Topic: Tech Talk

The Four Keys to becoming a Great Appliance Tech

Posted on August 4, 2017 by - Academy Talk, Business Talk, Career Talk, Tech Talk

Here’s the reality of the appliance repair trade today: we have too many parts changers and not enough technicians. In working with techs of all types over the years, I’ve noticed that all great technicians do four things that distinguish them from the sea of parts changers:

  1. KTB - Know The Basics
  2. RTFM - Read The Freakin’ Manual
  3. PATD - Pay Attention To Details
  4. HAS - Have A System

Know The Basics

Nothing else happens unless a technician knows technical things. This may sound obvious but the sad reality of the appliance repair trade today is that many “technicians” don’t know the things that real technicians are supposed to know: basic electricity, analog and digital circuits, reading schematics, technology used in modern appliances, microcomputer control systems, troubleshooting, etc.

Many techs who have been doing appliance repair for 20+ years think they know the basics but, in fact, most do not- they literally don’t know what they don’t know. It is possible, even common today, for techs to have 20+ years of parts changing experience without knowing very much about the basics.

We teach all the basics and much more in the Core Appliance Repair Training course.

Read the Freakin’ Manual

Knowing the basics is critical but a good tech will also carefully READ the service manual or tech sheet to understand the theory of operation, specifications, and technology used in that appliance.

Most techs are sloppy readers. They’ll quickly scan through a service manual or tech sheet and say they’ve “read” it. That’s not what I mean by RTFM.

We have to read technical literature differently from the way we read a pulp fiction novel. Reading technical literature is not about speed reading. It’s reading and processing the information, forming a coherent understanding of how the appliance systems and circuits are supposed to function.

Where do you get technical literature? From manufacturers if you are an authorized warranty servicer. If not, you can become a Professional Appliantologist member at and search, request, and download all kinds of technical literature from most of the major manufacturers.

Pay Attention to Details

Think about the word, “technician.” The root of that word is “technic” as in “technicality” which implies details. Our very job title says that we are all about details. That means that we, as true technicians, have eyes and ears honed by training and experience that see and hear things that elude unskilled eyes and ears. We pay attention to details to look for clues when we’re troubleshooting, disassembling, and implementing the repair.

Have a System

We need a system for every aspect of our profession and/or business. At the Master Samurai Tech Academy, we teach a system of troubleshooting called the Ten Step Tango™, which you can learn for free.

The benefit of having a troubleshooting system is that it gives you a structured framework for organizing your thinking and bringing it to bear in solving an appliance problem. You may know the basics and have access to the service manual or tech sheet but unless you can bring all that to bear on a specific problem, you won’t get it fixed. That’s what the Ten Step Tango™ helps you do.

Conversely, a troubleshooting system by itself won’t do you much good unless you know what real technicians are supposed to know, like the basics described above.

In business, you want systems for things like answering the phone, scheduling service calls, conducting the service call, and setting job prices. All of this is taught in our Modern Business Management course which is included at half price in our Business Bundle.

Be honest - are you missing any of the Four Keys? Master Samurai Tech has helped many techs, from newbies to seasoned veterans, fill in the gaps and acquire the keys to appliance tech greatness.

Samsung Refrigerator Troubleshooting Webinar

Posted on July 27, 2017 by - Academy Talk, Presentations, Tech Talk

We had a full house at this Master Samurai Tech Office Hours webinar! I debunked the common tech perception that Samsung refrigerator use special, secret technology not used in any other refrigerator. In fact, I showed that Samsung's function and get troubleshoot using the same basic troubleshooting techniques as any other modern, computer-controlled refrigerator.

In addition to demystifying Samsung refrigerator repair, we talked about these other topics:

  • Keys to being a great tech
  • NTC thermistors
  • voltage divider circuits
  • the Ten Step Tango Troubleshooting Procedure
  • Capacitors used with motors
  • Linear compressors

Attending the regular, live training webinars is one of the benefits for students here at the Master Samurai Tech Academy and Professional Appliantologist members at our sister site, Appliantology.

The webinar recording below will be available to everyone for a week or so. After that, you'll need to be an MST Academy student or PA member at Appliantology to view it.

UPDATE: The webinar recording is no longer available to the public but is still available for Professional Appliantologists and Master Samurai Tech Academy students.

Have you been head-faked by ghost voltage?

Posted on June 3, 2017 by - Tech Talk

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 Core 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!


Master Samurai Tech Radio Episode 19: ASTI 2017 Recap

Posted on February 21, 2017 by - Academy Talk, Business Talk, MST Radio, Tech Talk


In this long-awaited episode, the Samurai and Mrs. Samurai recap the recent Annual Service Training Institute. Some of the links referenced in the podcast:

- Photos from ASTI 2017

- MST Ten-Step Tango Troubleshooting Procedure

- Understanding "Loading Down" in Appliance DC Power Supplies

You can listen to just the audio portion of the vodcast in the player below:

Troubleshoot from the Computer Board and Avoid Unnecessary Appliance Disassembly

Posted on July 25, 2016 by - Academy Talk, Career Talk, Tech Talk

True confession time: I am the laziest tech you’ll ever meet. That’s why I LOVE computer-controlled appliances- I can troubleshoot almost any problem from the main computer board with minimal disassembly, using the skills that we teach in our appliance repair training classes.

Using this Samsung electric dryer as an example, I show how use the schematic to troubleshoot and precisely identify the problem in this no-heat dryer all from the control board.

By doing all my troubleshooting from the main computer board and identifying the bad part, I can then check my inventory to see if I have the part on hand at the service call.

If I do, great- I go ahead and disassemble to complete the repair.

If not, then I avoid an unnecessary disassembly on that first call, go order the needed part, then come back and complete the repair with just one disassembly.

Avoiding unnecessary disassembly saves time, money, and liability.

Lazy techs work smarter, not harder, and earn more money!



Master Samurai Tech Academy students should log in and watch the more advanced video showing how to test even more components from the control board using live tests.

Want access to videos like this (and tons more)? Click here to enroll in one of our enlightening appliance repair training courses today.

Webinar Recording: Troubleshooting a Samsung Electric Dryer from the Control Board using Live Testing