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Dave's Repair Service
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Dave's Dictionary of Appliance Terms
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Magnetron – The vacuum tube that generates microwave energy at 2450 Mhz to cook our fast food. The name comes from the field created by two huge ceramic magnets used to ‘bend’ electron flow into a resonant cavity to ‘tune’ it to the proper frequency.

(Note: before scrapping an old microwave, it pays to disassemble it and salvage those two magnets. They’re very brittle, but strong and awfully handy. We often use them for holding tarps on outdoor equipment. Just be sure it's unplugged, then jumper the high voltage capacitor with a screwdriver to be sure there's no charge left in it. Newer caps have 'bleeder' resistors that drain that off quickly, but it's best to be sure)

Megahertz, 2450 – the output frequency of today’s microwave ovens (also the frequency used by many wireless computer networks – wonder if anyone’s thought about studying possible health risks there? Call me paranoid, but I’ll continue to use wires for a while here in the office network. Turns out Dad and I were right about those old unshielded electric blankets, so we'll wait and see...)

MHC, OTR – Both of these acronyms refer to the same thing: Microwave Hood Combinations, or Over The Range microwaves. These appliances are a great idea, freeing up a ton of counter space.

Monitor switch – This one ‘backs up’ a microwave’s interlock switches, blowing a microwave’s fuse if either of the interlock switches should fail. Also used on some washer lid switches, especially newer Maytags (Why?).

Motor controller – Most front load washer motors – and some high-end top loaders - are 3-phase, and this circuit board is responsible for converting our single phase house current into 3-phase that the motor can use. Also handles speed control requirements.

Motor start switch – Used on a single-phase motor to switch from the start winding over to the run, or main, winding, once the motor has come up to the proper speed. Most mount to the outside of the motor, and are replaceable separately (although they’re getting harder to find)

Motor, drive – The main motor, that does most of the ‘heavy’ work in an appliance.

Motor/pump assembly – 1) Many clothes washers use a small, separate motor that drives its own pump, independently from the drive motor. Many newer dishwashers also use one of these for drain, 2) Also refers to a dishwasher’s main ‘wash’ motor & pump assembly, which can be replaced as a unit in many machines. (Note: a refrigeration compressor is actually no more than a high pressure M/P assy).

MOV – Metal Oxide Varistor – widely used for power line ‘spike’ protection, these are inexpensive and effective little solid-state devices. Connected directly across the incoming 120V power line, especially whenever electronics are used.

Mullion - The front surface of a refrigerator’s ‘divider’ between the fresh food and freezer compartments. The only surface shared by both door seals.

Mullion heater – A small electric resistance heater mounted behind the center mullion of refrigerators. Keeps this surface warm, to prevent condensation. Some refrigerators have a small ‘energy saver’ switch that turns this heater on and off. I recommend it be left on year-round, unless you live in an extremely dry environment. This will prevent mildew and rust problems from occurring in the mullion area. 

Multi-V belt – A very efficient belt style, this is the familiar ‘grooved’ belt used in applications where two pulleys are of very different sizes. Commonly used in dryers and front load washers.

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