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Samurai Appliance Repair Man's Blog

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Master Samurai Tech Radio, Episode 4

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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In this jam-packed episode:
- New credit card readers for the EMV technology; merchant (appliance service company) liability for fraud if not using the new readers.
- Square has already issued the new EMV readers.
- Electrolux buying GE Appliances - complications, lawsuit, implications for the appliance market. Samsung and LG brought into the fray!
- First military veteran scholarship awarded! If you're a veteran, apply for a full-tuition scholarship in the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair training course - http://www.appliancetechscholarship.com
- Customer education: How to spot a parts changing monkey. http://appliantology.org/blog/1/entry-851-3-sure-fire-ways-to-spot-an-appliance-repair-hack-in-your-home/
- Tech education: rinse aid vs. vinegar; GFCIs vs. surge suppressors

 

Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

 

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If you have ordered your Square EMV chip reader you are protected until you get the new one in. Pretty cool fyi. I haven't gotten mine yet.

 

So a surge suppressor is a power strip without the reset button on it? Most of them I've seen have a reset and I thought that all surge suppressors had gfci's built in as a safety. Looking on Amazon I see them with just rocker switches and don't see resets when I search surge protectors.

 

Samurai you're turning into mythbusters appliance style. Thanks for the info. I thought I knew.

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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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So a surge suppressor is a power strip without the reset button on it? Most of them I've seen have a reset and I thought that all surge suppressors had gfci's built in as a safety. Looking on Amazon I see them with just rocker switches and don't see resets when I search surge protectors.

 

 

 

Nope, not a standard arrangement at all. You have to carefully read the tiny, almost-unreadable embossed print on the back of the power strip. If it doesn't say anything about surge suppressor or GFCI, then it is neither. 

 

Most power strips are just glorified extension cords. If that have surge suppressing or fuse functions, then these features cost extra and the ratings are printed on the unit. 

 

Also, the fuse function you see on most power strips is just that-- a resettable overcurrent protection device that pops out, not GFCIs.  Again, you have to read the fine print. Or at least the literature/packaging that came with the unit. 

 

For example, here's a page from Amazon of power strips with surge suppressors only: http://amzn.to/1Emjs1n

 

Here's a page of GFCI power strips: http://amzn.to/1IjYDyE

 

Here's a standard, plain-jane power strip-- no surge suppression, no GFCI, no resettable fuse, either, just a rocker on/off switch: http://amzn.to/1IjYP0T

 

Samurai you're turning into mythbusters appliance style. Thanks for the info. I thought I knew.

 

 

 
 
Thanks for listening and for asking more questions, mah bruvah! 
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First, surge protectors are a must, but I have seen surge protectors fail, cutting power off to the appliance.  Usually it is in situations where there was an extreme high surge when high voltage lines make contact with the home service conductors.  

 

Second, surge protectors on a breaker box (whole house protectors) are not a replacement for localized surge protector.  They both have their own function, and are highly recommended.  

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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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First, surge protectors are a must, but I have seen surge protectors fail, cutting power off to the appliance. Usually it is in situations where there was an extreme high surge when high voltage lines make contact with the home service conductors.

Drew, I knew I could count on you to chime in with the contrary case!

For the device you saw to fail that way, one or both of the following must have been true:

1. an internal connection was physically burnt, causing an open circuit or

2. the device was not a surge suppressor

Just to be clear: when the MOV (metal oxide varistor) in a surge suppressor fails, it simply stops clipping spikes. If the outlet itself has not sustained any physical damage then it will continue to supply power to the load.

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Alas! I'm terrible at explaining via written text. What you have said is very true. In this special, unusual case, the $25 surge protector was destroyed rather than the $300 computer board which is back ordered till year 2020, on the appliance. Sure customer lost some food, but they still had a healthy fridge after my visit.

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With questions come answers and with answers come more damn questions.

 

I've seen a lot of control boards with varistors on them and my understanding of varistors is that they are there to even out the voltage through varying resistance. Therefore called a varistor, makes sense to me if I've been reading correctly.

 

It's really cool to seem them where they have exploded, leaving burnt board residue. It's kinda like control board guts all over everything leaving a mess and I'm a big fan of catastrophic failure. I think it's cool and on one garage project board I was able to replace it and the burned track with a wire and got a trash heap portable ac running again just to see if I could. It ran for a couple years in my garage until it sprung a referigerant leak and was brought ac heaven.

 

My question is "What is the purpose of the varistors on the control board"? Are they there to protect the board from a surge or are they there to kinda regulate the voltage and also act as mini surge protectors on the control as well? Or was this pure luck? This one had taken a lightening strike and everything past the varistor was fine, but up to it was burned.

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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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From Le Google:  

 

A Varistor is an electronic device with a “diode-like” nonlinear current-voltage characteristic. A major function of varistors is to protect circuits against excessive transient voltages. They also conduct a great amount of current when voltage is excessive.

 

 

Good article on MOVs at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varistor

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