Fix your knocking Samsung dryer yourself

A couple months ago our Samsung dryer started developing a small thumping sound. It started off small and easy to ignore but gradually became more and more insistent, to the point where I popped the top of the dryer to investigate (it easily comes open via a couple screws in the back). I was hoping I’d find a missing sock stuck somewhere making a noise. I didn’t.

With the top off I was able to inspect the outside of the dryer drum. The thumping sound was due to a failed weld in the dryer barrel. The drum in the samsung dryer (and probably most dryers) is supported by a set of wheels. As the drum rotated the split seam would go over a wheel and make a noise as drum distorted. Unfortunately this is a fairly common problem. Fortunately it’s easy to fix.

Failed weld in dryer drum
Failed weld in dryer drum seam

I started by making sure it was a repair I’d be able to attempt myself. A search on YouTube for Samsung dryer repair netted me this great video from It gave clear instructions on taking apart the dryer and even had excellent warnings about which components had sharp edges. I’m sure to check them out for repairing any of my appliances in the future.

Convinced the repair was matched to my skill level I then proceeded to source a replacement drum for my dryer. Repair sells replacement parts and their prices seem competetive. For an large part like the dryer drum, however, they have an added “oversize” shipping fee. While I would have loved to reward for producing the awesome video I was able to save $60 by ordering from a retailer on Amazon. My final cost for the replacement part was $222 shipped.

The new drum arrived in less than 5 days. The new drum was a new part number from Samsung, I’m guessing Samsung improved the weld since so many were failing. To my untrained eye the new dryer drum’s weld looks like it’s heavier. Fingers crossed that this won’t be a repair I need to make every six years.

Weld comparison, new (left) vs old (right).

All told it took me about an hour to complete the repair. The most complicated part of the repair turned out to be getting the dryer belt wrapped back around the motor and idler pulleys. To get the drive belt hooked back up you need to reach in under the dryer and perform the operation pretty much by feel.  The video from does give a very clear picture of what you’re not seeing, so don’t dispair.

Hmm… what can I fix now? I may have to go break something… don’t tell Paula.

Home Tech

The magic of 3 and 4 way switches

Our front hall light has three switches, downstairs, upstairs and on the landing by the front door. I finally got tired of having to run up and down the stairs to adjust the dimmer so this weekend up replaced the three rocker switches with some smarter components which allow me to adjust the light level from any of the three switches, no more running up and down stairs. Ah… laziness is such a great motivator.

Four way light switch

Replacing light switches is generally pretty simple… but replacing a four-way circuit was something new to me. A key thing to understand: the number in “3” and “4”-way switches has nothing to do with the number of light switches, it has to do with the number of switched wires. In my entryway I have three light switches… the circuit is, however, made up of two 3-way switches and one 4-way switch. I wasn’t quite sure what makes a four-way circuit work but thankfully came across an excellent animation by Rick Mathews which completely demystified 4-way switches.

So, a bit of studying on the internet, a bit of wiring, a bit of testing, a bit of finding the lights don’t work and a bit more wiring… I’m now a happy, lazy nerd.

Light switches

Idle Tips Useful

Security bits give you access

On more than one occasion I’ve wanted to open something up, only to find it has some weird fastener put in place to keep me out. I can understand wanting to keep thieves and vandals out, but I’m perfectly capable of fixing a rusted cable connection hiding behind my provider’s special box (and certainly don’t want to pay the cable company $120/hr to do it).


I bought this set of security bits off Amazon about a year ago and it continues to prove useful again and again. It’s  worth noting that not all the bits are security bits. A nice surprise that came in the mix: a bit for turning wing nuts.

I highly recommend this set. Even if you never need the security bits, the hex bits make assembling Ikea furniture a snap. Your wrists will thank you.

Home Idle

A Productive Weekend

At around 8 tonight (which should have felt like 7 due to the time change) exhaustion set in. I didn’t really feel like I should be all that tired but looking back on what I got done the fatigue feels a bit more justified.

It all started with building a shelf top and then kind of snowballed…

When we tore out and replaced our patio we put in a hot/cold hose faucet for washing the dog (yes, it’s totally worth it, no more muddy greyhound coming through the house). In order to make sure the tap doesn’t freeze in the winter the pipes have to extend 16″ into the house… but our wall is on 12″ thick. To disguise the intruding pipes we found a cool looking deco-style doorbell cover at a local architectural salvage yard. I’ve had the cover mounted on my wall for over a year now and always intended to build a shelf to go on top. This weekend I finally finished the shelf (and Finney approves).

WP_20140308_012 WP_20140308_011 WP_20140309_003

Saturday morning I woke around 6 and needed to occupy myself so I popped down to Home Depot and picked up some wood for the shelf. Once I cut down the stock, mitered the trim and glued it all together I sanded and prepped the chime box to get it ready for paint. The sanding went quickly, however, and I was now forced to sit and wait while the glue dried.



Never one to be happy waiting I decided it was a good time to experiment with cutting down some Ikea cabinet doors we picked up at their parking lot sale.

The desk I built for my office was intended to have doors and drawers, but I never made it past just building and finishing the outer cabinets. We purchased the surplus doors from Ikea to use on my desk… a little over a year later and the first door has finally made it onto my desk.


I already had purchased a set of hinges to try out, but I didn’t think to buy any sort of stop or catch for the door. This provided me with my next project opportunity: interior shelves for my desk. Thanks to some left over melamine shelves I was able to knock another thing off my hit list (and The King approves).


By the time Sunday morning rolled around the glue on my shelf had set up nicely and after a little light sanding it was time for a coat of primer. Primer has to dry too, nuts. What else is there?

When we replaced our garage doors in 2008 the installer just ran the wire on the outside of the wall. At the time I was good with them not trying to cut into our drywall but it always bugged me the way the wires looked. While the primer dried I did a little rewiring. Garage door openers now look professionally installed (or it will… once I finish painting the wall).


The shelf still needed painting and painting meant more drying time… but the weekend was winding down so while the paint dried I busied myself by putting away all the toys I got out this weekend, the majority of which were occupying Paula’s parking space in the garage.

Building the shelf led to making a desk door which led to making a desk shelf which led to rewiring my garage door which led to one thoroughly exhausted Reeves.


I made a box!

Exciting stuff, right?
It’s my prototype for my new office built-ins.

My box
Now I’m ready for the real thing, just needs to be a bit bigger. I have the layout all planned out on the wall… it reminds me of a cell-shaded video game. The wood is all out in the garage waiting for me, shelf brackets should arrive this week… the end is so close.


Yay, a ceiling!

WP_000383Well, part of a ceiling.

What started out as a simple matter of pulling up some carpet and scrapping off a popcorn ceiling exploded into months of demolition and reconstruction on my new home office. Tonight was a milestone… the room has started looking like a room once again.

New Year’s day meant a three day weekend for us, so we spent most of the weekend in my new office putting up the ceiling. The time we didn’t spend working was spent at home depot buying the stuff we forgot the previous ten times we were there. No amount of planning will ever prevent the return trip it seems. On the plus side, Greg in tools is now so fond of me that he’s making me the god father of his next unborn child.

DSC_3693New ceiling? We hadn’t intended on replacing the ceiling, it just kind of worked out that way. The previous owners, in their infinite wisdom, elected to paint over the popcorn ceiling. Normally it would be a quick job to scrape that ugly crap off, but once it’s been painted in pace, you’re pretty much left with two options: 1) tear down the ceiling or, 2) leave the popcorn up and gouge out your eyes with a grapefruit spoon spare yourself the continuous assault from the supreme ugliness of your ceiling. We debated it, but settled on tearing out the ceiling.

Turns out that taking a pry bar to your house is really quite satisfying. Paula was forced to take away my tools before I moved onto other rooms in the house.

This remodeling adventure hasn’t been nearly as well documented as our San Jose bathroom remodel, I’m trying to do a recap for myself so I can remember for next time (I have the level of project optimism that can only come from a memory as short as… you know… uh… one of those things with really short memories).

tl;dr: we tore crap out, and put different crap back

Paula and I are currently sharing a very spacious office. While we don’t get on each other’s nerves, we don’t really have enough space to also do hobby things (Paula likes to sew, I like to make a mess). Since we have two guest bedrooms and rarely have guests we elected to convert one bedroom into an office for me.

The room had three main issues: popcorn ceiling, ugly texture on the walls and an old carpet we suspect had been soiled in the past by more than one dog. The plan was simple: tear out the carpet, seal the concrete floor, scrape the popcorn ceiling and skim coat the walls. Simple stuff.

WP_000385The carpet padding was glued to the concrete floor. Easy enough to rip up the bulk of it, but it took a gallon and a half of Goof-Off to get the concrete clean. Luckily Home Depot does sell 1 gallon cans of the stuff. Also lucky: Home Depot sells heavy duty masks just one aisle over from the one gallon cans of liquid "good god! get all of the purple spiders off me!"

Better remodeling through chemistry.

The project hasn’t been all off-the-rails, however, the walls and wiring both went about as expected. We did have to lower our expectations a bit after coming to the painful realization that we weren’t going to be able to plaster our walls as well or as quickly as professionals. Turns out that no matter how many You Tube videos we watched, they wouldn’t make up for or combined lack of experience. Our walls aren’t the smooth finish we wanted, but we’ve accepted the upgrade from dated texture to "hey, that doesn’t look half bad". Lowering expectations does have a wonderful morale benefit. Perhaps I should try that at work too.

There’s still a ton of work to be done, but we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.