Although we have touched on fault finding techniques in previous posts, there is still another element we need to have a look at, and that is the need to understand other disciplines.
So what do I mean by that?
Simply put, you as an Electrician must have an understanding across all trades. It does not mean you need to be an expert in all trades; you just need to understand how “things work”
Let’s take hydraulics. You need to understand how the valve assembly functions, how pressure regulators work and what would cause a pressure drop in your hydraulic system. Sure, we can test to see if the solenoid has activated and walk away from it as we have proven the electrical side works right? Personally I could not do that. To me fault finding means exactly that. We find the fault and fix it….get that machine running again!
In order for us to have this sort of understanding it means we need to ask questions. How does it work? Why does it work? What could cause it to stop working? Expand your knowledge and you will see how much this will assist you when having to walk up to a machine and locate the problem.
I will also touch on logic again. You must teach yourself to think in a logical manner to be good at fault finding. There will be times when you will be taken to a machine that has stopped working and be left there on your own. It is almost as if it becomes a way for some people to create a conversation topic should you not get it working.
This is where logic helps you. Look at the machine and follow the steps through it. Then look at every step and determine what would give the machine the instruction to perform the next step. Remember, the machine does not see the product. Something needs to give it a signal for it to “know” what to do next.
Now combine the two things we looked at, hydraulic knowledge and logic, to follow the function of the machine and what prevents it from working:
You have a production piece entering the machine and as soon as it moves into the machine, the second conveyor starts. LOGIC = There must be a Sensor to “see” the product and give the start instruction. The production piece now moves along the conveyor and when it is in position, the hydraulic clamps close and holds the piece. The conveyor also needs to stop when the piece is in position. LOGIC = There must be another Sensor to “see” the piece. This sensor will cause the conveyor to stop but also give a signal for the solenoid to activate and as such close the hydraulic clamps.
See what I am doing? I have not started the machine. I am just using logic to determine what should be happening when the machine works. Once I have done that, I can start the machine to observe the steps and see where it goes wrong.
Hope this makes sense and helps you in your work. Till next time, stay safe and please don’t take risks