In 2002 after we moved where we are now I built a new kitchen. That mean new appliances. Looked at many of them and decided to go a bit above the average and get a Jenn-air. I’d always heard they were one of the “better” brands. So we got the Jenn-air microwave and built in oven. Both worked very well – for just over three years. Then the turntable holder on the microwave sheared. It would work but not turn. I looked on line for the part but couldn’t find it. I called Jenn-air and they said they didn’t have one but I should call the local repair place they would have one.

So I called our local appliance repair place, County Wide Appliance, and had them come out. I’ve used them in the past and they’ve always done a good job. The service guy looks at it (I think his name was Skip but it’s been a few years. He’s the one that does most of the west side of the city.) and calls the warehouse. They don’t have the piece in stock (it’s an under $10 item). They tell him they can’t get it. WHoa! Wait a minute – I’ve got a dead microwave at under 4 years ? and it wasn’t the cheap one ? He called the factory and they said just what they told me – they don’t have one either but they also tell him – IT”S NOT MADE ANYMORE. He said are you sure ? They assured him that yes, they have no more parts and there aren’t any coming.

They only made parts for it for three years, then they stopped. I got a dead microwave. Plus a service bill for the “repair” call. I didn’t disagree with the bill at all – he came out and he can’t work for nothing that would be very unreasonable. My problem was with Jenn-air. What a crappy policy. Talked with the repair guy and decided to epoxy the part to the shaft. Means it wouldn’t come apart anymore so if the motor broke the micro would be pretty much done for but it looked that way anyway as it was. The was over three years ago and it’s still working very well. But my opinion of Jenn-air went right into the toilet.

So then about three years ago the oven control panel broke. Just started beeping and wouldn’t stop. Turned the power off and on (I’m a windows guy – if anything doesn’t work – reboot it) and that didn’t do any good. Just beep, beep, beep, bee..

Googled the parts – there were three main peices – over $300 each. So I was faced with: 1 could be the touch panel, 2 could be the controlling board, 3 could be the intermediate controller. If I got it right the first time $300 gets the almost $3000 oven back working again. But if I got it wrong I’d end up, with shipping and tax, $1000 into it. Damn, I was peeved. This was an over $3k oven that lasted about 6 years.

Seeing as I do most of the cooking I cooked mostly out on the grill or in the dutch oven and didn’t use the Jenn-air. But I did like it when I could – convection with the probe was my favorite. I decided to build a controller myself. I had purchased a Labjack a while back and hadn’t done much but little test things here and there. I thought this would be a great way to get the oven going.

I checked out the circuit board – the power supply and relays weren’t the problem. So I hooked up the Labjack and wrote a program in Delphi that would control everything. It worked pretty good. My wife didn’t appreciate having a USB cable going from the oven to the computer and I had to agree, it did look pretty geeky.

So looked for another solution. I ran across an article about the Arduino in one of an electronics magazine and decided to give that a try. – check the next post.