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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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Self-clean sounds like a great idea, right? Just push a button and watch your oven burn away all that caked-on grease and charred food.It certainly makes for a good selling point. But is this no-hassle cleaning feature really all it's cracked up to be? And what is the best way for the customer to use it (if at all)?
First off: does it actually work? Can the oven clean itself just by getting really hot? Yes, definitely. Self-cleaning isn't just a gimmick, and when used properly, it does actu
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
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
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
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
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'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.
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
New technologies are never invented specifically for household appliances. We always get hand-me-downs. But just because a technology was used first in a different field doesn't mean that we're familiar with it already when it reaches appliances.
TMR (tunnel magentoresistance) sensors are one such example. Coming to us from the world of computer electronics, they serve the same purpose as Hall Effect sensors but work completely differently.
A TMR sensor consists of two ferromagnets sep
Take a look at the cooktop schematic below.
I don't know about you, but "tranformator" isn't a familiar term to me. it certainly sounds like a transformer, but why would a transformer be necessary in a 240 VAC cooktop element circuit?
The best thing to do here is to look up the part numbers for the "transformator" as well as other key components, such as those cooktop switches that the transformator is supplying power to. Then we can use a parts site to look at physical pictures
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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