The first step is always diagnosis. What did broken actually mean in this instance? The thing had filled with water and then just refused to move further in its wash cycle. Being roughly familiar with how a washing machine worked, I deduced that there were two leading suspects: the timing dial thingy (really rough knowledge of washing machines), or the lid switch. Either could halt the progress. Since the former is a difficult, replacement-part type fix, I decided to look at the switch first.
Opening the machine was harder than it should have been, but it did happen, after a fashion.
Once I had access to the internals, I wiggled free the lid switch. It was an odd design, looked like it was supposed not to be pressed by any moving part, but lifted by a small metal hook. Not what I'd have designed into it, but hey? I tried checking it with a meter, and it was tough to actuate, but I could make it go. Seemed like it was loose in the casing. To give it a shot at manual activation, I hooked it back into the machine and manually fidgeted with it.
Interestingly, after about two seconds of fiddling, it got ridiculously hot and started smoking! Except for the little crisis where I had to shout for The Lady to unplug the washer, it turned out pretty well, because the switch was definitely the broken part. Why was that so great? Because I don't have any timer dial thingys in my parts boxes, but I've got tons of switches!
So, I took a regular light switch, wired it in in place of the official one, and snaked the cord out through the cowling so we could manually activate it, problem solved!
Except, the lid switch is a safety feature- officially to prevent little ones from getting caught up in it during the spin cycle or such. In theory, my wife and I, being Adults of Perfectly Intact Faculties, this shouldn't be a problem. But, we are forgetful, and I personally know I have left the machine open while I went around fetching socks and such. Imagine the horror of a situation where we had the lid open, and the tub filling with water, only to get distracted by a book, or go to the bathroom, and let it run on to, say, the spin cycle? Needless to say, the switch still needed some level of failsafe capability.
That's where the really neat part of this little project came into play. It wasn't so critical that we need to flip the switch manually to make it go, but it was very important that lifting the lid turn the machine of. So, I placed the switch very carefully where the lid, upon opening, would flip it into the off position! I even held it down with nice, white duct tape (The Lady is an Artist, these things matter~). Now, when we open it, it goes off, preventing a slight of attention from absolutely ruining our day.
It was a good day! I got to fix something, spend a bunch of time with my wife, and come up with something clever. Also, I created a new word to add to my vocabulary: Watneyfy! It replaces 'Jerry-rig' and 'MacGuyver'; as in: 'I Watneyfied our washer with a light switch when it broke the other day'.