I have a machine that has a timer switch as part of the controls. After a number of years, the switch began to fail so I was faced with another repair.
My hope was that it was just some dirty contacts. But when I got the switch out of the control panel I realized that there was no way to open the enclosure without destroying it.
So, off to the manufacturer’s web site to get a new switch. I clicked on the Parts and Service link, which took me to another site where I found the switch. Problem was, it was a UK site and didn’t ship out of country. I found another parts site that listed the switch as no longer available.
I was about to give up and start looking for a substitute when it occurred to me to search for the part using the manufacturing company’s name and the part number which, along with a lot of other information, was imprinted on the device. No fewer than a dozen sources appeared.
It seems that this particular timer switch is somewhat generic and is used in many other applications. I bought the part for $30 with shipping. Probably saved me from hours of trying to cobble up a substitute or, in desperation, just bypassing the timer entirely.