked, the broiler not. So after some more goggling I found a new part, $30 free shipping. In five days the oven works for $30 and maybe an hour's worth of effort. None of which would have been possible pre internet. I can't imagine trying to find the repair manual, and then the part, in the days of mail and phone. Anyway, if you have the inclination it's amazing what you can in fact accomplish with the net and some effort. Good luck out there!

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Old 11-19-2012, 06:15 PM   #2
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In just a few years, the availablity of information on-line has grown exponentially.

There's an internal struggle to offer answers... answers to anything... answers to questions on health, cars, science, daily tasks, and the wildest reaches of the imagination. Usually found at Google.

At the same time, there is an incredible amount of bad information out there too. Some of the redirects from Google go to the silliest "wrongest" answers possible... especially for health information, where the searches lead to goofy homeopathic or witchcraft type sites, that promise cures for cancer, Alzheimers, or sexual problems.

For health questions, I usually parse the question by adding accepted and recognized websites, like "Mayo", WEBMD, or NIMH... (often gets better results than the internal search program for the website)... and for other questions, begin with the word "wiki"

Link to the google search suggestions... worthwhile.
Basic search help - Web Search Help
things like using parentheses can eliminate many extraneous results.

Here's a search that I made, that brought me directly to a utube video that answered what I thought would require going to a dealership:

video replacing air suspension 1998 town car
...brought 4 videos.

Am never disappointed, no matter how involved or strange the question.
A caveat is to be careful in accepting answers from places like "Ask"...or "Answers" The intent is good, the results, not always so good... especially, for computer and internet questions...

In the past year or so, I have turned from using trusted websites like EBay or Amazon, or Cnet etc. to Using Google first... just to see what sources others are using for similar info.

My opinion only...

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:51 PM   #3
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Absolutely agree, incredible how much information is out there, and it has helped me immensely.

Of course, it also sucks me into endless hours of link to various interesting stuff that will probably never end up being useful. I wonder if I am ahead? But no way I'd go back to the 'good old days'.

And to think for some us, our kids hardly ever knew anything different.

I also trouble-shot a burned out igniter in an oven years ago. Unfortunately, I figured that for a one-time event, carefully supervised, and to verify it was the igniter, I could short the igniter out to bypass the designed in fail-safe, where a bad igniter would normally fail 'open' and therefore not turn on the gas - allowing me to run the oven for that evening's meal.

I quickly learned, but a little too late, that the igniter also limited the current to the gas valve. So when I shorted it, I ended up blowing out the gas valve. So instead of a $30 igniter, it was that plus a $120 gas valve, which was also a lot more work to replace. But probably still ahead of a service call.

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:34 PM   #4
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My wife usually looks at me at least once a week and says, "Isn't the internet great?" And it certainly is.

I've fixed the clothes dryer, the riding mower, numerous computer problems and a few plumbing issues too. Seems like there's a YouTube video showing step by step directions for just about everything.

Not to mention ending arguments about who co-starred in a certain movie or what the capital of Canada is.

Good thing it wasn't around when I was a teen, I'd have been a danger to society.
Wherever you go, there you are.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:17 AM   #5
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And there are often several Youtube videos showing you exactly how to do it. DW and I have a pi;e of watches that need batteries. I looked at the online videos and read some kit reviews and bought a cheap kit on Amazon so I can replace them all myself. Similarly, I found some obscure springed hinges for my kitchen cabinets that were starting to stick open. These would have been a PITA to find a while back. And just two days ago I bought an old digital camera on eBay for $20. It will fit my underwater housing saving me from buying a new one. I couldn't have found one of these locally in a month of Sundays.
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:04 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by donheff
And there are often several Youtube videos showing you exactly how to do it.
Amazing how youtube has morphed beyond entertainment. DD's mother-in-law is not a fluent English speaker or reader, but she is a wonderful cook of traditional US recipes thanks to youtube videos from major food companies and just regular folks alike.
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:20 AM   #7
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As I've mentioned in other threads, finding a forum dedicated to your vehicle can quickly help you figure out want may be wrong with it, even if you take it to a dealer to have it fixed. These same forums can also be valuable for making modifications like tow hitches and roof racks. Naturally, you need to separate the wheat from the chaff, like any other site.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:44 AM   #8
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(Internet...amazing tool to figure out how to do stuff!)

Amazing YES ! It helped me to figure out how to retire early. I "stumbled" into IT (Information Technology) in the mid 70s and never looked back.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:46 PM   #9
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It's possible that I've avoided enough appliance repair bills through to pay for all of our Internet access over the years.

~$375/year? No problem.


Co-author (with my daughter) of “Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next-Generation Financial Independence.”
Author of the book written on "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement."

I don't spend much time here— please send a PM.
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