Troubleshooting and Repairing a no-go Motor Problem in a Whirlpool Dryer

Posted on December 5, 2019 by - Uncategorized

In this video, the Samurai’s dealing with a Whirlpool dryer whose motor won’t run when the start button is pushed.

Instead of tearing apart the dryer and looking at the motor, the Samurai uses some real troubleshooting to find the problem.

By consulting the tech sheet and using some very basic logic, the Samurai not only finds the suspected part—the timer switch—he finds the exact contact that's stopping the motor from running.

And all he had to do was open up the control panel for the dryer. No cumbersome disassembly of the dryer itself.

Watch the video to see real troubleshooting in action so you too can use it in your service calls to save time and cut out frustrating disassembly.

 

 

Locating and Repairing a Mystery Leak in a Front-Loading Washing Machine

Posted on December 5, 2019 by - Uncategorized

One of the Samurai’s troubleshooting maxims is “All leaks are visible.”

In this video, the Samurai uses this maxim to locate the source of a mysterious leak in a GE front-loader.

The Samurai has the customer run a cycle as they normally would. This was so he could get eyeballs on exactly when and where the leak started.

Once the source of the leak is identified, it’s just a matter of making the repair.

This was one of those jobs where the tech needs to see the machine in action. A customer’s description wasn't going to cut it.

 

 

The Washer & Dryer Repair course by Master Samurai Tech Academy

Posted on October 14, 2019 by - Academy Talk, Tech Talk

That’s right - by popular demand, we’ve been crafting a course that gives you an in-depth look at the operation and technology of these laundry workhorses.

Here’s a glimpse at what you’ll learn:

  • Front-load and top-load washer operational overviews
  • Gas and electric dryer operational overviews
  • General disassembly
  • Mechanical and electronic user interface controls
  • Washer fill control systems
  • Detergent dispensing systems
  • Drain systems
  • Door and lid lock systems
  • Motor Drive systems, both split-phase and variable speed
  • Drum and tub support systems
  • Common problems in washers
  • Dryer air movement and venting
  • Dryer motors and drum rotation systems
  • Gas burner ignition systems
  • Electric dryer heating circuits
  • Gas dryer conversion
  • Air temperature control systems
  • Condensing dryers
  • Common problems in dryers

And more!

As with all of the Master Samurai Tech courses, each lesson is chock-full of high-quality MST original content, and will have an automatically-graded quiz to help you assess how well you learned the material, so you can go back to review and really nail down the information.

DETAILS

WHEN: Tuesday, October 29th
REQUIREMENTS: The course is designed with the assumption that students have already taken the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair Course.
HOW MUCH: The tuition will be $375.

FAQs

Will the course be added to the course Bundles?

The course will be available for individual purchase and also added to the course Bundles.

What if I already am enrolled in a Bundle - will I automatically get the course?

No, but that doesn’t mean you are missing out on anything. The new Bundle prices will be higher to reflect the addition of this course. This means that if you’ve already enrolled in a Bundle, you can just enroll separately in the Washer & Dryer course whenever you are ready for it. We will give those currently enrolled a discount so that the total cost will work out to be the same as if you had waited.

Why didn’t MST release a Washer and Dryer course sooner?

When we started the Master Samurai Tech Academy, our initial focus was on providing the technical training that we could see was desperately needed by the tech community. A lot of working techs had knowledge gaps, particularly when it came to electrical troubleshooting, that made it hard for them to kick butt on modern appliances, and we aimed to fill those gaps with our Fundamentals of Appliance Repair course.

The objective of the Fundamentals course is to impart a functional understanding of the technology common to all appliances along with troubleshooting techniques. A tech who is armed with this knowledge and skill can pull up the technical documents for any appliance and be able to diagnose and repair it - even one he's never laid his hands on before.

Do you understand how powerful that is? Your success as a technician is no longer dependent on your past repairs or specific product training or tech line.

But over time we had more and more students coming to us who were brand-new to the trade, and wanted more detailed teaching on specific types of appliances and more practice with troubleshooting using schematics. So we gradually put together our other technical courses over the past few years.

Two things influenced the order in which we created the courses: the appliances that are the most profitable to work on, and which topics techs and business owners were asking for the most.

Since the release of our last course, Oven & Range Repair, we’ve had a steady increase in the number of people who want Washer & Dryer technology training delivered by Team Samurai. We heard you! And now the wait is almost over.

Keep an eye on future newsletters to announce the official launch of the course.

If you haven't signed up for our newsletter, you can join all the cool people by clicking here.

Let us know if you have any questions!

Samurai’s Big Three Troubleshooting Secrets

Posted on September 17, 2019 by - Academy Talk, Tech Talk

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 troubleshooting skills still apply to modern, computer-controlled appliances! There's a good reason for that: because there is no other way to troubleshoot ANY electrical circuits in appliances. The Big 3 troubleshooting secrets I'm going to talk about in this post are foundational principles that will always apply to any electric circuit, no matter how many control boards the appliance has. 

If you understand just three things, I guarantee you can successfully troubleshoot ANY appliance electrical problem:

  1. The distinction between voltage and voltage drop
  2. How loads and switches function in circuits
  3. How electrons move around a circuit

Let's take 'em one at a time:

Voltage vs. Voltage Drop

Understanding this distinction is key to correctly interpreting what your volt meter is showing you when you make a measurement. For example, in this video where I showed troubleshooting an inop evap fan in a jazz board refrigerator, the correct diagnosis entirely hinged on whether I understood the voltage measurement on my meter as voltage or voltage drop

Voltage is just the difference in electrical potential between two points. It's called "potential" because voltage creates the potential for electrons to move. Electrons WILL move in response to this voltage difference, always seeking the relatively more positive voltage, IF there is a complete circuit between those two points and the power supply. Voltage is the prime mover in any circuit; it is the first cause for everything else that happens in that circuit. 

Voltage Drop, on the other hand, is an effect produced when a voltage difference forces electrons through the resistance of a load. The supply voltage is said to be "dropped across the load." If there are loads in series, the supply voltage will drop across each load in direct proportion to the resistance of that load. The sum of the voltage drops will always add up to the voltage supply.

Understanding voltage vs. voltage drop is key to making the correct conclusion based on what your meter is showing you and you can almost always avoid unnecessary disassembly and do all your troubleshooting from a convenient location, such as at the timer or control board.   Efficient and accurate troubleshooting leads to happy customers and good profits.

Loads and Switches

In appliance repair, we are troubleshooting very simple circuits: just loads and switches.

"Simple" used here is a technical term. It means that we don't deal with reactive circuits where voltage and current are out of phase with each other.

Yes - there's a very deep rabbit hole in electricity that involves reactive components like capacitors and inductors which have complex effects in the imaginary plane (I'm not making this up!).

Fortunately, in the circuits appliance techs troubleshoot, we are only dealing with real voltage and current. That's why the circuits we deal with are called "simple". 

Even the circuit boards we deal with just function as software-controlled switches for various loads around the appliance with some data communications between boards. The software control doesn't change the fact that a switch is still just a switch and functions the same way in all electric circuits. 

If you understand how loads and switches each function and work together to do useful work in appliances, you're a third of the way to troubleshooting mastery

How Electrons Move Around a Circuit

A long time ago, the movement of electrons was given the unfortunate name "current". I say unfortunate because many techs take this to mean it moves like water. It does not. Electrons have nothing to do with water. Just forget about that whole silly analogy.

You need to understand what those electrons actually are and why they move the way they do in a circuit. This is all settled science and, for the types of circuits we work on, electron movement is completely described by easy-to-use Ohm's Law equations.

Electricity is neither visual (you can't see it) nor intuitive (you can't understand it or predict its behavior by intuition, gut feel, or beliefs). Electrons move in accordance with very specific rules (Ohm's Law) that you need to understand. Once you do, you'll be able to pull up a schematic for an appliance and read it as easily as you are reading this article and your troubleshooting mojo will go off the charts!

"This seems a bit 'sciencey' for appliance repair..."

We sometimes hear a bizarre criticism of our training - that it's too much into the science of electricity for what most appliance techs need. That would only be accurate if someone's idea of appliance repair is "parts changing". But we are training folks to be appliance repair technicians. A technician understands the basic technology he or she is working with deeply enough to be an effective troubleshooter, even on machines they've never worked on before.

And believe me - we are not going very deep into the world of electricity and circuits in our courses. The Samurai was trained by the US Navy to troubleshoot electronic circuitry that their pilots depended on, and has two engineering degrees. He knows how deep the rabbit hole goes. He also knows the portion of that information that he relied on when he began his appliance repair career to quickly become a slam-dunk troubleshooter, and that portion is what we teach.

Interestingly, the "old school" techs that we knew back in the day (before the internet) were often ex-military and approached appliance repair the same way we do.

But things have changed since then. In the more than 20 years that the Samurai has been helping techs online, he has seen where the pain points and knowledge gaps are, and has figured out what you need to know and how to communicate it most effectively to you.

You know what the biggest obstacle to becoming an ace tech is? Ego. Someone who has some years of experience under his belt and thinks there's nothing that he needs to learn from us. We've seen it too many times. Fortunately, we've also worked with plenty of techs who value success and profitability over false pride, who take our courses to become masters.

Your path to mastery

The Master Samurai Tech Academy offers structured courses of training in appliance repair. Begin with the Fundamentals course, which teaches the knowledge and skills that are fundamental to being a successful tech. It explains the Samurai's "secrets" in much more detail, along with quizzes and exams to help keep you accountable. Then continue on with our other courses to take a deeper dive into the technology specific to various types of appliances, and get more troubleshooting instruction and practice.

 

Top 3 Rookie Mistakes in Appliance Repair

Posted on September 11, 2019 by - Business Talk, Tech Talk

Making mistakes is part of learning, but making mistakes on the job is also expensive. An appliance tech can only afford to make so many before they are out of business or looking for a new job.

We want to help you avoid this! Here are 3 common rookie mistakes that you should watch out for.

Not a rookie? Then it’s even that much more painful when you catch yourself acting like one. Be honest - have you made one of these mistakes?

Wanna know which ones the Samurai himself has made? Keep reading...

1. Not verifying the customer’s complaint

This is a classic mistake. Even seasoned veterans sometimes get ahead of themselves and dive into their troubleshooting without first verifying the complaint. This usually means getting the customer to show you how they were using the appliance so you can see/hear/measure what is really happening.

There are few things that will make you smack your head and say “D’oh!” like spending an hour taking things apart and making electrical measurements only to realize you missed something obvious to start with - or you didn’t have the data you needed to draw a proper conclusion.

A common blunder is not taking temperature readings in both compartments of a refrigerator before doing anything else regardless of the original customer complaint! A customer report of “warm” can mean many things. Compartment temperatures tell the story that a technician needs to know. Freezers should be right around 0℉. If you see a freezer compartment at 10℉ or higher when you first shoot the temperatures, you need to find out why before you do anything else.

Pro tip: when scheduling a “warm” refrigerator call, ask the customer to leave the refrigerator plugged in and running, and to refrain from opening the doors within an hour of your expected arrival.

2. Making diagnostic conclusions based on a “good” ohm’s test

One of the worst feelings in an appliance tech’s world is to order a part for a customer, go back to install it, but the appliance still doesn’t work. You increase your risk of this mistake when you don’t know which electrical measurements will give you the slam-dunk answer for the situation you’re facing.

“Ohms testing” has fooled many a rookie (and even those who should have learned better).

If a component tests “bad” (open, or ohms much higher than specifications) on a resistance test, then you know it has failed. But if something tests “good” on ohms, more testing needs to be done before you can make a conclusion.

Why is that? Resistance (or continuity) measurements are done without energizing the circuit. Many loads and switches can start failing in a way that they pass a continuity test, but will fail open when electrons start blasting through it.

Pro tip: Remember the expression “ohms lie”. Resistance tests can be useful and appropriate, but you’ve got to understand their limitations.

3. Going on a job without prediagnosing the appliance

A job that should go “bip-bap-boom” often grinds to a halt when a tech realizes that the tech sheet is not on the appliance, or the tech sheet he downloaded ahead of time was for the wrong model, and he has to try to find a copy online, but he doesn’t have good signal and the customer can’t remember the password to their WiFi, and so on. Then he finally gets the right tech sheet, only to have to scratch his head for awhile figuring out his plan of attack for troubleshooting, and how to do that complicated key-dance to get the dang thing into service mode.

Meanwhile, the customer is not impressed.

What a rookie move! All of that downloading and head scratching should be done at the office, NOT in front of the customer.

Master Samurai Tech's Ten-Step Tango troubleshooting procedure is taking the appliance repair world by storm, helping to organize the thoughts of many a tech so they can zero in on the failed component with speed and assurance.

In most scenarios, the first 7 steps of the Tango can be done ahead of time - a technique we call “prediagnosis.” You’ll know what tests you want to make, and you’ll know which parts are likely to be needed. You will wow your customer with your competence and efficiency, while increasing your First Call Complete rate and profitability.

Pro tip: Make sure you get a model number from the customer when you book the call. Check it right away with one of the parts retailers online (RepairClinic, AppliancePartsPros, for example) to make sure it’s valid. Then use Appliantology to get the documents you need for the job, and proceed with your prediagnosis using the Ten-Step Tango. You will be ready to rock that service call!
-------
What do you think of our list? Are there other rookie mistakes that you think we should warn others about?
--------

The Master Samurai Tech Academy specializes in teaching rookies and veterans alike how appliance technology works and how to troubleshoot, so that you can kick butt on any appliance - even those you haven’t worked on before. Knowledge is power!

 

So, which rookie mistakes do you think the Samurai has made? All 3, of course. Back in the day, when we started our appliance repair business, he had a firm foundation in electricity and electronics from his Navy training, but was learning appliance repair on the fly. He quickly realized that our fledgling business wouldn't survive many of these rookie mistakes, so he began creating a system for troubleshooting and running service calls efficiently and profitably. Fast-forward to today - that system is perfected and you can learn it in the Master Samurai Tech appliance repair courses rather than learning by trial and error!