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Dave's Dictionary of Appliance Terms
The 'T' page

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Tall tub – Refers to the newer style of dishwashers with large tanks that extend nearly to the floor. They provide more interior space, but have their drawbacks. The design requires a horizontal axis motor/pump assy, a type that historically has been trouble-prone. Most servicers dislike them due to their inherent service access difficulties, with only a few inches of service area available between the floor and tank bottom.

Temperature differential – Degrees of difference between the ‘cut-in’ and ‘cut-out’ of a temp control system. For example, in an oven, when set for 350F, the actual temperature may cycle from 325F to 375F. The diff in that case would be 50F.

Thermal fuse – Any of the ‘one-time’ (non-resettable) temperature-sensitive devices used mainly in heating applications as ‘last ditch’ protection against overheating when other components fail. Commonly used in clothes dryers and microwave ovens, they’re designed to open within a precisely defined temperature rating. When they were first introduced, I admit to being skeptical about their being needed. But they’ve prevented many house fires over the years, by shutting down dryer heating elements, and I’ve become a believer.

Thermal limiter – Loosely defined, this is very similar to a thermal fuse, but in some cases, devices falling under this name can be resettable. 

Thermistor – The combination of the two words ‘resistor’ and ‘thermo’, this is simply a resistor whose electrical resistance varies with temperature change.

A very handy device indeed, used for temperature control in more and more appliances these days. The varying resistance of one of these little gems is read by a cpu, which then ‘decides’ based on its programming whether to turn heating relays on or off, etc. Ovens, dryers, refrigerators, some clothes washer water systems, and other appliances are seeing these used, and it turns out they’re very reliable semiconductors.

Thermostat – A switch that opens and closes based on heat rise or fall. Most are  operated either by a piece of bimetal or small hydraulic systems charged with a chemical whose expansion and contraction operates the switch contacts.

Timed dry – In a clothes dryer, this refers to the cycle that runs for x minutes, then turns off, whether the laundry’s dry or not, with no actual moisture sensing involved.

Timer – Probably hardly needs mention, as we’re all familiar with these. In appliances, these are the ’mechanical brains’ that determine what the appliance does, and how long it does it before doing something else. For example, agitation and spin times in an ‘analog’ (non electronic control) clothes washer are determined by this device.

Timer contacts – The set of switches in a timer that open and close to energize a machine’s various components at the proper time.

Timer motor – A small asynchronous electric motor that physically rotates the timer dial (usually clockwise here in the states, for whatever reason).

Top freezer (Or ‘top-mount’) – refrigerator design with the freezer on top, fresh food section/door on the bottom. Currently the most popular design.

Top loader – A washer that’s loaded with laundry from above, versus from in front. Years ago some dishwashers also loaded this way, too.

Transmission (or gearcase) – Thinking here of the case, usually metal, that contains a washer’s drive system, including its drive gears and input and output shafts.  Filled with heavy oil or grease to keep the gears lubricated, this case is sealed, for the most part, although most have a tiny ‘weep hole’ to allow for lubricant expansion.

Triac – Think of this as a solid-state relay that can be turned on/off many times per second, and you’ll understand how handy one can be for a ton of modern uses.

Trim ring – That nice circle of chrome around conventional range surface burners.

Triple dispenser – Hated by most servicers I know, the term itself isn’t used much any more. Thankfully, modern detergent/fabric softener/bleach dispensers in washers are much more reliable than the old ‘3X’ ones were. The idea is to dispense the right amount of each solution into the wash at the right time, saving the user from doing it.

Tub ring – If you still have little boys at home, then this’ll mean something other than what we’re talking about <grin>. Here I’m referring to a top-load washer tub’s top cover, basically a large donut-shaped cap that seals the top of the tub. Also closes down the gap between the top of the basket and the tub, to help prevent small articles of laundry from escaping into the tub.

Turntable motor – Remember phonograph records? OK, never mind… This refers to the small electrical motor that rotates a microwave ‘carousel’ to help provide even cooking. That’s the theory, anyway. In actual practice, a well designed stirrer will do a better job, but it looks so much ‘cooler’ when the food spins around in there!

Turntable (carousel) – tray inside a microwave oven, square, rectangular, or round, made of a special high iron content glass. Catches spills, lifts food up off the cavity floor to provide more efficient cooking, and absorbs excess energy, to protect the magnetron when small loads (like my half-cup of coffee) are heated.

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