Master Samurai Tech Academy Blog | Appliance Repair Training

The Samurai Tech Check: a free online quiz to assess a tech’s training needs

Posted on June 3, 2016 by - Academy Talk, Business Talk, Career Talk

Samurai Tech Check smallerWe’ve just added another FREE resource at Master Samurai Tech - available to anyone! You don’t have to be enrolled as a student to use this online assessment tool.

The Samurai Tech Check is a free online quiz designed to help you determine how much you (or a tech-employee) would benefit from the MST Academy's online appliance repair training course Fundamentals of Appliance Repair .

The results can help to identify work readiness for a new hire, and training needs for new or existing techs.

Techs with Experience

Our experience at the MST Academy is that the material taught in the Fundamentals course is a huge boost for most techs - even those with many years of experience - because the vast majority never got adequate training in Basic Electricity, circuits, and reading schematics. Even a thorough understanding of electric motors is often missing.

However, some experienced techs aren’t sure if the Fundamentals course is right for them.

The questions on the Tech Check are drawn from the material taught in the Fundamentals course at the Academy, so the results can give you a good indication of how useful that course would be in filling in any knowledge or skill gaps.

Since we don’t teach “fluff” in the Academy, any result less than 90% indicates that there is room for filling in some knowledge and skill gaps!

New Hires

For new or prospective hires, with little to no appliance repair experience, you can see what, if any, foundational knowledge they bring to the table which will help shape your expectations of their training needs and how long it might take to get them up to speed.

The Tech Check has questions in the following categories:

  • Aptitude (math questions based on the types of calculations needed for the course)
  • Basic Electricity
  • Basic Electronics
  • Basic Gas
  • Appliance Parts
  • Appliance Motors

The results are reported (via email) as a percentage of correct answers in each category.

See the Samurai Tech Check page for even more info and to take the test yourself! If you aren’t yet an Academy student, all you need is a free student account, which you can get at the Enroll page here at the site.

Master Samurai Tech Radio Episode 16

Posted on May 26, 2016 by - Academy Talk, MST Radio, Tech Talk


Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Android and listen to past episodes at

You can listen to just the audio portion of the vodcast in the player below or subscribe on iTunes/Android:

Gain Internet Competence in 30 Minutes or less… Free!

Posted on May 24, 2016 by - Academy Talk

Master the Internet in less than 30 Minutes!

We just launched a FREE (and fun) short course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy: Internetology: Internet Basics for Everyone

Younger people have practically grown up online, yet often are missing a few important concepts on how to use the internet as a professional tool.

Older folks manage to get around online, but often aren’t quite sure of some of the terminology and techniques of surfing the web, and are kind of embarrassed to ask for help. For example, IF YOU TYPE ONLINE MESSAGES IN ALL CAPS, THEN YOU NEED THIS COURSE! 😉

We’ve kept it brief, light, and fun so you can whip through it in a short amount of time, absorbing whatever information is helpful for you.

To take Internetology, all you need is a free registration at Master Samurai Tech which you can get here.

If you already have a student account, just make sure you are logged in and you’ll see it in your course listings on your login/welcome page.


If you’d like to keep up with all of our action-packed, life-altering, rock 'em sock 'em nuggets of appliance repair wisdom, make sure you are on our regular Master Samurai Tech Newsletter mailing list! Click here to subscribe for free.

Circuit Fu – Reviving The Ancient Lost Art of Appliance Repair

Posted on May 23, 2016 by - Academy Talk, Tech Talk

Circuit Fu taught at the Master Samurai Tech Academy
Whoo-WEE, things sure have changed in the 20 short years I’ve been doing appliance repair! The appliances themselves have changed from discrete mechanically-controlled machines to computers that do appliance functions. But the level of skill among technicians has changed, too. Somewhere along the way, essential skills like a working knowledge of basic electric circuits and using schematics to develop troubleshooting strategies have gotten scarce. In other words, there’s a critical shortage of Circuit Fu among appliance techs today.

I have a background in electronics that I learned in the Navy. As a Navy avionics technician, I had solid training in basic electricity, circuits, electronics, and reading schematics. When troubleshooting a problem on a piece of avionics equipment, standard operating procedure (SOP) was to always pull the schematic and analyze it with the problem description in mind. When I started doing appliance repair 20 years ago, I used this same SOP with the much simpler appliance circuits that I troubleshot and it always served me well.

Most of the older techs I met when I first started (many of them also military trained) did things the same way. It was no big deal. When we went to appliance training classes, it was mostly to learn about disassembly because the circuitry was so simple (this was long before the days of Youtube and PDF service manuals that could be downloaded from the Internet).

Then I started noticing a change. The older techs who knew how to troubleshoot started retiring and the many of the newer techs (my age and younger) coming in to take their place didn’t have these troubleshooting skills. The situation deteriorated to the point that today, many techs never even look at the schematic because they don’t have the foggiest idea of how they would use them to troubleshoot. For lots of these guys, “troubleshooting” was reduced to simple pattern recognition, “Oh, yeah, I’ve seen this problem before and you need to replace this part to fix it.” But they have no idea why or how.

The reason for this decline in skill is an interesting topic to speculate about and could fill up a whole ‘nother post. We all know that there are too many young people being diverted to an increasingly expensive and ineffective college track rather than the trades. And maybe that college-track focus in US high schools is part of why our apprenticeship system is weak and even those folks who do go into the trades are often not well-trained.

Many people working in the skilled trades in America today are mathematically illiterate and have poor attention to details, especially important ones pertaining to their jobs. These deficiencies result in low job performance and satisfaction, and, ultimately, lack of achievement and success.

This really is a lamentable situation because the skilled trades offer interesting, mentally-challenging, and, most of all, lucrative work. They also offer the most straightforward way to starting your own business.

Customers also suffer because of the critical shortage of skilled, professional technicians who can come in, troubleshoot a problem, and get it fixed right the first time without guessing and throwing parts at it, increasing the time to repair, customer dissatisfaction, and cost.

The appliance repair trade is probably worse off than most of the other skilled trades because the apprenticeship programs are practically non-existent, there are not many cost-effective training venues left today, and appliances have become increasingly more complex and computer-controlled. So you’re left with a double-whammy: the technical skills have gone down at precisely the time they’re needed the most as appliances have gotten more complex to troubleshoot.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest skill gaps in the appliance repair trade today is a working knowledge of basic electricity, circuits, and using schematics to troubleshoot electrical problems. I call this Circuit Fu. And this is exactly what we teach in the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair online training course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy.

Appliance technicians come to the Master Samurai Tech Academy precisely to learn these lost Circuit Fu skills, even experienced techs with previous appliance repair training.

The Fundamentals of Appliance Repair course is equally effective as a getting-started course for a rookie or a filling-in-the-gaps course for an older appliance tech. Team Samurai helps to get you from where you are to where you want to be!

The appliance repair training at Master Samurai Tech is all done online and is self-paced. Work on your course on your schedule, go as slow or fast as you want, review as often as you need to. The courses are multimedia and rely heavily on videos as a teaching medium. And if you need additional instruction, that’s just a click away in the Student Forums. Or, come to the weekly, live web instruction where you can ask questions real-time.


Master Samurai Tech Radio Episode 15

Posted on May 19, 2016 by - MST Radio

Another all-new vodcast episode of Master Samurai Tech Radio! In this killa episode:

- Weekly tech training webinars, aka., Office Hours, for MST Academy students and Professional Appliantologist members at
- Webinar recordings available for both students and PA members.
- Open Q&A Office Hours- a great time to ask questions about a schematic or tech sheet that you're having troubles understanding.
- Live Tech Help at!


Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Android and listen to past episodes at

You can listen to just the audio portion of the vodcast in the player below or subscribe on iTunes/Android:

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