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Appliance Repair Tech Tips

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Entries in this blog

4 Essential Tips for CSRs

There are many standard items a CSR should collect from the customer (name, address, contact information, type of appliance, etc.), but I'd like to focus on the key features of a good service ticket that may be overlooked by some. If you make sure to follow these tips, you'll set your techs up for the easiest prediagnosis and best service calls possible. 1. Collect a valid model number A model number is essential for a tech's prediangosis. Without it, he cannot get the correct in

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

10 Essential Tools for Appliance Repair

If you're getting into appliance repair, or even just looking to downsize an overstuffed tool bag, you might be wondering: what are the absolute essentials that you should bring with you on any service call? Well, having my fair share of experience in the field, I'll put forward Team Samurai's list of must-have appliance repair tools. Note that this isn't supposed to be a totally comprehensive list -- just the bare essentials. Multimeter with a loading/LoZ function If there's a t

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An Introduction to R600 and Lokring

We’ve all been hearing about R600 refrigerant for years now, and the reality is that it’s no longer an innovation in the area of household refrigeration; it’s the new standard. With the majority of new refrigerators now being R600 models, repair companies need to be ready to perform sealed system repairs on them. This raises a few questions for these companies: how is R600 different from R134a, and what do I need to service R600 refrigerators? R600 is a chemical called isobutane with p

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Troubleshooting a Top-Load Washer Motor that Hums and Doesn't Run

I've got another scenario for you, taken right from the trials and tribulations of an Appliantology tech. Here's the situation: you're working on a top-load washer, and whenever you try to run a cycle, the tub doesn't move and the motor just hums. Right away, we have a decision to make: do we go ahead and tear apart the machine to take a look at the wash motor? After all, there are a number of mechanical failures that could cause these symptoms. Maybe we should just go ahead and get our han

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Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

What You Need to Know to Troubleshoot Vent Hoods

Vent hoods are pretty simple appliances -- something you've probably surmised if you've ever looked at the schematic for one. Usually, all they have going on is a blower motor and a couple of lights. When it comes to troubleshooting a hood, there are just two technology-related concepts you need to be familiar with: venting specifications and how multi-speed motors work. First, venting specs. As with any machine that produces exhaust as part of its operation, vent hoods have certain require

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Merry Christmas from Team Samurai!

Merry Christmas to all the Appliantology Brethren! Here's hoping that this holiday is capping off a great year for your business, and that an even better year is just around the corner.

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Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

Prediagnosis: How a Real Tech Prepares for a Service Call

Here at Appliantology, our primary mission is to support appliance repair techs in performing prediagnosis: the method of performing as much troubleshooting as you possibly can before setting foot in the customer’s home. Prediagnosis is the biggest factor in increasing FCC (First Call Complete) rates, and the higher the FCC rate, the higher your company's profitability. So how exactly does one prediagnose, and how does Appliantology help with that? Well, let's walk through the journey of an

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Diagnostic Modes: What They Can Do and How to Use Them

Some techs long for the "good old days" of mechanical controls, when troubleshooting appliances was supposedly simpler. But the universal use of electronic controls nowadays actually provides many troubleshooting benefits -- in particular in the form of error codes and diagnostic modes. The purpose of error codes is for the control to tell you its best guess of what's wrong, based on the algorithms programmed into it by the engineers. Note that the engineers' best guess is sometimes a very

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Do Ohms Lie?

"Ohms lie." It's become a popular phrase in the tech community, but what does it actually mean? Should you never do an ohms measurement? Are they completely worthless? Or is this phrase just another example of tech mythology? The answer is more complicated than any of that. Let's run through a quick example to demonstrate. This is an old-skool Whirlpool gas dryer, just like they were cranking out left and right in the good old days. Now, our scenario is a simple one: when we run

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NTC Thermistors: What Are They, How Do They Work, and How Do They Fail?

Anytime you work on a refrigerator with a control board, you've got multiple NTC thermistors in play. With how ubiquitous these devices are, it's important to know them inside and out -- especially how to test them. That's why we've made a webinar all about NTC thermistor technology for your viewing pleasure! In this short excerpt from one of our many technical training webinars, we cover topics like: What is an NTC thermistor used for and where will you find them? What does

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Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

Samsung Refrigerator Ice Dispenser Opening and Closing Repeatedly: Where Do You Begin?

Here's a puzzling scenario on a Samsung refrigerator: the ice dispenser door keeps opening and closing nonstop. When you encounter a weird problem like this, it's easy to lose your head and just start throwing parts at the machine and hoping one of them will fix it. But it's always important to keep our fundamental troubleshooting principles firmly in mind. In this particular case, troubleshooting is made even more difficult by Samsung providing us with a very low-resolution schematic -- bu

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What are Semiconductors, How are They Made, and How do They Work?

Everything runs on circuit boards these days, and wherever there are circuit boards, there are semiconductors. But what are semiconductors, exactly? How are they made, and what do they do? These are exactly the questions we'll answer for you right now in this excerpt from one of our many on-demand technical training webinar recordings. In it, you'll learn the answer to questions like: What are semiconductors? What are they made of? What is "doping" in semiconductors?

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Step-by-Step Guide on How to Run Your Service Calls

The technical side of the service call is generally what gets the spotlight, but what you do before, after, and during the call is just as important to your profitability -- and I'm not just talking about soft skills. The way you organize your thought process and go about your troubleshoot is vital to service call success. And that's exactly what we talk about in this short excerpt from one of our many technical training webinar recordings. Topics covered include: How to run a servi

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One Simple Trick to Reading LG and Samsung Schematics

Both of the big Korean manufacturers -- LG and Samsung -- have a little trick that they like to use in their schematics. While I think they do it to keep the lines from becoming too much of a tangled mess, it can sometimes be a bit unclear for the uninitiated. Here's an example of an LG refrigerator schematic: The whole picture is a bit much, but notice all those bubbles popping up around the schematic? Let's pick one of those and focus in on it. Here's one coming off the sub PCB:

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Find Out How This Dryer Runs with an Impossible Power Cord Configuration...

Here's a weird one for you: how does this dryer run with the neutral wire of the pigtail completely disconnected? To find out, watch this short, 7-minute excerpt from one of our many full-length technical training webinar recordings. In this video, you'll learn the answer to questions like: What is the difference between 3 and 4 wire dryer cords? Why should neutral and ground be separated? Why is the dryer able to run without neutral connected? Give it a watch a

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Troubleshooting an Electric Dryer with No Heat and 120 Volts Present on Both Sides of the Element

Here's a scenario taken right from the trials and tribulations of an Appliantology tech: you're troubleshooting a no heat complaint on a GE electric dryer. You start your troubleshooting with the heating circuit, and your findings are puzzling: there are 120 volts on either side of the heater with respect to neutral, but when you do a voltage reading across the heater, you get some weird amount like 80 volts. What gives? There are a couple of things going on here, and one is easily remedied

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How to Read Timing Charts with the Timer Chart Cha-Cha

Ever looked at a timing chart and been mystified by how to decipher it? Or maybe you're looking at the schematic, and you can't make heads or tails of which switch is supposed to be closed when during a cycle. If timer charts have ever given you trouble, then this is the video for you. In less than 10 minutes, we'll show you how to read a timer chart, correlating it with the actual steps of the cycle, and then identifying how it relates to the state of the switches on the schematic. Give it

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Hall Sensors: How Do They Work?

Whether you were aware of them or not, Hall effect sensors are everywhere. Any time you see a motor on an appliance with any kind of RPM feedback or speed signal, there's a Hall sensor on that motor. As with any ubiquitous appliance technology, it's important for us techs to know how they work. A deeper understanding of the technology means a deeper understanding of how to troubleshoot it. So: what is a Hall sensor, and how does it work? These are semiconductor devices, so as with most elec

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How Refrigerant Absorbs Heat Without Getting Hotter

Refrigeration can seem a bit like magic -- how does a little bit of refrigerant being pushed around in some metal tubes somehow chill a freezer down to 0 degrees F? Well, it's not magic -- it's just physics. But granted, it's an aspect of physics that we don't often interact with in our daily lives, and it can be a bit unintuitive at first. It all has to do with how a material can absorb heat without actually getting hotter. How does this happen? That's what we explain in this excerpt from

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Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

How Do These LG Range Relays Get Energized?

Take a look at this schematic, paying particular attention to the two circled relays. What the relays actually do is pretty simple -- they switch L2 to the left and right burners on the cooktop. But slightly more perplexing is the question of how the relays close when those burners are turned on. We see the row of four burner switches along the bottom of the schematic above, but how do those switches cause those DLB relays to close? A quick recap on how relays work: a relay is an

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How to Troubleshoot Samsung with No Sweat

Long gone are the days when we techs had any excuse to be scared by names like LG or Samsung. Through information tools like Appliantology, we have access to all the technical docs we need to service these models. And anyone who has spent time examining the schematics and service manuals for Samsung appliances knows that there's nothing weird or proprietary going on here -- maybe a bit of Korenglish here and there, but how electricity works and the fundamental technology used in all appliances i

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Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

ASTI 2021 Recap and Technical Training Notes

I just got back from this year's ASTI a few days ago -- a somewhat unique one, styled as "ASTI Lite". While the conference was shorter than usual, I still had a great time meeting many of the fine techs who hang out here at Appliantology and/or train with us at Master Samurai Tech. Looking forward to seeing all of you again at the next ASTI this January! When I wasn't putting faces to Appliantology usernames, I was attending the training classes put on by various manufacturers. Ever mindful

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Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

A Short Video Tutorial on How to Identify Compressor Windings

While we don't like to rely on ohms testing as appliance technicians, those tests have their place -- such as if you want to verify that a compressor's windings are in spec. But if you want to do an ohms test on a split-phase compressor's windings, you'll need to identify which of the three terminals on the compressor's casing corresponds to which winding. To do so, you have to have a little bit of knowledge about how split-phase compressor windings are arranged, and what their specificatio

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Voltage Dividers and how Control Boards Read Thermistor Input

We're all familiar with how thermistors work: their resistance varies with temperature, which in turn varies the voltage drop across them. The control board then reads that voltage drop and determines the sensed temperature based on that. But those with a bit of basic electricity knowledge might scratch their heads a bit if they think about this. Thermistors are almost always drawn on schematics such that they aren't in series with anything else -- it gets its 5 VDC supply and DC ground dir

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240 VAC Split-Phase Power Supplies Visualized and Explained

Ever wondered how L1 and L2 in a 240 VAC circuit have a voltage difference of 240 VAC? Or what people mean when they say that L1 and L2 are 180 degrees out of phase? And what exactly do we mean when we say "voltage difference" anyway? We cover all these topics in this short 6-minute excerpt from one of our many in-depth technical webinar recordings. If you've ever been mystified by the inner workings of standard, split-phase household power, look no further! Give this a watch and be enlight

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

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