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  • Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    Appliantology is Your Key to Appliance Repair Service Call Success!

    By Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    The Old Skool method of doing service calls was to go out on the call and pray to the pot bellied Buddha that the tech sheet was still hidden somewhere on the appliance. The plan being that, if the tech sheet was still there, you could stare at the lines and squiggles long enough to convince the customer you had reached a definitive and scientific conclusion about the problem.  My friends, I'm here to tell you that the Internet has made this Monkey Boy way of doing bidness obso-frikkin-lete
    • 1 comment
    • 2,634 views
  • Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    Tech Memberships at Appliantology

    By Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    Purchasing a Professional Appliantologist membership at Appliantology costs an annual fee of $297. BUT there’s a way that you can get all the benefits of that membership for FREE by enrolling in our online appliance repair training courses at the Master Samurai Tech Academy. This chart shows how it works. Click the links below for details: 1. Professional Appliantologist: the easy, instant premium membership for $297 per year. Provides access to our tech-only help forums, un
    • 0 comments
    • 49,368 views
  • Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    Samurai's Big Three Troubleshooting Secrets

    By Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    It's tough for appliance techs today. Our biggest competition is from cheap replacement machines. The proliferation of pricey electronic boards in appliances means that if you can't quickly do a slam-dunk diagnosis, you are at risk of losing customers and your profitability. Meanwhile, electrical troubleshooting is largely a lost science. What exactly have we lost? The Old Skool troubleshooting techniques that us old timers learned way back. And guess what: these same Old Skool troubleshoot
    • 5 comments
    • 3,018 views
  • Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    The Master Samurai Tech Alumni Program

    By Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    Training at the Master Samurai Tech Academy is already a killer deal: comprehensive, state-of-the-art training that’s online and on-demand at tuition low enough that anyone can afford it. Well now we’re kicking it up to 11 with the Master Samurai Tech Alumni program. If you have been certified* in the Core course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy (formerly called the "Fundamentals" course) or earned Master Certification at the Mr. Appliance Academy (Bundle 1 only), you can get full te
    • 3 comments
    • 8,791 views
  • Son of Samurai

    How to Troubleshoot a GE Cooktop like a Real Tech vs. like a PCM

    By Son of Samurai

    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
    • 12 comments
    • 1,826 views

Our community blogs

  1. Join me on another short troubleshooting journey -- this one taken from a real tech's experience that he posted on Appliantology.

    You're troubleshooting a Samsung dryer that won't start-- the control panel will let you select a cycle, but it won't actually run if you press the start button. But the real head-scratcher is that, despite not being able to start a cycle, the machine always runs when the door is closed.

    Sounds tricky, but as you'll see, the troubleshoot is pretty simple if you have a solid troubleshooting strategy. Any good troubleshooting strategy always starts with the schematic, so let's go there.

    Screenshot 2021-01-20 084012.png

    Pretty standard for a Samsung dryer. Our first order of business is to select an LOI -- a load of interest. That's the load that's not doing what it's supposed to do or that's doing stuff when it's not supposed to do anything. In our case, this is the motor. It's running even when you haven't started a cycle, so something in its circuit or power supply must be off.

    Now that we've selected our load, let's analyze its circuit:

    Screenshot_2021-01-20_084014.png

    You might already be seeing that there's only one thing that could be causing the problem here. Sure, there are plenty of things in the motor's circuit that could interrupt its power supply, but there's only one that could supply power when it's not supposed to, and that's the board. More specifically, relay 5 on the board.

    Screenshot_2021-01-20_084012.png

    The question then becomes why that relay is closed, even when a cycle isn't started. Could it be a problem with the board's algorithm? Are the logic circuits all scrambled? Do we have to be a computer whiz to get to the bottom of this?

    Not at all. The truth is that electromechanical relays like this can just get stuck closed sometimes. It's one of the ways they fail as they age, and a new control board will get this machine running normally again.

    So if it was just a stuck relay, why wasn't the heater circuit running? Why wouldn't the machine start a cycle? Well, all these control boards run on algorithms. Don't get scared by that word -- it just means that the engineers have designed the board to make certain decisions if it receives certain inputs. If this, do this. That's all it boils down to. In this particular case, we can pretty safely assume that the board was programmed to refuse to run when it sensed (through a sensing line) something strange like the motor running out of cycle. That's the safest thing for it to do when it senses something is wrong.

    Want to workshop interested problems like this with the sharpest techs on the web? Become a premium tech member today and join the conversation.

  2. 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: 

    burnt_dryer_terminal_spade.png

    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:

    Maytag_Dependable_Care_Top_Load_Washer_Service_Manual_-_16000401_pdf.png

    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: 

    Dryer_Case_Studies_that_will_Blow_Your_Mind_-_Professional_Appliantologist_Webinars_Forum_-_Appliantology_org_-_A_Master_Samurai_Tech_Appliance_Repair_Dojo.png

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

  3. From the latest USA newsletter:

    Pricing Service in a Small Service Company

    By David Oliva

    While doing research for this series of articles the topic that came up most frequently was pricing.  How do I know what to charge, what pricing structure should I use, what’s “fair”, what’s the value of our service, should I be cheaper than my competitor, etc?  Appropriate and profitable pricing is one of the most important parts of running a successful small service company (SSC).  It’s also one of the most difficult. Most SSC owners, me included, have no formal business training and so we struggle with issues like this.  Many SSC owners undervalue their skills by quite a bit because of this lack of training and so are sometimes extremely underpriced.  This creates a variety of problems such as not having enough extra income to cover the cost of necessary training and an inability to expand or improve the company due to lack of funds.  It also creates a problem for the industry as a whole because it undermines professionalism and creates an atmosphere where customers are taught not to value our profession as they do other professions.

    Let’s start at the beginning. The foundation for all pricing starts with your cost of doing business (CODB).  Without knowing your CODB setting prices is a guessing game. United Servicers Association has a great, free, CODB calculator on their website.  What it will allow you to do is input all of your expenses and calculate your CODB on an hourly basis.  Knowing how much it actually costs you simply to be open for business each hour of the day is invaluable and, at least the first time you do it, eye opening. It was a big shock to me when I ran those numbers about 5 years ago.  I had no idea we had to spend so much money just to be open.  Once you have that number you can begin planning a pricing structure.   

    Link to USA free CODB: https://www.unitedservicers.com/codb-calculator

    There are two basic structures for pricing, hourly or flat/job rate.  An hourly rate is self explanatory but a job rate structure may be unfamiliar to some.  A job rate structure will typically have between three and ten rates, which will vary from the simplest jobs to the most involved and complex. With a job rate system the time it takes to complete a repair is only one factor out of many used to determine the price. Job rates systems are generally the most profitable way to price repairs in our industry.  The benefit to the independent SSC of a job rate system is the ability to capitalize on experience and skill. With an hourly rate the better and faster one gets the less money they will collect on each job, making it necessary to complete more jobs to make the same amount of money. With a job rate system the faster you are the more you make because the price of the repair is not tied to time. Job rate systems reward skill and efficiency.
     
    What is fair? This is a contentious point in our industry. Many SSC owners feel that we should not charge professional rates for the work we do or that job rates are “unfair” to the customer because they tend to increase the overall repair price.  I believe this stems from a lack of respect for the work we do, even from people within our industry.  This attitude, as stated above, undermines the industry as a whole.  There is no reason why we should not be well paid for the service we provide to our customers.  Fairness is subjective and so it is a meaningless concept in regards to pricing.  Pricing in an SSC, which typically does a low volume of repairs relative to larger companies which can take advantage of high volume, should be fundamentally based on two points.  The first, and most important, is CODB.  Without covering your CODB you will fail, this is simple math.  If your CODB dictates rates that you feel are “unfair” then you either need to reduce your CODB or let go of the idea that prices can be fair or unfair.  The second point is your market.  After you’ve calculated your CODB you can then feel out your market for profit maximization.  The old school method for feeling out maximum price still holds true, if you’re not getting at least a few complaints about your prices you can charge more.

    Value is also subjective, and so ideal customers may be those that place a premium on quality service and are willing to pay for it.  If your market is a large metropolitan area then chances are high end brand appliances are plentiful in your service area.  Typically customers with these brands will value quality over price and be willing to pay higher rates for better service.  In such a case why try to compete by having the lowest price?  Why not offer the highest level of service available and charge appropriately for it? Competing on price is often a race to the bottom and in the current economic climate lowering your prices may not be a viable option. Compete on quality, not price.

    The biggest obstacle to higher rates, and higher profits, is often psychological.  It’s very common to hear SSC owners say “I can’t charge that! No one will pay it. My competitor only charges $10.”  This is a myth based on nothing but fear.  I was once browsing the racks of luxury retailer Neiman-Marcus and came across a shirt from the designer brand Givenchy.  This was a simple sweatshirt with a screen printed Rottweiler on it. This shirt was priced at $900. You may not be interested in designer fashion, but LVMH Group, the parent company of Givenchy, made about $5.7 billion in profit in 2017. The point being that customers are willing to pay almost anything for what they perceive to be valuable.  And this is where value comes from, a product or service is valued at whatever people are willing to pay for it.  If you can set up your company to be perceived as more valuable than your competition then you can command higher rates. 

    This industry is full of people who love what they do, and are very good at it.  They treat their customers with respect; they provide quality service and honor their warranty.  The go out of their way to help people who need help.  And so why shouldn’t they make enough money to drive a new service vehicle, have excellent health insurance and take a great earned vacation now and then?  Why shouldn’t they value their skills the way other trades and professions value theirs?  Why shouldn’t there be enough extra profit to provide for a great retirement, another topic of great interest to SSC owners?  The answer to all of those questions is they should, and there should be.  Pricing appropriately will ensure that and we need to focus more on this, and in greater depth, especially for the SSC owners, since we are the ones who need the most help with it. 

  4. I've been in business for myself for almost 20 years.  I started at age 18, as an antique dealer. My store has always been fluid, changing with the times and the economy.  When I started 18 years ago, my store was situated in a neighborhood that you would call "seedy", to be generous.  It was the perfect location for a used retail store. I've always managed to thrive, even though the "Great Recession ".  At this point in my life, I'm mostly an appliance dealer. I make a good living at my shop, and I don't really work (physically) hard anymore.  

     

    I still find find myself working 7 days a week mostly, about 60-70 hours.  After all is said and done, I make about $150k per year, net.  Give or take.  

     

    My my background is in industrial machines. Ever since I was 10 I was maintaining food processing equipment for my family business.  My brother took over said business and has really thrived on a level most of us commoners could not even imagine.  He really needs/ wants me to work for him. 

     

    Ill cut to the chase. 

     

    Hes offering me $105 k to start, working a very structured 40 hour work week.  Retirement, insurance, etc.  My neighborhood where my store resides has really gentrified, now my location is in high demand. I can rent my storefronts for basically more than what my business can afford to pay. About $50k per year. 

    So option 1: stay, make about 150 per year, long hours, employees, inconsistent income. 

     

    Option 2: get a job, make a bit less (after taxes), at least for now. I would easily believe my salary will double within 10 years.  Very standard 40 hour week, weekends off, vacation, more time with my family.  

     

    Sounds like a no brainer, but I'm terrified.  I've never made such a big life decision. 

  5.  

    We all want to grow our companies,  but finding and keeping qualified techs or just finding anyone that posseses even the slightest work ethic is a difficult,  near impossible task.  This song laments this sad state of affairs but also is a tribute to the recent passing of one of the greats. 

     

    Scroll down,  start the video,  scroll back up and sing along! 

    Whirlpool Drain (or if Prince was an Appliantologist looking for good help) 

    Maybe you never meant to cause me any sorrow
    Maybe you never meant to cause me any pain
    I only wanted to one time see you working
    I only wanted to see you
    working on a Whirlpool Drain

    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain 
    I only wanted to see you
    Steaming up a Whirlpool Drain 

    I never wanted to be a hard-assed employer
    But neither could I be some kind of friend
    Now please go away,  go work for another
    For your employment with me has to end

    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    I only wanted to see you
    Underneath a Whirlpool Drain

    Dude, I know, I know
    I know  appliances are changing
    It's time we all reach out
    to learn something new, that means you too

    You say you want me to teach you
    But you can't seem to concentrate your mind
    So I think you better pack it
    Since you can't even Ptrap a Whirlpool Drain

    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    Service Owners, if you know what I'm singing about up here
    C'mon, raise your hand

    Whirlpool Drain, Whirlpool Drain
    I only want to have one
    Only want to see one
    Working on a Whirlpool Drain

     

    This song debuting on AppLYRICology  Best of Durham Music Vol 1  

     

  6. Well ladies and gents. Sorry I have been MIA for a while. Life has been crazy with service calls and my new technician. Also had our first baby (technician in training) blogentry-82264-0-29266900-1449760812_th. It's been an amazing experience. I am loving every second of it. It has been tough through all the changes which is why i have been absent from here for a bit. But i'm BACK! I hope the Samurai and Durham have been holding the fort down and not letting you guys get away with too much! hahaha.

  7. tpoindexter's Blog

    • 1
      entry
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      comments
    • 4447
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    Recent Entries

    I was talking with another tech this morning about checking RPM. this brought up the subject of strobes. As we were

    discussing strobes it occurred to me someone had probably created an app with RPM already. Shazaaam!!! :woot:

    Here's a app that will allow you to test RPM on fans. You can also test motor rpm, if, you place a mark on the shaft.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/strobe-light-tachometer-to/id708094321?mt=8

    To check fan speed just dial it in till the fan appears to be not moving at all. That'll give you your RPM.

    Same with a motor if you mark the shaft. When the mark appears to no longer be moving you've got the RPM.

    I'm not really sure if this is the correct use of this Blog thingy, but, bet I'll find out sure enough!! Yeeehaw!!!

    Huh... I hope I wasn't the last person on earth to figure this out!

  8. Here's a Thai-inspired chicken soup that is easy to make and bursting with flavor! It's healthy comfort food with an Asian twist.

    gallery_66_28_153393.jpg

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee, or butter
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1-2 pounds uncooked chicken breast, diced
    • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
    • 1 quart chicken broth (I use either homemade or a box of low sodium, no added MSG.)
    • 1 can coconut milk (look for this in the Asian/Thai section of the grocery store. I prefer regular, not "lite".)
    • 1 lime, juiced, divided
    • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
    • 4 scallions, chopped
    • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
    • salt, to taste
    • optional: Thai fish sauce, cooked rice

    Directions

    Heat a soup pot over medium high heat, then add the coconut oil. Saute the onions with a little salt for a few minutes, then add the chicken chunks with a little more salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is just cooked through. Add the ginger and half of the garlic towards the end of this.

    Stir in the broth and bring to a boil, then stir in the coconut milk, half of the lime juice, and the red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for at least 15 minutes (longer is fine, too).

    Turn off the heat, and add salt to taste (depends on the amount in your chicken broth). Stir in the rest of the garlic, the scallions, and most of the cilantro (leave a little aside for topping individual bowls). Add the rest of the lime juice if desired. Cover and let sit off-heat for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.

    Great served over rice. Add a few drops of fish sauce to your serving to knock the flavor out of the park!

  9. kdog's Blog

    [Yes, I did reset the breaker and checked the voltages. Here's the wiring diagram:

    IMG_20120316_002932.jpg

    Source: Amana NED7200TW Dryer no heat, problem with cycling thermostat?

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