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Appliance Repair Tech Tips

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Entries in this blog

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

How do Oven Gas Valves Actually Work? Find Out Here...

We've all changed countless ignitors in gas ovens, and any tech worth his salt knows that the definitive way to detect a failed ignitor is with a current measurement. But why does low current through the ignitor cause ignition to fail? Where does that current spec come from? In this short excerpt from one of our many technical webinars, the Samurai explains the mechanism behind how these gas valves work. Not only will it give you a clear idea of the technology behind these common parts, but

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

EEPs: What they are and how to use them

When you need to test a component, do you always need to just resign yourself to tearing apart the appliance until you reach it? Or is that a waste of time and energy (not to mention unnecessary liability), when you could be working smarter, not harder? Let's say you're working on a Samsung dryer, and you want to measure the thermistor. You know the ohm spec (unfortunately they don't give you voltage drop), so all you need to do is get your meter probes on it so that you can compare. Is you

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

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

Control Board Troubleshooting: Inputs, Outputs, and Algorithms

Many techs are intimidated when it comes to troubleshooting control boards. After all, we're talking about computers here -- computers that just so happen to run appliances. But as complicated as that may sound, control board troubleshooting really boils down to just three things: measuring your inputs, measuring your outputs, and understanding the board's algorithm. Let's start with inputs. Input just means anything, be it a power supply or some information, that the board receives f

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

BrandSource Partners with Master Samurai Tech Academy for Tech Training

Team Samurai has been training appliance techs at the Master Samurai Tech Academy for over 6 years now, and helping out repairmen on the web for far longer. Mr. Appliance has already used our online training for 4 years to make their techs the best they can be. Now, BrandSource has teamed up with us, too! BrandSource is a non-profit buying group for independent retailers of furniture, mattresses, electronics, and, of course, appliances. They help the little guys by negotiating better prices

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Here's why YOU have been doing your voltage measurements all wrong...

Have you ever been robbed of a quick troubleshoot by ghost voltage? How about by an open neutral? Sounds like you need to start using a loading meter for ALL of your AC voltage measurements. Watch the video below to learn why, and find out some things you didn't know about circuits and electrical measurements along the way. Want to see the full troubleshoot of this dryer, showcasing multiple ingenious voltage test locations that ensure for a fast and accurate diagnosis? Click here to watch

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Quick Tips for Reading Unclear or Ambiguous Schematics

Sometimes, the schematics that manufacturers give us aren't as clear as we would like them to be. Take this refrigerator, for example: There are a few confusing things going on with this schematic, but we'll start with the part I've circled. What is that rectangle? It's drawn with the same lines as all the wires, and we're seeing connections going directly to it. There's no label anywhere calling it out as a discreet component. Could it be that that rectangle really is a loop of wire

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Learn the Samurai's Secret Technique for Deciphering Timer Charts...

In this short, informative video, the Samurai walks through the steps of the patented Timer Chart Cha-Cha -- a system for reading and applying timer charts to schematics so that you can make sense of what's going on in the circuit. In just 2 minutes, you'll learn the steps of the Cha-Cha which empower you to troubleshoot timer-controlled circuits with ease. Want to see the Timer Chart Cha-Cha in action and watch how it improves the troubleshooting process? Click here to watch the full webin

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Can Low Water Pressure Cause Solenoid Valves to Leak?

We run into water inlet solenoid valves in many different situations -- washers, dishwashers, refrigerators -- so it's important to have a firm grasp on exactly how they work. For example, I just talked with a tech recently who was wondering why low water pressure can cause inlet valves to leak. It seemed counter-intuitive to him, and he's not wrong. Wouldn't it make more sense for high water pressure to cause leaking? But once you learn exactly how these valves work, it will all make sense

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

GFCIs, AFCIs, and Nuisance Tripping

The most basic circuit safety device that everyone is familiar with is the circuit breaker. All a breaker has to do is detect if the amperage in its circuit exceeds a certain threshold and open the circuit if it does. Simple and effective, but not every electrical hazard involves excessive current. In fact, having less current than you should can also indicate a serious safety issue. Enter the GFCI and the AFCI. You might already be familiar with GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interruptors) --

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Pop Quiz: Can You Solve this Series Circuit Puzzle?

Think you know your circuits? How about we put that to the test! In this excerpt from one of our many illuminating webinar recordings, the Samurai traces out the circuit for a refrigerator evaporator fan. Interestingly, the neutral side of the fan's power supply goes through both the defrost terminator and the defrost heater. How can this be? Watch this excerpt and ponder the mystery for yourself. When you think you have the answer, click here to view the full webinar and see if you go

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

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

Push to Start Switches in Dryers -- and Much More!

We've got quite the library of awesomely informative webinar recordings here at Appliantology -- literally days worth of it! Don't believe me? Here's a little taste. Push to start switches are extremely common technology in dryers, but do you actually know how they work? And do you know the fatal troubleshooting error that can lead you to misdiagnose them? Watch this short excerpt to find out. If you want to watch the full recording and take your appliance repair skills to the next lev

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

BLDC Motor Configurations, FG signals, and PWM signals

BLDC motors aren't new technology in appliances anymore -- in fact, they've become the norm. As such, it's important to be aware of the different configurations you'll see these motors in across appliances. These configurations fall into three categories: 2-wire, 3-wire, and 4-wire. An important thing to note before we continue: all BLDC motors in appliances are run by inverters. The inverter may be a separate board, like you'll see in washers with BLDC motors, or it may be built into the m

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Bubble, Dew, and Glide in Refrigerants

To follow along with this blog post, you should go ahead and download the refrigerant slider app called "Ref Tools" to your smartphone (don't worry, it's free!). It's the one developed by Danfoss. I'm going to be referencing a few features of that app as I explain some properties of refrigerant, so go ahead and familiarize yourself with it. It's a great tool to have on hand regardless, since it lets you painlessly calculate superheat and subcooling in sealed systems. Got it? Good. What I wa

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Diodes in AC Circuits

Put simply, diodes are devices that only allow current to flow in one direction. In DC circuits, this means that a diode can either act as a conductor, just as a stretch of wire would, or as an open in the circuit, depending on the configuration. See the examples of DC circuits with diodes below: That arrowhead-like symbol is the diode. The fat end of the arrow is the positively charged anode, while the narrow end that meets the straight line is the negatively charged cathode. Fi

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Samurai's Picks: Quickly find the best tech info on Appliantology!

Appliantology is a big place, and there's valuable technical info constantly being posted in the forums and the blogs. But techs are busy folks, and we know that you don't always have the time to read through everything that's going on at the site. That's why I want to direct you to your new favorite page at Appliantology: Samurai's Picks. Accessible at any time from the main menu bar, Samurai's Picks is the go-to place where you can find content from the site that's hand-curated by u

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Troubleshooting Thermistors, Identifying EEPs, and More...

When you want to measure the voltage across a component, where do you go to do that? Do you just resign yourself to disassembling the machine until you have access to that component? If you want to troubleshoot like a real tech, you use EEPs -- that's Electrically Equivalent Points. Identifying EEPs requires both being able to skillfully read a schematic and having a solid understanding of how electricity works. By doing this, you eliminate all unnecessary disassembly, increasing the profit

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Is 120 VAC Really 120 Volts?

Let's take a look at the sine wave you would see if you hooked up an oscilloscope to a typical household power supply. This is showing reading line with respect to neutral. Hopefully you're already familiar with using a sine wave to represent AC voltage like this. To define a little terminology: the peak voltage (shown in green) is the voltage difference between the middle line (0 VAC) and the highest point of each peak. This diagram shows 170 VAC peak. Peak to peak voltage, on the ot

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

Know your Multimeter: a Short Breakdown of Every Meter Function

Let's take a look at a multimeter and talk about what each function does and what it's good for. This is specifically for a Fluke 116 multimeter, so if you have a different meter, you might see a slightly different array of functions. But this will be representative of a typical multimeter. LoZ: That stands for "low impedance". This is the loading function of your meter, meaning that it allows you to do voltage measurements that actually put a load on the circuit, allowing for a small

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

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