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    • Samurai Appliance Repair Man

      Webinar Recordings Index Page   11/07/2017

      On-demand appliance repair training videos for Professional Appliantologist members Over 30 hours (and growing!) of original, high quality appliance training webinars developed and given by yours truly are at your fingertips, on topics you won't find anywhere else. Fill in those knowledge gaps, strengthen those areas of uncertainty, and boost your skills. Watch on mobile or desktop at your convenience whenever, wherever.  Ultra Short Primer on Basic Electricity, Circuits, Ohm's Law, and Schematic Reading (Length: 1:04:48) Basic Refrigerator Troubleshooting (Length: 1:10:45) Schematic Reading Workshop, 10/2015 (Length 1:19:08) Troubleshooting Strategies for Computer-Controlled Appliances (Length: 48:34) Semiconductors and PN Junctions (Length: 1:04:37) Appliance Temperature Sensing Devices & Technology (Length: 1:27:33) Voltage Measurements, Meters, Ghost Voltages, and Triac-controlled Neutrals (Length: 1:29:32) Troubleshooting with Tech Sheets, Part 1, 4/2016 (Length: 1:09:26) Troubleshooting with Tech Sheets, Part 2, 4/2016 (Length: 1:21:11) Tech Sheet Review, 4/9/2016: Bosch Speed Cooker, Amana Refrigerator, GE Glass Cooktop Range (Length: 1:22:58) Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) Switches used in Samsung Switched Mode Power Supplies (SMPS) (Length: 27:07) PWM Computer Cooling Fan in a Whirlpool Refrigerator (Length: 14:53) Understanding AC Split-phase Household Power Supplies (Length: 52:41) Troubleshooting a Samsung Electric Dryer without Disassembly using Live Tests and the Schematic (Length: 22:47) Troubleshooting a Bosch Dishwasher No-Heat Problem using the Schematic and Live Tests (Length: 15:38) Linear Motors and Linear Compressors (Length: 55:54) Bi-directional PSC Drive Motor Systems in Whirlpool VM Washers (Length: 56:52) Appliance Service Call Structure and Troubleshooting Strategies (Length: 1:00:16) The Ten Step Troubleshooting Tango and Workshop Exercises (Length: 1:35:39) Troubleshooting Ten-Step Tango Advanced Workshop (Length: 1:32:06) Ten-Step Tango Troubleshooting Workshop: Refrigerators (Length: 1:35:57) Whirlpool Duet Washer Schematic Analysis & Whirlpool Dryer Moisture Sensor System (Length: 1:03:04) Neutral Vs. Ground, Inverter Microwave, Digital Communications, Loading Down in DC loads, and more! (Length: 1:14:45) Gas Oven Service Call After a Parts Changing Monkey (Length: 36:04) AFCI and GFCI Circuit Protection Technology (Length: 41:26) Troubleshooting Samsung Refrigerators and more (Length: 1:29:58) 3-way Valves and Dual Evaporator Refrigerators (Length: 1:15:45) Split-Phase Compressors and PTC Start Devices (Length: 1:11:57) Gas Dryer Ignition Systems (Length: 53:50) Refrigerator Sealed System Thermodynamics, Part 1 (Length: 43:07) Refrigerator Sealed System Thermodynamics, Part 2 (Length: 1:09:09) Refrigerator Sealed System Thermodynamics, Part 3 (Length: 1:11:56) Refrigerator Sealed System Thermodynamics, Part 4 (Length: 37:45) Refrigerator Sealed System Thermodynamics, Part 5 (Length: 16:35) To access these webinars and all the other info-goodies here at Appliantology, become a Professional Appliantologist today. If you need cost-effective, time-flexible, state-of-the-art appliance technical training, check out the Master Samurai Tech Academy.
    • Son of Samurai

      [Webinar] Appliantology Peer Group   02/08/2018

        We're doing something totally new this time! In this first ever meeting of the Appliantology Peer Group, we'll be hosting a roundtable-style question and answer webinar. Bring something you'd like to share with your brethren in the craft: it could be photos, a tech tip, new insights gleaned from recent training -- anything having to do with the business or technical sides of the appliance repair trade. If you've got something to show, we'll let you share your screen and give you the opportunity to teach us all something new. And of course, Team Samurai will be there to answer any questions you might have about how to use Appliantology.  
    • Son of Samurai

      Free Tech Membership at Appliantology   02/13/2018

      There are now three different ways to get a tech membership at Appliantology for free! How do you get in on this deal? Click the link below to find out.  

Samurai Appliance Repair Man's Blog

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Pearls of appliance repair wisdom from the Appliantology Forums

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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Free Tech Membership at Appliantology

I’m going to explain how you can get a free tech membership here at Appliantology, the premiere online tech support community. 

Hot on the heels of two, free tech memberships here at Appliantology that we announced recently-- the Master Samurai Tech Alumni and Senior Appliantology Fellow programs-- today we're rolling out yet another free tech membership program! This membership gives verified techs free access to most of the tech-only forums and downloading privileges from the Appliance Repair Manual Pot Luck Supper with over 4,300 service manuals and tech sheets (and growing!). 

"Sounds too good to be true. What's the catch?" you ask, warily.

No catch but there are a few limitations. It's easiest to explain this by comparing and contrasting the two tiers of tech memberships here at Appliantology. 

There are two tiers of tech membership at Appliantology: Limited and Premium.

Limited tech members are in the member group Legacy Tech. They have access to the tech-only forums with the exception of the technical training webinar recordings (although they are invited to attend the live webinars). Legacy Techs can download service manuals from the Appliance Repair Pot Luck Supper but they can't post service manual request in the Appliance Service Manual Requests forum and the download speed is limited. Also, Legacy Techs can download only one manual at a time but there is no limit to the number of consecutive downloads. Legacy Techs also have limited access to the private message system. Other than these differences, they are full tech members here at Appliantology.

Premium tech members are in the member groups: Professional Appliantologist, Senior Appliantology Fellow, and Master Samurai Tech Alumni. These groups all have the same access and privileges: unthrottled and unlimited simultaneous downloads, requesting manuals and tech sheets not already in the Downloads section, full access to all tech-only forums including webinar recordings, unlimited access to the private message system and some other goodies. 

"Okay, but why are you giving this away? What's in it for you?" 

My, my-- suspicious much? Call it a dietary vitamin C deficiency compounded by long, sunlight-starved winters in New Hampshire. Call it early onset Alzheimers. Call it coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs. But I hope you're not so coo-coo that you don't recognize a good deal when it's slapping you upside the head! 

My thought in doing this is that it gives professional appliance repair techs a better look at what Appliantology has to offer, and I hope that you'll like what you see enough to stick around and either pay for or earn a premium tech membership. Plain as that. 

"Okay, how do I hop on this gravy train?" 

I thought you'd never ask! First, register for a free Grasshopper (non-tech) account. Then send in the form below to request a free upgrade to a Legacy Tech account.

 

 

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

The Master Samurai Tech Alumni Program

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 three 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 met all currently required quiz and exam score requirements for the course; see this page for details.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Troubleshooting a Gas Dryer No Heat Problem

In this appliance repair extravaganza, Samurai Appliance Repair Man shows you how to think like a real technician using the schematic as your troubleshooting strategy map and track down the cause for a no heat problem in a gas dryer.

Learn appliance repair online at the Master Samurai Tech Academy

Get tech support at Appliantology.org

 

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

The Senior Appliantology Fellowship Program

Hot on the heels of the Master Samurai Tech Alumni program that we just announced, we're launching yet another way that professional techs can earn a free, full-tech membership here at Appliantology. 

You may have seen some of the brethren here at Appliantology whose member group is "Senior Appliantology Fellow," such as Brothers @john63@Budget Appliance Repair, @AccApp, @sh2sh2 and others. These are a select few members who have a long history with Appliantology and have been prolific posters, helping other tech members solve appliance problems. We've never had a really formal structure for gaining this vaunted status but we've come up with something that I hope you'll like. 

Here's the two-step tango for requesting a Senior Appliantology Fellowship:

  1. You have been a tech member at Appliantology for at least two years
  2. You have at least 1,000 total posts

If both the above are true, then fill in the short form at the end of this post and we'll get that going for you mo'scratchie (that's Samurai-speak for "quickly"). 

Questions and Answers:

Q. What does being a Senior Appliantology Fellow membership get me and why should I bother?

A. It's a full tech membership with all the same privileges as a Professional Appliantologist member (a $197/year value-- FREE):

  • access to all tech forums
  • unlimited manual downloads with no download speed throttling
  • access to webinars and webinar recordings

Q. Why are you doing this?

A. Because we're awesome and we think you are, too.

Q. Do I need to make 1,000 posts every year to keep my Fellowship active?

A. No, this is just the "bar to entry" to apply for the Fellowship program.

Q. Why 1,000 posts?

A. Because experience and history have shown that this is enough to 1) show the value of the member's knowledge and posts and 2) ensure that the member thoroughly understands how to use Appliantology. Also, at least some of your 1,000 qualifying posts should be recent to show that you're currently active at Appliantology. In other words, if you have over 1,000 posts but your last post was a year ago, get active again before applying for a Fellowship.

Q. Once I get a Fellowship, is this a permanent deal?

A. Few things in life are permanent but this is pretty close. As long as you stay active at Appliantology (meaning you help answer questions or upload files when you can) then your Fellowship is secure. This doesn't mean you need to post every day. On the other hand, it does not mean you can stay away for months at time, not posting or only coming around to download manuals. Make Appliantology one of your regular haunts for appliance repair info and tech camaraderie and you are good to go. 

Q. Why are you calling it a "Fellowship?" Seems kinda gay.

A. It comes from academia where visiting scholars are often given a Fellowship for sharing their wisdom with the University. So, although many modern scholars may, in fact, be gay, the genesis of "Fellowship" is absolutely not. Most famous scientists and engineers in history, for example, were awarded a Fellowship at a prestigious institution early in their academic careers. This tradition persists in modern science and engineering today. 

 

Samurai Appliance Repair Man
In this glimpse into the glamour life of an appliance tech, we troubleshoot an E-OE error code on a Samsung gas range with the added twist of rat infestation and yapping little dogs. It's winter in New Hampshire and rodents will seek out warm places but this place was a literal rats nest. The smell of rodent piss was gagging us (me and @Son of Samurai) as soon as we walked in the door. It would have been stronger if it was actually warm inside the kitchen but it was probably only about 45F which kept the stench at sub-gag level. And then, to make our joy complete, we were serenaded by yapping Jack Russell terriers the entire time. (Isn't it about time we outlawed little yapping dogs? How 'bout at least make it legal to shoot them on sight?)
Really, what the hell is wrong with people today?
 
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
In this special episode, we explore the question of size of the Samurai's ego. Turns out that it's so massive that we needed a whole episode devoted to it. Yes, size does matter! 
Also: 
- Upcoming ASTI in St. Petersburg
- Tech training challenges
- Three stumbling blocks to becoming a better tech
- What makes Appliantology so great? 
- MST Alumnus program
 
Subscribe to the podcast here.
 
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
The CustomCool is a gimmicky marketing name that GE came up with for what is basically a souped-up crisper drawer in the refrigerator. The drawer has been outfitted with a system of dampers, a fan, a temperature thermistor and a heater. Depending on the function selected on the CustomCool settings in the controls at the top of the refrigerator, a combination of these components can be used to theoretically chill items quickly, thaw items or hold the drawer pan at a specific temperature.

At some point during your distinguished career as a professional appliantologist, you'll need to take apart one of these CustomCool compartments, typically to replace a fan or a damper. These things are a bugger to take apart. This video will hepya.
 
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
Industry News: Employment numbers for the appliance repair industry Whirlpool lawsuit against Samsung because Samsung is kicking Whirlpool's corporate *ss on front load washers Samsung opening a new, state-of-the-art $380 million manufacturing facility in South Carolina Kenmore appliances on Amazon Appliantology monthly workshops Refrigerator sealed system repairs: what you really need to know Top Kendo Master at Appliantology each month wins $100! Oven and Range repair training course- just in time for cooking season You can watch the video below or subscribe to the podcast for the audio-only portion.
 
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
Back in the ‘90’s, when the internet was new and I didn’t have any grey hair yet, I started the first of several incarnations of sites that offered appliance repair wisdom online. Appliantology.org was started in November 2010. It’s an old site by Internet standards. It has evolved a lot over the years and I expect it will continue to do so. 
As it exists today, this site is dedicated to supporting the professional appliance tech community with teaching, training, information, and camaraderie. This wasn’t always the case. 
The purpose of this little magnum opus is to relate the long and storied history of this site and its predecessor, Applianceguru.com, and to reflect on how we’ve changed, some of the dysfunctional people we’ve dealt with over the years, and where we are today. 
I’ve learned a lot about running internet communities, often the hard way and by trial and error. The Internet was a brave new frontier for everyone back in the 90’s. So everyone was making it up as they went along. You’ll get a glimpse into the challenges of keeping a forum community alive and kicking. 
Come with me now on a journey through the Appliantology looking glass... 
    
History - the "Good ol' days?"
I started the old forums at ApplianceGuru.com waaay back in 2003. It was a plain-jane forum-- no downloads section, no webinars, no blogs, no galleries, just a fraction of the functionality and features of this current forum software. 
The Applianceguru.com site was started as a DIYer support forum. DIYers were the focus and it was 100% funded by affiliate parts purchases from DIYers. It was a workable part time model back in the day that brought in a little beer money.  
Other techs started coming to the site and helping answer DIYer questions. Naturally, techs started helping each other out, too. 
I started collecting service manuals in a Mediafire account. I called this “the Stash.” Eventually, I started sharing lifetime access to this file storage with techs who paid a modest one-time fee ranging from $5 to $40. That account and file storage still exists today. 
The developer of the old forum software quit or died or something and he stopped supporting it. This was at a time when smartphone usage was starting to get big and there was no possibility of a mobile-friendly version of that forum software ever being developed. 
So, in November 2010, I took the plunge and started a whole new forum-- this one-- using completely new software and at a completely different web address. Thus Appliantology.org was born. 
As a courtesy and convenience to tech members at Applianceguru.com, I migrated their accounts over to the new forum, even though the old forums at Applianceguru.com remained open until a couple of months ago (the software was completely obsolete and couldn’t be maintained any more). 
When Appliantology was first running, there was no Downloads section like we have now. The only Download available was the access link to the Mediafire account. Techs still had the option of making a small, one-time donation to access the Mediafire account. 
Eventually, I started adding files in a separate Downloads section, what is now called the Appliance Repair Manual Pot Luck Supper. Today, that library has grown to almost 4,000 files and more manuals are added almost every day and on request. All the manuals are indexed and searchable. 
Several things changed that caused us to have to restructure the business model used to support this site: 
DIYers started coming to the site to get help, but then shopping elsewhere (eBay, Amazon) for the part to get it for a buck cheaper. Some would actually come back and brag about it. Affiliate parts sales (and hence all income to run and grow this site) dropped to almost nothing. Since DIYers had basically said to hell with us, we decided to change the whole business model of the site to focus on supporting the professional appliance tech community. The increased bandwidth from users and downloads required a more expensive server arrangement (ultimately getting the dedicated private server that we have today). The increased hard costs and man-hours needed to run the site as a high-quality tech support resource meant I had to make a decision: either run it like a business or shut it down.  I wasn’t ready to just shut the site down because I believed that enough people in the appliance tech community would value a high-functioning, full-featured appliance support site. So we set out to reinvent the site. We did this by making a few changes: 
We briefly offered a lifetime membership shortly after we set up shop here at Appliantology, until we realized it wasn’t going to support the features we wanted to provide. So we created a new membership group called Professional Appliantologist with an annual membership fee. This is used to pay for the operation and maintenance of the site. All techs who had purchased a “lifetime membership” for access to the Download Stash at Mediafire from Applianceguru.com or in the early days of Appliantology still have access to that resource. They also have gratis downloading privileges but it is at a throttled speed and one file at a time. This was necessary to ensure that limited server resources were available for the Professional Appliantologists. All lifetime techs likewise have access to the tech-only forums (which is now most of the site) and the live training webinars.  Remember: most paid a ridiculous pittance, $5 to $40, more than 7 years ago for lifetime access at a completely different website, Applianceguru.com, not unlimited access to this site, Appliantology.org. In either case, the Download library did not exist as it does today. Extending downloading privileges at all to the original tech group was a pure gift on our part. Unfortunately, a small segment of these techs did not see it this way.
Accusations from Malcontents 
Most techs at this site are really great people to interact with and value what we strive to provide for them here. The malcontents and detractors comprise less than 1%. If you think about it, this is probably true with your service call customers. It’s about the same distribution anywhere you have a large group of people. 
    
One type of malcontent we’ve encountered are the “lifetime” members from the early days who thought they should get all of the privileges and benefits that our current PA members do. We were accused of various forms of selling out, greed, and “only being in it for the money”, despite all the access that they still had, as described above. 
Again, we’re talking about a handful of users. Most of the techs from the early days either were content with their legacy-member benefits, or simply upgraded to a PA membership to get all of the new goodies. 
Most people are unaware of how carefully an online forum has to be managed to keep the community healthy, to retain old members and attract new ones. This is one of those skills I had to learn by a lot of trial and error. But learn I did, and over the years I have escorted several people off the site for various reasons, which I’ll discuss in a moment. It’s always regrettable but also necessary to maintain the quality experience of the site for the other members.
In cases where a person had paid for a Professional Appliantologist membership, I refunded 100% of their money even though they had persistently violated site Guidelines and were several months into their membership term. I did this with the hopes that we could simply part ways amicably. Unfortunately, being “amicable” is not in everyone’s toolkit.
Have you ever decided not to continue on a job that you could tell was breaking bad, refunded any money the customer paid, and then they STILL talk shit about you? Then you know what I’m talking about. 
Part of my responsibility as your gracious host is to maintain a positive atmosphere at the site. Occasionally this means showing folks to the door when they persistently demonstrate one or more of these defects:
Uncouth or unpleasant in their communications with other members Unwilling or unable to learn, either about how to effectively and properly use the site or about basic technology, such as electricity and circuits (things about which it is not a matter of opinion-- you’re either right or wrong) Persistently, albeit unintentionally, giving inaccurate information even when myself and others would try to correct it Bullying or overbearing personality You’ve heard the saying, “The customer is always right.” Well, that’s bullshit. The customer is not always right if they’re not the right customer. And any business that’s been around long enough will inevitably have a few of those kinds of customers that need to be “pruned.” On the other hand, when they are the right customer, you will bend over backwards to please them.
Some people left quietly, accepting that Appliantology just wasn’t right for them. But others, despite getting their money back, have gone on to spread malicious lies about me personally and even my wife, accusing us of being “greedy” and “ripping them off.”  
All Content Creators are “turd magnets”
Do you ever wonder what causes people to leave nasty comments on YouTube or other places? They’re doing what envious non-creators have always done to creators: shooting off their big fat mouths because that’s all they’re really good at. 
You can probably relate to this in your repair business, when a customer gives you a scathing online review that shows they know nothing about what it takes to run a professional in-home service business.
It takes a lot of time and hard work to create valuable content that people are willing to pay for. If these malcontents had any real talent, you would see the results online. Instead you see them bellyaching and lying. They have never created anything online that anyone would pay a nickle for. In short, they are entitled, envious, pathetic losers. This is the same psychological profile of the infamous “YouTube hater.” 
Creating a comprehensive information and training resource takes dedication, talent, and years of in-depth education, things that envious haters are in desperately short supply of. So their lying and complaining is not really about money-- it never was. It's about rejection. And their fragile egos can't handle that. 
Again let me say that the turds are maybe 1% of my interactions. But, dayyam, they sure can stink up the place! It takes the occasional sweep with the pooper scooper to keep our community a pleasant place to hang out. Before I leave the topic, let me tell you about a few of the...
Weird pathologies I’ve dealt with over the years
One of the weirdest, most perverse pathologies that all teachers deal with is where a student attacks the teacher instead absorbing the teaching that the teacher offers. This sick dynamic exists in all teaching settings, from high schools to trade schools to here at Appliantology. There have been a few techs with whom I professionally disagreed on a technical point go on to disparage me, my site, my personal hygeine, my parentage… you get the picture. 
A related psychosis that teachers encounter is where someone benefits from the teaching and then turns around and resents the teacher for telling them something they didn’t know. I know- it’s absolutely insane! Yet it happens all the time to all kinds of teachers. 
A third sickness is where someone sifts through the mountain of information that a teacher has produced and offered over the years to find some insignificant (usually imagined or misunderstood) flaw and tries to use that to discredit everything the teacher has ever done, despite the fact that they benefited greatly from the material. This is a pathetic attempt to pull down the teacher to make himself feel better. This is the ugly face of pure envy. 
I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting these diseases early on and terminating the relationship before it festers.
This site is a business
I appreciate and value the many awesome techs who have joined me in my online appliantological adventures over the years, but let’s be clear about something: this site is my virtual dojo. I work here for a living. I don’t do this for free. Nor do I do it as a public service. My time and talents are valuable and I produce high quality content that many people are happy to pay for. I may give some away, but the best stuff I reserve for paying members. To those people, I strive to overdeliver on value for the price they pay.
This site is not a hobby run out of some guy’s basement. It is a business. That means a couple things:
It is professionally managed in every way: hardware, software, and content. Professionals get paid for their time and talents. I am one of those professionals. So is my son, Sam (Son of Samurai) and my wife of 28 years, Susan (Mrs. Samurai)  All businesses are based on voluntary exchange: people value the information and services we offer more than the dollars they’re holding and thus a free market transaction takes place. As a business, we’re always looking for ways to please our valued customers in the hopes that they chose to continue doing business with us. 
Membership here is a two-way relationship, not an automatic right or an entitlement. I choose not to associate with boors, bullies, and boneheads because life is just too short to piss it away with the wrong people. I know that most of my fellow Brethren in the Craft at Appliantology feel similarly.
At the same time, I try to make this site an appealing value, even a “killer deal,” for techs looking for a positive, full-featured information resource.  
Reasons to be or not to be here
Appliantology is open to all and all are welcome within the terms of the site’s Guidelines. Professional appliance techs may choose to purchase a membership to enjoy all its many benefits. But Appliantology is not trying to be all things to all people--an impossible goal for any business.
I’ll go over some reasons to be here and some reasons to not be here. 
Appliantology is probably a good fit for you if...
You want to learn new things and become a better tech You want to help other techs learn to become better at their craft You understand what it means to disagree without being disagreeable You learned what yo momma taught you when you were little:  Share everything (i.e., information, technical literature, etc.). Play fair. Don't hit people. Clean up your own mess (i.e., close out your topics with the solution). Appliantology is probably not a good fit for you if...
You have something to prove to yourself or others You are unwilling or unable to learn new things like How to use this site correctly and effectively (Hint: it’s not at all hard if you just READ) How to read schematics, understand technology and think like a real technician You're only looking for parts changing information You resent the rare instances that I may correct a post you made (in the spirit of being helpful) or hide it altogether when it is not helpful, may only confuse the OP (original poster- the guy who started the topic), or is a distraction from the teaching point I'm trying to help the OP to understand.  Do you value a tech support site that...
uses state-of-the-art software with lots of features and functionality? has nearly 100% uptime? is hosted on its own private server which enables consistently fast page load times and download speeds? is monitored and maintained 24/7? has no Google ads or popups for Professional Appliantologist members? is 100% mobile-friendly and the full functionality available on desktop is also available on mobile? emphasizes understanding the underlying technology behind specific failures, applying good troubleshooting techniques and clear thinking to problem solving rather than merely parts changing info (“if this problem, replace that part”)? has three full-time people (one of which is me) dedicated to constantly improving this site, adding enhanced features to continually add value for members?  uploads new service manuals and technical literature almost everyday and on request? offers regular, live tech training webinars on topics and technologies that you will never learn anywhere else? makes many of these webinar recordings available for you to watch at your convenience? prizes accuracy and clarity of information? maintains a positive and professional environment by flushing the occasional turd? If you value these things, then Appliantology is your home because we value YOU as a member of this tech community! We are constantly looking for ways to add value to your membership and welcome your suggestions. 
Appliantology has come a long way and Team Samurai works hard to make this site the premier professional appliance tech resource on the web. If you are a member, I sincerely thank you for being a part of this community. If you're thinking about becoming a member, I hope some of my comments were helpful in that decision… or at least entertaining.
Lemme know what you think. Post your comments below. 
 
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
We have have a huge and growing library of technical literature here at Appliantology. If, after searching the Downloads section using the techniques shown in the how-to search video, you're not finding what you need, I have a trick for you that applies to all Whirlpool-built appliances, including those that are Kenmore-branded Whirlpool-built. 
Whirlpool-built appliances include the following brands:
Whirlpool Kitchenaid Jenn-Air Amana Maytag some Crosley many Kenmore models (indicated by the three-digit prefix) For these brands, you want to find the PUB number of the tech sheet. This is important because the same PUB number can apply to multiple different models. So searching by model number won't necessarily find the tech sheet PUB number you need. 
Here how to find the PUB number for the tech sheet:
Open a new browser tab. Go to the Sears site and paste your model number into the search box You'll pull up several thumb nails of parts diagrams. Usually on the first page, the tech sheet part number (what we call the PUB number here at Appliantology) will be listed. It won't necessarily be the first item-- keep reading down the list. Copy that PUB number into your browser (you don't really need me to tell you how to mark, copy, and paste with your browser, do you?) Switch back to the Appliantology browser tab, select  "Files" in the site search box and paste in that PUB number. If something comes back in the search results, that's the file you need.  If you're still not finding the tech sheet, then post a request in the Appliance Service Manual Requests forum and we'll get it for you. Including the PUB number you found helps us help you. 
Go git 'em! 
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
Great news: the annual fee for Professional Appliantologist members will never increase as long as you keep your membership active. That last part is very important for reasons I’ll explain below.
The annual fee for new Professional Appliantologist members has increased. This does not affect current members as long they do not allow their membership to expire.
The annual fee increase is also great news for prospective new members! Huh? Why?
Because it means we are still accepting new members… for now.
We came very close to implementing one of two options:
Close off new memberships altogether and just keep the site open for existing members as long as they wanted to remain Allow memberships only for Master Samurai Tech Academy students and alumni making Appliantology the on-going support site for the MST community. In the end we decided on a third way: keep the annual fee the same for existing members in perpetuity and still allow new members but at a higher fee. This may discourage membership but that’s okay-- our focus is on quality, not quantity.
Master Samurai Tech Academy students with active enrollments(s) (i.e., still working on a course) are currently offered a 10% student discount off Professional Appliantologist membership. That will remain in effect, too.
How to Prevent your current Professional Appliantologist membership from expiring
An invoice will be automatically emailed to you two weeks prior to your membership expiration. If you want keep your membership at the current fee and you do not have a credit card on file, be sure to pay the invoice right away! If it expires, you’ll need to re-purchase the membership at the new, increased fee.
If you’d like to mitigate the risk of your current PA membership running out because you somehow missed the renewal invoice, you can keep a credit card on file with our payment processor, Stripe. Your credit card information is not stored on our server-- it is stored securely on Stripe's server.  (Stripe is our payment processor. They are lightyears ahead of Paypal in both security and features and are an Apple Pay certified partner. Their website is here.)
Once your card is on file, you will get a reminder email 3 days before the payment is taken. If your card is current, you don't need to do anything and your membership will autorenew.
To enter your credit card info, go to Memberships > My Details > Cards and click the yellow "Add New Card" button. 
Desktop membership menu:

 
Mobile membership menu:

 

 

 
 
 
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
I get asked frequently about technician certification and there’s a lot of misunderstanding and confusion out there in the tech community about it. So I wanted to offer some thoughts that may help you think more clearly and realistically about this topic.
The number one question you should ask yourself about any certification is, “What does it mean?” 
Does it mean that someone simply paid a fee to take and pass a test? If so, is the person certified in this way a better technician as a result? No, all this type of certification says is, “We certify that this person was good at taking our test.” 
The other meaning of certification is that a person has completed a structured and specialized course of study and instruction and has demonstrated high comprehension of the information throughout the training course(s). This is the meaning of certification as traditionally used by colleges, professions, other skilled trades, and at the Master Samurai Tech Academy. 
Merely taking and passing an exam has no possibility of producing a competent technician. It may vouch for a tech’s prior experience and training but, without knowing what the exam is actually testing for, you don’t know what exactly is being validated. 
On the other hand, successfully completing a detailed training course taught by industry-recognized experts is a proven method of producing skilled technicians. 
Specific appliance technician certifications of various kinds have zero consumer recognition. Customers may like to know, in a general sense, that you are certified (by someone) but they have no knowledge of or interest in the specific certification and what it really means. 
You know who is interested in the single exam-type certification? Let's be honest: it's techs trying to impress each other. This goes right to the next question you should ask yourself about appliance tech certification... 
“Who cares?” 
Are you wanting certification so you can have initials after your name and a patch on your uniform, thinking this will impress customers? Here’s a newsflash: customers don’t give a rip about initials after your name and a patch on your uniform. 
You know what customers do care about? You getting it fixed right the first time without swapping parts like a monkey and hoping to get lucky. 
Or are you wanting certification as a testament to your real acquisition and mastery of technical and troubleshooting skills? Who cares about this? I'll tell you...
Any employer would care about this in their technicians and prospective hires. Owner/operators whose livelihood depends on successful repairs would care about this type of certification.  The last question you need to ask yourself is “What do YOU want out of certification?” 
Do you want to sport initials after your name and a patch on your shirt to impress your friends and yourself? Or do you really want to be able to troubleshoot and repair appliance problems that other techs have tried and failed to fix? 
Do you want to be the guy with initials after his name but can’t fix the tricky problems any better than the guy without initials?  Or do you want to be the go-to tech who can think through problems and that other techs seek out for help?
I’ve offered you some of my thoughts on this issue of certification to hopefully help you think clearly about what it is and what it is not. I hope that this will help you make a decision about certification that’s consistent with your career goals. Let me know what you think.
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
UPDATE: The Oven and Range Repair course is now open for enrollment. Click here for details. 
Team Samurai is turning up the heat this July with a new full-length technical course: Oven and Range Repair
The content that we’ve created for you is absolutely fantastic. We cannot wait to be able to open the doors so you can see it for yourself.
This is a mondo course, with over 30 original videos and 7 Case Studies, that was almost a year in the making using the same training structure for the prerequisite courses we developed for Sub-Zero Wolf factory training.
The Oven and Range Repair training course covers all the technology used in modern gas and electric cooking appliances, ovens, cooktops, and microwaves, and includes seven real-world troubleshooting case studies using the world-famous Ten Step Tango® troubleshooting procedure.
Next to refrigerators, cooking appliances are the most profitable appliances to repair, especially high-end cooking appliances. Any appliance company that expects to thrive and prosper in the coming recession needs to be competent at troubleshooting and repairing high-end cooking appliances and this course empowers any tech to do exactly that.  
Here's a list of the topics taught in the course:
1 Groundwork concepts
    1.1 Basic electricity refresher
    1.2 Conductor ampacity
    1.3 120/240 VAC split phase power supplies
    1.4 Ghost voltage and electrical measurements
    1.5 GFCI and AFCI circuit protection
    1.6 Gas fuel basics
2 Cooking appliance technology
    2.1 Mechanical and solid state relays
    2.2 Capacitive touchpanels
    2.3 Motorized door lock assemblies
    2.4 RTD oven temperature sensors
    2.5 Electronic oven controls
    2.6 Microwave oven operating principles and troubleshooting
    2.7 Electric cooktop infinite switches
    2.8 Radiant and inductive cooktops
    2.9 Gas surface burners
    2.10 Gas oven burners
    2.11 Fuel conversion on gas ovens and cooktops
    2.12 Gas burner spark ignition systems
    2.13 Gas flame detection and burner reignition systems
    2.14 Gas oven hot surface ignition systems
    2.15 Direct spark ignition (DSI) systems
3 Seven troubleshooting case studies on modern, real-world gas and electric ovens and cooktops applying the principles taught in the course and the world-famous Ten Step Tango® troubleshooting procedure.
    3.1 Dual fuel range - oven no heat
    3.2 Double wall oven - long pre-heat
    3.3 Dual fuel range - gas surface burner continuous sparking
    3.4 Dual fuel range - gas surface burner no ignition
    3.5 Gas range - bake burner no ignition
    3.6 Gas range - low/erratic oven temperature
    3.7 Electric cooktop - hot surface indicator light stays on
The Oven and Range Repair training course will be released this coming Saturday, July 15, 2017, at the bargain introductory tuition of only $375. We'll announce the official release in our newsletter. Look for it in your inbox. 
 
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
In this epic episode:
- Wrap up of the 2018 Annual Service Training Institute (ASTI) held in St. Petersburg, FL
- Technical and business training at the ASTI
- Travel tips to avoid getting sick
- Fun facts to know and tell about how social media manipulates you and gives you brain damage
 
You can subscribe to the podcast and just listen to the audio portion here.
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
2017 is quickly coming to an end, and the new year is just around the corner. This is your last chance to get in some tax deductible business expenses, and an enrollment in one of our enlightening and empowering appliance tech training courses at Master Samurai Tech is just the thing! 

Most of you reading this will be in either the 15% or 25% tax bracket. Training costs for your employment or business are tax deductible. If you claim your tuition as a deduction on your 1040, this is effectively like getting our top-notch, online appliance repair training at a 15 to 25% discount! 

If you have already enrolled this year, be sure to claim your tuition as a business expense. If you haven't yet enrolled, you can still claim this deduction on your 2017 taxes if you enroll by the end of the year. 

Why let the government take more of your money when you can spend it on empowering, knowledge-packed courses that are sure to level up your appliance repair business? 

From all of us here at Team Samurai, we wish you and your family a healthy and prosperous 2018!

Team Samurai
The Master Samurai Tech Academy
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
As most people know after a quick search of the Internet, the LE error code in LG front-load washers is usually caused by a bad hall sensor, also called a rotor position sensor or RPS. Part number: AP4440680

The hall sensor is easy to test and replace, see this post at Fixitnow.com for detailed instructions.
Okay, let's say you replaced the hall sensor because you believed it was bad and you're still getting that ding-dang infernal LE error code. What's a brutha to do?
First off, don't go into a blind parts changing monkey panic and start replacing parts that just never fail on their own like the stator. Take a breath, unbunch them panties, and come with me now as we step through the three most likely causes for the LE error code that persists even after replacing the hall sensor.
1. Using too much or the wrong kind of detergent
Using non-HE (high efficiency) detergent in any HE washing machine (which includes ALL front loaders, regardless of brand or model) is a big Bozo No-No. You can't just use less of the non-HE stuff because washing with low water requires different detergent chemistry than washing with boocoo water.
The biggest problem with using non-HE detergent is sudsing. Excessive sudsing can cause problems in HE washers by “cushioning” — or even preventing — the tumbling action. HE detergents also hold soils and dyes in suspension in low water volumes, so they don’t re-deposit onto cleaned clothes. This means that if you’re using non-HE detergents in your front-loading washer, you’re wearing poopy germs and other ca-ca on your clothes right now and you are one of the Great Unwashed. The inside of your washer will start smelling poopy, too. See my seminal tome, 9 Ways to Beat Odor Problems in Modern High-Efficiency Front Load and Top Load Washers, for more.
But the biggest problem with sudsing as it pertains to the LE error code in LG front loaders is that the excessive suds can trick out the control board because the load doesn't "feel" right (yes, the control board senses the load and its action) and so it throws an LE error code.
Note that using too much HE detergent can cause over-sudsing, too. Detergents are one those things where more is NOT better. You want just the right amount and no more. So what is the right amount? Well, first off, disregard the idiot directions on the box. Naturally they're going to tell you to use more so you'll have to buy more sooner. And don't fill it to the MAX line in the dispenser. Start with the following amounts of HE detergent and adjust based on your water hardness; more for hard water, less for soft water (read more about water hardness and how to check yours in this post, The Hard Facts about Hard Water and Your Appliances):
- Regular HE detergent: 2 tablespoons per normal wash load
- HE 2X (double concentrated): 1 tablespoon
- HE 3X (triple concentrated): 1 teaspoon
2) Broken wire harness
If you're sure that you (or your customer, if you're a professional appliantologist) are using the correct type and amount of detergent then replace the motor wire harness at the back of the washer (the one underneath the motor). You can see it in the photo below:

Even though the wire harness may look fine, one of the wires inside may have broken over the years of use-- they's a whole lotta shakin' and gyratin' going on back there! Also, wire harnesses in dynamic environments like a front load washer can become intermittent in their conductivity. It may work in more quiescent parts of the cycle and then break continuity as the movement increases. This can break the data feedback from the hall sensor to the main control board and cause it to throw an LE error code.
A visual inspection of a wire harness doesn't give a full assessment of its integrity-- you have to measure continuity of each wire in that harness to know what's really going on.
Or just go ahead and replace the wire harness, it's inexpensive and easy to do.
3. The main control board may be bad
Emphasis on the "may" because this is actually the least likely scenario yet the first one that most techs will jump on in these situations. Lots of times, when the main control board in an LG washer goes bad, it's visible, like in this one:

It's usually the triacs, the power transistors, that get shorted out. If you see this, you better look for the problem elsewhere in the machine because something shorted and caused the triac to draw excessive current which burned it up.
But control boards absolutely do fail in non-visible ways, too. So if you're still getting the LE error code after you've replaced the hall sensor, you've ruled out detergent issues and replaced the wire harness, then the only thing you're left with is the main control board.
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
Many professional appliance techs do not currently offer refrigerator sealed system repairs but are thinking about adding it to their service repertoire. In this post, I’ll offer some thoughts to help you decide if this makes sense for your service area. I'll also offer some resources for learning sealed system repair if you decide that makes sense for you. I encourage any of my Brethren in the Craft to post their comments and experience. 
The false mystique of sealed system repair 
First, understand that actually doing sealed system repairs is distinct from diagnosing a sealed system problem to begin with. Here’s the reality: it's easy to train PCMs on how to do sealed system work; it’s much harder to train technicians how to think and diagnose warm refrigerator problems correctly and cleverly. And you know what they say: If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. If all a guy knows is how to do sealed system work, guess what: every warm refrigerator problem looks like a sealed system problem. Yes, I actually know guys like this. 
In fact, I've found that a lot guys who do sealed system work don't actually understand how the sealed system works. I know, it sounds crazy! But that's the dirty little secret of sealed system work: you don't have to understand the thermodynamics of a refrigeration system, you just have to know how to follow a procedure and wield a torch. It's a PCM's wet dream! 
Doing sealed system work is a matter of following a procedure, paying attention to details, using some expensive equipment, reading pressure gauges and weight scales, and acquiring some degree of proficiency with brazing copper (and soon, Lokring). When I first started doing sealed system work 20+ years ago, there was a definite cool factor--playing with gauges, vacuum pumps, and torches just like in all the pictures. After I fixed my first one, I strutted around like a rooster, "Yeah, I'm a badass like those guys in RSES magazine!" But then I found sealed system work quickly became boring and repetitive and that troubleshooting refrigerator problems was a much more commonly needed skill and was also more interesting.
Brazing copper lines seems to be the skill that most techs are in awe of. My dear old dad, Grant Brown (of blessed memory) owned Hillphoenix Refrigeration, a company in Conyers, GA, that manufactures commercial refrigeration systems. I worked there as kid growing up and during summers while I was studying engineering at the University of Georgia. Anyway, Grant Brown had a saying, “Any asshole can learn how to braze copper; it takes a highly paid asshole to learn how to weld steel.” 
The point is that in the range of physical skills required for metalwork, brazing copper is a relatively easy one and thus not highly compensated in the industrial world. 
Everett Ball was Grant Brown's star brazer, shaping and making the copper pipe connections on compressor racks (these were commercial multiple compressor systems to allow staged refrigeration capacity to more closely match the refrigeration load). Everett Ball was an absolute artist with copper. He could shape the pipe and make perfect hand-made solder joints first time, every time, 100% free of pinholes. But ol' Everett liked his beer... and his vodka, and his bourbon, and probably even sterno and lighter fluid if he ran out of those. Grant Brown bailed him out of jail for DUI more times than I can remember (he knew the judge from Rotary Club). Everett also couldn't manage money so he was always "borrowing" money from Grant, which only delayed his inevitable bankruptcy and losing his house. And then there were the divorces (yes, plural). He didn't have a very big vocabulary but he could swear to make a drunken sailor blush. Although Everett was not the sharpest knife in the drawer (to put it kindly), the man was a frikkin' Picasso with copper and torch.
The point of that little story is this: don’t be freaked out about learning how to braze copper-- it’s a well-worn path that thousands of people with far less intelligence than you have mastered. A little practice with some silver solder and copper pieces and you’ll get it. 
Adding sealed system repairs to your service offerings
Having plucked the bloom of mystique off the sealed system rose, I’ll go on and discuss doing sealed system work from a business standpoint. 
Let me say right off the bat that doing sealed system repairs in the right circumstances is very high margin and profitable work. But the circumstances are all-important. I’ll talk about the good, the bad, and ugly. 
The length of time to complete a sealed system repair can vary from about two hours to half a day or more. The big variable is locating the leak and the difficulty in making the repair depending on where it is. Sometimes, it’s a slam dunk because it’s a known problem and the manufacturer has put out a service bulletin on it. For example, the leaky evaporator problems with some Whirlpool models and older Sub-Zero models. Other times, you have to use dye or some other leak locating technique to pinpoint the location of the leak. And then you may find the leak is in a location that’s difficult to access and physically awkward or nearly impossible to braze in. These stretch out the repair time and make for painful, tedious repairs. 
As you might gather from the foregoing, doing sealed system work as a warranty servicer is often a losing proposition. If you connect with the wrong company, you are essentially whoring out your time like a two-bit hooker and the manufacturer is completely exploiting you as such. Why do some of them do this? Because most servicers don't have enough self-respect to "just say no" and negotiate a fair compensation rate. 
The exceptions here are some high-end manufacturers like Sub-Zero because 1) they actually pay a reasonable rate for warranty sealed system work (without having to haggle) and 2) the COD referrals alone make it worthwhile. 
How about a business doing only COD sealed system work? Great gig if:
you can get enough of it, you don’t like to think much (i.e., troubleshoot), and you have a high tolerance for repetitive, manual labor. But, yes, it would be high margin, high paying work relative to say, doing repairs on a throw-away Whirlpool vertical modular washer. 
But what if you could book two to four service calls on quality cooking appliances, either high-end brands or the upscale offerings of mainstream brands, in the same time span as one sealed system repair? Job average on high-end appliances is about $400 with an average time of about an hour each. Now you’re talking about:
comparable or even more money, more customers taken care of, much less tedium, and you don’t come home feeling like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck from huffing solder fumes and working in a cramped, awkward position all day. But doing these other types of jobs profitably does require more diagnostic expertise and understanding appliance technology. 
Let’s look at a couple of case studies as illustrative examples.
Case study 1: 11 year old Amana FDBM refrigerator, MN AFB2534DEW, retailed new for $1,300. Start device failed open and subsequently compressor start winding also failed open. Needs new start device (PN W10613606), compressor (PN W10309989), and filter dryer (PN WPW10143759 - replacing the filter dryer is SOP on any sealed system repair). Quoted Blue Book repair fee: $1,003.14  
Question: How likely is it that the customer will opt for the repair given 1) the age, 2) what they paid, and 3) that they can get a new one for about $1400?
Answer: A near-zero percent chance. 
Case study 2: 11 year old Sub-Zero 700TFI built-in all-freezer, retailed new for $6,985. Open winding in 3-phase compressor. Needs new compressor (PN 7002026), upgraded control board (PN 4204380), and filter-dryer (PN 3014230). Quoted Blue Book repair fee: $1,449.98
Question: How likely is it that the customer will opt for the repair given 1) the age, 2) what they paid, and 3) what it would cost to purchase and install a new one?
Answer: Extremely likely.
Do you see a pattern here? Because of the cost of doing sealed system work, you probably won’t be doing much of it on lower to mid-level appliances unless you signed a “sucker’s contract” with one of the manufacturers who don’t pay very much for sealed system work. Do your homework and negotiate the rate!  
Moral of the story: You probably won’t do much profitable sealed system work unless you’re working on high-end and usually built-in refrigerators such as Sub-Zero. As mentioned before, if you can get a Sub-Zero authorized servicer contract, this would be a big boon to your business. Pretty much anyone else: fuggetaboutit. (Your market may vary: do your research!)
The 90-10 rule
Finally, let's keep in mind an important rule of thumb: over 90% of the normal mix of refrigerator calls you run will be due to a control problem, not a sealed system problem. So you need to ask yourself if it's worth tooling up for sealed system work ($1,500 to $2,000) for what will amount to less than 10% of the refrigerator calls you run. Seems to me you'd want to make sure you have the 90% calls dialed in first, that you're able to accurately troubleshoot control problems because that's where most of your money will be made. 
The 90-10 rule also means that if you're going to offer COD-only sealed system repairs to your customers, you're going to have lots of expensive equipment and sealed system doo-dads and nick-nacks sitting around not being used most of the time, cluttering up your shop or truck.  
Of course, the foregoing comments do not apply if you have a lucrative Sub-Zero authorized servicer contract- in that case, doing sealed system work is a no-brainer.  
Handling "gray areas"
What if you don't offer sealed system repairs, you run a warm refrigerator call and diagnose a sealed system fault- how do you handle this with your customer? As we saw previously, if it's a lower- to mid-level refrigerator then it almost certainly doesn't make sense for the customer to have a sealed system repair anyway. You would advise them of this and collect your service call fee. 
The gray area is the "affordable luxury" line, such as the $3,000 Samsungs or LGs. This is a tougher call because a COD sealed system repair would make sense here. And diagnosing a sealed system fault in these models requires more technical finesse, so you will definitely earn your service call fee. But we may have a perception issue with the customer. How do we handle this?
First, recognize that this situation is the rare exception, not the rule, and we don't structure our business systems around exceptions. You definitely need to charge something otherwise you're sending the message that the valuable skill you just provided in diagnosing the problem isn't worth anything. An easy customer perception management technique is to give a discount off your service call fee, say $25. This feels like a significant discount to most people and usually preserves good will.
EPA "certification"
The EPA has some silly regulations based on politically-motivated "science" requiring refrigerant recovery.
The short story behind these regulations is that Dupont's patent on R-12 (a CFC refrigerant) was expiring so they funded lots of "studies" at American universities purporting to show that CFC  molecules caused ozone depletion. How do I know this? I was a graduate student in Environmental Systems Engineering at Clemson University in the mid- to late 80's when these studies were being funded and carried out. Everyone knew Dupont was funding these studies and the bullshit agenda behind them but the political fix was in. 
So now to purchase refrigerant and do sealed system work, you have to have an EPA "certification." 
You'll occasionally come across guys swaggering about getting their EPA certification. The way you hear some of them cluck, you'd think they'd been inducted into Mensa. Or that they must be wizards with a rare understanding of the thermodynamics of refrigeration cycles and keen, penetrating insight into the intricacies of using a pressure-enthalphy graph to design refrigeration systems. Time for a reality check...
To work on residential refrigeration sealed systems, EPA requires that you have a "Section 608, Type I" certification. Section 608 refers to the regulatory code. What do you think that the EPA, being yet another dumbass government regulatory agency, cares about with these silly tests? Thermodynamics? Pressure-enthalpy graphs?
Not even close.
These tests are conspicuously void of any science or engineering. All the the EPA cares about is that you can parrot back the regulatory requirements for each certification "Type." The "Types" just refer to the size of the refrigeration system as defined by the pounds of refrigerant used in the system. 
You can get a Type I certification by taking a quick online, open-book quiz. Here's one of hundreds of places that offer this. Download their regulatory study guide, parrot the answers back on the open-book quiz and, behold!, you are now a "certified" refrigeration technician... in the eyes of the EPA. 
In other words, you don't need to know the first thing about how refrigeration systems work but as long as you can parrot back the right answers about the regulations, you, too, can be an EPA certified "technician" and write home to momma about it, "Look, Maw, I done got me a gubmint certification. Ain't you just so proud?"  
Yes, it's a minor hoop you have to jump through if you're going to do sealed system work. If you hear some guy bragging about getting an EPA certification like it was some kind of life accomplishment, then know that you are talking to someone who rode the short bus to school and would get gold stars for spelling his name right. 
 
I hope my comments have been helpful to you in charting your business course. I’ll leave you with some resources for pursuing sealed system repairs should you decide that’s where you want your business to go. 
If you’d like to get better at diagnosing refrigerators to determine if it’s the sealed system or (more likely) a control issue, then check out the Refrigerator Repair course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy.
Any comments or questions? Please post them below. 
Good luck! 
Technical Documents:
Refrigerant Recovery, Evacuation, and Charging Procedures Sealed System Training Manual from Electrolux Refrigeration Brazing and Evaporator Repair Lokring Repair Method Service Guide from GE Lokring Tube Connection System Service Manual from Whirlpool Instructional Videos:
Brazing and soldering techniques Refrigerant recovery Evacuation and charging Replacing the filter dryer Replacing the compressor Flushing with R134a  
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
In this episode...
 
- Upcoming webinar on Schematic-foo: ancient Samurai art using tech sheets as deadly weapons in appliance repair. Get details here: http://appliantology.org/calendar/event/768-schematic-workshop-webinar/
- Appliance product training today: we don't need hands-on, we need brains on. The future is here NOW!
- Bidness Talk: Pricing your services; fixed and variable costs; how much should you be charging for repairs? Strategic customer selection and when to fire your customer; Property managers: the scourge of the appliance repair industry?; Getting paid for your service.
- Troubleshooting: what it is and what it is not. Recognizing when you don't have enough information to make an analytical diagnosis.
- De-bunking another electric circuit myth... this time promulgated by a manufacturer. Using Ohm's Law to analyze the effects of high resistance/loose connections on a circuit using an electric oven bake circuit as an example.
 
Listen here or subscribe on iTunes or Android.
 

Samurai Appliance Repair Man
Sometimes, when you're troubleshooting a microwave, it can be tricky to tell whether or not the magnetron tube is bad. In the case with many GE microwaves, the magnetron can test good according to the filament resistance specifications yet fail when you're actually trying to get the damn thing to heat up your bagel.
One of the outstanding Master Appliantologists at Appliantology.org, Budget Appliance Repair (a.k.a., Willie) offered the following procedure for assessing the operational state of the magnetron:
Source: Advantium 220 microwave electrical burning smell
And more from another post:

Source: GE OTR Microwave JVM1871SH001
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
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! 
 
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
The new inverter compressors ain't like the old skool compressors used in yo momma's beer cooler. Oh, they still do the same basic job-- pump refrigerant vapor. But you have to troubleshoot them differently from the old skool compressors. In their quest to comply with increasingly onerous Energy Star requirements, all the appliance manufacturers are producing refrigerator models that use inverter compressors. Like it or not, inverter compressors are here to stay. Many a fine tech has been befuddled by these new compressor systems but not you! For the Samurai shall reveal the truth unto thee, and the truth shall set thee free.
Conventional Old Skool Compressors
Before we talk about how these inverter compressors work and and how to troubleshoot them, let's quickly review the old skool compressors so it's fresh in our mind when we compare with how the inverter compressors work.
In the conventional compressor technology that's been around for decades, the compressor has a start winding to help kick things off and a main (or run) winding that keeps the compressor going after it's started. A start relay and sometimes a start capacitor are used to momentarily power the start winding and then take it out of the circuit once the compressor is up and running. The compressor runs off standard, single-phase, 60 Hz 120vac.
If the start relay fails, the compressor will sit there trying but failing to start and drawing locked rotor (LR) current. Where the normal operating current draw on a conventional compressor is somewhere between 1 and 2 amps, LR current could be somewhere north of 8 amps. All that current makes heat, lots of heat. As the compressor sits there straining to start, it starts boiling the oil and burning the varnish insulation on the motor windings. If this goes on for very long, the compressor will literally self destruct (internally) from all the heat.
To prevent this unhappy scenario, the engineers added an overload device that's used to kill power to the compressor if something goes wrong, like a bad start relay, open compressor start winding, bad internal bearing, or a seized piston inside the compressor that prevents it from starting correctly. The idea being that if the problem is just a bad start relay (very common), this can be repaired easily and inexpensively compared to replacing the entire compressor (or refrigerator).
If you were to measure the resistance of the start winding and the main (or run) winding, you would find that the start winding has a  higher resistance than the run winding. It's also made of thicker wire  because the start winding has to handle the extra current flow through it that's needed to get the compressor piston going from a dead stop.
A common troubleshooting technique with these old skool compressors is to rig up a test cord and manually power the compressor to see if it'll run. More details on compressor test cords here: http://appliantology.org/blog/1/entry-669-rigging-and-using-a-compressor-test-cord-to-manually-operate-a-compressor/
Once they're up and running, these old skool, compressors run at the same speed and move the same amount of refrigerant vapor per minute. In other words, their refrigerant capacity and motor RPM is constant the entire time it's running. They can't work "harder," just longer.
So, let's summarize the old skool compressors:
- has two windings, a start and a run winding, which are physically different windings and have different resistances; the start winding has higher resistance than the run winding
- runs off standard 120vac household power
- uses a start relay to initially power the start winding and then take it out of the circuit after the compressor is up and running
- can rig up a test cord to directly power the compressor
- are constant capacity and speed machines
Keep all this in mind as we now look at the new inverter compressors...
Inverter Compressor Systems
Although inverter compressors do the exact same thing as the old skool compressors-- pump refrigerant vapor-- and they physically move the vapor the same way-- through a vapor-compression cycle-- they are powered and controlled very differently.
For one thing, inverter compressors use a special three-phase voltage produced by a special control board called an inverter. Fuggetabout 120 VAC, 60 Hz line voltage. We're not in Kansas anymore, boys and girls! Both the amplitude (amount) and frequency of the input voltage will vary. Typical specs are 80 to 230 VAC with the frequency ranging anywhere from 57 to 104 Hz. The higher the frequency, the faster the inverter compressor will run.
So, inverter compressors, unlike their old skool forebearers, really can work harder. In fact, this is exactly why the manufacturers are using these inverter compressor systems; they can match how hard the compressor needs to work to the actual refrigeration work needed to keep the beer cold. By doing it this way, the compressor draws less power and the manufacturers can meet the Energy Star requirements.
Inverter compressors have three windings, not just two like the old skool units. All three windings should have the exact same resistance. If the resistances vary from each other by as much as a 1 ohm, the compressor will not run correctly. In fact, this is one of the ways of checking an inverter compressor: making sure that all three windings have the exact same resistance. Check the manufacturer's spec for what that exact resistance reading should be. This is different from the old skool compressors with just two windings and the start winding has a much higher resistance than the run winding.
Remember how a common troubleshooting trick with the old skool compressors is to power it directly with a test cord and see if it starts? Don't try that on these inverter compressors because you'll permanently break it. If you're a professional Appliantologist and you do this on a service call, you just bought your customer a new refrigerator!
Let's summarize the inverter compressors:
- have three windings, not just two; all three windings have the exact same resistance
- does not use a start relay/overload device
- runs off a special voltage produced by an inverter board; the voltage varies in both magnitude and frequency: the higher the frequency, the faster the compressor runs
- variable capacity, variable speed
- cannot directly power the compressor (well, you could but you'd regret it)
Troubleshooting Inverter Compressor Systems
If you're working on an inverter compressor system where the compressor isn't running, you can't power an inverter compressor directly to test it. But you can (and should!) check the resistances in all three windings to rule out an open winding. If the compressor windings check good, this is not diagnostically conclusive that the compressor itself is good. But if, OTOH, the winding resistances are imbalanced or one of them is open, this is diagnostically conclusive that the compressor is bad.
Okay, so let's say the compressor windings check good but it's not running. Now what?
Now you have to check the inverter board itself. There are two different tests you can do on the inverter board to see if it's good or not:
1. Check for good input voltages.
An Inverter board will have two different input voltages:
- 120 VAC main power supply
- 4 to 6 VDC control voltage from the main control board (or Muthaboard-- a completely separate circuit board in the refrigerator)
If you're missing one of these voltages, the inverter board can't run the compressor. You'll need to backtrack and find the missing voltage. Could be a bad wire harness connector, bad muthaboard, etc. BTW, make all voltage measurements with everything CONNECTED. Otherwise, you'll get different readings that could be misleading.
OTOH, if you're getting both of these input voltages to the inverter and the compressor isn't running (and you've already checked the compressor winding resistances), then you need to do this next test:
2. Check the current draw on the 120 VAC power supply.
- Disconnect the 120 VAC power supply from the inverter board.
- Connect your amp meter around one of the wires supplying 120 VAC to the inverter board (doesn't matter which one).
- Reconnect the 120 VAC power supply to the inverter board and watch your amp meter.
If the meter stays at 0 amps, the inverter board is toast-- it's not even trying to start the compressor.
If you see the current draw jump to say 4 amps (typical LR current in these inverter compressors) and then drop off, keep watching. Most inverter boards will repeatedly try to power up the compressor. On GE refrigerators, for example, the inverter will try to start the compressor 12 consecutive times. If the compressor fails to start, the inverter will timeout for 8 minutes and then try again. Other manufacturers may have different test schemes but the idea is the same: if the inverter is working properly, you'll see activity on your amp meter as the inverter tries to do its job.
In the video below, I demonstrate troubleshooting an inverter compressor system on a GE refrigerator. The only thing I didn't show in the video is checking the inverter board's current draw. 
 
Here's the replacement inverter board I used to fix this refrigerator: http://www.repairclinic.com/PartDetail/Inverter-Board/WR55X11138/2443233
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
Troubleshooting is the big missing skill among appliance techs today. In fact, many techs don’t even know what troubleshooting is and mistake pattern recognition and factoids for real troubleshooting.
Classical troubleshooting is a structured and scientific method for thinking and solving appliance problems. There is a method to the madness! The Master Samurai Tech troubleshooting method is called the Ten Step Tango (TST).
There are specific dance steps to troubleshooting, and we teach them to anyone who wants to learn. As an introduction to the TST, we’re offering a free short course to the entire appliance tech community where techs can quickly learn the TST troubleshooting procedure and immediately start benefitting from this skill on service calls.
The TST short course uses a real-world, modern refrigerator (dual evaporator, computer-controlled) case study to lead you through each of the ten steps in the TST to troubleshoot and solve the problem.
To get started, just register a free account at the Master Samurai Tech Academy, and you'll see the “Ten Step Tango Troubleshooting Procedure Case Study” listed as one of your free courses available to you on your login welcome page. If you're already registered at the Academy, just log in as usual and you'll see the course on your login welcome page.
You'll also be able to take our other free courses: Appliantology 101 and Internetology. All our free courses are short and fun to do. So have fun, dammit!