Posts By: Scott Brown

Diagnosing a Refrigerator Sealed System Problem using an Ammeter and an IR Temperature Gun

Posted on March 17, 2015 by - Tech Talk

Join Samurai Appliance Repair Man on a trek into the sealed system bowels of a warm refrigerator. Watch with amazement as I show you how to make a definitive diagnosis of a sealed system failure in this fridge using common, inexpensive tools that every appliance tech (who's worth their salt) and most DIYers already own: a clamp-on ammeter and an IR temperature gun.

Howl, o ye nations! Clap your hands, o ye peoples! No need for line piercing valves and pressure gauges IF you understand how sealed systems work, which we teach in stunning multi-media detail in the Refrigerators Troubleshooting and Repair Training Course here at the Samurai Tech Academy.



So let's look at where that current draw comes from and apply that to the compressor in the video.

Compressors are rated by horsepower. Horsepower is a measure of mechanical work. Watts are also a measure of work but the work in this case is electrical. The nameplate rating on compressors and motors gives the horsepower of the motor because you're usually interested in how much torque that motor can produce at a given voltage.

Horsepower is a measure of mechanical work just like watts is a measure of electrical work. You can convert horsepower to watts using the following conversion:

1 horsepower (hp) = 746 watts

The compressor in the video is an Embraco EGZ80HLP, a typical 1/3 hp compressor. 1/3 hp = 246 watts. Let's ignore mechanical inefficiencies in converting electrical work (watts) into mechanical work (horsepower) and run the numbers:

P= I * E => I = P / E = 246 watts / 120 vac = 2 amps

So that's where the "2 amps or maybe a little less" statement comes from in the video.

Let's compare this calculated current draw with a measured draw from the exact same compressor model (1/3 hp) in a different refrigerator, different service call, shown in the video below starting at 3:05 in, go ahead and fast forward:



I measured 1.6 amps in the video above but calculated 2 amps. Some of that difference is due to the run capacitor installed on the compressor. The purpose of the run cap is to smooth out the pulses in the motor and help it draw less current while running. But I'd say that qualifies as "2 amps or maybe a little less."

So what's to be done for this wayward fridge? Take it to da dump!

The cold, economic reality is that the EPA ozone depletion regulations have made doing sealed system work so prohibitively expensive (if it's to be done legally, correctly, and charged at a fair rate) that, in most cases, it simply does not make economic sense to do it anymore. Unless the fridge is either a built-in unit or is under some type of warranty, then sealed system failure is, for all practical purposes, a "total" event as far as the customer is concerned.

A Master Samurai Tech Presentation: Troubleshooting Appliance Electronic Control Boards

Posted on March 10, 2015 by - Presentations, Tech Talk

A Master Samurai Tech Presentation:
Troubleshooting Appliance Electronic Control Boards


Learn from the Samurai and become a troubleshooting master!

Using a Whirlpool dishwasher as a case study, the Samurai explains each step in the process of troubleshooting electronic control boards in appliances, revealing the schematic mysteries to all who want to learn.

In this 38-minute video, you will learn:

  • Basic troubleshooting techniques with broad applications to all appliances
  • How to use tech sheets properly
  • How to get those control boards to talk to you
  • How to identify suspected problems using the schematic diagram
  • How to formulate a troubleshooting strategy based on schematic analysis
  • How to identify where to make electrical measurements
  • About triac-gated neutrals in AC loads with standing voltage
  • The difference between loading and non-loading voltage meters and when and why to use each

...and much more!

You will have LIFETIME ACCESS to this video!


Here are a few tantalizing screenshots of the presentation...

One small price of admission gains you lifetime access to this valuable training video as well as the ability to ask follow-up questions in the comments section. Watch it as many times as you like as part of your journey to become a Master Samurai Tech!

Note: if you are enrolled in Advanced Schematic Analysis and Troubleshooting, then you have access to this presentation in your course materials.

$25 Click here to begin your journey of Total Appliance Enlightenment!

Big Changes to the Academy’s Appliance Repair Training Courses

Posted on March 1, 2015 by - Academy Talk, Tech Talk

Here at the Samurai Tech Academy, we're always thinking about our students! (That's not quite as creepy as it sounds.)

In yet another example of the STA's devotion to the needs of our students, we have added new Module Exams to most of the modules in the technical courses. Many of you were asking for more challenges along the way to make sure you're really getting the material. Module Exams are a great way to revisit the info from all of the units you've studied and make sure you've nailed it before moving on to a new module.

IMPORTANT: if you are currently working through Fundamentals or Refrigerators, you will have to go back and take any exams for modules you've already completed before you can move forward. I hope you will see this as an opportunity to review and practice the material from those modules, and know that it will help you when you get to the Final Exam!

If you have already completed either course, you can still go back and take the exams for funsies!

But wait! There's more!

Another change we made was a three-attempt limit on the quizzes that come after each unit (lesson). We did this because if a student needs to re-do a quiz more than three times, there's something wrong either with the student's attention to the material presented in the unit or with the way the material is presented. Either way, we need to troubleshoot that!

So here's the drill: if a student requires more than three attempts to pass a quiz (and all unit quizzes require a score of 100% to pass and move on to the next unit) then the software sends me an email and the student's progress is temporarily stopped until we can talk either by phone, email, or the Student Forums.

After I've administered the appropriate gray matter massage, the student is re-enabled to re-take the quiz and continue on their merry way. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage more student-Samurai interaction as needed to help the student master the material.

Master Samurai Tech at ASTI New Orleans 2015

Posted on February 14, 2015 by - Academy Talk

Just got back from the best-ever ASTI in New Orleans. Reconnected with old friends, made new ones, met many of my Appliantology brethren and several of my Samurai Tech Academy students in person. Not being a city person myself, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed New Orleans-- fantastic food and lots of fun in the French Quarter. Here's a picture of our booth at the ASTI trade show featuring Mrs. Samurai (left) and Academy Ambassador Natalie (right). Good times, good times!

Master Samurai Tech ASTI Booth New Orleans 2015

Meet the Samurai and Mrs. Samurai in New Orleans!

Posted on January 31, 2015 by - Academy Talk

ASTI New OrleansAre you coming down to New Orleans for the Annual Service Training Institute (ASTI)? It’s the premiere annual appliance repair training event in the country, held this year February 8th through 12th in New Orleans, LA. Many of the major manufacturers offer training classes. It’s a great way to pick up all the newest tricks on the latest models and to connect with your brethren (and sisteren) in the craft.

A lot of the big names and who’s who of the appliance repair world are going to be there. In addition to all the mucky-mucks, Mrs. Samurai and I will be there, too. Make sure to stop by Booth 39 for cupcakes, a fun little quiz, and even a raffle! We’d love to meet more of our Samurai Tech Academy students and fellow Appliantologists face-to-face.

Going to ASTI can pump up your skills and re-energize your business. It’s also a morale-booster to spend time with other folks in the trade, swap war stories, and even get inspired with new ideas. We’ve attended for years, and are excited to now be there representing the Samurai Tech Academy!

If you can make it to New Orleans this year, be sure to connect with us on the ASTI mobile app (just search for “Samurai”), and come by Booth 39! We’ve got a cupcake just for you.