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Samurai Appliance Repair Man's Blog

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Don't confuse Old Skool with Dumb Skool

Samurai Appliance Repair Man


Most techs today work by the philosophy of "tear down first, use the meter later." They claim that this is "old school. I'm old school and I'm here to tell you that is absolute BS.

Let's take an all-too common, simple example: dryer keeps blowing the TCO. I can't tell you the number of techs I hear talk about disassembling the dryer, replacing the TCO, only to have it blow again soon after. And they have no idea what's going on or how to even troubleshoot this problem. As an old school tech, I try to explain that they need to get an amp reading on the heater circuit before they simply replace the TCO (in the case of an open TCO) or before they do any teardown when troubleshooting other heater circuit problems.

But most younger techs ignore this because a) they don't have the first clue how an amp reading would help solve the problem and therefore b) they dismiss this sage advice as academic BS while they fancy themselves as "old school."

For these techs to steal the "old school" moniker is an insult to us techs who truly are old school.

Check out the picture below: 


This is exactly the kind of thing that would show up on an amps test of the heater circuit. THAT is old school.

Techs used to know this stuff and service manuals used to teach this. Don't believe me? Check out this page from the Maytag Dependable Care service manual from the 80's:


It goes on for several pages talking about measuring amps, watts, using a voltmeter to test continuity, and using cheater cords. They even talk about Ohms Law. Imagine that! Download it and see for yourselfMeasuring amps in AC circuits IS old school. NOT measuring amps on AC circuits is DUMB school.

Don't confuse Old Skool with Dumb Skool. 

So what happened? Over time, techs starting coming into the trade who didn't understand this stuff because they had no formal training (or had shitty training) so the manufacturers had to dumb down their manuals and training to put things in dumbed-down terms that most techs could understand: needless disassembly and ohms checking. And that is that state of the skill level in the trade today.

THIS is why we teach this stuff. This is not academic BS. This is the stuff that real old school techs understand but that sails right over the head of most younger techs (or low skill techs) today so they dismiss it as "newfangled academic BS." At the Master Samurai Tech appliance repair school, we're bringing back the skills that techs used to have but that have been largely lost in the trade today. And these skills are foundational for troubleshooting the new computer-controlled stuff (which we also teach) because, guess what-- the new stuff still uses basic electricity and circuits. Go figure. 

If you don't understand something, no need to remain ignorant-- learn it! We teach all this as well as the technology used in modern computer-controlled appliances at the Master Samurai Tech appliance repair school

Case Study 4 in this webinar recording walks through an example of using your ammeter to find out why a dryer keeps blowing the TCO. The video is tabbed so you can jump right to that case study. If you are a tech member at Appliantology, you can and should watch this webinar today: 


Not a tech member at Appliantology? Become one today... potentially for FREE!

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I couldn’t agree more about the amp measurement. However I’m not sure how to take that measurement without disassembly first. My process would be, disassemble, replace TCO, reassemble, take amp measurement. Blown TCO=no heat=no amps

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  • Team Samurai
Samurai Appliance Repair Man


9 minutes ago, EthanRanft said:

However I’m not sure how to take that measurement without disassembly

The reference here is to the complete tear down that I see most guys do when all that’s needed is to get access to the timer or control board for initial amp measurements. While technically this is disassembly, in the context of the way most guys think— complete tear down and then ohms checking each component— this qualifies “no disassembly.”  

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  • Team Samurai
Samurai Appliance Repair Man


24 minutes ago, EthanRanft said:

My process would be, disassemble, replace TCO, reassemble, take amp measurement. Blown TCO=no heat=no amps

In the specific case of no amps in the heater circuit then, yes, tear down is necessary. If open TCO is found, don’t just replace the TCO. Use your jumper wire across the TCO terminals and then use your amp clamp on the jumper wire. Compare to specs. You need to do your tech due diligence to find out why that TCO blew before you just slap in a new one. 

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