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No matter what refrigerator problem you're called out for, no matter if it's for a warm freezer or a noisy fan or a leaking dispenser, there's one simple step that should you should always do before anything else -- before you or the customer even opens the doors of the machine:
Measure the compartment temperatures.
Simple, right? So why am I writing a blog post about it? Well, a lot of techs don't see why this is a step that you must always take when troubleshooting a refrigerator. Do
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
Didn't make it to ASTI this year? You missed out on some great technical info!
But don't worry -- we took careful note of all the juicy tech tips being dropped by Samsung, Bosch, and Whirlpool in their technical training and showcased them for your benefit in this latest webinar recording. Give it a watch to get the inside scoop!
One of the first things you need when you start working on an appliance is the model number. Otherwise, unless there's a tech sheet with the machine, there's no way to find technical info on it. But what do you do when the model number tag has been damaged or removed? It's a rare occurrence, but one that can cause a major roadblock in a repair. Here's an example of one such situation:
As you can see, both the model and serial numbers are almost entirely illegible. Fortunately, there's
During the second half of my stay at ASTI 2020, I got the chance to get the inside scoop on Bosch dishwashers and many different kinds of Beko appliances. While the Bosch training didn't have much new to say, I got a pretty good look at the nuances of Beko products. They've got some nifty features that I haven't seen elsewhere, but there are some quirks to their design and documentation that could make for difficulties with repairs.
Take a look at my notes and see for yourself! Available to
Just got back last week from ASTI 2020 in (not so sunny) Florida! Aside from helping man the Master Samurai Tech booth at the trade show, I attended as many of the manufacturer training sessions as I could. I figured some of the Appliantology Brethren would like to take a peek at my notes...
The first day and a half, I sat in on Liebherr, Samsung, and Whirlpool training. While these manufacturers all generally focus too much on monkey training (disassembly and other information you can easi
What we call Parts-Changing Monkeys (PCMs) around here at Appliantology are techs who rely on pattern recognition, tech myths, and blind luck to make their repairs. Case in point with this example of a GE ZGU385 gas cooktop, where said PCM figured he would get lucky by replacing a couple of components that seemed related to the problem, apparently without any troubleshooting beforehand.
Spoiler: he didn't get lucky.
Real technicians don't rely on luck to get things fixed. We rely on kn
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
Did you miss our awesome webinar a few weeks ago? With all the computer-controlled dryers out there today, many techs forget that they still need Old Skool circuit troubleshooting skills to solve many dryer problems they'll encounter in the field today. With that in mind, our recent webinar covered four real-world dryer case studies on simple dryer circuits that trip up lots of techs who should know better (and think they do but, in fact, do not).
Some of the topics we covered include:
@fillthebarman ran into an interesting problem the other day: he had a stacked washer and dryer where the washer could only be run when the dryer was running. How is this possible? Brother @sh2sh2 had the answer:
A brilliant piece of insight, and precisely what turned out to be going on here. But how does this happen, exactly? Let's look at the schematics. Here's the washer:
As you can see from the circled bit, the power supply for the washer comes right from the dryer's connec
There are some electrical terms that are often used in vague and incorrect ways by the general public. This can make things confusing for us techs, especially those new to the craft, because these terms have precise meanings when used by those in the trade. A couple of these words are short and ground.
Short is often used by the non-technical to refer to any "bad" circuit. The term "short circuit" is a popular one to throw around in this sense. In reality, a short is just one of multiple di
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
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
Reliable income is something all techs want to achieve. But to have consistent profits, you have to perform consistently on service calls. While we all might like to think of ourselves as repair cowboys who can head out on every job half-cocked and still get it fixed right, that's just not reality. The way to achieve the most consistency possible on service calls is by using systems.
A system is coherent set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) designed to achieve a specific objective. I
You're fighting a constant battle in the appliance repair trade to get the most money out of the time you spend. One of the biggest problems you face is unprofitable service calls. Most often these crop up as repairs that are close to the replacement cost. What customer is going to opt for a $300 repair when they can buy a new dryer for $400?
Fortunately, there are 2 simple steps you can take to weed out 95% of these kinds of calls. These steps are prediagnosis and flat-rate pricing.
Sometimes, the hardest part of being a tech is dealing with the customer. Customers always have expectations, some reasonable and some not, and we have to manage these on top of performing our diagnostics and repairs.
A large part of being a real technician is knowing when to trust your own expertise over customer demands. This struggle generally manifests in two ways:
1. The customer has their own diagnosis that they're sure is correct. We've all encountered this before. Something alo
We're so used to our fancy control boards and computer-controlled appliances that we sometimes forget how to troubleshoot old-skool circuits. While these circuits are generally pretty straightforward, the manufacturers employed some clever tricks that can mess with your head if you don't have a firm grasp of simple AC circuits.
Take the buzzer in this dryer as an example:
The Tan or Black side of the buzzer goes straight to neutral through that unlabeled switch beneath the temper
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
In this webinar recording for the ages, the Samurai explains everything you need to know to run a successful service call, minimizing return trips and maximizing profits. He covers the steps you need to take before the call and how you need to think while on the call. All of this information is neatly and concisely presented as The Samurai System for Service Call Excellence -- a must-know for any tech who wants to make the most money for the least headache.
The topics covered include:
One of the first steps when you're troubleshooting a warm temperature proble in both compartments of a refrigerator should always be to identify whether you're dealing with a problem in the sealed system or with a problem elsewhere in the unit.
The go-to method for most techs is to get eyes on the evaporator coils. While the frost pattern there can tell you a lot of things about the health of the refrigerator, it has a massive drawback: getting to the evaporator can require a lot of non-tri
Techs as a community have developed some bits of jargon that serve as shorthand ways of describing specific technical situations. These phrases are useful for saving ourselves time and breath, but sometimes the exact definitions get blurry. Even worse, sometimes the way that the phrase sounds gets confused for a description of the actual science/physics behind what's going on, leading to a variety of "tech myths". Let's clear up a few of these terms.
"Failing under load"
This a situat
There's a goal that any tech worth his salt should have when he heads into a service call: troubleshoot the machine until he has logically and definitively located the problem.
Most of the time this goal is achievable, as long as you have the documentation for the appliance you're working on. You can take measurements and compare them with the specifications from the manufacturer until you find what's not within specifications. This is called analytical troubleshooting and is, in fact, the
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
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
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