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Samurai Appliance Repair Man's Blog

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About this blog

Pearls of appliance repair wisdom from the Appliantology Forums

Entries in this blog

 

How to Pick the Best Appliance Repair School

Training is THE hot topic in the appliance repair trade these days. Experienced techs want to up their troubleshooting game and keep up with the newer models, and many new folks are looking for training in a skilled trade so they can get a job or start a business. Manufacturers and multi-truck operations have an ongoing virtual manhunt for skilled appliance repair techs. But they just don't exist because new technicians are not entering the trade at the same rate as old servicers are retiring. [Read More]
 

Dryer Photo Challenge

As seen on our Facebook and Google+ pages: our latest "What's Wrong with this Picture?" quiz... Problem: Answer: Solution: LintAlert: http://amzn.to/1vJ4hEl LintAlert: http://amzn.to/1vJ4hEl
 

Schematic Diagrams, Timing Charts, and Open Neutrals

Here's an excerpt of a 20-minute training video now available in the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair training course on how to use the schematic diagram and timing chart to troubleshoot a problem with a washer drain pump that would not operate. The drain pump itself was good and getting voltage. Turns out that the problem was an open neutral. The full training video explains these important troubleshooting concepts in detail: - how to break down a complicated schematic and read it to solve the problem you’re working on, - using timing charts to interpret timer switches on schematics, - technical explanation of open neutrals, - test methods for identifying an open neutral, - power and loads. Samurai Tech Academy Fundamentals students will find the full-length video in the Troubleshooting module of the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair training course. Fundamentals graduates can also log in and watch the video because all STA courses come with lifetime access.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

 

A Unique Approach for Responding to Negative Yelp Reviews

Recently, someone posted a bogus, malicious review about our appliance service business on Yelp. We had never worked for the reviewer nor had a service call that went anything like what he described. We think it may have been posted by a competitor. But this doesn't stop Yelp from posting it or allowing it to remain. There are two ways to deal with such reviews on Yelp, both of which are focused on perception damage control and so are written with the potential customer in mind. But they are very different strategies: 1. The Serious Business Approach: This is a direct approach where you politely explain that, although you don't know who the reviewer is, that you would be happy to refund all his money if he contacts you with his real name. Then go on to showcase how your business works. This is the approach that 99.9% of service companies take. 2. The Surreal Approach: This strategy employs the principle of Judo where your opponent's own force is used against him. In the context of dealing with a fake review, the idea is to extend the reader's experience of reading a bogus review into the surreal and, in so doing, lampoon the bogus review. It's the proven technique of illustrating absurdity by being absurd. Again, this approach is not for a typical negative review by an actual customer. This is for over-the-top, fictional reviews by people who weren't even your customer. And for most service companies, the first approach is probably the best strategy. However, if you have access to a creative writer (you can hire my son, Stephen), you can take the second approach. Here's the reply we posted to our 1-star "review" on Yelp:
 

Master Appliance Repair at the Samurai Tech Academy

Things are hopping at the Samurai Tech Academy as we now have a steady stream of students, and quite a few enthusiastic graduates already. Here's a new presentation video for the Samurai Tech Academy that we created for the Sample Course page at the Academy site to introduce the course to prospective students. My two sons, Stephen and Sam, put together the presentation and wrote the script and I'm the big-mouth talking it through. Check it out! This Christmas, give the gift of learning to someone you love. Whether they're making a mid-life career change, a young person looking for an interesting and lucrative career, or an already experienced appliance tech wanting to back-fill their knowledge gaps and up their game, the courses at the Samurai Tech Academy can get them where they want to go. If you have any questions about the Samurai Tech Academy that aren’t answered on our FAQ page, just contact us by phone or email. Read about our current offerings of online appliance repair courses. Then take our sample course to get a feel for what it’s like to learn appliance repair online at the Samurai Tech Academy. Finally, enroll in the course or courses of your choice. The Samurai Tech Academy Learn more. Earn more. MasterSamuraiTech.com

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

 

What's wrong with this picture?

This is a picture from a recent service call I did. That white/translucent plastic tubing you see coming out of the floor and connecting to the gray PEX tubing on the refrigerator is a big No-No. That's a flood waiting to happen. Think about it: that plastic tubing us under household water pressure 24/7-- that's 40 to 60 psi. Combine that with with the fact that it gets hot behind a refrigerator that's pushed back against the wall, especially in summer. Heat... plastic... brittle... cracked or burst plastic tubing. And what's to stop the water from spraying out at household pressure when (not if) that plastic tubing breaks? Ain't but one thing: your hand on the shut off valve to stop the water flow. What if you can't find the shut off valve to stop the water flow because the plumber installed it in a weird location or the house has been renovated since the water line was installed and the valve is inaccessible? What if you can't reach the shut off valve because it's up behind a drop ceiling and you can't find the ladder during the panic to stop the water? What happens if you're not home when that cheap plastic tubing bursts, as it inevitably will given enough heat and time? You get the idea. So how do you avoid all this unpleasantness? Any water supply line or tubing in your house that's under continuous household pressure should only be one of three things: copper, steel-braided flex line, or PEX. Now, if the plastic water tubing were AFTER the refrigerator's water inlet valve, as is commonly the case with older refrigerators, not such a big deal because 1) the tubing is not under continuous pressure; it’s only under pressure when the solenoid valve opens which 2) only occurs for several seconds every couple of hours or so for the ice maker or on-demand for the water dispenser. Moral of the story: plastic and household plumbing don't mix.
 

Huge discount on Professional Appliantologist membership for students at the Samurai Tech Academy

As if lifetime access to all the comprehensive training packed into the courses at the Samurai Tech Academy wasn't enough of a benefit, we've gone one better and turned it up to 11! Now, students enrolled in any course at the Samurai Tech Academy get a huge discount on the Professional Appliantologist membership fee here at Appliantology. Get the scoop here.
 

Everything you ever wanted to know about those new Evernote enex ZIP files in the Downloads section

You may have noticed the recent files added to the Downloads section of the site have a funny ending not seen here before: Evernote enex ZIP. There's a not very long and maybe less interesting story about these files. I'll also tell you how to use them. Periodically, I run across paper service bulletins (actual paper! I mean who does that?) that are worth storing for later retrieval. A great source of these is the MSA World magazine where they include lots of manufacturer service bulletins in the back of each issue. The problem is that physical paper isn't searchable. And information that isn't searchable is just data. Or noise. Or clutter. So, unless you have a photographic memory, all those fresh paper pearls of appliantological tips and tricks are simply washed away with the next few brewskis. What's a crotchety old Appliantologist to do? Enter Evernote. When you scan a document into Evernote, it gets OCR'd so that it's searchable. Evernote does this automatically, stealthily, behind the scenes, at night while you're asleep, or when you turn your head to sneeze and BAM! it's done. You don't want to know any more. What you do want to know is that these notes can then be exported and shared so that other Evernoters can import them and so the love is shared. When Evernote exports a note, the exported note has the extension "enex." So that answers that part of this blog post title. It turns out, though, that for some weird reason, I could not directly upload enex files to the Downloads section. The file would upload completely but then I'd get a message that the upload failed. I checked this, tweaked that, changed some settings, scratched myself, made quizzical noises, then figured out a work-around, which was to simply ZIP the enex file. The System liked this and there was much rejoicing. So there you have the "Evernote enex ZIP" portion of this blog post title. Using these special files is easy: just download them like you would any other file from the Downloads section and unzip them. Then open the Evernote app on your pooter and select File > Import Notes... from the top menu. The import can take a minute or two, tricking the more impetuous among you into thinking that the process is stalled. But here's where having the bushido of a Samurai will win the day for, with patience, victory shall be thine. The note will import into its own notebook but you can move it to wherever you want in your Evernote. The downloading, unzipping, and importing described above are all done on a desktop computer. Works fine on my iMac. I've not tried it on a device and don't see how it would work because of the unZIP operation required. But I'm sure one of you bright-eyed info-jocks will figure it out and post an addendum comment to this post.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

 

How to build your own custom library of tech documents on a Kindle Fire, iPad, or other tablet in 4 easy steps!

Having the right technical document with you on a service call and knowing how to use it are the two key ingredients to getting an appliance properly diagnosed and repaired. Does that mean that you should try to find a mobile device that is already pre-loaded with appliance repair technical documents? There are several downsides to this approach, including the fact that you don’t know how current or relevant the pre-loaded docs are. Instead, you can easily create your own information arsenal using a tablet of your choice and the powerful resource we describe in this video. It’s easy, cost-efficient, and effective. Mrs. Samurai gives you a quick run-down on how to get the tech documents you need in the Downloads section here at Appliantology. Find out how you, too, can quickly and easily build your own custom library of tech documents on a Kindle Fire, iPad, or other tablet in 4 easy steps!
 

How to Remove the Main Control Board in a Bosch Ascenta Dishwasher

The Bosch Ascenta line of dishwashers disassemble very differently from the older Bosch dishwashers you may be familiar with. In the older Bosch's, the main control board is easily accessible in the door control panel, just like you would expect. But not with the Ascenta line. The Bosch engineers thought it would be a great idea to put the main control board way down at the bottom in back of the dishwasher so you have to pull the whole dishwasher out to get to it. Brother Chat calls the dance steps on this procedure: And here's the service manual for the Bosch Ascenta dishwasher: Bosch Ascenta Dishwasher Service Manual, 2nd Edition Source: Bosch SHE6AP06UC/06 dishwasher
 

How the Energy Star Requirements are (unwittingly) Protecting the Appliance Repair Trade

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of Big Gubmint-- it is far too impersonal, too easily bought and controlled by large corporate interests, and always anathema to individual liberty, security, and creativity. But, once in a while, Big Gubmint's meddlesome and doltish regulations have the unwitting effect of benefiting a narrow group of little people, like us. The Energy Star requirements are a case-in-point. Thanks to the Energy Star requirements, manufacturers are making appliances that have a higher retail cost AND higher failure rates which translates into more frequent repairs, higher repair costs, and increased likelihood that the customer will opt to repair over replace. All of this bodes extremely well for the appliance repair industry and I know I have already been reaping the benefits of these regulations in my own service business. If you're a servicer, you probably are, too, but may not realize it. Below, I'm re-posting an old opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal bemoaning the effects of the Energy Star requirements on top load washers. The deleterious effects on top load washers described in the article are spot-on. However, it's also undeniable that we, as appliance servicers, are reaping a windfall of business from these Energy Star requirements. So, despite my distaste for Big Gubmint and its relentless regulatory avalanche, I proudly embrace my hypocrisy when I proclaim, "All hail, Energy Star!" *************************************************************** How Washington Ruined Your Washing Machine It might not have been the most stylish, but for decades the top-loading laundry machine was the most affordable and dependable. Now it's ruined—and Americans have politics to thank. In 1996, top-loaders were pretty much the only type of washer around, and they were uniformly high quality. When Consumer Reports tested 18 models, 13 were "excellent" and five were "very good." By 2007, though, not one was excellent and seven out of 21 were "fair" or "poor." This month came the death knell: Consumer Reports simply dismissed all conventional top-loaders as "often mediocre or worse." How's that for progress? The culprit is the federal government's obsession with energy efficiency. Efficiency standards for washing machines aren't as well-known as those for light bulbs, which will effectively prohibit 100-watt incandescent bulbs next year. Nor are they the butt of jokes as low-flow toilets are. But in their quiet destruction of a highly affordable, perfectly satisfactory appliance, washer standards demonstrate the harmfulness of the ever-growing body of efficiency mandates. The federal government first issued energy standards for washers in the early 1990s. When the Department of Energy ratcheted them up a decade later, it was the beginning of the end for top-loaders. Their costlier and harder-to-use rivals—front-loading washing machines—were poised to dominate. Front-loaders meet federal standards more easily than top-loaders. Because they don't fully immerse their laundry loads, they use less hot water and therefore less energy. But, as Americans are increasingly learning, front-loaders are expensive, often have mold problems, and don't let you toss in a wayward sock after they've started. When the Department of Energy began raising the standard, it promised that "consumers will have the same range of clothes washers as they have today," and cleaning ability wouldn't be changed. That's not how it turned out. In 2007, after the more stringent rules had kicked in, Consumer Reports noted that some top-loaders were leaving its test swatches "nearly as dirty as they were before washing." "For the first time in years," CR said, "we can't call any washer a Best Buy." Contrast that with the magazine's 1996 report that, "given warm enough water and a good detergent, any washing machine will get clothes clean." Those were the good old days. In 2007, only one conventional top-loader was rated "very good." Front-loaders did better, as did a new type of high-efficiency top-loader that lacks a central agitator. But even though these newer types of washers cost about twice as much as conventional top-loaders, overall they didn't clean as well as the 1996 models. The situation got so bad that the Competitive Enterprise Institute started a YouTube protest campaign, "Send Your Underwear to the Undersecretary." With the click of a mouse, you could email your choice of virtual bloomers, boxers or Underoos to the Department of Energy. Several hundred Americans did so, but it wasn't enough to stop Congress from mandating even stronger standards a few months later. Now Congress is at it once again. On March 10, the Senate Energy Committee held hearings on a bill to make efficiency standards even more stringent. The bill claims to implement "national consensus appliance agreements," but those in this consensus are the usual suspects: politicians pushing feel-good generalities, bureaucrats seeking expanded powers, environmentalists with little regard for American pocketbooks, and industries that stand to profit from a de facto ban on low-priced appliances. And there are green tax goodies for manufacturing high-efficiency models—the kind that already give so many tax credits to Whirlpool, for example, that the company will avoid paying taxes on its $619 million profit in 2010. Amazingly, the consensus also includes so-called consumer groups such as the Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union. At last week's hearing, the federation touted a survey supposedly showing overwhelming public support for higher efficiency standards. But not a single question in that survey suggested that these standards might compromise performance. Consumers Union, meanwhile, which publishes Consumer Reports, claims that new washers can't be compared to old ones—but that's belied by the very language in its articles. We know that politics can be dirty. Who'd have guessed how literal a truth this is? Mr. Kazman is general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Original article posted at http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704662604576202212717670514
 

Want an Interesting and Lucrative Career? Skip College and Go Into Appliance Repair!

I was born in 1960. Both my parents were first-generation Americans, offspring of immigrants; my moms's side from Greece and my dad's side from Ireland via Canada. When I was growing up, the Kool-Aid was that you had to go college if you were going to be "somebody who mattered." My parents, both of the post-WWII Baby Boomer generation, totally drank that Kool-Aid and relentlessly bathed me in the College-Industrial complex propaganda: "Go to college and you'll earn more money." "Go to college to get a meaningful and interesting job." "You can't be a complete person unless you've gone to college." There was just one problem: I had absolutely no desire to go to college. I hated school. And by "school" I mean the government-funded warehouses most people park their kids in during the school year. In fact, I hated school so much that I quit in my junior year in high school. But, being a government-indoctrinated blood bag, what was my big idea? To go into the Navy and fix airplanes. Actually, there was a bigger plan there. I wanted to learn a trade. The trade I had in mind was what I saw as an up and coming field: aircraft electronics technician. I had a great job in the Navy repairing navigational radar equipment for Navy P3 anti-submarine squadrons. I can honestly say that it was the most challenging and interesting job I've ever had in my life, including my life as an engineer with not one but two college degrees-- more on that later. So the end of my enlistment term rolls around and I opted to get Honorably discharged from Uncle Sam's Navy. While I loved the job, I hated all the micky mouse Navy shit: "Get a haircut, Brown." "Shine your shoes, Brown." "Quit smoking dope, Brown." Hey, I was still a teenager in the 70's - what do you expect? Anyway, my enlistment term came to an end and me a buddy rode our motorcycles back home from Moffet Field, California-- my buddy to Texas and me to Georgia. Once back home, the parental pressure resumed: go to college and make something of your train wreck of a life ("train wreck" because I had quit high school, shaming and embarrassing them to their corporate work-a-day friends). I eventually succumbed to my parent's relentless pressure and guilt-trips. I had taken college courses while in the Navy and scored well enough on the SAT to get accepted into the University of Georgia. This isn't saying much as it was known as Budweiser U back in the 80's, before it somehow got a reputation as an academic hot spot in the South (which I still don't believe). I graduated in 1984 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering under the misguided vision that I would start one of the first legal marijuana farms in the country. Well, that didn't work out so well. So I worked for a year as a process engineer at Michelin Tire Corporation in Greenville, SC. That pretty much sucked. So after a year of sucking tire fumes, I was brain damaged enough to go BACK to college. This time for a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering so I could design hazardous waste treatment systems. I think I reinvented the definition of "naively misguided." Now, when you look up "unbelievably naive" or "pretty fuckin' stupid," you'll see a picture of me. I ended up with shitty jobs at consulting firms and corporations, primping around in suit and tie, learning to talk that fake professional talk in endless, pointless meetings with blow-hard lawyers, corporate apparatchiks, and hopelessly ignorant yet endlessly arrogant government regulators. Then, one day, came my day of Epiphany. I was at a job at a Tombstone pizza plant on an ammonia refrigeration system I had designed (it's a long story how I got into doing that, I'll tell that another time). I struck up a friendship with the head pipe fitter for the job, a union member. The piping in ammonia refrigeration systems has to be steel because ammonia and copper hate each other. As my dear old dad, Grant Brown once told me, "Any asshole can work with copper; it takes a highly paid asshole to work with steel." And this guy was very highly paid, as I soon found out. We compared work hours and salary/wages. Turns out he had more time off than me, made waaay more money than me, and enjoyed his job a lot more than me. So I then asked myself, I said, "Self, who got sold a bill of goods here?" And that's when it hit me. Most college degrees are about teaching you to become a corporate bureaucrat; to endure arbitrary deadlines and crank out work that has little personal meaning to you. What you really want to is to be self-employed, not to work for some soul-sucking corporation. I discovered that the initial impulses of my youth were absolutely correct: avoid the college scam, learn a skill, and start your own business. Starting your own business is the essence of the American Dream because it is an expression of personal freedom and creativity. The day I realized that, I quit my corporate job and began my adventure as an appliance repair tech. It's been much more interesting and challenging work than anything I did as an engineer. Yanno, maybe back in the day, when getting a job with a Big Corporation meant employment for life, it might have made sense to go to college. But not these days. Nawsir, the name of the game today is to go your own way, make your own path. And starting your own appliance repair business is one of the best ways to do that today according to this report: Great News: Positive Job Outlook for Appliance Repair Techs!
 

Do the Evaporators in Whirlpool Dual Evaporator Refrigerators have Leak Problems?

We're starting to hear lots of reports of frequent instances of leaking evaporators in the newer Whirlpool dual evaporator refrigerators. Brother PDuff brings this Whirlpool Service Pointer to our attention: And Brother CubbieBear84 reports this: Something to keep in mind if you're called out on one of these with a warm compartment complaint. Source: model WRF989SDAF00 whirlpool frig.
 

Repairing a Samsung Quatro Refrigerator

Join Samurai Appliance Repair Man on a repair safari into Refrigerator Land. In this scintillating video, I narrate a series of photos I took during a service call I did on a Samsung Quatro refrigerator. These are unusual refrigerators because they have four evaporators (hence the marketing name "Quatro"). In this service call, I fixed problems with two of the compartments-- fortunately, both on the same side!
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