Experiencing a breakdown or fault in equipment is always unexpected, and unfortunate. Moreover, having faulty equipment will result in the disruption of operations in the workplace.
Facing a problem with your generator or electric motor is a major concern for most businesses in particular. While the options of generator overhauling or electric motor overhauling are always available to do a complete repair on your equipment – there is still a need for a check to be put in place before you make that decision.
In such situations where faulty equipment is being suspected of – troubleshoot will come in as the first step to take before a repair is being decided on.
Well, with that being said – what is there to understand about this process and how does it salvage your equipment?
Known as a ‘problem-solving approach’ – troubleshooting is applied to equipment of all sorts to identify the cause of faulty equipment and solve it. Ultimately, the purpose behind troubleshooting is to ensure the equipment is able to operate at its original condition immediately.
For instance, if the electrical transformer installation that you have done years ago has suddenly run into an error – a troubleshoot can be considered to identify potential problems within the equipment and tackle them.
How the process of troubleshooting goes
Each case of troubleshooting may not involve the same exact steps. However, each one of them will usually have engineers following these few general guidelines.
1. Close observation of your equipment
The engineer will make sure to observe every part of the equipment carefully, and that means making use of one’s senses – be it eyesight, smell or hearing.
Visual signs of faulty equipment consist of any indications of overheated components like relay coil and wirings, loose components or chafed wires. Other than that, the engineer will make sure to spot for any unusual smell or sounds. Though there is the option of touching the equipment by hand for any other issues, it is highly advised not to as it might lead to injuries or burns.
2. Pinpointing the problem areas
As said earlier on, careful observation is required by the engineer.
The engineer should understand which parts of the equipment are operating correctly while comparing it with the equipment’s former condition. Doing so allows the engineer to identify the parts which are functioning properly – focusing only on parts with issues. From there, lesser testing time will be required and it will speed up the equipment’s capability to bounce back to its original state.
3. Putting together a list of the possible causes
Once the list of problem areas is settled, the engineer can proceed to establish the possible reasons for the malfunction.
Some possible causes comprise of windings and coils, terminal connections and wiring, blown fuses and mechanical components.
4. Determining the core issue
At this stage, the troubleshooting process will have to rely heavily on the engineer’s experience, technical skills and intuition. Usually, it will involve making use of testing machinery and reading the equipment’s instruments.
In other words, the years of expertise and knowledge that the engineer has should ensure that they have the ability to the following:
- Ensuring systems are de-energized and turned off before dissembling
- Abiding by all field safety protocols
- Taking a look at low maintenance components first and exploring all the convenient possibilities to conserve time
- Keeping up to date with any particular modes that can provide aid in troubleshooting such as diagnostics
- Recognizing obvious faults but is also aware of those that are not easily seen
5. Correcting the source of the problem
After the cause has been properly identified, the engineer will understand whether to repair, replace or redesign. It really depends on the severity of the issue.
However, the engineer should make sure to permanently eliminate the cause of the problem and not simply fix the part that is affected. It might mean having to replace a component of the equipment or in worst case scenarios, the entire equipment.
6. Double-checking the equipment
Once the root cause has been identified and dealt with, the engineer has to make sure that the equipment can operate fully and successfully without any signs of error.
For example, once again ensuring that all gauges and readings are correct, specifically in line with the equipment’s original condition.
7. Follow up and prevent future issues
Now that the equipment has been confirmed to be operating properly, there still remains a need for the engineer to make sure that other errors do not happen in the future.
This might require the engineer to commit a few changes such as the following:
- An upgrade or redesign in equipment
- Change of preventive maintenance procedure
- Recording the problem in a detailed manner in the equipment logbook to serve as a form of assistance regarding potential problems that may happen in the future
- Having a change of suppliers for services or components
- Organizing maintainer/operator awareness training to educate staff
Troubleshooting can essentially identify any sort of problems that your equipment might have. If it’s your electric motor that’s facing trouble, a troubleshoot will help you spot the issue and when necessary, have the engineer do electric motor overhauling to rectify the matter.
In other words, troubleshooting plays a huge role in restoring your equipment’s life. Though there are other types of tests available, this is surely one test that you can consider when you are facing such errors.