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Appliance Repair Tech Tips

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Entries in this blog

Your Most Powerful Appliance Repair Tool isn't in Your Tool Bag...

Information has always been the name of the game for appliance repair techs. Our jobs are all about locating and making extrapolations upon information such as specifications and measurements. If we can't access at least a baseline level of information for a particular job (at the very least the schematic), then it's almost impossible for us to do our job. The meteoric rise of mobile technology and the Internet over the past few decades has hugely expanded how much information we can access

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Would you Troubleshoot this Washer Motor Problem the Right Way?

Do you know the most efficient way to troubleshoot this washer motor, or would you go through unnecessary disassembly? Watch this webinar excerpt to find out. This is just a short excerpt of a webinar that's packed with even more vital info on how to maximize your service call profitability through solid troubleshooting techniques. Click here to watch it now. This and 50+ hours more of awesome webinar recordings are available only to our premium members at Appliantology.  

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Would You Fall for These Control Board Power Supply Troubleshooting Pitfalls?

A tech is troubleshooting the power supply for a Maytag dishwasher control board, and he finds some interesting readings. Using a LoZ meter, he reports finding 120 volts at the outlet and at the control board. But strangely, he also has 48 volts on neutral. What gives? In our latest webinar, we unpacked all the electrical know-how and troubleshooting mojo that goes into properly diagnosing a problem like this. To figure out what went wrong in this troubleshoot, you have to answer the follow

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

Why You Can't Troubleshoot a Sealed System Without Knowing Thermodynamics

You can't get around it -- you've got to understand at least the basics of thermodynamics to troubleshoot sealed system problems. Let's say you're working on a two-compressor R134a refrigerator -- completely separate sealed systems for the freezer and the fresh food compartment. Two evaporators, two compressors... you get the idea. You're experiencing an issue where the FF is always too cold. Say, 20F or so. All the other components seem to be in spec, so you put a gauge on the low side of

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Why Using OEM Parts Should be SOP

We've all been there: you're looking up the part that you need for the job, and the price tag about knocks you out of your chair. No way that heating element costs that much to produce! Maybe your concern isn't just for yourself -- you're interested in saving the customer some money. Despite the sometimes exorbitant prices, there are many good reasons to go with the OEM part over a generic one. OEM parts are generally better quality and make for a more reliable repair. You're going

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Why Appliantology is the Best Appliance Repair Resource on the Web

Appliantology isn't the only online appliance repair resource out there -- but it's by far the best. What this site has over "free" alternatives, such as Facebook repair groups, are three primary points: Organization, Privacy, and Information Integrity. Facebook isn't free; the product is YOU and you're "paying" by allowing Facebook algorithms to microanalyze everything you do on the site. Every click, every interaction, every post, even how long you spend looking at things are all permanen

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Why Amps are the Definitive Measurement in AC Circuits

Volts, ohms, and amps -- these are the three types of electrical measurements from which we draw our diagnostic conclusions as appliance techs. They all have their uses, but watch out -- they're not all equal in usefulness or reliability! Let's go through them one at a time. Ohms: Despite being a lot of techs' go-to measurement, ohms is actually the least reliable of the three. This is due in large part to the fact that it can only be performed on a dead circuit. This means that it complete

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

When the Tech Sheet Lies...

Tell me what's wrong with this picture: No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you -- that schematic really is showing a split-phase compressor being run by an inverter board. If you're sitting there sputtering and foaming at the mouth in disbelief, thinking, "That can't possibly be correct," then congrats! You had the correct reaction. What this diagram is showing simply can't line up with reality. Split-phase motors are never run using inverter boards -- the very idea is nonse

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

When Ohm's Law Doesn't Apply...

Ohm's law, meaning the set of simple equations that define the relationship between voltage, current, resistance, and power, is an essential tool for appliance techs. Not only is it the cornerstone of understanding electricity, but it's also an invaluable troubleshooting tool. This said, there are some loads to which the simple form of Ohm's law doesn't apply. The simple form of Ohm's Law only takes into account real resistance (ohms) but does not consider other ways that electron movement can b

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

What's the Difference Between Neutral and Ground?

Is there a reason to distinguish ground from neutral when it comes to electrical testing? If you need a reference for a voltage measurement, doesn't ground work just as well as neutral? Not at all! Ground and neutral are supposed to be two separate things in an AC circuit, and so they can't be used interchangeably. In this short webinar excerpt, the Samurai breaks down what the difference is and why you should only ever use neutral in your AC voltage measurements. The full version of t

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

What's the Difference Between AFCIs and GFCIs?

Two of the most common circuit protection devices we'll see on outlets or circuit breakers are AFCIs and GFCIs. But what exactly are these devices, what do they do, and what are the differences between them? The Samurai answers these questions in this short excerpt from one of the hugely enriching webinar recordings available here at Appliantology. Want to watch the full webinar and learn the whole scoop on these protection devices? Get access to it and 50+ hours of on-demand recordings by

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

What You Need to Know to Repair Internet-Connected Appliances

Internet-connected appliances aren't a niche anymore. They're made by just about every brand out there, from Samsung to Whirlpool and beyond, so if you want to stay in the appliance repair game, you've got to know how they work. Lucky for you, this post is going to break down what you need to know to work on them. The key thing to keep in mind is this: internet-connected appliances are not that much more complicated than normal appliances. As long as you grasp a few fundamental concepts, th

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

What is the Purpose of this "Signal Transformer"?

Say you're working on the cooktop of a Frigidaire gas range, and after chasing some wires, you find that this component is in the circuit, right after the power comes in from the outlet: The label calls it a "signal transformer", but what is the point of this device, exactly? Well, as with most circuit mysteries, the schematic will give us some more insight... How odd -- a transformer that, seemingly, doesn't do anything. You have 120 VAC going to the primary, and 120 VAC c

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

What is LG's FlowSense and How Does It Work in Gas Dryers?

Take a look at this LG gas dryer schematic, paying special attention to the circuit with the flame detector. If you trace it out, it becomes a bit puzzling what that circuit is actually doing. The hi-limit thermostat, the safety thermostat, and the flame detector don’t appear to have any direct effect on the gas valve coils as you would find in other dryers. So what purpose do they serve?  This markup makes it all clear.   Unlike many circuits that use controls li

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

What is Ghost Voltage?

Ghost voltage is a term that you'll hear used in tech circles, and often incorrectly. Ghost voltage is the name of a very specific phenomenon, but I've seen it used variously to refer to failing under load, high resistance connections, and even simple open circuits. What does it really mean? What we call ghost voltage is transient, seemingly sourceless voltage. It does, of course, have a source. You know how when current flows through a conductor, it produces a magnetic field? Well that mag

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

What is Capacitive Coupling and How Does It Make Ghost Voltage?

In this excerpt from one of our many in-depth technical webinars, the Samurai breaks down in just a few minutes what causes ghost voltage. He'll show in simple terms what the term "capacitive coupling means, as well as how to do your voltage measurements correctly so that you'll never be fooled by an open neutral again. Want to watch the full version of this webinar, along with 50+ additional hours of practical technical education? Click here to become a premium tech member today.

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

What is a Sine Wave and Why Do We Use it to Represent Voltage?

You don't have to be a physicist or a mathematician to troubleshoot properly, but you can't get around the fact that math is the only way to really understand electricity. Sine waves are one such mathematical representation used for both voltage and current. But how does this representation work, exactly, and how does it help us wrap our head around voltage, current, and power? That's what we'll break down for you in this excerpt from one of our many full-length technical webinar recordings

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

What Does "Split-Phase" Really Mean in Motors?

You're probably familiar with the term "split-phase motor", but do you actually know what it means? That's exactly what we'll dive into in this post. The whole trick with motors on single-phase, standard household power is how to get them going from a dead stop. Once the rotor is spinning, it'll keep going happily as long as power is applied to the motor winding. But without a little engineering, single-phase power won't get a motor spinning -- it'll just hum and twitch in place. The t

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

What are TMR sensors and how are they different from Hall Effect sensors?

New technologies are never invented specifically for household appliances. We always get hand-me-downs. But just because a technology was used first in a different field doesn't mean that we're familiar with it already when it reaches appliances. TMR (tunnel magentoresistance) sensors are one such example. Coming to us from the world of computer electronics, they serve the same purpose as Hall Effect sensors but work completely differently. A TMR sensor consists of two ferromagnets sep

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Waterproofing Splices in Refrigerators and Freezers

Why is it that manufacturers (such as GE, Electrolux, and others) always recommend that you seal any splices you make in their refrigeration units with silicone grease? The simple answer is that it keeps out water. This is obviously desirable because water can both corrode and short out electrical connections. A splice is already a weak point in a circuit, so especially in wet environments, you want to give them as much lasting power as possible. And it gets even more interesting when you'r

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Watch Out for this LG Control Board Booby Trap

@LearningTech dropped a great tip in The Dojo a little while back: not all LG control boards can be updated after a universal compressor is installed. If you're planning on doing sealed system work on these machines, you're going to want to check the list below to see if your model's PCB can be updated. Otherwise, you might be in for a nasty surprise. LearningTech also provided a handy image showing where you can find a PCB's manufacturing date: Want to be in on cool tech t

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Want to Learn How to Troubleshoot Like a Pro? Watch This.

We talk a lot here at Appliantology about always consulting the schematic as the first step of your troubleshooting. But how exactly do you do that? That's where the Troubleshooting Ten Step Tango comes in! Watch the clip below where the Samurai demonstrates how to use this reliable, universally applicable troubleshooting framework to troubleshoot a real-world refrigerator scenario. Want to watch the full webinar recording and learn how to use the schematic and the Ten Step T

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

Using Frequency Measurements as a Troubleshooting Tool

Here's our scenario: you're working on a Samsung WA50K8600AW washer that won't advance in the cycle. Error codes and test modes aren't telling you anything useful, and the control doesn't even seem to be trying to advance the cycle. You've checked the air tube connected to the pressure sensor, too, and everything is clear there. What can you do here? Do you just call it a bad board and move on? Let's see if there's a smarter test we can do on this one. What if we could test the signal

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

Upcoming Server Migration

Greetings, my brethren in the craft! I wanted to give you all a heads up about the server migration that's currently in progress here at Appliantology. You shouldn't notice too much amiss while this is going on (besides some downtime early Saturday morning when the actual transfer takes place), but there may still be some weirdness. For example, we just noticed that some PA membership renewal notices just got sent out to a few of our users that had already renewed within the past few weeks.

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

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