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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
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
Ohm's law, meaning the set of simple equations that define the relationship between voltage, current, resistance, and power, is an essential tool for appliance techs. Not only is it the cornerstone of understanding electricity, but it's also an invaluable troubleshooting tool. This said, there are some loads to which the simple form of Ohm's law doesn't apply. The simple form of Ohm's Law only takes into account real resistance (ohms) but does not consider other ways that electron movement can b
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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