Academy Talk Archives | The Master Samurai Tech Academy

Topic: Academy Talk

Free MST Student Premium Membership at Appliantology

Posted on April 19, 2019 by - Academy Talk, Career Talk

We know techs: you are trying to get your skills polished and get your troubleshooting mojo amped up ASAP so you can bring home that bacon.

Step 1 of that process is taking the courses here at the Master Samurai Tech Academy.

Step 2 is using the resources at our sister site, Appliantology.org, to help put your training into practice.

We've made that second step even more attainable by giving MST students a FREE 6-month premium membership.

Appliance repair is a trade, which means you are in a constant cycle of learning then doing.

First you learn the basic principles here at Master Samurai Tech, then you master those skills as you apply them in the field.

Appliantology offers several unique ways to help you rise to the top of the trade.

  • Tech-only forums where you exchange tips, tricks, and know-how with other professionals who share your desire to be the best
  • Webinar recordings covering both fundamental and advanced topics
  • Download and request schematics and service manuals
  • and much more, all in a private, ad-free, collegial environment (in other words - not Facebook!)

Details of the MST Student Membership
Who: any student currently enrolled in one of our technical courses
What: full, premium access to everything at Appliantology
How long: 6 months
Cost: free!
How: the sign-up form is in the Appliantology 101 course, which all students have access to. Go through Units 1, 2, and 3, then you'll be good to go.

You'll find Appliantology 101 in your course listing on the Members Area page. That's the page you land on when you log in. Or, if you're already logged in, click "My Courses" in the upper right on a computer, or at the bottom of the "hamburger" menu on a device.

How do I get Sealed System training?

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

Many techs do not do sealed system work because the large majority of refrigerator repairs that customers are willing to pay for do not involve the sealed system. Many one- or two-man shops don't find that it makes financial sense to have and maintain all the of equipment needed to do the work. Larger companies often have one or two techs who do sealed-system repairs, not their whole crew.

If your company does enough warranty work or there are a lot of high-end refrigerators in your market area, then you might want to have the ability to do sealed-system repairs, and are looking for training. Read on!

First, understand that actually doing sealed system repairs is a completely different skill from diagnosing a sealed system problem to begin with. Here’s the reality: it's relatively easy to learn how to do sealed system work; it’s much harder to train technicians how to troubleshoot and diagnose warm refrigerator problems correctly, quickly, and accurately.

In fact, I've found that many guys who do sealed system work don't actually understand how the sealed system works. I know, it sounds crazy! But that's the dirty little secret of doing sealed system repairs: you don't have to understand how the sealed system actually works in order to replace a compressor and recharge a system. You just need to follow a procedure, pay attention to details, know how to use some special equipment like scales and gauges, and acquire some degree of proficiency with brazing copper (and soon, Lokring).

If you are going to work on refrigerators in any way, then the first step is to take our our Refrigerator repair course. This will teach you how the sealed system works in conjunction with the controls to keep the compartments cold. You'll then be equipped to troubleshoot all fridge problems, and repair most of them.

Then, to add sealed-system work to your repertoire, you don't need a whole new course. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a one-day workshop that steps you through the process and gives you some hands-on practice. But there are lots of free materials out there from manufacturers that you can read or watch, and then practice in your work shop. Get some old dehumidifiers or refrigerators to practice on. You'll destroy the first couple of them you work on but no big deal-- it's not a customer unit. After you get it right in your work shop, then you're ready to take your new skills into the real world.

Read, watch, learn, fix...

Technical Documents (You'll need a tech account at Appliantology.org to download):

Instructional Videos (from YouTube):

EPA Certification

This is the other question we get asked a lot - how to get the EPA Certification required to do sealed system work. EPA certification simply shows that you’ve passed a test regarding refrigerant handling and understand the regulations and certain safety procedures. It does not demonstrate your technical competence or ability to troubleshoot and repair sealed systems.

You can search online for a place that is authorized to offer the EPA “Section 608” test and certification. Here is one example.

Diagnosing two different no-start complaints in electric dryers

Posted on November 20, 2018 by - Academy Talk, Career Talk, Tech Talk

"My dryer won't start. I think it's the belt."

Many people mistakenly think that working on an electric dryer is easy Parts-changing-monkey work. Just swap out the part that isn't doing its thing, right?

Oh, no, my bruthahs and sistahs. Electric dryers can have interesting circuits that are fun to troubleshoot... if you know your stuff. If you can’t troubleshoot the electric circuits in these “low tech”, Old Skool appliances, how can you expect to troubleshoot the modern, computer-controlled appliances? We teach this in the Fundamentals course.

Both of the electric dryers in the video below wouldn't start. The causes were different, but in both cases we were able to find the exact failure by gazing upon the schematic diagrams and doing a few measurements from the control panel. Minimum disassembly, maximum bad-assery. This is the power of knowing basic electricity and circuits. Learn more, earn more!

 

 

This video demonstrates a powerful troubleshooting tool: Electrically Equivalent Points (EEPs). By identifying EEPs on the schematic, you can speed up your diagnosis and prevent unnecessary disassembly. Work smarter not harder!

 

 

Refrigerator Sealed System Diagnosis using Condenser Temperature Split

Posted on November 1, 2018 by - Academy Talk, Tech Talk, Video Repair Tips

In this short video, the Samurai demonstrates how understanding how sealed systems work and move heat can be used to make non-invasive diagnostics on refrigerator sealed systems. In this case, we're using a design criteria for condensers called "temperature split". This is the difference between the condenser's SATURATION temperature and the ambient temperature. Saturation is the key here because you don't want the superheated or sub cooled part of the condenser for your condenser temperature.

 

We teach sealed system thermodynamics, operation, troubleshooting, and repair in the Refrigerator Repair course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy. Self-paced, online, on-demand 24/7.

 

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.