Much of the work performed by Electrotechnical Officers (E.T.O.) involves the repair and maintenance of electrical equipment and systems. To maintain such systems at peak performance, Electrotechnical Officer (E.T.O.) must have a good knowledge of what is commonly referred to as troubleshooting—the ability to determine the cause of a malfunction and then correct it.
Troubleshooting covers a wide range of problems, from small jobs such as finding a short circuit or ground fault in small appliance to tracing out defects in a
The basic principles used are the same in either case. Troubleshooting requires a thorough knowledge of electrical theory and testing equipment, combined with a systematic and methodical approach to finding and diagnosing problems.
The following general tips and principles are intended to help define the troubleshooting process.
Think Before Acting
Electrotechnical Officer (ETO) need study the problem thoroughly, and ask yourself these questions:
● What were the warning signs preceding the trouble?
● What previous repair and maintenance work has been done?
● Has similar trouble occurred before?
● If the circuit, component, or piece of equipment still operates, is it safe to continue operation before further testing?
The answers to these questions can usually be obtained by:
● Questioning the colleague or operator of the equipment.
● Taking time to think the problem through.
● Looking for additional symptoms.
● Consulting troubleshooting charts.
● Checking the simplest things first.
● Referring to repair and maintenance records.
● Checking with calibrated instruments.
● Double-checking all conclusions before beginning any repair on the equipment or circuit components.
The source of many problems is not one part alone, but the relationship of one part to another. For instance, a tripped circuit breaker may be reset to restart a piece of equipment, but what caused the breaker to trip in the first place? It could have been caused by a vibrating “hot” conductor momentarily coming into contact with a ground, or a loose connection could eventually cause overheating, or any number of other causes.
Too often, electrically operated equipment is completely disassembled in search of the cause of a certain complaint, and all evidence is destroyed during disassembly
operations. Check again to be certain an easy solution to the problem has not been overlooked.