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Son of Samurai's Blog

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Entries in this blog

 

Spot the Error in this Schematic...

Here's a timing chart and a schematic. See if you can spot the problem... (HINT: it's in the motor circuit.) Did you see it? If you did, bravo! Your schematic-reading skills are pretty sharp. If not, don't worry -- I'll step you through it. Like I said, the error in the schematic is in the motor circuit -- specifically the start winding. Like any good tech, I'm going to do a load analysis on that winding to see what's up. Line and neutral both have to go through

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

How to Measure Voltage Drop Across Thermistors

All of us techs are carrying around multimeters these days, and that means we have several different voltage measurement settings available to us at any given time. Usually these are DC voltage, AC voltage, and LoZ (low input impedance). Each of these functions has a specific use, and part of taking a voltage measurement is picking the correct setting for the job. LoZ is by far the most common voltage function you should be using. In fact, there is almost never a time when you should do an

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

[Webinar Recording] How to Run an Appliance Repair Business During a Lockdown

With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, things are changing quickly. No matter how long or short the actual pandemic lasts, everything won't just go back to how it used to be, and if we appliance repair techs want to stay in business, we will have to adapt. What exactly that adaptation looks like remains to be seen, but Team Samurai has been in the business long enough to have some solid ideas about it. Heavy sanitation precautions are something that is already happening and will continue to beco

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

Pop Quiz: What's Wrong with This Defrost Drain?

If you cracked open a freezer and saw the defrost drain looking like this, what would be your immediate reaction? Do you see what the problem is? Take a closer look... Have you figured it out? The deal with this defrost drain is... There is no problem. This is a clear, perfectly normal-looking defrost drain. You can see a little evidence of some water pooling and freezing, but the amount is well within acceptable limits. Based on a visual inspection, there is no issue

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

How to Correctly Measure Dryer Vent Airflow

The general rule for dryer vent airflow is that, if the airflow feels like a breath (even a strong one), then you have a problem. This rule of thumb will serve you well a lot of the time, but sometimes a "calibrated palm" just isn't enough. Sometimes, you need to get an actual measurement of the airflow so that you can compare it to the specifications. What you really want to know is the volumetric flow rate of the dryer exhaust. That is, how much air it's pushing out over a particular peri
 

How would you test these water valves?

How would you go about troubleshooting the valves? As always, we should start with a load analysis on your load (or in this case, loads) of interest. That means identifying how each valve gets line and neutral. (The wire marked with a blue N connects directly to neutral). You should immediately see that something is off. How do the IM and water valves get neutral? The answer is that someone over at Whirlpool made a whoopsie when drawing this schematic. There should be a line
 

Can a Range Run on a 9 Volt Battery?

Here's something you don't see every day: a gas range that is powered only by a 9 volt battery. Pretty nifty, huh? @Littletexan told us about his encounter with this one in this post from a couple weeks ago. Let's look at some of the unique aspects of this model. We'll start, as always, with the schematic: Well that's about as simple as it gets! All mechanical controls -- nothing too fancy going on here. One thing I will point out is that, while the schematic seems to show a
 

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
 

Here's What Loading Down Looks Like and How to Troubleshoot It

Most of you have probably heard about loading down before -- when one failed DC component causes a ripple effect that keeps other DC components from functioning properly until the failed component is removed. But what does that actually look like in practice? And how do you go about troubleshooting it? To answer these questions, let's take a look at a straightforward, real-world example of loading down (taken straight from this topic at Appliantology). @marshall450 ran into what seemed

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

The Big Differences Between NTC and PTC Thermistors

In the appliance repair world, we deal with two different kinds of thermistors: NTC (Negative Temperature Coefficient) and PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient). Don't know what those terms mean? Don't worry, I'll break it down for you. Despite both being thermistors, the only real similarity between NTCs and PTCs is that the resistance of both changes in response to temperature. Beyond that, they work quite differently and serve very different functions. Here's what a typical NTC the

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

The Vital First Step to Troubleshooting Any Refrigerator

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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

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

 

Learn EXCLUSIVE Samsung, Bosch, and Whirlpool Troubleshooting Tricks

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!    

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

How to Find the Model Number Even When it's Missing

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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

Tech Training Notes from ASTI 2020, Part 2

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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

Tech Training Notes from ASTI 2020, Part 1

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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

How to Troubleshoot a GE Cooktop like a Real Tech vs. like a PCM

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

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

 

Dryer Case Studies that will Blow your Mind

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:

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

Stacked Washer Only Runs When Dryer is Running

@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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

More Tech Jargon Explained: "Short" and "Ground"

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

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

 

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

 

Systems: the Key to Appliance Repair Success

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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

2 Simple Steps to Make your Appliance Repair Business More Profitable

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. P

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

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