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Episode 10 — Troubleshooting 101

Troubleshooting can be done to anything, a machine, a process, even a relationship.

The first step to troubleshoot something is understand the process or machine as much as possible and understand how it supposed to operate,.and what is the ideal output.

A machine or process can be divided up into 2 types and very often is some of both types.

Type 1… a sequential process:   Input 1 is fed into Operation 1 and that creates Output 1 that is fed into operation 2..that creates Output 2 that feeds Operation 3… etc. until the final operation produces the desired output..

An example is an automobile. Gasoline is fed to the Engine… the Engine turns and that turns the clutch/transmission and that turns the differential and that turns the wheels that propels the automobile down the road (the desired output.)

That brings us to the 2nd step of troubleshooting. Divide and Conquer. Determine which part of the process is “broke”. This also leads to our major assumption… only one thing breaks at a time… so once we have determined out sections as not being fed an input we can zero-in on the section that is not providing that input, and assume the one that is not being “fed” is ok.

The 2nd type of process or machine can be thought of as several inputs. Often these inputs have to be provided in the right amounts and at the right time. This is where a diagram looks like a tree or a “fishbone” diagram with multiple inputs all coming together to form the output. A good example of this is a cake that requires several ingredients as well as an oven temperature and time. Another example is the engine of an automobile. The engine requires fuel, air, a spark, and compression of the fuel air mixture and all these must happen at the right time.

Many times part of a machine is common to many parts of the machine, and if any part of the machine is operating, this common part can be determined to be alright. The battery on an automobile, or the power supply in electronic devices are examples of this.  This is the third principle of troubleshooting… Can a defective part that is common to many things cause the symptoms?

Several examples of troubleshooting are provided in the audio and these describe the techniques.  The final key item to effective troubleshooting is use all five senses, locate any burnt smells, hot spots or unusual sounds.



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