Troubleshooting is the big missing skill among appliance techs today. In fact, many techs don’t even know what troubleshooting is and mistake pattern recognition and factoids for real troubleshooting.
Classical troubleshooting is a structured and scientific method for thinking and solving appliance problems. There is a method to the madness! The Master Samurai Tech troubleshooting method is called the Ten Step Tango (TST).
There are specific dance steps to troubleshooting, and we teach them to anyone who wants to learn. As an introduction to the TST, we’re offering a free short course to the entire appliance tech community where techs can quickly learn the TST troubleshooting procedure and immediately start benefitting from this skill on service calls.
The TST short course uses a real-world, modern refrigerator (dual evaporator, computer-controlled) case study to lead you through each of the ten steps in the TST to troubleshoot and solve the problem.
To get started, just register a free account at the Master Samurai Tech Academy, and you'll see the “Ten Step Tango Troubleshooting Procedure Case Study” listed as one of your free courses available to you on your login welcome page. If you're already registered at the Academy, just log in as usual and you'll see the course on your login welcome page.
You'll also be able to take our other free courses: Appliantology 101 and Internetology. All our free courses are short and fun to do. So have fun, dammit! 🙂
One of my troubleshooting maxims is to make all AC voltage measurements with a loading meter (LoZ on a Fluke or a "Wiggy" solenoid voltage tester). The reason for this is avoid getting head-faked by ghost voltage. This short video explains what ghost voltage is and why we, as professional technicians, need to be aware of it when troubleshooting. I also show a clear example of ghost voltage in a live circuit and how that could at least have you scratching your head during troubleshooting.
Understanding basic electricity, circuits, appliance technology, and troubleshooting techniques are the core skills we teach in the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair training course and should be part of every tech's mental toolbox. If you know the Fundamentals, you can figure out the most problems. Learn more, earn more!
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!
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.
It’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.