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  • Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    Tech Memberships at Appliantology

    By Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    We offer 4 different ways for professional appliance techs to participate in the Appliantology tech community. Three of the memberships are premium, and one is limited. The features and benefits of each option are summarized in the table below: Click the links below for details: 1. Professional Appliantologist: the easy, instant premium membership for less than $4 per week. Unthrottled, lightning fast downloads. 2. Fellow Appliantologist: this free premium membership is earn
    • 0 comments
    • 38,180 views
  • Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    Appliantology is Your Key to Appliance Repair Service Call Success!

    By Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    The Old Skool method of doing service calls was to go out on the call and pray to the pot bellied Buddha that the tech sheet was still hidden somewhere on the appliance. The plan being that, if the tech sheet was still there, you could stare at the lines and squiggles long enough to convince the customer you had reached a definitive and scientific conclusion about the problem.  My friends, I'm here to tell you that the Internet has made this Monkey Boy way of doing bidness obso-frikkin-lete
    • 1 comment
    • 2,532 views
  • Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    [video] Troubleshooting a no convection bake problem on a GE Advantium Speedcooker

    By Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    We troubleshot a GE Advantium Speedcooker from the control board for a no convection bake problem and determined that either the convective heating element or the TCO had failed open. Testing each component individually required uninstalling the oven with special equipment. So on our second visit, we returned with both parts-- the convection heating element and the TCO. The specific failure turned out to be the non-resettable TCO that had failed open.  Watch how I used the schematic to sele
    • 0 comments
    • 11,295 views
  • Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    Samurai's Big Three Troubleshooting Secrets

    By Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    It's tough for appliance techs today. Our biggest competition is from cheap replacement machines. The proliferation of pricey electronic boards in appliances means that if you can't quickly do a slam-dunk diagnosis, you are at risk of losing customers and your profitability. Meanwhile, electrical troubleshooting is largely a lost science. What exactly have we lost? The Old Skool troubleshooting techniques that us old timers learned way back. And guess what: these same Old Skool troubleshoot
    • 5 comments
    • 2,824 views
  • Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    The Master Samurai Tech Alumni Program

    By Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    Training at the Master Samurai Tech Academy is already a killer deal: comprehensive, state-of-the-art training that’s online and on-demand at tuition low enough that anyone can afford it. Well now we’re kicking it up to 11 with the Master Samurai Tech Alumni program. If you have been certified* in the Core course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy (formerly called the "Fundamentals" course) or earned Master Certification at the Mr. Appliance Academy (Bundle 1 only), you can get full te
    • 3 comments
    • 7,843 views

Our community blogs

  1. Many techs are intimidated when it comes to troubleshooting control boards. After all, we're talking about computers here -- computers that just so happen to run appliances. But as complicated as that may sound, control board troubleshooting really boils down to just three things: measuring your inputs, measuring your outputs, and understanding the board's algorithm.

    Screen Shot 2020-08-02 at 12.16.06 AM.png

    Let's start with inputs. Input just means anything, be it a power supply or some information, that the board receives from some other component. The simplest input, and the one present on every control board, is the one I've circled above -- that's just the board's line and neutral power supply. Like any electrical component, it needs both of those in order to work its magic.

    Screen Shot 2020-08-02 at 12.17.32 AM.png

    Here's a different kind of input. See all those thermistors and switches? The purpose of all of those components is to provide information to the board. The thermistors tell the board what temperature various parts of the compartments are, and the switches inform it of the state of the doors.

    Inputs like this are vital for testing, since a single bad input can cause the board to make bad decisions. If an out of spec thermistor tells the board that the FF compartment is 70 degrees, then of course the board isn't going to run the compressor. That's not the board's fault -- it's just doing the best it can with the information it's given.

    If you're paying attention, you'll notice something interesting. In order for the board to determine the temperature that a thermistor is sensing, it has to measure the voltage drop across that thermistor. And to do that, it needs to send voltage to the thermistor. That's right -- the board needs to issue an output to these thermistors and switches in order to receive an input from them. Speaking of outputs...

    Screen Shot 2020-08-02 at 12.19.38 AM.png

    Here's a classic example of labelled outputs on a control board harness connector. That 13V, 5V, and two DC grounds are all outputs that the board is supposed to supply.

    Sometimes outputs aren't labelled on the schematic, and they'll be elsewhere in the service manual -- like so:

    Screen_Shot_2020-08-02_at_12_20.28_AM_1.png

    Now that we're familiar with inputs and outputs, we can start talking about the key element of board troubleshooting. You don't have to understand every little thing that's happening on that control board -- primarily, you just need to know the inputs it's supposed to receive and the outputs it's supposed to send out.

    Is the board not sending the proper output to the compressor? Make sure that it's getting the correct inputs. That means confirming its power supply, making sure the thermistors are in spec, etc. This is a classic example of using knowledge of inputs and outputs to form a troubleshooting strategy.

    Does this mean that if you determine a board is receiving the correct inputs, but not putting out the correct outputs, that the board has failed? Not necessarily. There's a third element you need to be aware of: the board's algorithm.

    Don't be intimidated by that word. In a nutshell, all it means is "the way the board makes decisions". The algorithm is the logic that the board operates on. Sometimes, if the board does or does not receive a certain input, it might make certain decisions about an output that aren't initially obvious to the technician.

    Screen Shot 2020-08-02 at 12.14.36 AM.png

    This is a good example of that. If you can parse that Korenglish, it's basically just saying that if the board receives an input saying that the compressor is not operating correctly, it will stop issuing the output of the RPM signal. The engineers who made this board programmed its algorithm to make that particular decision in this particular circumstance.

    Why is this important to know? Well, let's imagine you're working on this refrigerator. You see that the compressor isn't running, so you start checking the board's outputs. Would you look at that -- the board isn't sending out an RPM signal to the compressor! Is that your problem? Must be a bad board, right?

    The only way to know that the issue actually lies with the compressor is to be aware of this board's algorithm. And that means doing your homework, prediagnosing, and reading the service manual.

    It really doesn't have to be any more complicated than that -- identify the inputs and outputs, and study the board's algorithm using whatever service docs you have. Those are the key steps to effective control board troubleshooting.

    Want to learn more wisdom like this that will enable you to troubleshoot like a pro? Check out our online, self-paced, cutting-edge appliance repair training over at the Master Samurai Tech Academy. Click here to enroll today.

  2. The techs here at Appliantology and Master Samurai tech really are the exceptional techs in the trade today. The "techs" who comment on videos at YouTube: eh, not so much. Unfortunately, many of the "techs" at YouTube illustrate the biggest problem in the appliance repair trade today: parts changers who know a little and think they know it all. 

    A comment on this video from a PCM who’s been changing parts for 45 years (ie., 1 year of experience repeated 45 times) reveals much of what’s wrong with the appliance repair trade today: ignorance combined with arrogance

    Robert Love commented, “Why not simply measure for 120 VAC at the evaporator motor. And you could also check the ohms of the motor.”  This is a classic PCM and the teaching in the video flew right over his head. I assumed his comments were offered in good faith and so I wanted to help a brother out. 

    I explained that checking voltage at the evap motor required a freezer tear down, which is a huge PITA in this model.  Further, it was unnecessary because I could get the same information by doing my testing from the easily accessible control board (two plastic snaps and it drops right down). Also, ohms checking is amateur hour- professional techs rely on volts and amps for diagnostic conclusions as much as possible. Finally, tearing down the freezer to access the evap fan motor would have been totally wasted time and effort because the problem turned out to be the control board anyway. If you watch the video, all this will be obvious to you. 

    My comments were offered in good faith, offering helpful instructions. His reply (which has since been deleted) consisted of instant hostility, ignorant mocking, condescension, and name calling. Like too many "techs", he exhibits the toxic combo of ignorance and arrogance. Rarely do you find people so overly impressed with what little they think they know than among appliance techs with a few years of experience. Maybe it’s because they have no other credentials or accomplishments so their sense of self image and worth are all tied up in fixing broken appliances. Sad, very sad. 

    There’s nothing wrong with ignorance. We’re all ignorant about something. Ignorance is curable with education... unless arrogance gets in the way. And that’s the story with our friend, Robert Love. 

    Sadly, his story is not uncommon among appliance techs with a few years of experience: they know a little, have fixed a few appliances, become impressed with their little nuggets of knowledge and so become untrainable and unteachable. These guys give the trade a bad name, set a poor example for younger techs new to the trade, and make crappy employees for companies looking to hire techs

    We just returned from the United Appliance Servicers Association Annual Service Training Institute in St. Petersburg, FL. We had a booth at the trade show and had great conversations with many multi tech appliance company owners looking to hire techs. They, too, were sick of the attitude baggage that comes with many “experienced” techs. Most of them have taken our advice and preferentially hire rookies based on character and then use Master Samurai Tech training to ensure they learn the core concepts and how to troubleshoot

    Of course, there are exceptions to this-- not all experienced techs have the attitude and ignorance affliction of our parts changer friend.

    For example, the technician brethren at Appliantology are helping each other hone their craft and become better at their trade. It’s a mix of rookies and veterans in the trade. We’re all here to both learn and teach. That’s what we do for each other every single day and we do it with civility and humor vs. the snark and snipe that seems so pervasive on social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

    Here’s the video that I discussed above:

     

  3. From the latest USA newsletter:

    Pricing Service in a Small Service Company

    By David Oliva

    While doing research for this series of articles the topic that came up most frequently was pricing.  How do I know what to charge, what pricing structure should I use, what’s “fair”, what’s the value of our service, should I be cheaper than my competitor, etc?  Appropriate and profitable pricing is one of the most important parts of running a successful small service company (SSC).  It’s also one of the most difficult. Most SSC owners, me included, have no formal business training and so we struggle with issues like this.  Many SSC owners undervalue their skills by quite a bit because of this lack of training and so are sometimes extremely underpriced.  This creates a variety of problems such as not having enough extra income to cover the cost of necessary training and an inability to expand or improve the company due to lack of funds.  It also creates a problem for the industry as a whole because it undermines professionalism and creates an atmosphere where customers are taught not to value our profession as they do other professions.

    Let’s start at the beginning. The foundation for all pricing starts with your cost of doing business (CODB).  Without knowing your CODB setting prices is a guessing game. United Servicers Association has a great, free, CODB calculator on their website.  What it will allow you to do is input all of your expenses and calculate your CODB on an hourly basis.  Knowing how much it actually costs you simply to be open for business each hour of the day is invaluable and, at least the first time you do it, eye opening. It was a big shock to me when I ran those numbers about 5 years ago.  I had no idea we had to spend so much money just to be open.  Once you have that number you can begin planning a pricing structure.   

    Link to USA free CODB: https://www.unitedservicers.com/codb-calculator

    There are two basic structures for pricing, hourly or flat/job rate.  An hourly rate is self explanatory but a job rate structure may be unfamiliar to some.  A job rate structure will typically have between three and ten rates, which will vary from the simplest jobs to the most involved and complex. With a job rate system the time it takes to complete a repair is only one factor out of many used to determine the price. Job rates systems are generally the most profitable way to price repairs in our industry.  The benefit to the independent SSC of a job rate system is the ability to capitalize on experience and skill. With an hourly rate the better and faster one gets the less money they will collect on each job, making it necessary to complete more jobs to make the same amount of money. With a job rate system the faster you are the more you make because the price of the repair is not tied to time. Job rate systems reward skill and efficiency.
     
    What is fair? This is a contentious point in our industry. Many SSC owners feel that we should not charge professional rates for the work we do or that job rates are “unfair” to the customer because they tend to increase the overall repair price.  I believe this stems from a lack of respect for the work we do, even from people within our industry.  This attitude, as stated above, undermines the industry as a whole.  There is no reason why we should not be well paid for the service we provide to our customers.  Fairness is subjective and so it is a meaningless concept in regards to pricing.  Pricing in an SSC, which typically does a low volume of repairs relative to larger companies which can take advantage of high volume, should be fundamentally based on two points.  The first, and most important, is CODB.  Without covering your CODB you will fail, this is simple math.  If your CODB dictates rates that you feel are “unfair” then you either need to reduce your CODB or let go of the idea that prices can be fair or unfair.  The second point is your market.  After you’ve calculated your CODB you can then feel out your market for profit maximization.  The old school method for feeling out maximum price still holds true, if you’re not getting at least a few complaints about your prices you can charge more.

    Value is also subjective, and so ideal customers may be those that place a premium on quality service and are willing to pay for it.  If your market is a large metropolitan area then chances are high end brand appliances are plentiful in your service area.  Typically customers with these brands will value quality over price and be willing to pay higher rates for better service.  In such a case why try to compete by having the lowest price?  Why not offer the highest level of service available and charge appropriately for it? Competing on price is often a race to the bottom and in the current economic climate lowering your prices may not be a viable option. Compete on quality, not price.

    The biggest obstacle to higher rates, and higher profits, is often psychological.  It’s very common to hear SSC owners say “I can’t charge that! No one will pay it. My competitor only charges $10.”  This is a myth based on nothing but fear.  I was once browsing the racks of luxury retailer Neiman-Marcus and came across a shirt from the designer brand Givenchy.  This was a simple sweatshirt with a screen printed Rottweiler on it. This shirt was priced at $900. You may not be interested in designer fashion, but LVMH Group, the parent company of Givenchy, made about $5.7 billion in profit in 2017. The point being that customers are willing to pay almost anything for what they perceive to be valuable.  And this is where value comes from, a product or service is valued at whatever people are willing to pay for it.  If you can set up your company to be perceived as more valuable than your competition then you can command higher rates. 

    This industry is full of people who love what they do, and are very good at it.  They treat their customers with respect; they provide quality service and honor their warranty.  The go out of their way to help people who need help.  And so why shouldn’t they make enough money to drive a new service vehicle, have excellent health insurance and take a great earned vacation now and then?  Why shouldn’t they value their skills the way other trades and professions value theirs?  Why shouldn’t there be enough extra profit to provide for a great retirement, another topic of great interest to SSC owners?  The answer to all of those questions is they should, and there should be.  Pricing appropriately will ensure that and we need to focus more on this, and in greater depth, especially for the SSC owners, since we are the ones who need the most help with it. 

  4. I've been in business for myself for almost 20 years.  I started at age 18, as an antique dealer. My store has always been fluid, changing with the times and the economy.  When I started 18 years ago, my store was situated in a neighborhood that you would call "seedy", to be generous.  It was the perfect location for a used retail store. I've always managed to thrive, even though the "Great Recession ".  At this point in my life, I'm mostly an appliance dealer. I make a good living at my shop, and I don't really work (physically) hard anymore.  

     

    I still find find myself working 7 days a week mostly, about 60-70 hours.  After all is said and done, I make about $150k per year, net.  Give or take.  

     

    My my background is in industrial machines. Ever since I was 10 I was maintaining food processing equipment for my family business.  My brother took over said business and has really thrived on a level most of us commoners could not even imagine.  He really needs/ wants me to work for him. 

     

    Ill cut to the chase. 

     

    Hes offering me $105 k to start, working a very structured 40 hour work week.  Retirement, insurance, etc.  My neighborhood where my store resides has really gentrified, now my location is in high demand. I can rent my storefronts for basically more than what my business can afford to pay. About $50k per year. 

    So option 1: stay, make about 150 per year, long hours, employees, inconsistent income. 

     

    Option 2: get a job, make a bit less (after taxes), at least for now. I would easily believe my salary will double within 10 years.  Very standard 40 hour week, weekends off, vacation, more time with my family.  

     

    Sounds like a no brainer, but I'm terrified.  I've never made such a big life decision. 

  5.  

    We all want to grow our companies,  but finding and keeping qualified techs or just finding anyone that posseses even the slightest work ethic is a difficult,  near impossible task.  This song laments this sad state of affairs but also is a tribute to the recent passing of one of the greats. 

     

    Scroll down,  start the video,  scroll back up and sing along! 

    Whirlpool Drain (or if Prince was an Appliantologist looking for good help) 

    Maybe you never meant to cause me any sorrow
    Maybe you never meant to cause me any pain
    I only wanted to one time see you working
    I only wanted to see you
    working on a Whirlpool Drain

    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain 
    I only wanted to see you
    Steaming up a Whirlpool Drain 

    I never wanted to be a hard-assed employer
    But neither could I be some kind of friend
    Now please go away,  go work for another
    For your employment with me has to end

    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    I only wanted to see you
    Underneath a Whirlpool Drain

    Dude, I know, I know
    I know  appliances are changing
    It's time we all reach out
    to learn something new, that means you too

    You say you want me to teach you
    But you can't seem to concentrate your mind
    So I think you better pack it
    Since you can't even Ptrap a Whirlpool Drain

    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Service Owners, if you know what I'm singing about up here
    C'mon, raise your hand

    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    I only want to have one
    Only want to see one
    Working on a Whirlpool Drain

     

    This song debuting on AppLYRICology  Best of Durham Music Vol 1  

     

  6. Well ladies and gents. Sorry I have been MIA for a while. Life has been crazy with service calls and my new technician. Also had our first baby (technician in training) blogentry-82264-0-29266900-1449760812_th. It's been an amazing experience. I am loving every second of it. It has been tough through all the changes which is why i have been absent from here for a bit. But i'm BACK! I hope the Samurai and Durham have been holding the fort down and not letting you guys get away with too much! hahaha.

  7. tpoindexter's Blog

    • 1
      entry
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      comments
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    Recent Entries

    I was talking with another tech this morning about checking RPM. this brought up the subject of strobes. As we were

    discussing strobes it occurred to me someone had probably created an app with RPM already. Shazaaam!!! :woot:

    Here's a app that will allow you to test RPM on fans. You can also test motor rpm, if, you place a mark on the shaft.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/strobe-light-tachometer-to/id708094321?mt=8

    To check fan speed just dial it in till the fan appears to be not moving at all. That'll give you your RPM.

    Same with a motor if you mark the shaft. When the mark appears to no longer be moving you've got the RPM.

    I'm not really sure if this is the correct use of this Blog thingy, but, bet I'll find out sure enough!! Yeeehaw!!!

    Huh... I hope I wasn't the last person on earth to figure this out!

  8. Here's a Thai-inspired chicken soup that is easy to make and bursting with flavor! It's healthy comfort food with an Asian twist.

    gallery_66_28_153393.jpg

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee, or butter
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1-2 pounds uncooked chicken breast, diced
    • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
    • 1 quart chicken broth (I use either homemade or a box of low sodium, no added MSG.)
    • 1 can coconut milk (look for this in the Asian/Thai section of the grocery store. I prefer regular, not "lite".)
    • 1 lime, juiced, divided
    • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
    • 4 scallions, chopped
    • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
    • salt, to taste
    • optional: Thai fish sauce, cooked rice

    Directions

    Heat a soup pot over medium high heat, then add the coconut oil. Saute the onions with a little salt for a few minutes, then add the chicken chunks with a little more salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is just cooked through. Add the ginger and half of the garlic towards the end of this.

    Stir in the broth and bring to a boil, then stir in the coconut milk, half of the lime juice, and the red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for at least 15 minutes (longer is fine, too).

    Turn off the heat, and add salt to taste (depends on the amount in your chicken broth). Stir in the rest of the garlic, the scallions, and most of the cilantro (leave a little aside for topping individual bowls). Add the rest of the lime juice if desired. Cover and let sit off-heat for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.

    Great served over rice. Add a few drops of fish sauce to your serving to knock the flavor out of the park!

  9. kdog's Blog

    [Yes, I did reset the breaker and checked the voltages. Here's the wiring diagram:

    IMG_20120316_002932.jpg

    Source: Amana NED7200TW Dryer no heat, problem with cycling thermostat?

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