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Son of Samurai's Blog

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Entries in this blog

This Circuit Looks Like It Can Never Run... And Yet It Does

This Circuit Looks Like It Can Never Run... And Yet It Does

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

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

 

How to Maximize Service Call Profits and Minimize Wasted Time

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:

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

One Magic Trick to Instantly Identify Sealed System Problems

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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

Four Common Tech Phrases Explained and Mythologies Debunked

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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

How to Know the Limits of What You Can Troubleshoot

How to Know the Limits of What You Can Troubleshoot

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 

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

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

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

When the Tech Sheet Lies...

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

 

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

 

Inverter or Compressor: Which is the Culprit?

VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) systems have been around long enough now that most of us know the procedure for troubleshooting them. You have three main tests that you perform: 1. Check for the PWM (Pulse Width Modulated) signal from the main control to the inverter. This is a DC square wave data signal that alternates between 0-5 VDC. The inverter has to receive this signal from the main board in order for it to run the motor. 2. Check the 120 VAC input to the inverter board. This has

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

Professional Appliantologist Membership Application

FOR PROFESSIONAL APPLIANCE TECHS ONLY! Appliantology is the premiere appliance tech support site on the web. This annual membership unlocks the total and awesome power of Appliantology, turning it into a fearsome weapon of mass instruction and appliance information tool for the professional appliance tech who needs bleeding edge technical info. You'll get all of these perks and benefits: Win $100 every month by participating in our Kendo Points program -- you can more than earn back the

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

KitchenAid KGRS505XWH05 Range Mysteriously Refuses to Bake or Broil

What do you do when an appliance, despite all appearances of normality, simply refuses to do its job? The Samurai and I were forced to answer this very question today. The culprit: A KitchenAid KGRS505XWH05 double oven all gas range. The complaint: The customer told us that neither the top nor the bottom ovens would ignite, but the cooktop worked fine. The customer's description turned out to be about right (for once). The upper oven broil and lower oven bake ignitors would glow f

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

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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