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Son of Samurai's Blog

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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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

What's the Difference Between Neutral and Ground?

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

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

 

Here's why YOU have been doing your voltage measurements all wrong...

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
 

When Ohm's Law Doesn't Apply...

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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

Troubleshooting Thermistors, Identifying EEPs, and More...

When you want to measure the voltage across a component, where do you go to do that? Do you just resign yourself to disassembling the machine until you have access to that component? If you want to troubleshoot like a real tech, you use EEPs -- that's Electrically Equivalent Points. Identifying EEPs requires both being able to skillfully read a schematic and having a solid understanding of how electricity works. By doing this, you eliminate all unnecessary disassembly, increasing the profit
 

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

 

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

 

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 do Relays and Triacs Work?

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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

How do Oven Gas Valves Actually Work? Find Out Here...

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

Son of Samurai

Son of Samurai

 

Learn the Samurai's Secret Technique for Deciphering Timer Charts...

In this short, informative video, the Samurai walks through the steps of the patented Timer Chart Cha-Cha -- a system for reading and applying timer charts to schematics so that you can make sense of what's going on in the circuit. In just 2 minutes, you'll learn the steps of the Cha-Cha which empower you to troubleshoot timer-controlled circuits with ease. Want to see the Timer Chart Cha-Cha in action and watch how it improves the troubleshooting process? Click here to watch the full webin
 

Relays and PTCs: A Crash Course on Compressor Start Devices

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

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
 

BLDC Motor Configurations, FG signals, and PWM signals

BLDC motors aren't new technology in appliances anymore -- in fact, they've become the norm. As such, it's important to be aware of the different configurations you'll see these motors in across appliances. These configurations fall into three categories: 2-wire, 3-wire, and 4-wire. An important thing to note before we continue: all BLDC motors in appliances are run by inverters. The inverter may be a separate board, like you'll see in washers with BLDC motors, or it may be built into the m
 

What's the Difference Between AFCIs and GFCIs?

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

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

 

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

 

Samurai's Picks: Quickly find the best tech info on Appliantology!

Appliantology is a big place, and there's valuable technical info constantly being posted in the forums and the blogs. But techs are busy folks, and we know that you don't always have the time to read through everything that's going on at the site. That's why I want to direct you to your new favorite page at Appliantology: Samurai's Picks. Accessible at any time from the main menu bar, Samurai's Picks is the go-to place where you can find content from the site that's hand-curated by u
 

3-Way Valve Configurations in Refrigerators

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!  

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

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