Susan Brown | The Master Samurai Tech Academy

Posts By: Susan Brown

A Halloween Tale that will chill you to the bone…

Posted on October 31, 2018 by - Academy Talk

Jim (not his real name) was an ordinary appliance technician going out on an ordinary service call. Or so he thought.

He pulled up to the house, got his tools together, and walked up the driveway. The house was a ramshackle in desperate need of a paint job. But that was all right, Jim told himself, he’d be in and out in a jiffy. He was here to fix a fridge, how hard could it be? “I’ve seen worse,” he thought.

The moment he knocked on the door, blood-chilling shrieks came from inside. Jim winced. The door opened and two tiny dogs, like miniature, fat hounds from Hell, came waddling out. From the dank depths of the house, the customer emerged preceded by a sulfurous cloud of smoke. A cigarette with a bright orange tip was pinched in between her lips. She pulled the cigarette out and puffed a stream of acrid smoke in Jim’s face.

“You the appliance guy?” the customer asked.

“I am,” Jim said, coughing as discreetly as possible.

“Well, come in. I’ll show you where the fridge is.”

The dogs raced around Jim’s feet, tripping him up as Jim crossed the threshold. He sighed and said, “Cute dogs, but do you mind calling them over to you?”

The customer screamed her dog’s names a dozen times then finally grabbed them and stuffed them into a room off of the hall. 

She led Jim down the dark hallway into a room at the end and flicked a switch. After a second, a single fluorescent bulb flickered on, then off, and back on. The greenish light showed off the impressive display of detritus covering every available surface in the kitchen.

A TV came to life and blared at full volume. It nearly blasted Jim back down the hallway. 

“Ma’am, can you turn that down?” Jim asked.

“What?” the customer yelled. 

“Please turn that down!” Jim yelled.

“Sheesh, why you gotta yell?!” she shuffled over to the TV and fiddled with the dial.

Jim shrugged to himself. “All in a day’s work”, he thought, “I can handle it.”

His customer rasped, “It’s making a funny noise. My husband is an engineer, and he’s sure it’s the fan.”

Jim inwardly rolled his eyes, but just said, “Okay, ma’am, I’m just going to check it out to make sure.”

He chuckled to himself and thought, “Old Jim, cool as a cucumber! I can handle this job. Easy money - just a little common sense and a few tricks of the trade is all that’s needed!”

He started feeling around for the tech sheet. Immediately, his fingers hit something fuzzy. He pulled out a dead mouse. Tossing it aside without so much as a grimace, Jim stuck his hand back in. His fingers slid past something slimy—he didn’t really want to know what that was. When Jim’s arm was in up to his shoulder, his fingertips felt the empty pouch where the tech sheet should have been.

A few drops of sweat beaded up on his forehead, but he took as deep a breath as he dared to in that hellhole and calmed himself. “That’s all right,” he thought, “I know what to do.” Jim had a backup plan.

He took his cellphone out. He pulled up the number for tech line. But nothing happened. Jim’s heart began to sink. He tried again. The same thing. He looked at his phone. There was no signal. Jim was really sweating now. He wiped his forehead with his sleeve. He was going to have to go in blind. 

He pulled out the control board in the hopes he could figure something out. But beneath the control board was a confused tangle of wires of different colors. Red, purple, green, brown, they all snaked around each other and knotted together. Jim licked his lips. He had no idea what to do. Suddenly the wires were getting longer and longer, reaching out towards him, winding around his neck and cutting off his air. All the while, the customer was lurching at him, croaking, “Why aren’t you fixing my fridge?! Fix my fridge!!!!”

Jim woke up in a cold sweat, screaming. With shaky hands, he grabbed his smartphone off the night table and opened up the Master Samurai Tech Academy site. There they were - the training courses he had enrolled in so that he could finally up his game and have the knowledge and troubleshooting skills he needed to never have that sinking feeling again. 

He took a deep breath, chuckled a bit at that awful nightmare, then fell back onto his pillow, comforted by the knowledge that he was soon going to be master of his trade.

 

Vacation Notice: July 6-16, 2018

Posted on June 4, 2018 by - Academy Talk

Team Samurai is taking a rare vacation together to celebrate Mother of Samurai's 80th birthday with the extended Samurai clan this July.

Our internet access will be limited and we'll be on the other side of the world from most of you, but we will check in every day to take care of student needs.

What This Means For You

The beauty of online training is that most of it happens between you and the course software, without needing us to move things along. So most of you will be unaffected by our vacation.

But there are times when it becomes interactive, such as:

  • Midterm or Final exam grading on the Fundamentals course
  • Ask the Teacher Forums questions
  • Quiz or Exam Reset Requests

We will continue to take care of those needs, but our response time will be slower than usual.

To minimize any disruption of your course progress during this vacation period of 7/6 thru 7/16, keep the following in mind:

  • Be extra careful with your second attempts on quizzes and exams, so that you are less likely to need a reset.
  • Communicate with your supervisor (if applicable) about any deadlines for your training. Let them know things might move a little more slowly that week, if you happen to need Forum questions answered or an exam graded.
  • If you are worried about your course access ending during that time or any other issues regarding keeping your progress going during that time period, contact us ahead of time and we'll help you out.

Any contact forms that are sent in will be read and responded to, it will just take longer than our usual prompt turnaround.

Thank you for your patience as we take the opportunity to celebrate a special event with our family!

Multi-tech Operators: Grow your business with Master Samurai Tech

Posted on September 6, 2017 by - Academy Talk, Business Talk

The Problem

In the appliance repair trade today, we have too many parts changers and not enough technicians. Even many experienced techs don't know the fundamentals and technology we're working with on modern appliances today. I'm talking about things like basic electricity, circuits, reading schematics, knowing how to troubleshoot, motors, microcomputer control systems.

What this means: you're probably not going to find techs to hire with the skills you need to grow your business.

The Solution

Hire based on character and then add the technical skills cost-effectively with Master Samurai Tech online training.

Many multi-tech businesses are successfully using our innovative training to improve the proficiency of their current techs and to grow their businesses. They choose candidates with a good work ethic, positive comportment, and basic technical aptitude (but little to no appliance repair experience) and then enroll them at the MST Academy (either in the Tech Bundle or just start them with Fundamentals of Appliance Repair).

For a period of time, they give them some time to work on their training as well as ride along with experienced techs. There are many ways to structure this, which you can read more about on our Employer Resource Page. Business owners often set a criteria of earning MST Certification in order to continue as an employee with the company.

The Proof

Here's what Paul MacDonald, Director of Customer Service & Service, Yale Appliance & Lighting in Boston, MA, had to say about using our training:

Hiring a technician is hard, building one is even harder. Master Samurai Tech Academy provides cutting-edge training and education to train new and existing technicians in basic theory of appliance repair. MST helps us weed out those that shouldn’t become techs. We give all new hires 90 days to pass the MST Technician’s Bundle. Those that fail don’t make the team.

MST works! The courses are thorough, comprehensive and relevant. The quizzes and final exam are tough and the teachers strict but not as tough as today’s appliances and the customers we serve. Customers deserve the best repairs, MST is the best on-line appliance repair training program. MST has helped us build 7 new techs in less time than we could have done on our own. We’re working on building 2 more with MST. We also use the Fundamentals course for skills updating of existing technicians.

Todd Daganaar, President of Nebraska Home Appliance, a successful appliance repair company with 9 technicians and growing, has been using MST online training for several years now.

 

Learn More

Click here to read more about using Master Samurai Tech's online training for your employees.

We do offer discounts for multi-tech operations. Click here for more information.

Ready to sign up? Click here to enroll.

Contact us if you have any further questions!

Get Ready for Refrigerator Season with Cutting Edge Online Refrigerator Training

Posted on May 16, 2017 by - Academy Talk

You know the story: a technician is called in to repair a computer-controlled refrigerator but doesn't understand how these systems work. Too often, they guess the expensive main control board is the problem and replace it only to see they still have the same problem. D'oh!

It’s time to stop guessing and start knowing what you’re doing!

Today's computer-controlled refrigerators are more complicated to troubleshoot and require technicians who have both analog and digital skills.

Instead of simple mechanical switches controlling the compressor and defrost system, modern high-tech refrigerators use thermistors to report temperature information to a single board computer which, in turn, makes programmed decisions about how long and how fast to make the compressor run, which evaporator coils to send the refrigerant to, evaporator fan motor speed, and frequency and duration of the defrost cycles.

These systems fail far more frequently than the sealed system and comprise the vast majority of service calls.

Although the basic thermodynamics of the refrigeration system itself are the same, today we’re often troubleshooting dual evaporator systems using three-way valves. Here again, most of the problems are control-related and not the sealed system itself.

In fact, if you can effectively troubleshoot the computer controls in a modern refrigerator, this will cover over 90% of your service calls on these units.

This is exactly what the Refrigerator Repair course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy teaches you to do.

You will learn:

  • The principles of how refrigerators operate
  • The common refrigerator problems you’ll see on the job
  • Specialized troubleshooting and repair of single and dual evaporator refrigerators, split-phase and inverter-driven compressors
  • A systems approach to troubleshooting modern refrigerators
  • How the computer uses thermistors to read temperature and uses that information to control the refrigerator
  • How inverters work and how the computer communicates to the inverter to control compressor operation

This course will make you a master troubleshooter of today’s computer-controlled refrigerators, and teach you the skills needed to repair the majority of repair scenarios. You’ll learn at your own pace and at your convenience with our online, video-based training.

Check out the complete syllabus of the 5-star Refrigerator Repair Training Course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy and enroll today.

You can lead a tech to training…

Posted on September 30, 2016 by - Academy Talk, Business Talk, Career Talk

Your Future is Defined By What You Do Today written on chalkboardIt’s time for a little straight talk and tough love about training at the Master Samurai Tech Academy.

We get feedback every week from students and/or their employers about how our courses have impacted their lives. We’ve been told we were literally an answer to prayers, that we turned a tech from zero to hero at their shop, that we’ve reinvigorated a 20+ year career in the trade, that we’ve increased business profits.

The thing is, we didn’t do all of that.

Sure, we provided the training itself, and we’re very pleased with what we created at the Academy.

But it’s the students who take ownership of their training, who listen to and heed our advice on how to learn this stuff, who put a priority on learning, who put aside their egos and get help when they need it … they are the ones who really made all of the good stuff happen in their careers.

Team Samurai built an awesome tool. But you’ve got to wield it with focus and intention to get the stellar results that are possible.

We get loads of positive feedback, and we are grateful to be part of that success.

But we also have students who aren’t taking ownership of their training, who are going through the units getting low scores and not doing anything about it. Who obviously aren’t getting certain concepts but never ask us questions in the forums. Who give up partway through the course.

There are points in the course where we will notice low scores and email with the student about them. But that really shouldn’t be Team Samurai’s responsibility. The student knows what the Certification requirements are. They know how they should approach the coursework. All of that is spelled out in the Orientation lesson.

This is training for grown-ups who want to not just survive but THRIVE in an uncertain economy. For anyone to invest money and time into a training program and not really take advantage of it is foolish.

If you are a tech, we hope you will recognize the value that will come to your career and thus your whole life by taking ownership of your training and doing what it takes to up your game with our courses.

If you are an employer, then we urge you to take your role as training supervisor seriously and don’t let it slip through the cracks. At the outset, make sure your tech is a willing participant in the Academy. (And if they aren’t, why would you want them as an employee?) Clearly communicate your expectations and goals for their coursework. And put it in your weekly schedule to check on their progress and communicate with them on any low scores. It only takes minutes per week to do this, yet the benefits are huge.

If you aren’t sure how to supervise your techs as they go through the Academy, please read this page at our site. And feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Team Samurai is rooting for you! We want every one of our students to be one of our success stories. We know how to train techs. If you bring a good attitude and intention to the Academy, we’ll help you get where you want to be.

Not yet a student at the Academy? Read more about our online appliance repair training courses.