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 Fundamentals course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy or at the Mr. Appliance Academy (Bundle 1 only), you can get full tech access to our tech support site, Appliantology.org, with no annual fee. Yes, as in FREE.
You heard that right.
You would be a Master Samurai Tech Alumnus at Appliantology with the same level of access and all the benefits of a Professional Appliantologist member (read all the benefits of PA membership here). That’s a $197/year value-- FREE!
What’s the catch? No catch but there is a small difference between PA and MST Alumnus membership.
PA members can continue to renew their membership at the annual rate and can download and request all the manuals they need regardless of how much or how little they participate in the forums.
The MST Alumnus membership is also annual but instead of paying with money, you “pay” with participation in the forums. Each year when your membership comes up for renewal, you need about a 2:1 post to download ratio to renew [UPDATED]. That means that as a general guideline, you need to have made two posts for every download.
This is super easy to do and active Appliantology members are already far exceeding this ratio without even trying. The idea here is not to place a burden (because it’s not)-- it’s to discourage people from getting the MST Alumnus membership and simply downloading manuals without interacting with the other members.
This really is a killer deal and a special perk for certified Fundamentals graduates! Why are we offering such a great deal? Simple:
We want to encourage more techs to successfully complete the Fundamentals course and get certified. This helps them be better techs and helps the trade in general.
Certified Fundamentals grads tend to be top tier techs who bring interesting questions and good problem solving insight to the forums. They are skilled techs and potentially valuable content contributors.
This deal is retroactive meaning that if you’re already a certified graduate of the Fundamentals course, you are eligible for this deal. If you’re already a PA member and a certified Fundamentals grad, we can move you to the MST Alumnus deal.
So how do you get started on this gravy train? Easy: just fill out this short form, we’ll review it and set up your MST Alumnus account here at Appliantology mo’scratchie (that’s Samurai-speak for “quickly”).
* Certified means that you meet all currently required quiz and exam score requirements for the course; see this page for details.
The problem in the appliance repair trade today is that we have too many parts changers and not enough technicians. Even many experienced techs don't know the fundamentals and technology we're working with on modern appliances today. I'm talking about things like basic electricity, circuits, reading schematics, knowing how to troubleshoot, motors, microcomputer control systems.
What this means is this: you're probably not going to find techs to hire with the skills you need to grow your business.
Solution: hire based on character and then add the technical skills cost-effectively with Master Samurai Tech online training.
Many multi-tech businesses are successfully using our innovative training to grow their businesses. Here's just one example from Todd Daganaar, President of Nebraska Home Appliance, a successful appliance repair company with 9 technicians and growing!
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! With powerful information tools, like Appliantology, at your fingertips, there's no need to rely on the pot bellied Buddha leaving the tech sheet for you. This webinar will teach you a whole new way of doing bidness using Appliantology as your trusty information tool, every bit as valuable as your Bosch driver or Princeton Tec headlamp, to increase your First Call Completes and profitability.
To learn more about all the splendiferous benefits of being a Professional Appliantologist member here at Appliantology, CLICK HERE!
Learn more about Appliantology and it's powerful benefits to you as a professional appliance tech in our free and fun short course, Appliantology 101: Your Guide to the Ultimate Appliance Repair Information Tool.
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.
2. Fellow Appliantologist: this free premium membership is earned by being an active participant in the Appliantology brotherhood.
3. MST Alumni: this free premium membership is earned by getting certified in the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair course.
4. Legacy Tech: this free limited membership is for professional techs who want to check out the Appliantology community and hopefully like what they see enough to either earn or purchase a premium membership.
Aside from the benefits listed above, every Appliantology tech membership ensures two things that very few other sites out there do: no ads and no data harvesting. We strive to provide our members with an uncluttered, ad-free experience, and during your stay at the Appliantology forums, absolutely none of the content you create or your personal data is collected for our own or any other company's purposes.
Y’all gather ‘round and ol’ Samurai’s gonna tell you about the best kept secret at Appliantology.
You know the Samurai does periodic webinars on a wide range of appliance repair topics.
At the webinars, we talk about all kinda cool techie topics like basic electric circuits, troubleshooting strategies and tactics, reading schematics, computer control and digital communications in appliances, electric motor operation, gas flame sensing and reignition technologies, and more. Over 30 hours (and growing) of original, high-quality technical training!
Sometimes we cover basics, but many of the topics are more advanced, going beyond what we teach in our online training courses at the Master Samurai Tech Academy.
I know it’s not always possible to make it to the live webinars due to scheduling conflicts, beer drinking, basketball game, whatever. Believe me, I get it.
You may be wondering, “Can I watch recordings of past webinars? Is there a way to find out what the past webinar topics were? So what’s a brutha to do?”
The Samurai’s gotcha covered!
Lemme tell you about Appliantology’s best kept secret: The Webinar Recordings Index Page. On this page, you’ll find a listing of all past webinar recordings listed by topic and linked to the video recording of the webinar. So it’s easy to scan down the list to find a topic you’re interested in, grab a bag of popcorn, your flavorite adult beverage and go on a learning safari with the Samurai.
Just so you know--we don’t record all the webinars and, sometimes, the technology gods just don’t play nice. But we post as many as we can, and the page is updated as new recordings become available so be sure to check back often.
So why do I call the Webinar Recordings Index page “Appliantology’s best kept secret?” Because not many Professional Appliantologists seem to be aware of it. This is my fault-- I need to do a better job of getting the word out and reminding you guys about it. Hence this blog post!
Master Samurai Tech Academy students and Mr. Appliance® Academy students also have access to the webinar recordings at the links below:
- Master Samurai Tech Academy students: https://mastersamuraitech.com/webinar-recordings/
- Mr. Appliance® Academy students enrolled in Bundle 1: http://mrappliance.mastersamuraitech.com/appliance-repair-course-support/student-forums/forum/webinar-recordings/
Tide’s Laundry Pod Peeps: America’s Favorite Easter Treat Is Here To Ruin Your Laundry
When Cascade released their Pumpkin Spice Scented Dishwasher Detergent last fall to great fanfare, the public quickly learned the downside to such gimmicks. The hint of pumpkin spice flavor that remained after a cleaning cycle was reported to affect the taste of everything from orange juice to re-heated Runzas.
The negative press and customer service demands that Cascade and its retailers had to endure quickly led to the product being removed from shelves. If you ever wondered if there was a limit to America’s love affair with pumpkin spice, look no further than Cascade.
One would think that marketers had learned a quick, expensive, and hard lesson. One would be wrong. While shopping at our local Hy-Vee, we came across Tide’s latest attempt to capture consumer attention (and it did capture our attention); Tide’s Laundry Pod Peeps.
Since we at Nebraska Home Appliance care about the performance of your home appliances, we decided to offer our expert take on whether these gimmicky pods were worth your shopping dollar. How did we rate these? Read more at http://nhaparts.com/blog/peeps-laundry-detergent-review/
We talked about lots of good stuff last night at the Office Hours webinar. I started off with a brief presentation on Neutral and Ground in AC circuits, explaining how they are different and each serves different purposes in AC circuits.
Then we applied what we learned about power supplies in that presentation to decipher some crappy instructions in a service bulletin for a Whirlpool inverter microwave where we had to figure out how to test the digital data input to the inverter.
We then spring boarded off that to talk about digital data communications in appliances. Even though the example we used was a Samsung dishwasher, the principles we discussed are common to ALL appliances, regardless of brand or model.
While we were talking about digital data communications, it seemed like a good flow to get into a discussion about "loading down" in DC power supplies and the troubleshooting technique we would use to test for this. We also talked about why loading down is not an issue affecting AC loads.
But AC loads and switches have their own special way of failing that we as techs need to be aware of: failing under load. So we talked about why we don't trust ohms testing for AC loads and switches.
Finally, we talked about how a high resistance connection (less than 5 ohms!) at a thermostat in an electric dryer can cause long dry times by robbing wattage from the heating element. We worked through a simple Ohm's Law calculation to show how this happens. This little exercise also illustrated the value of having the Ohm's Law pie chart readily accessible in the photo album of your phone so you don't have to rely on memory because it plays tricks on you!
Professional Appliantologist members can watch the webinar recording here.
Master Samurai Tech students can watch it here.
Gross appliance repair YTD $12k profit = ?
Store gross YTD roughly $86k. =22.5 profit
So I think I have come to a conclusion. I really, really love doing COD service work. Its not very intense, And average profit per call is around $200. If I could do 4-5 of those a day, Im making some serious money. The problem is: not enough lucrative COD work. My observations while reading this site is the fact that most of you would like to increase your COD workload, as in you are not working a full schedule. You end up doing warranty work for some scum bag insurance, or factory warranty work for $75 per completed call. You fall in to the trap of thee cheap calls being fed to you, and well, the end.
The store can wind up the same way. I could get used to selling shit machines that are dirty for $150/ with a 30 day warranty. I would just be another hillbilly selling junk. But I digress.
When I fix a washer in my store, I essentially made $150. I just didn't collect the cash yet. When I'm in my groove, I can fix north of 15 appliances in one day. That means I can essentially make over $2k / day as a shop owner. Now that tax season started, they are starting to fly off the shelves.
Owning a store is a real pain in the ass, but it pays accordingly.
My conclusion is this. *If, you can keep yourself moderately busy doing COD work, Servicing can be a decent living. For me, I currently gross about $6k/ month. Lets say I run a tight ship and 2/3rds of that goes in my pocket. That works out to about a thousand bucks a week clean money, or about $50k/ year. Not really enough for me.
If I was doing 5 COD calls a day, 5 days a week, at roughly 150 profit each, thats 3750/ week - 1/3= $2475/ week, $128k/ year. ( this is goooooood money)
PLEASE can anyone share with me roughly what you make in a month/ year/ day? Im just trying to get some perspective.
The store makes about 40-50k per month. Without blowing up my calculator, I can say that generally speaking my take home is about 20%. Being conservative, I take home about 8 grand a month. There are some months I only pull in 30k, and my profit margin goes in the toilet. See, my labor is basically a fixed cost, insurance, etc. I need $2k a week to cover payroll, whether I sell anything or not. So at 30k per month, my net profit is not 20%, actually might be only 10. After 30k, most of the money is mine.
So ultimately, we are in the same business.
Sorry if this blog is all over the place, I have been working 7 days a week for the last 2 months (tax season), and its late. If anyone has a topic they would like me to write about, let me know.
Had a great week at the Annual Service Training Institute (ASTI) in San Diego last week! Got to hang out with old friends as well as meet lots of Appliantologists and Master Samurai Tech students in-person for the first time.
For technical training, I focused mostly on high-end appliances since that's about all that's worth fixing these days. Attended some technical training on Sub-Zero, Wolf, Bertazzoni, DCS, and a couple others, and some business courses.
I also conducted an all-day live training session on troubleshooting using the MST Ten-Step Tango Troubleshooting Procedure. It was an AM and PM session with the PM session a repeat of the AM session. I was surprised by how difficult it was to do! You're standing in front of a crowd of people all day, working through troubleshooting problems, answering questions, talking at volume (large room) all day long. I was pretty wrung out by the end of the day. I have a lot of new-found respect for manufacturer trainers who do this day in and day out as their job. That's a tough way to make a living!
It was pretty sweet the way I did it though, if I do say so myself. I set up my own wifi network in the room and did the whole training session from my iPad that projected on the screen via my Apple TV. That way, I could zoom in and draw on schematics, just like on the troubleshooting workshop webinars we've been doing here at Appliantology. If you've been to any of the recent webinars, the live training class I did at ASTI was a longer version of those workshops. Professional Appliantologists can watch those webinar recordings here.
Here's a short clip of me teaching the troubleshooting class at ASTI. You'll notice some of the guys are looking at their devices. That's because I gave them a link to the schematics I was going over so they could download them and look at them in more detail. Wanna see for yourself? Just go to GetMST.com.
I made an album of photos from the ASTI last week that you can check out here:
If you were at the ASTI and have some photos you'd like to share, please do! You can post 'em here as a comment or start your own photo album in the Gallery.
Troubleshooting is the big missing skill among appliance techs today. This is the skill that distinguishes parts changing monkeys (PCMs) from Master Samurai Techs. It's the difference between a drunken street brawler making monkey jabs versus a trained MMA fighter making kill shots.
PCMs will thrash about wildly, monkey-jabbing at components hoping to get lucky and usually end up getting their asses kicked.
Anyone can monkey jab and the sad truth is that this is the dominant practice of the appliance repair trade today. It doesn't have to be that way. Anyone who wants to can learn how to make kill strikes like a Master Samurai Tech.
Master Samurai Techs don't rely on luck. They have a plan of attack, a strategy. They deploy precision kill strikes that have been honed in the Dojo-- training at the Master Samurai Tech Academy and in the Office Hours webinars-- and systematically dominate the appliance.
Whether you're troubleshooting a simple GE dryer with just a mechanical timer or a Sub-Zero refrigerator with a microcomputer board, multiple sub boards and two different compressor technologies, the troubleshooting procedure is the same. That's the Ten-Step Tango: a structured, disciplined procedure for solving problems.
In our Office Hours webinars, we've begun a series of workshops on the Ten-Step Tango, applying it to different troubleshooting scenarios on real-world appliances. We started off by introducing the Ten-Step Tango procedure and then applied it to simple appliances (no control boards, just mechanical controls, like timers). Then, in the next workshop, we kicked it up a notch and troubleshot appliances with multiple control boards, digital communications, hoodoo, voodoo, and all kinda weird stuff.
The workshop webinar recordings, along with all the other Office Hours webinar recordings, are available for Professional Appliantologists and Master Samurai Tech Academy students to watch at the links below:
Master Samurai Tech Academy Students: http://mastersamuraitech.com/webinar-recordings/
Mr. Appliance® Academy Bundle 1 Students: http://mrappliance.mastersamuraitech.com/appliance-repair-course-support/student-forums/forum/webinar-recordings/
Professional Appliantologists: https://appliantology.org/topic/58003-webinar-recordings-index-page/
The next workshop will be in January 2017 and will be announced here at Appliantology as well as in the MST-Appliantology newsletter.
You old timers remember back in the day when we used to get service calls on scrotum scrubbers? Yeah, I was really glad when people stopped using those. Well, just when you thought the bad old days were gone for good, get ready, guys, because there's a new, even more disgusting personal hygiene appliance coming to the market that we'll be getting calls on: the butt wiper. Coming to a neighborhood near you:
Brethren, on this Veteran's Day, I present to you a timely and fitting guest blog post by Ray Starmann, the Editor in Chief of US Defense Watch. Enjoy!
An open letter to America’s college cupcakes on Veterans Day
November 11, 2016
by Ray Starmann, US Defense Watch, http://usdefensewatch.com/2016/11/an-open-letter-to-americas-college-cupcakes-on-veterans-day/
Dear College Cupcakes:
America has watched for the last year or so, as our nation’s universities have been consumed by a new strain of left wing totalitarianism that has all the traits of the haunting Marxist dictatorships of the past.
Free thought and expression and discussion are disappearing from college campuses and being replaced by behavior and lexicons out of 1984.
In the greatest arenas of free speech across this land, you shriek and howl and cry and stamp your feet like two year olds when someone disagrees with you.
You have mental meltdowns when reading passages from the world’s greatest literature that somehow offend you in every conceivable way, shape or form.
You feel oppressed and terrorized when viewing someone in a Halloween costume that you dislike.
You are triggered by opposing views from Presidential candidates, who do nothing more than say things that you may disagree with.
When triggered by every imaginable word, phrase and action on this planet, you find it necessary to retreat to so-called safe spaces, where you will be further coddled by counselors, Play Doh and Bubble Guppy videos.
Like raving martinets, you accuse anyone you disagree with of being a racist, a rapist, a sexist or any other derogatory term you can create to soothe your tender and warped psyches.
You have been told for your whole lives how special you are and these fantastical words have been reinforced by the ridiculous behavior of helicopter parents and idiotic teachers who found it necessary to control every facet of your lives and ensure that each of you precious little snowflakes received a trophy, even though many of you only deserved a kick in the behind.
Your latest irrational tirades concern the election of PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP. Inspired by the lunatic behavior of your socialist professors, you are the laughing stock of the rest of the country as you hold cry-ins, need therapy dogs and hide under the covers in your dorm rooms because a man was elected President.
Today is Veterans Day, when we honor those who served, which I have no doubt none of you ever have. The nation particularly honors our combat veterans who drained deep the chalice of courage and who fought against real racists, like the Nazis; real boogeymen like the Imperial Japanese Army, the Chinese, Victor Charlie, the Republican Guard and the Taliban.
Today, at this very moment, as you tearfully meltdown because Donald Trump is our next President, our current military is in harm’s way in Mosul, fighting real sexists who call themselves ISIS.
King George, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Saddam, these were real threats, some of the greatest madmen the world had ever seen and our veterans fought and defeated them in hot and cold wars.
Our veterans, men and women, many of whom were your age at the time they served, never had the luxury to wallow in self-pity over imagined nonsense and monsters.
Their threats weren’t created in the hallowed ivory towers of Harvard Yard. Their threats were created in the British Parliament, in Bavarian beer halls, in jungle outposts and jettisoned across the globe to cause havoc and death. The only thing that stopped them, the only thing that prevented the world from descending into darkness was the US military and our veterans.
There were no safe spaces on Iwo Jima or Omaha Beach. There were no cry ins on Bunker Hill or at the Frozen Chosin. There were no counselors in the Ia Drang Valley or at Khe Sanh. There was no time to protest imaginary enemies at Fallujah. The enemies were real and were doing their damnedest to kill Americans and destroy our way of life.
As I stated, our enemies were fighting against Americans who were mainly your age. I and many Americans have serious doubts that you aggrieved marshmallows could rise to the occasion and fight anyone, much less the Redcoats or the Waffen SS.
How and why America has gotten to a point where being a wimp is looked upon as normal behavior for young people is the subject of another article and a disgrace in itself.
Instead of claiming half the nation is racist for voting for Donald Trump, you precious little snowflakes might want to get off your asses and read about men who overcame real prejudice and racism and fought for their country; like the Tuskegee Airmen.
Instead of being offended by words in books, you precious little cupcakes might want to step out of your safe spaces and read about American matadors at places like Trenton, the Wheatfield, Seminary Ridge, the Meuse-Argonne, the Bulge, New Guinea, 73 Easting and Tal Afar.
As for the election, get used to saying President Trump.
Suck it up buttercups.
Editor in Chief, US Defense Watch
We have a lot of moving parts at play in the appliance repair industry today. Over the past couple of decades, appliance technology has become much more complicated, yet technician troubleshooting skills have eroded. This creates some uncertainty about the direction our industry is going.
Are we going to be a profession, filled with well-paid, highly-skilled technicians at the top of their game, or a semi-skilled trade, filled with low-paid parts changers who are essentially just the eyes and hands carrying out the directions of tech-line personnel? Will both of these types of techs coexist, or will one go extinct?
We’ve worked with thousands of techs and scores of business owners online over the years, most of whom take training and their profession seriously. We meet lots of folks like that at events such as ASTI. It makes us feel that the transition from trade to profession is here, and here to stay.
A big wake-up call for the Samurai
Recently, however, I had an abrupt reminder that there are still many who are not on board with that vision and are also influencing the direction of our industry.
I was doing ride-alongs with techs at a large service company to assess the effectiveness of our online training at The Master Samurai Tech Academy. I was surprised and dismayed to see that the techs weren’t using many of the techniques that we emphasize in our training, such as coming to a job prepared with tech documents, doing a simple load analysis using the schematic, and performing electrical measurements from easy-access locations to definitively identify the component failure. In fact, they seemed to have forgotten even how to do many of these things.
What the heck? Where did I go wrong?
It all became clear to me when I had a chance to go over the day’s calls with a service manager for the company. When I described the troubleshooting methods we used on a dryer call, he declared that we had gone "full retard" (a phrase from the movie Tropic Thunder) for actually looking at the schematic, doing a few amp readings and one simple Ohm’s Law calculation.
I was speechless. This is the guy who is supervising the techs who were paid to go through Master Samurai Tech training. However, it explained what I had seen that day. Although one of the senior managers at this company saw the value of using the MST Academy training for their techs, the other managers were not on board. Many of the skills taught at the Academy were not just ignored or discouraged, they were outright ridiculed. So of course the techs basically became parts-changers who simply carried out instructions from their manager or tech line.
At that point, another movie came to mind, Idiocracy, which imagines the dismal result of several hundred years of cultural anti-intellectualism.
I’m used to encountering techs who are a bit defensive about their lack of troubleshooting skills, but when even service managers mistake pattern recognition, parts changing, and a collection of factoids for real troubleshooting or, worse yet, have become hostile to it, then idiocracy is gaining a foothold in the appliance repair trade.
Attitudes: the good, the bad, and the ugly
Over the past decades, the technical skill level among many appliance techs has degenerated to such a low level that they don't even know what cause-and-effect troubleshooting is anymore. Since service managers are now being promoted from this group of techs, this attitude has become firmly entrenched in some organizations.
In all my dealings with techs over the past 20 years, I have come to realize how phenomenally important attitude is. And I’ve seen it all. Some techs love to keep learning and sharpening their skills, no matter how many years they’ve been doing it, and enjoy the pride of accomplishment and the profits that come along with it. Then there are others who have worked long enough to have some know-how based purely on pattern recognition (“if this problem on that model change this part”) and resist the notion that their job performance and income would benefit even further if they learned real troubleshooting skills. The causes of this attitude include ignorance, arrogance, and laziness. Ignorance is curable through outreach and training. Arrogance and laziness are difficult and dangerous qualities in a tech, but even worse in someone who is in a leadership role.
What's the risk to the industry if too many techs go down the road of idiocracy? Doesn’t that just give an opening for more success by those companies that behave like professionals?
Not necessarily. The expression "a rising tide lifts all boats" works in the opposite direction as well. The experiences our customers have with “parts changers” can negatively impact their future interactions with other service companies. They will often be more suspicious and price sensitive.
Furthermore, appliance manufacturers are seeing this problem in the appliance repair industry today, too. They realize there is uneven, often inadequate technical expertise in the trade. As a result, they are adapting to this general dumbing down in troubleshooting skills by dumbing down their training programs to essentially spoonfeeding what's already in the service manuals, knowing that most techs don't RTFM. They're also developing new technologies to decrease reliance on field techs to troubleshoot and solve problems.
Here's what the future could hold:
- Wifi-enabled appliances will report errors and diagnostics directly to the manufacturer's central technical staff who are specialists in that product.
- Corporate techs can then run diagnostics and do most troubleshooting remotely.
- The service company is then dispatched to simply replace a part- no troubleshooting required.
If this comes to fruition, the end result will be a decrease in skill level expectation from technicians. And since higher pay accompanies and incentivizes the acquisition of specialized skills, there will be a concomitant reduction in "technician" pay and skill level. Service managers will be be reduced to route makers and time card checkers with a corresponding reduction in their skill level expectation and pay.
All is not lost on this front. I speak with enough manufacturers to know that they would still like a better trained corps of appliance techs out there who can keep our mutual customers more satisfied. They haven’t given up on us yet!
Take a look at yourself! Have you looked at yourself?
I’m sure most of you reading this don’t come anywhere near being the kind of person who would call technical troubleshooting going "full retard." But, we would all benefit by stepping back and taking an honest look at our attitudes and expectations to see what part we are playing in raising our trade to a profession, and identify (and remedy) any weak links in our organizations.
After all, if you’ve invested in training the techs in your company, it’s a waste of money if you aren’t implementing and nurturing the skills and practices that the techs learned in that training.
Here’s what I still see too often when I go on ride-alongs with techs. Do you recognize any of these traits in your own service calls?
1. The tech arrives at the service call with no technical literature (service manual, tech sheet, bulletins) pre-loaded on his tablet or notebook computer. A manager may have pre-screened the calls and had probable parts pre-loaded on the service tech's vehicle, but the tech himself/herself is walking into the call completely cold.
2. If the call is anything other than a simple mechanical problem or parts replacement, the tech calls either his service manager or the manufacturer tech line.
3. Either way, the tech is spoon fed information to complete the diagnosis or repair; he is merely following detailed instructions but not doing the troubleshooting himself. From the tech's standpoint, this is only adding to his internal database of pattern recognition and factoids.
4. Neither the service manager nor the tech line guy has the time, patience, or skill to use this experience as a teaching moment and coach the tech through a troubleshooting thought process by asking leading questions. Examples:
- what is your load of interest on the schematic?
- what other components have you identified in the circuit for that load?
- where does the schematic indicate that you would test the power supply for that load?
5. The appliance may get repaired as a result of the spoon feeding but the tech never grows in his ability to perform independent troubleshooting analysis-- he has simply added another pattern to his repertoire for recall on another job with the same problem. Reliance on outside counsel such as service manager and manufacturer tech line, which should be a rare event for a skilled tech, is perpetuated. Job security for the service manager and tech line guy is assured, but no skill growth for the service tech takes place.
The foregoing is a typical pattern of degraded tech performance that is accepted as the "new normal" by far too many service companies. The problem is compounded when the service company middle management-- the service managers-- not only accept this degraded performance, but defend it.
Pattern recognition and a head full of factoids do have their place in appliance repair. In fact, these form the basis of experience in older technicians, allowing for quick diagnosis and repair of commonly-occurring problems with known solutions. But these experiential skills should not be mistaken as classical troubleshooting and are insufficient for service calls with problems that don't fit the pattern or are "off the flow chart."
The rewards of professionalism
Techs who take the time to hone their craft with training, continuing education, and pre-diagnostic work are true professionals. Being prepared and able to competently troubleshoot any type of appliance and failure scenario is where the big payoffs happen in terms of reputation and profit. First Call Completes are maximized, callbacks are minimized, and cheerleader customers are forged. That’s what a professional business looks like.
Is it too late to turn back the tide of idiocracy in the appliance repair trade? We at Master Samurai Tech firmly believe it is not too late and we have developed affordable, time-flexible training solutions to aid our brethren in the Craft. These skills are eminently learnable by anyone who desires to do so, and we’ve seen countless examples of techs and owners who have reaped the rewards of rising to the challenge.
Join us, and help avert the future portrayed here:
In a recent webinar, I offered a mental framework for executing classical troubleshooting strategies during service calls. Professional Appliantologist members and Master Samurai Tech Academy students may watch the 1-hour webinar recording here:
Great turn out for this webinar-- had over 30 people on! That means there are lots of techs who recognize the need for help with these skills. This is good because they can be easily learned by anyone who wants to learn them! This webinar lays out a road map for you to declare your independence from tech lines.
Professional Appliantologist members may watch the webinar recording here: Appliance Service Call Structure and Troubleshooting Strategies
Master Samurai Tech Academy students may watch here: Click here to go to the webinar!
Mr. Appliance® Academy Bundle 1 students may watch here: Appliance Service Call Structure and Troubleshooting Strategies
This recording has also been added to the ever-growing Webinar Recordings Index Page.
This may cause a bit of a stir with you guys, but Ill discuss it anyway. Some of you are staunch users of genuine, OE, brand name appliance parts. I am not one of those people. Appliance parts is an expense in my business second only to labor. My rough guesstimate is that I spend about $50,000 a year on parts. If I used exclusively genuine, new parts that figure could easily go up 20%. Perhaps even more.
You can go new, genuine, and pay $200 for it +$60 core, or you can buy direct from core centric (or others) for $98, no core charge. Sounds like a no brainer eh? Well, its more complicated than just money.
1. The defect rate is definitely higher than new. I have purchased hundreds, and hundreds of reconditioned boards form core centric. I would say that 1 in 50 will go bad within 30 days, or be bad out of the box. I can honestly say that I can't remember EVER buying a new board from Servall that was bad out of the box.
2. You are charging your customer "new board" money. I was having a moral dilemma with this one for a while. I was able to find a great solution to this. Guarantee your work parts+labor for 1 year. Chances are that you will never hear from them again, I have only had 2 call backs that were in the 60day-1 year timeframe. The bottom line is this: You are offering your customer MORE than what they would get with a "new" board, and you get to make more money.
3. The core charge. I, like many of you, have had north of $500 is core money sitting in your van. That sucks. Buying a refurbished board saves that dilemma. Its all about keeping more money in your pocket!
Non-complicated generic parts:
Lets talk about the Direct drive lid switch part # 3949247. I use at least 3 a week, between COD calls and my shop. They cost $16.29 at Servall, I get them generic for $2.20. That is a savings of over $14! I have been using this switch for about 2 years, and I have installed a few hundred, at least. I have had ONE fail me. It wasn't even broken, the casting was filled on one of the mounting holes. If you calculate $14 x the 300 or so I have used so far, you will conclude that I have saved myself over $4200. I can apply the same thing to couplings
285753: servall: 6.89, generic $1.50.
285785 14.50, generic $6.50
3363394 15.60, generic $6
Im not even going to tell you how much a complete duet water pump costs. (hint: its less than $20)
Id like to mention one part specifically, GE gas oven thermostat WB20K8. You can get it at servall for $86, or you can buy it from ERP for about $65. I know, its only $20. The thing is this: Both of those parts are made by the some company, Harper Wyman They are the EXACTLY the same part. one comes in a bag, one in a box.
I have used many hundreds of these parts, and find them to be as good, or better than genuine. Again, you will get the very rare premature failure, but its more like 1 in a hundred with this stuff. If you are using this stuff by the dozen, it makes sense for you financially to use it.
Electricky complicated stuff like sensors and door locks.
Quite frankly I don't use them. I had a bad experience with some VMW lid locks that were dirt cheap, like $16. Problem is that none of them worked. I don't use that many of them, so the saving is not that much to me. Ref sensors are dirt cheap for genuine, so I would rather buy those. I will eventually warm up to them again. It takes time.
There is a time and place for generic parts. I genuinely believe that there are some aftermarket companies that truly want to make a good product, and want to end the monopoly that is OEM. Some companies are out there selling cheap junk. You have to try out a company, or a line of parts before you buy in bulk. For me its worth the slight aggravation based on how much extra money it puts in my pocket every year. Ultimately you should do what you think is best for you and your business.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, this is your Samurai speaking. We're expecting a little turbulence today as we make some adjustments to the Master Samurai Tech Academy website. There may be periods throughout the day where the site either doesn't load at all or may look strange. This, too, shall pass.
For now, I invite you to sit back, relax, and peruse the latest pearls of appliantological wisdom in my blog here at Appliantology.
Samsung's in the news lately with exploding washers and tablet computers. So people may be wondering how reliable Samsung appliances are. Here's a good article from the Yale Appliance blog comparing Samsung repair rates with industry averages. Yale Appliance and Lighting [website] is a large appliance dealer and service center in the Boston area. Yale completes over 20,000 service calls per year so I expect their results to be a good representation of reality.
One comment that caught my eye, "Also, many technicians cannot fix the Korean brands for whatever reason. You may want to check that your dealer can service before you buy Samsung or LG."
You may be asking yourself why this is the case. This illustrates a huge problem in the appliance repair trade today: there is a critical shortage of skilled technicians who understand appliance technology (basic electricity and electronics, motors and motor control systems, microprocessor-based control systems, etc.) and know how to troubleshoot. As a result, many appliance servicers are really parts changers who do "troubleshooting" by pattern recognition: if this problem, replace that part. So if something merely looks different than what they're used to seeing, they're at a complete loss.
The reality is that electricity works the same way in Korea as it does everywhere else on Planet Earth and the Koreans are using the same technology as all the other manufacturers. But because the Koreans give more details in their service information (for example, showing circuit details of their control boards) parts changers freak out and think they're using space-age technology.
The Koreans aren't going away. Samsung in particular is gaining US market share faster than any other manufacturer. For a service company to refuse to work on them or to not acquire the technical skills and competence needed to be an effective appliance technician today is a bad business decision and a recipe for low income or bankruptcy.
Link to original article: http://blog.yaleappliance.com/are-samsung-appliances-reliable
Are Samsung Appliances Reliable? (Reviews)
I was watching the news last week and learning about Samsung's problems with phones exploding for no clear reason. Most new products have issues in my experience. The computer industry innocently calls them bugs.
Exploding products is a problem especially when you deliver them in your home. Gas ranges, dishwashers, and laundry can cause more damage than a phone.
So I wanted to answer the question: Are Samsung appliances reliable?
Measure of Reliability
Every year our service department completes over 20,000 service calls. Our formula is service calls divided by sales as a percentage of service within the first year. Then we compare brands and products as we have in various articles for a 12 month period.
We will compare Samsung's service rates to the industry in their major categories: Cooking (not including microwaves, because they do not break in any brand), laundry, dishwashers and French door refrigerators.
BTW, these numbers always change as they are measured on a 12-month rolling basis. Also, we have only sold Samsung for 18 months, so I do not know about the products manufactured before 2014.
Samsung Reliability Numbers October 2015-October 2016
Front Load Washers: 13 Serviced / 130 sold - 10%
Top Load Washers: 0 Serviced / 35 sold - 0%
Dryers: 10 Serviced / 92 sold - 10.4%
Industry average is just over 11%, so Samsung is slightly better. There have been 21 cases of the top load breaking apart due to the rod unfastening. However, 21 out of millions sold since 2011 throughout the country seems relatively small. However, this could be a concern.
Read Most Reliable Washers to compare against other brands
Dishwashers: 4 Serviced / 107 Sold - 3.7%
The average for all dishwashers is about 10.9%, so Samsung is more reliable.
Read Most Reliable Dishwashers to compare against other brands
Gas Cooking: 13 Serviced / 178 Sold - 7.3%
Samsung is serviced about half the average of about 14% in gas ranges.
Read Most Reliable Gas Ranges to compare against other brands
French Door Refrigeration
French Door Refrigerators: 71 Serviced / 425 sold - 16.7%
Refrigerators have service rates of 20% or more. Icemakers are the number one service call at Yale. Sending a frozen cube through a cool refrigerator dispenser will cause leaks over time.
16.7% is not great, but still better than the total.
Read Most Reliable French Doors to compare against other brands
Should You Buy a Samsung Appliance?
People ask me about what to buy all the time on this blog. I always say the same thing. I like what does not break because we have to fix broken appliances.
But I will answer the question on Samsung more directly.
The product seems reliable as the numbers show.
When there are problems, their logistics of parts and technical support are not as easy as a Frigidaire or Bosch. Also, many technicians cannot fix the Korean brands for whatever reason. You may want to check that your dealer can service before you buy Samsung or LG.
However, the product seems to be designed incredibly well. The new induction with the blue LED “flame” is creative, as are the designs of the French doors and front load laundry.
A company who has battled Apple successfully over the years (until recently) cannot be underestimated especially in a staid industry like appliances.
Looking for answers before you buy major appliances? Get the Yale Appliance Buying Guide with detailed profiles of the major brands plus answers to the 10 most asked questions. Well over 185,000 people have read a Yale Guide.
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5 Best Counter Depth Refrigerators
I had the pleasure of attending Sub-Zero Wolf (SZW) factory training last week in Madison, WI. Flew in on Monday, training was Tuesday thru Thursday, and then flew out on Friday. The class consisted of 15 techs from around the country but also included a tech from Puerto Rico and another from Barbados. The techs included a few students from Master Samurai Tech and some Appliantology members.
This session was all Wolf products: gas and induction cooktops, gas and dual fuel ranges, vent hoods, downdraft vents, coffee makers, and microwaves. We worked on 5 different wall ovens, 4 different ventilation systems (both hood and down draft), 4 different ranges, 4 different cooktops, 2 different microwave ovens, a steam oven (each lab group actually baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies!), and the coffee maker system.
The 3-day training session was held in Madison, WI, from October 11-13 (Tuesday thru Thursday). Everyone arrived on Monday and SZW took us all out that evening for a traditional Wisconsin dinner of locally brewed beer and real Wisconsin brats and sauerkraut, beef brisket, and mac n' cheese. It was fantastic! SZW provided all our food during the training and paid for our hotel rooms. Breakfast was at the hotel, lunch was catered at the training center, and they took us out to a different restaurant each night for dinner. A shuttle took us from the hotel to the training center and back each day.
The training format was a mix of classroom instruction and "lab" exercises. During the lab portion, we broke up into groups of 3 or 4 techs and rotated around working on different product stations as we solved specific problems on those products. Doing this required extensive use of Sub-Zero's servicer site, Service Central, that we accessed on our tablet computers to find and refer to service manuals, schematics, and bulletins for the model/serial we were working on. Numerous rolling tool chests and Fluke meters with the LoZ function were also provided. Instructors would roam around from group to group to answer questions and provide hints, tips, and instructions. This was a great format for getting familiar with the products.
Part of the training was a factory tour of the Wolf production facility including the new 4,000 sq. ft. manufacturing space to accommodate the production of their new dishwasher, Cove, which they'll start selling in 2017. The facility was immaculate, highly organized, with surprisingly few production personnel on the floor. What amazed me most about the manufacturing process was the amount and sophistication of robotics they're using for everything from fabrication to QC testing. Every finished product is connected to electricity and/or gas (as appropriate for the product) and 100% function tested using robots!
After the factory tour, we got to sit in with a tech line tech and were given a headset so we could listen in to both sides of the conversation as they took calls from techs in the field. It was dizzying seeing how fast these guys could fly around Service Central pulling up service manuals and bulletins to help the tech on the phone. Most of the guys who called in while I was there were authorized and had access to Service Central so could have probably answered the question for themselves if they had just spent a few minutes at Service Central and then RTFM. Getting authorized techs to effectively use Service Central is one of SZW's big training objectives. Even among SZW authorized techs, there's an over-reliance on tech line and flow charts instead of reading the service manuals, using the schematics, and applying gray matter.
By the way, SZW tech line will help any tech, authorized or not, who calls in working on one of their products. Non-authorized techs are treated exactly the same as authorized techs and they'll be talked through as much as they need to complete the diagnosis and repair, including step-by-step disassembly if needed. Their main concern is getting the customer's appliance fixed as quickly as possible, not protecting SZW service information.
Sitting with tech line, I also realized why SZW uses a select circle of parts distributors (Premier Partners). Here's a typical scenario: a tech calls in working on a SZW product and, working with tech line, determines he needs a kit described in a recent service bulletin to fix the problem. Tech line is tied directly into the inventory database of all their Premier Partners and can tell the tech if that kit is in stock there or not. If it is, he'll go ahead and have that part shipped right then and there. If not, he can check factory inventory and have it shipped to the partner right there during the call. There's no ambiguity about whether a part is in stock or where it is or when it will arrive like there is with so many other manufacturers.
In addition to a great technical training experience on Wolf products, I also got a good feel for the SZW corporate culture. Not surprisingly, it reflects the people who work there, mostly native midwesterners and particularly Wisconsin: not at all stuffy or pretentious but instead clean, organized, competent, down-to-earth, get things done. Real people making really excellent, 100% US-made appliances. If any of you guys are SZW authorized and haven't been to the factory training yet, you really should go. I think you'll be impressed and learn one helluva lot.
Not to get too deep and philosophical on you guys, but I was/am trying to figure out the relationship between money and modern day slavery.
Yes, I said it. You are a slave, I am a slave, and likely everyone you know (there are some exempt from this) are enslaved. I was free once, and at one point I believe that most of us were free, even if just briefly. Ill get to that in a bit.
First it was "slavery", then It was called "indentured servitude", now its "career"
You are probably thinking "I'm no fucking slave! " but think about it like this. What are you doing tomorrow? Probably working. What would you rather be doing tomorrow? I can write a small novel about the things I would rather be doing other than working. The issue is that you need money. Why? because you have bills, and you need to eat/ feed your family. Money today is as much of a necessity as food/water/shelter. No work= no money= no food= no survival. This applies more to people who work hourly or salary. You work all week, and in return you are given X money. Wipe that taste of freedom out of your mouth. You can not do as you please with that money (realistically), you need to pay your mortgage, car note, insurance, and food. In the end, you are left with a few pennies to spend on something you might actually want. You are encouraged to buy the bigger house, the nicer car, "keep up with the jones's" type shit. Get yourself so far in debt that you literally will have to work until the day you die, and you still didn't pay your debt. Pass it on to your kids. Once you live within 90% of your means, you can't afford to take a single day off. Lose your job? you are 30 days until your credit cards a maxed, and now you can't make your mortgage payment. " Not working" for this type of person is simply not an option.
When you have no option, you are being compelled, or forced to do it. How different is it from the whip?
People have brainwashed themselves in to loving their "career". Its a coping mechanism. Your brain is trying to combat depression. Sure, I like fixing shit, I get a sense of satisfaction from it. But let's not think for a fucking second that I would not rather be touring Europe, or laying on a beach somewhere. If you truly would rather do your job than anything else, Im sorry my friend, you drank all the Koolaid and I can't help you.
When I was about 20, for a few years I was free. I didn't really know it, or appreciated it. I lived with my parents, I had no debt, and I was making a shit-ton of money as an antique/ furniture/ appliance dealer.(in that order) I went to Greece every summer, usually for about 2 ish months. I came back to a pile of cash, literally. In the early 2000's everything was basically cash or check, and I didn't really accept checks. I didn't have to work. I worked for the sport of making money. I certainly was not wealthy, but my need for money was ZERO. All of the cash I made was mine do with what I saw fit.
Needless to say that gravy train started to come to a halt around 2004, when the recession REALLY started. Antiques became worthless, and I had to pivot more to the appliances/ furniture. I met a girl, bought a house, got married, had kids. Slowly I find myself in need of more money. I must go in to work more. The burden started weighing on my shoulders.
Im at the point right know where I *think* I don't have to work, but really I do. My chains are not as heavy as most, but I am still shackled.
When you make so much money that the thought of "paying bills" never enters your mind again. You don't have to think for a second whether you can afford to go out to a fancy restaurant and order a $100 bottle of wine to go with your steak. The thought "lack of money" never crosses your mind. You go to work because you like making money. Making money is exhilarating, and I can only begin to understand that.
So, now what? How to break the chains? Release yourself from the burden of money/debt? Here is my easy yet impossible answer.
1. Eliminate your debt. The ultimate iron collar is your mortgage. Borrow $200k, pay back $600k. No shit. $1500/ month FOREVER. You are not going to stay at that house for 30 years, the banks figured out that you will move every 7.5 years. Ironically that is the time it takes to pay most of the front end loaded interest they push on you with that mortgage. 8 years in to it you barely knocked a few grand off the principle. You move and the clock resets. 30 more years. Its not a mortgage guys, its rent, but you are responsible for all the maintenance. Its what all us landlords hope for: A triple net lease.
Credit card debt is just a bit worse, you can negotiate with them and change your terms. Pay it off. Car notes are simple interest. i.e., you pay a fixed amount of interest for the entire loan.
If you need a bit of motivation, add up how much interest you pay every month. it will blow your mind.
This first step is where 90% of you will fail. People feel the need to compete, whether its to have the nicer car, shoes, purse, etc. The worst part is they want it NOW. So that $800 purse you just charged on your credit card will end up costing you $2400. Or, you will "consolidate" your debt and roll that purse in to your 30 year mortgage. Brilliant thinking on a purse that is realistically only worth 5 bucks worth of leather. The rest is perception. This is a hard thing to overcome. It took me a long time.
2. Make more money. The goal is to have an excess of money. The more "extra" you have, the less it will weigh you down, and actually start opening doors. If you work a salary job, you can't really change much. Get another job. Go scrapping, Uber, whatever. Personally I can't understand how people can work for only X dollars per week, no matter how much you work? It sounds like a recipe for lazy. Once you increase your cashflow, you can decrease your debt, and further increase your cashflow. Its like a snowball of money.
3. Adjust your lifestyle. If you haven't made your first million by age 30, chances are you may never. This doesn't condemn you to a life of servitude, only if you continue to ACT like you are rich. I don't live in a rich neighborhood. I do not desire expensive clothes. I don't care what kind of car my neighbor is driving. I don't need to show my money to anyone to get some sort of acceptance or validation. Everyone is putting on the facade of being well off, how many times have you been in that McMansion and they lose their mind over a $300 repair bill? These are the same people that are a paycheck away from homelessness. They just drive a Lexus in the meantime.
You can live a really good lifestyle off of a minimal amount of money. Think about how much money you would need if you had ZERO debt. No mortgage, no car payment, no credit cards, no student loan. Now imagine if you stopped buying those ridiculous Gucci bags, or Nike shoes. Sure, buy the things you like, but don't buy things just to try and achieve social acceptance. In the end, everyone is lying to everyone, and the only truly rich one is the guy selling the Gucci bag.
In this video, I use an old skool Whirlpool electric dryer to demonstrate electric circuit troubleshooting and analysis techniques. This is the ancient art of Circuit Fu. Although this is a simple circuit by today's standards, the principles and techniques can be used on any circuit because electricity works the same way. When you know basic electricity and circuits, you can decipher these diagrams and become a troubleshooting master...
Learn Circuit Fu and how to kick appliance butt at the Master Samurai Tech Academy. The training is distilled down to the fundamental essentials that every appliance tech should know (but, alas, many do not). The training covers the classic skills, like those shown above, yet is up to to date with the current technologies used in modern appliances. Our training is affordable for anyone, self paced, on demand, and comprehensive.
Enroll at the Master Samurai Tech Academy and start learning today: http://MasterSamuraiTech.com
Had some good questions at the webinar on the Bi-Directional PSC drive motor system used in Whirlpool VM washers. Professional Appliantologist members can grab some popcorn and watch the webinar recording here: Bi-directional PSC Drive Motor Systems in Whirlpool VM Washers
During the webinar, Joe asked how triacs are turned off. I wanted to give a more complete and accurate answer in this post.
To understand how triacs are turned off once they're turned on (and conducting) we need to have a little understanding about how triacs work. So that's what I'm going to do here. Before we light this candle, I'll start with the three take-away points that we need to know about triacs:
1. Triacs are used to control AC power supplies
2. You can think of them as solid state relays
3. Triacs are current controlled devices. This means that you need electrons bustin' down the Gate to turn it on AND you need load current flowing through them in order to stay on.
Okay, here we go...
The word "Triac" is an acronym that stands for Triode for Alternating Current. "Triode" is the old Skool word for a three-terminal (or electrode) vacuum tube used to amplify a signal.
Triacs are used to control a AC power supply. In appliances, they are used to turn the AC power supply off or on.
Here's what a typical triac looks like, such as what you might find on an appliance control board:
Here is the schematic symbol:
The leads labelled A1 and A2 stand for “Anode 1” and “Anode 2.” You will also see them referred to as “MT1” and “MT2” where MT stands for Main Terminal. Same thing. This is the business end of the triac where the main working current passes. This part of triac can complete the circuit for lots of different AC loads, from light bulbs to motors.
The other important thing to point out is the “G” terminal. This is the Gate and it has the power to turn the triac on with just a little DC voltage, usually a 5 VDC digital pulse generated by a microprocessor. So this little Gate voltage and tiny current can make a triac turn on and pass a heap big mondo working current.
Triacs are like solid state relays and, in the appliance world anyway, serve the purpose of the relays with a coil and set of contacts. The difference is that triacs don't have metal contacts that can arc and burn out and don't have a coil. (And, of course, triacs are made of semiconductors and PN junctions. More on that in a bit.)
Relays are electromechanical devices whereas triacs are solid state devices.
Inside a Triac
Triacs have two sets of three PN junctions. Look at the diagram below:
As with any semiconductor device, it requires current flowing through it, or more properly stated, electrons being forced through it by a voltage source, in order to collapse the PN junctions and cause it to start conducting. Refer to the webinar recording on “Semiconductors and PN Junctions” in the Professional Appliantologists forum and at Master Samurai Tech for more details on this.
The triac is constructed in such a way that a little tiny gate current is all that's needed to “forward bias” the triac and make it turn on and conduct a large AC current that can drive a load like a motor. This Gate current is typically driven by a small DC voltage like 5VDC.
Turning a Triac On and Off
Triacs require a minimum current through the Gate in order to turn on. In order to stay on, they also need a minimum load current flowing through them from MT1 to MT2. This is called the “holding current.” This is why we say that triacs are current controlled devices.
When the AC voltage crosses the zero line (the x-axis), the current then goes to zero and the triac “turns off.” So the triac naturally turns off at every half cycle of the AC sine wave. The Gate voltage, which produces the Gate current, must then be reapplied in order to the turn the triac on for the next half cycle.
Let's look at this:
In the diagram above, the sine wave is the current passing through the triac from MT1 to MT2 (or A1 to A2, same thing). The notches represent the triggering points where Gate current has to be supplied in order to keep the triac turned on for the next half cycle. Also notice the holding current dashed lines. This is the minimum current that needs to be passing through the triac in order to stay on.
AC voltage goes to zero every half cycle (120 times a second in a 60 Hz power supply). No voltage means there's no current because current, electrons, cannot move unless there is a voltage difference between two points as you learned in the Basic Electricity module of the Fundamentals course.
Since there is no current flowing through the triac at this point forcing the PN junctions to stay collapsed (current drops below the minimum holding current required to keep the triac conducting), the triac turns off and stops conducting.
To get the triac to turn on and start conducting again, you have apply a Gate trigger voltage (which drives the gate current) to the Gate terminal. If you to want to have the triac conduct through several AC cycles, you have to re-apply the Gate trigger voltage each and every time the AC voltage sine wave goes to zero (i.e., when it crosses the x-axis).
Here's another diagram showing the gate current triggering pulses:
A couple things to notice about the graph above:
1. Look at the timing of the Gate current pulse. It occurs right around the time the AC load current through the triac goes to zero.
2. You don't need to keep supplying Gate current the entire cycle to keep the triac turned on, just when the load current goes to zero. So you can supply Gate current in specifically-timed pulses. We're talking accurate timing down to the microsecond. Mind boggling for us; piece of cake for a microprocessor-- they do this kind of stuff all day long.
If you were to connect an oscilloscope to both the gate voltage and the voltage output at one of the the triac main terminals, it would look something like this:
The Gate pulses in the oscilloscope photo above are wider than the ones in the preceding diagram but the idea is exactly the same. Channel 1 is the Gate voltage and Channel 2 is the AC voltage output of the triac.
I'm talking about voltage now. That's perfectly fine because in non-reactive devices, like triacs, there is no phase shift between current and voltage. So whatever voltage does, current also does at the exact same time. It's just easier to show voltage on an oscilloscope.
Notice that the gate pulse on Channel 1 goes from zero to 5.5 VDC each and every time the AC voltage sine wave on Channel 2 crosses the x-axis (at which point the AC voltage is zero). So while the frequency of the AC line voltage is 60 Hz, the frequency of the Gate pulses is 120 Hz. You can see this in the lower right hand corner of the photo above.
Since the AC voltage (and hence current) goes to zero 120 times a second, all you need to do to stop the triac from conducting is remove the Gate voltage. Done!
The Two Golden Rules for Gating Triacs
1. To turn a triac ON, a gate current greater than the minimum required for that particular triac model must be applied until the load current is passing through from MT1 to MT2 . Being a semiconductor, temperature affects this and is one of the design considerations the engineers have to consider.
2. To turn off a triac, the load current must go below the minimum holding current for that particular triac model long enough for the PN junctions to re-establish themselves. We're talking microseconds here. And, of course, remove the Gate current. With the Gate current removed when the load current (and hence voltage) goes to zero, the triac will not conduct, even if the load voltage later goes to something other than zero.
1. Triacs are used to control AC power supplies
2. You can think of them as solid state relays
3. Triacs are current controlled devices. This means that you need electrons bustin' down the Gate to turn it on AND you need load current flowing through them in order to stay on.
Beyond understanding how triacs operate, technicians need to be aware of configurations where a triac is controlling the power supply to a load because this affects how the supply voltage is tested and measured. We go into details on that in this webinar recording: Voltage Measurements, Meters, Ghost Voltages, and Triac-controlled Neutrals
No schematics on this one! I know that'll be a relief for some of you. Honestly, it was a nice break for me, too. I love these easy jobs where you can troubleshoot using only your eyeballs and fix it with something as simple as a paper clip.
In this short little video, I show you how to troubleshoot a problem with a surface burner on Bosch gas range. The burner was not lighting correctly and would sometimes flare up.
All gas range surface burners operate using the same principles so don't let the fact that this is a Bosch fool you. Gas fuel, just like electricity, works the same way in the US as it does in Germany, Korea, or anywhere else in the world. So the same principles and repair shown here apply to all gas surface burners regardless of brand.
This could be quite possibly the most boring entry I ever write. The exciting world of the eBay store.
So, you have a shit-ton of appliance parts, you want to turn that in to cash. How? Sell it on eBay! So lets start with the very basics. You need the following:
2. computer with printer
3. a "smart" device i.e.. tablet, iPhone, etc
4. shipping supplies, tape, boxes
5. shipping scale
7. a fancy table with good lighting, preferably on a grid
This is the BASIC set up. No need to drop 10 grand on an operation that is making you ZERO dollars. You can start off on eBay as a basic seller, and upgrade your membership as your business grows. Great, so you signed up, got your fancy table, and you want to list that enormous pile of direct drive washer motors you've been looking at for ever. First you have to sort the 2 speeds from the 3 speeds. Any that are too chipped or corroded looking, don't bother. It will turn in to a return. (more on that later)
Now you have to find the most relevant part#, add that to the listing. Take your pictures, and add any other relevant part #'s you can find. How much to sell it for? Just remember this: people on eBay are shopping on eBay because they are cheap. If you are not going to list it a penny cheaper than the cheapest one currently listed, just throw it away. (there are exceptions). Believe it or not, DD motors don't sell for much. Worse yet, they cost a lot to ship. A part that sells for $30 dollars will cost you $15 to ship, and eBay takes 10% off the top ($3). Paypal will pinch off another 3% So in the end, that $30 sale really only put about a $10 bill in your pocket. Why bother listing it? Well, if you have 10 of them, thats $100. And that is sure as hell more than you will get at the scrap yard. Plus, shipping costs vary, you might get a sale going one state over and the ship cost might be $6. You really just don't know. I send everything out free shipping.
NLA parts: The exception. If you have it, and no one else, you can ask whatever you want, even double, triple retail. I found a stash of these old amana fridge power boards, NOS. I sell them for around $450, which is at least double retail. They sell slowly, but they sell. On the other hand, sometimes the customer can be just as rare as the part. use your judgement .
As the volume increases, it becomes more "worth it". When I first started the eBay store 2 years ago, I quite literally started it myself, on my iPhone, using a 20 dollar scale and my home printer. once I realized the money, I quickly moved the operation in to my store, and hired a guy. Now I have 2 dedicated eBay employees, almost 3,200 listings, and dozens of packages going out every day.
I currently average about $300 a day in sales, 7 days a week. More recently it has been $200, but before its been about $500. At $300/day I'm sending out about 10-20 packages.
So here are the numbers, these are this year, YTD.
Gross sales= $69,000
Expense= - $40,000 (this is eBay fees, shipping, paypal , returns
shipping supplies= -$1,800 ( i still have plenty of these shipping supplies, likely 6months +)
labor/payroll= - $16,400.
Total profit this year is about $10,500. I feel like this number could have been a lot better, however, I hired a person who was basically incompetent. Out of my 3200 listings I would gamble that 1/2 of them are fucked up. Nobody will buy your stuff if it has a bad picture, incomplete part #, etc. Still, That works out to about $1300/ month, and Im not doing anything other than parting out the appliance when I condemn it. This whole operation takes up about 600 sq feet of my shop.
They suck, the people suck, and they are fucking liars. Inevitably you will have some fucktard buy a "timer switch" because their washer wouldn't advance in to spin. Just give them a full refund. Do it immediately. If you don't, they will ship the part back to you at your expense, and you will end up giving them a full refund anyway. Fuck it. just give them a refund right away and try not to think about it anymore.
Almost as bad as returns. Its expensive, and if you actually want to sell shit on eBay, it should be on your dime. Save yourself the complications. Offer free slow poke shipping, offer an expedited upgrade for several dollars more. There will be some packages that you will actually LOSE money on. Take it to the chin like a man and move on.
There are a couple of side benefits to this business.
a. extra "paid for" employees. (last week I sent the eBay guy on the delivery truck because one driver called off)
b. once in a while you will actually use/need a part that you actually have, and would have never saved otherwise. (not as often as you would think though!)
c. builds value in your business via inventory and daily cash sales.
d. You can brag about being Green, saving many tons from landfill
e. You will get more foot traffic for parts sales, once the word gets out.
I was surprised on how small the bottom line was, I'm sure you are too. As i write this, I consider the benefit of having that space empty, filled up with more new/ used appliances. Is $1300/ month worth it? I really don't have the answer for that. Im going to continue my eBay store, at least for one more year. Once I get all my listings corrected, then I can make a judgement on the cost / benefit.
For those of you thinking about doing it, I say go for it. It isn't easy, and you won't actually make any real money for about 6 months. Its a pretty hands off operation, so it becomes like a passive income. You can try it for a year, if its not for you, can can simply stop listing. The stuff that you have listed will still sell, so you can still make money even after you stop working your store. All you will have to do is ship.
Learning everything the hard way, I would advise the following:
Don't list anything worth less than $20, unless you have a lot of quantity.
Try and keep it to one or 2 employees, and try and get them to do other things at your store, like answer phones, clean etc.
I feel like the sweet spot is bout 2,000 listings, with 1 employee. Its manageable, not too much space, and you can still make nearly as much as you would make with 3000 mediocre listings. Right now I have one full time lister, and 1 part time guy that basically just does shipping.
You are not going to get rich , but if you have some dead space in your warehouse, and need someone to answer your phone, this might be a win-win.
Any questions comments criticism ?
The formula for power in watts is P = I . E where I is current and E is voltage or is it?
FACT1 : Voltage is the potential for current to flow.
Theory : Voltage is also called "potential difference" or " electromotive force". As with any measurement we need to have a standard point of reference for voltage that is 0V and another point of interest. The standard point of reference of 0V is earth. Voltage is measured between earth and any other point. However this is not the voltage we should consider in power or work done calculations as voltage in itself does not do work or power in watts.
FACT2 : Current is the flow of electron.
Theory: Conventional current flows from a higher voltage to a lower voltage in a closed circuit. Current is a rate measurement that is number of electrons passing a point per second. It is plain to see that higher the potential difference more the electron flow and higher current. Current does work. Current is indirectly proportional to resistance. A definitive test in live testing for a closed circuit or a circuit doing work is to measure the current.
To summarize, Current only flows and can be measured in a closed circuit. Potential difference is only measured in an open circuit.
FACT3 : Voltage drop is the voltage that is dropped across a load in a closed circuit. Voltage drop is caused by a potential difference, current flow and a load resistance.
Theory : Voltage and Voltage drop are very different things which are sometimes mistakingly considered to be the same thing. Voltage can be regarded as a cause, and on the other hand, Current and Voltage drop is the effect only in a closed circuit.
Only loads have a voltage drop because only they are doing work. Switches donot have a voltage drop. It is voltage will you measure across a switch in a circuit.
The Load is the final peice of the puzzle. In a series circuit the voltage drop across a load is directly proportional to the Load resistance and current. There maybe one or more loads is series. In this case the higher the Load resistance the greater the voltage drop since current remains the same is a series circuit.
Voltage drop in a parallel circuit is the same as source line voltage in quantity but if a brach in a parallel circuit is opened by a switch the there is no current flow through that branch so no voltage drop but there will still be a potential difference or Voltage. The other branches will have voltage drop and the as an effect the total current drawn will be reduced.
For testing a series circuit we need to switch on and measure current and voltage drop across the load. The product of these two measurements will give you the power in watts. Voltage drop divided by current will give you load resistance.
Lets consider a series circuit with line voltage, one or more loads and an open switch what is the power consumed by the loads? OK that's easy liven the circuit and measure voltage drop across each load we should read 0V and use the E square by R formula we will get zero power consumed. Remember the switch is open means there is no voltage drop. So zero power is consumed. The switch is a control. However there will be a potential difference of line voltage across the loads when tested before and after the switch.
Now let's close the switch. Potential difference across the switch drops to 0V and there will be a voltage drop across each of the loads. Current will also be present. Potential difference should be measured using a loading meter to rule out any open neutral fault.
Protective devices are reactive temperature effected devices. PTC thermistor, bimetals, fuses are some examples of protective devices. They protect the load and the conductors from over current. With the appliance plugged in you should read 0VAC across these devices under normal conditions that's because they are normally closed. In cases of overheating the protective device will open and then you should read line voltage across its terminals.
In conclusion voltage and voltage drop are cause and effect respectively. Power in watts is the product of voltage drop and current, is the formula for appliance repairs. To definitely test a circuit we should do voltage drop and current tests.
This little tidbit applies to basically every facet of your life. What do you really need? Of course, the answer is very simple. Food, water, and shelter. These are the 3 very basic things a person needs to survive. When I say survive, I mean literally not dying. This is not living, its just not dying. The key to "living" is the first 3 a written above, and add two more: companionship and MONEY. Money can provide you with all the material things that you need to survive, and companionship can give you your sense of love, purpose, socialization, offspring, etc.
------Switching gears a bit.-------
A few months ago I got a call from a lady, asked if we bought appliance parts. She proceeded to explain that her husband was a repairman, and that his van was full of parts, as well as the basement. I jumped in my car and got over there.
Literally, hundreds upon hundreds of timers. If I had to guess Id say roughly 4-500. JUST TIMERS. There was a huge variety of stuff. Enough to fill up a 16 ft box truck 3/4 of the way, waist high, and still didn't touch the van. If I had to take a wild guess, this guy had at least $50k in inventory. Just for the record, all of my numbers are wholesale (his cost) numbers unless otherwise noted. All of this shit was more or less stacked, kind of organized in a chaotic sort of way. Bottom line is that I was 100% sure that that guy lost track at some point and had no real idea of what he had.
This is the problem. The guy had a basement full of parts that he paid cash for, and was now being sold for $300. Not a good ROI. Not one of those parts was newer than 20 years. All that shit just sitting there getting eaten up by mice. Imagine if he would have invested all that cash in the stock market, or a mutual fund. How much is $50,000 in 1970's money worth today?
His wife had to sell the house, as she couldn't afford to stay there. The guy worked until he died. Never saved for retirement. Now here she is moving in to a 1 bedroom apartment.
To all you technicians: What is the point of hoarding parts in you basement? if its not in your van, your got to go back anyway. No FCC. Most appliance parts stores can get you your part in a day or 2. I can completely understand the fast moving parts, like the 341241 dryer belt, ignitors, etc. I usually buy in bulk if there is a deal to be had. Last year I was able to buy 20 of those common ge boards for around $80 each. Things like that are perfectly ok. Timers, on the other hand, not so much. Most will only cover 1 or 2 models, and they rarely go bad to begin with. I do not stock a single timer, anywhere.
The bottom line is this. You can do a lot better things with your money than investing it in a depreciating asset that is appliance parts. If its not in your car, you might as well let servall hold that depreciating bag. They also have more space than you and can do a lot better job of keeping inventory. You don't need a huge parts hoard to survive. In fact, its just bad business.
I used to own a lot of things. At one point I had 5 cars, a basement full of parts, and other stuff, a garage that was almost impassable. Even my closet was full of clothes that I never wore. All of these things exist in your mind just as much as they exist in real life, in the sense that if your garage is cluttered, your mind is as well. One of the most dramatic changes in my life was the day I emptied my garage. Just threw it all away. I kept my tool box, lawn mower, and about 3 other boxes of "stuff". Throwing all that stuff away made me feel sick. Sick like when you know you are throwing valuable things away. That kind of sick. Now the stuff is gone and my mind is clear. I feel better.
"What if I threw away something that you needed?" , Good question. Ill just buy it again.
Instead of having 5 shitty cars, I have one that is "good", and one that is "great", both Mercedes. I had 5 cheap suits. Now I have one tailored suit.
Think about how much junk you have laying around in or around your house. Pretend you die tomorrow. Your wife/son/daughter is going to deal with your mess. They don't know that control board is NLA and worth $550. They are going to sell it to me for $5. Or worse ,throw it away. Further, you are burdening them with the responsibility of dealing with something you should have dealt with a long time ago.
As an estate liquidator I can tell you this. Im coming in your house, and with one sweeping motion I will empty your entire china cabinet in to a garbage bag. I will continue to do that until your house is empty, at which point I submit your children a bill for the cleanup. Your children don't want your stuff. They have their own lives, their own stuff. Get rid of your junk and leave your kids a bank account full of money instead.
This part is a little bit more "food for thought" than sound advice. I have been a shop owner for 15 years, and for the first 13ish years the only type of "service calls" I would do is warranty repairs on the units that I sold. Officially, I can say that I have 15 years experience fixing appliances, but the truth is, I have been serious about service work for about 2 years. I really put my try-hard pants on about a year ago. Why am I telling you this? Its because you need to understand that I have bias towards being a shop owner. Its essentially all I know.
At some point I got a little bored playing shop owner and decided to build up the service end of things. I bought a car magnet, a few pairs of dickies, shubee's. Now Im a professional, right?
I have a vivid memory of walking in to my first VMW washer and having absolutely no idea what I was looking at. I told myself never again. I finally stumbled upon this little gem of a website and finally started learning something. Now I like to think I am proficient at most appliances, and what very few pose a challenge I can easily work through it with the help of this site, and my ability to somewhat read a wiring diagram.
Pro tip: If you can't read a wiring diagram yet, stop reading this and start learning how to read a wiring diagram. It really is that important. Go on, shoo.
So now I find myself a couple of years later moderately busy doing service work. I do about 6 calls per day, one or two of them are warranty service from my store, 4 are cod. Out of the 4, maybe one or 2 will be a return trip (have to order parts). At the end of the day, I usually walk home with 2-3 calls complete, cash in hand. My average ticket is about $225, with my net profit being around $150 ish. Somedays I make $1200, other days I make $0. this is the nature of the business. So by my very, very rough calculations, I make roughly $1000-2000 per week doing service. Its a decent living. If I wasn't burdened with my own "warranty" work from my store, I could do better . I am also kind of lazy, in some crazy hard-working sort of way. I take a lot of breaks. Hunt for Pokemon?
Today I made 2 trip charges at $60 each. Yesterday I pulled in $900.
Doing service work is very appealing in the fact that I get to drive a lot ( I drive a Mercedes as a work vehicle), I make CASH, and best of all, I can essentially run this entire shin dig out of my car, and cell phone. No rent, employees, advertising. Truth is, as a one man show, you don't really need anything. Just a phone number and a good reputation. Workers comp is optional, you can have some minimal bullshit insurance policy. You can make a really respectable living with essentially no overhead. No bullshit. No drama. Other perks include: Days off, go home for lunch, working in nice, air conditioned homes, and more.
Service work drawbacks: You simply can not work an 8 hour day. Sure, you can do service calls for 8 hours, but what about scheduling? ordering parts? Blogging on Appliantology at 11 o'clock at night? Appliance repair requires you to be "all in". you have to keep up with the service bulletins, the ever fucking changing way of how a washer washes clothes. At the end of the day (week), you worked 40 hours, but in your mind it was more like 70. In case you were wondering $2000 divided by 70 is $28.50 per hour. Sure, you just pinched $200 profit off of your last job, but really, how much time did you actually spend on that call? Initial call, scheduling call, model research, pregame diagnosis, executing the repair, driving to and from the job, follow up call? Thats a lot of time. And when you take that time and divide it on your NET profit, its not as lucrative as you would think.
Number one drawback of being a servicer: You don't work, you don't get paid. This is a serious problem for me as I really enjoy NOT WORKING.
This is the part where I tell you you should be a shop owner, sell used appliances, make millions, right? Not exactly. Owning a small business is fucking hard. 70 hours a week is an easy week. I wake up in the morning and I'm thinking about my store, and I'm going to sleep thinking about my store. Dreaming about one's business is somewhat normal as well. A retail store becomes somewhat of a prison in the sense that someone MUST be there when you are open. That person for the first many years is likely YOU. No lunch breaks, no shit breaks (unless you are some record setting speed shitter), you must answer the phone by the third ring. You must be pleasant, ALL THE TIME. You must be present ALL. THE. TIME. Your duties include: Cleaning appliances, fixing, ordering parts, loading delivery truck, calling deliveries and scheduling, taking service calls, scheduling replacements. Don't for get to pay your sales tax in time, they only send you a reminder AFTER its late, and penalty is assessed. Pay lights, gas, phone, (don't forget to renew the contract annually) insurance, calculate hours and wages. Deal with the pleasant customers, deal with the asshole customers. Deal with the stinky customers, the ANGRY customers. You essentially have to do it all. Not essentially, you really have to do it all. Oh, and the delivery guys lost their drill. Make sure you pick one up on the way home.
It gets easier. about 7 years in to it, I got rid of my partner, ( this should be another blog on how BAD it is to have a partner, or at least, the wrong partner) and things started to get easier. I started making more money. I found out about this wonderful feature vendors offer called AUTOPAY. I started making more money. I embraced Square software, started delegating more work to employees. I started making more money. Most of the day to day operations become automatic. Not like it handles itself, but you do it automatically.
Today My store made $1400, +$480 on the Ebay store. yesterday was $580 + $450. Some days I lose money, other days I'm too busy counting it.
By year 11 or 12 I finally started to reap the fruits of my labor. I was making very good money, and not working very hard at all. It was shortly after that brief stint of boredom that I decided to become a servicer.
I have taken both professions seriously at this point and I have the following observations:
1. Doing service work will put cash in your pocket next week. Running a store will put ALOT of money in your pocket in 10 years.
2. As a servicer, you will work until you die. I don't see retirement in this field. How many of you self employed servicers are putting money away in a 401k? Property? Answer is probably very few. At the store, your brand starts to build value, inventory, reputation, sales figures. etc. Ultimately, I don't think even this will be enough, so I bought many rental properties to augment my income, and secure my retirement. I just don't see how this is possible as a servicer as there simply is not enough money to go around.
3. In some sort of fucked up way, I find being a shop owner LESS stressful than servicing appliances in home. I always fear damaging a customers home, or messing up a repair in some sort of dramatic fashion. Or plain old looking like a dumbass. People are fucked up, and when it comes to money, they'll cut your throat for that dollar. If I fuck up an appliance in my shop, its my appliance so who cares. I paid $40 for it.
4. Being a servicer allows you a lot of freedoms. You are not tied down to a single location. You can go pick up your kids from school in between service calls. This is not an option as a store owner.
5. The money: As a servicer, I just can't see one making more than $120k a year. Even that I believe is a stretch. If any one can give me some good hard data on this, I would love to know. A well run shop can make double that. Im talking NET, take home, bottom line cash profit.
Like I said in the beginning, take this in for its entertainment value only. You do what you think is best for you, or what you prefer doing. After all is said and done, I like being a shop owner, with servicing in a close second place. There is no right or wrong answer, you do what feels right to you.
Anything else you want to know? comments? criticism? funny jokes? Reply!