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Appliance Repair Tech Tips

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Entries in this blog

Can a PTC Start Device Create a Short?

Here's the problem scenario: The customer's refrigerator has stopped running. You take a look at the start device, and it's completely burnt out -- enough so that you can see that the plastic housing has melted. You swap it out for a new start device and... Still nothing. In fact, a quick voltage measurement shows that the control board isn't sending voltage to the compressor. Now the board needs to be replaced, too. So what happened here? Did the start device just short out and t

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

Schematic Exercises to Help You Step Up Your Troubleshooting Game

Here's your problem statement: in this GE dryer, the timer doesn't advance in auto-dry. How do you approach this like a real tech, without making guesses and monkey-jabs? In this excerpt from a longer webinar, the Samurai shows using the timer chart and the schematic in conjunction to form a foolproof troubleshooting plan. Give it a watch! Want to watch the full recording? Click below -- viewable only by premium tech members.

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Appliantology Brethrens! I'm thankful to be part of a community of such sharp techs who are always willing to help each other out. Here's hoping you're popping open a cold one with the family and enjoying the things that matter most.

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Announcements

How to Never Get Tricked by an Open Neutral Again

Here's the situation: the tech has a Maytag dishwasher with no lights, no life, no nothin'. With a multimeter on LoZ, the tech has already checked the following with reference to ground. Here are his findings that he reported: Seeing that there was a solid 120 volts to the board and no operation, the tech concluded (with the aid of a few ohm checks across the control board) that the board was the culprit. He replaced it, and... Still nada. How could such a seeming slam-dunk

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

Identifying Power Supplies on a Samsung Control Board

See if you can identify two things on this Samsung dishwasher schematic: 1. Where does the control board receive line and neutral? 2. Where do the sub-control boards get their DC power supply? The answer to the first question can be found easily enough, if you have a little schematic reading experience. But it's a bit trickier for those who don't have as much practice. For one thing, line and neutral aren't explicitly labeled. Just wire colors are given, but fortunately

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

Most Techs Wouldn't Troubleshoot this Door Switch the Right Way...

I want you to take a look at the door switch I've circled below. Think about it for a minute, then answer one question: what single test could you do to prove beyond a doubt whether or not that door switch is operating within spec? There's no trickery going on here -- it's just a simple switch. But many techs will test it using a flawed, limited test that has a big chance of leading them to the wrong conclusion. And they'll do a bunch of unnecessary disassembly. Post your answer in th

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

Bimetals and RTDs: How Do They Work and What's the Difference?

Bimetals show up all over the appliance world in all kinds of applications. Resistive Temperature Devices (RTDs) are widely used in ovens and ranges and are commonly called "oven temperature sensors." Both are devices that respond to temperature, but beyond that, they work completely differently and serve different purposes. Watch this short excerpt from one of our many technical education webinar recordings to learn all about these devices! The full webinar covers all the common

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

Can You Solve this Schematic Symbol Mystery?

Here's something for you sharp Appliantology techs to puzzle over: what in the world is the circled symbol on this schematic? Is that a wiring harness? Maybe this diagram's strange way of showing a splice? To figure out what it is, we've got to have a functional understanding of how Electrolux likes to design their water valve circuits. Let's look at a similar configuration that's drawn differently. There we have it -- on this schematic, the engineers decided to throw

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

How Does this Dryer Run in a Seemingly Impossible Configuration?

Imagine you're out on a call, and you run into this: As the picture says, the dryer runs like this. And even weirder, when you correct the wiring, it stops running. Take a minute to think, then see if you can answer this pop quiz: 1. How does the dryer run in this configuration? 2. What's wrong about the wiring in this configuration? 3. Why does it stop working when you correct the wiring? 4. What one test could you do that would prove your hypothesis about th

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

One Powerful Measurement Could Have Saved This Tech Hours of Troubleshooting...

Here's the situation: the tech is working on a dryer that keeps blowing its thermal fuse. The tech has already replaced the fuse once, and it's now blown again. What could be causing this, and what's the best way to tell? We'll start by looking at the heater circuit -- an essential step in any troubleshooting plan. Pretty simple stuff. Just a cycling thermostat, a centrifugal switch, and a hi-limit thermostat. The thermal fuse that keeps blowing is the one in the motor circuit. I

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

A Quick Introduction to Computer Board Troubleshooting

As control boards, and especially multiple-board configurations, become more and more prevalent in appliances today, we need to keep our troubleshooting skills sharp and adapt. So what troubleshooting strategies should you apply when you're dealing with a computer board? The good news is that you don't need to be a computer geek to work with boards. You just need a troubleshooting strategy for dealing with them, and you need to understand how they operate on a basic level. That's what the S

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai in Tech Talk

The Appliantology Brethren vs. Badly Labelled Samsung Docs...

Brother Scott-afl ran into some unexpected trouble when trying to extend the defrost cycle on a Samsung RF28HFEDBSR/AA refrigerator. In his words: Two puzzling things here: First, why the difference in the error code reporting? It's a minor point, but that E/C difference seems odd. Second, why is the procedure for extending the defrost not working, despite multiple attempts at following the instructions in the manual? Both of these discrepancies boiled down to one thing: po

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

New MST Academy Site Installation Monday 10/26/2020

Our online appliance repair training site, MasterSamuraiTech.com, will have a few hours of downtime tonight (Monday, October 26, 2020) starting at 11pm eastern time as we install our brand spanking new website. We will post any important updates right here at my blog. If you are a current student, here's a quick overview of what you will experience once the new site is up and running. UPDATE: The new site is up and running! Check it out for yourself.  

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

GE Washer Never Fills All the Way -- Is There a Problem?

One of the Appliantology Brethrens presented a small head-scratcher for us the other day about a GE GTWN4250D1WS top-load washer: Sounds like a real problem, doesn't it? Back in the good ol' days, when you set a top-loader on maximum fill, it would fill that sucker all the way up. But wait -- before you start tearing things apart to take a look at the pressure sensor, let's listen to some words of wisdom from Brother @sh2sh2: Ahh, well now, looks like we were about to get tricked!

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Installations from Hell: What Would You Do?

Picture it. You're walking into the service call of a long day, but you're feeling good. You've got your tools in hand, you've done all the prediagnosis; you're gonna kill it. The customer lets you in, and while chatting affably he begins leading you to the appliance. You can't place why, but a dark cloud of foreboding passes over you. You push it aside, but the feeling only grows. He's leading you downstairs now, into the basement. It's dingy down here -- clutter everywhere. No,

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

The Anatomy of a Gas Dryer Valve

Ever wondered what the inside of a gas dryer valve looks like? And what's the purpose of having two separate valves in one component? What about those mysterious "safety" and "booster" coils? All of these questions are answered in this short excerpt from one of our many in-depth technical training webinar recordings. Give it a watch and, if you want to see more, click here to watch the full recording. This and dozens hours more of technical education are available only to our premium member

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

How do Surge Protectors Work?

I've seen a few guys around the forums ask the same question: are surge protectors (also called surge suppressors) safe to use on refrigerators? Best I can figure, this question comes from folks mixing up surge protectors with AFCIs and GFCIs (you can click here to read about how those devices work). But it speaks to a general ignorance of how surge protectors work. Well, why don't we fix that? The reason surge protectors exist is to block voltage spikes -- those are large spikes in th

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Relays and PTCs: A Crash Course on Compressor Start Devices

Every split-phase motor needs a start device, and split-phase compressors are no exception. There are a variety of start devices out there for compressors, and it's vital for your troubleshooting that you understand how they work. In this short excerpt from a longer webinar recording, the Samurai steps through the differences between relays and PTCs, laying the groundwork for differentiating between these devices in the field. If you want to learn more about the technology used in modern re

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

How do Relays and Triacs Work?

Whether a control board in an appliance is simple or sophisticated, there's one trick it has to pull off: switching high AC voltage using low control voltage. They pull this off by using relays or triacs, devices that all of us are at least passingly familiar with. But how do these very common control components work, exactly? And how is troubleshooting a relay different from troubleshooting a triac? That's what we'll look at today. Relays: The older and simpler of these two devices, r

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

3-Way Valve Configurations in Refrigerators

There's more than one way for a 3-way valve sealed system to be configured, and if you want to troubleshoot these machines right, you've gotta know the difference. In the full webinar recording, the Samurai runs through 3-way valve operation and dual evaporator systems in detail, using Samsung technical documentation for reference. It's not one you're gonna want to miss! Click here to watch the full webinar -- only available to premium members!  

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Start Capacitors and Run Capacitors in Split-Phase Motors

Ever seen a capacitor somewhere in a split-phase motor's circuit and wondered what exactly the point of that thing is? That's what we'll talk about in this blog post. There are two different types of capacitors in split-phase motor circuits: start capacitors and run capacitors. Each type has a different set of parameters and serves a different purpose. But before we get into these specific types of capacitors, let's take a quick review on capacitors in general. Capacitors aren't compli

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Demystifying Samsung Refrigerators

Samsung has developed something of a reputation in the tech community, and not necessarily the most flattering one. Many consider the brand to be overly-complicated and impossible to troubleshoot, and some refuse to work on these machines at all. But is this attitude really warranted? All appliances everywhere work on the same principles, and Samsung is no exception. The idea that Korean appliances like Samsung and LG somehow work differently is pure mythology, and this short excerpt from o

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Know your Power Supplies

For those of us techs based in the States, it can be easy to think that electricity just "happens to exist" as our familiar 120/240 volt split-phase power. But that's only one of many forms that electrical power can take. It can come in a variety of voltages and phases, all depending on what standard a particular country or region decided upon. Let's step through the most common of these. There are two that North American techs are likely to encounter: the typical 120/240 volt split-phase 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

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