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Electrical Troubleshooting Fundamentals

July 27, 2016byPepper Hastings0

I was reading an article on electrical troubleshooting fundamentals in Electrical, Construction & Maintenance magazine. In this article they talk about using a “divide and conquer troubleshooting” to save time.

Electrical troubleshooting becomes quicker when using the "half bracketing" technique.
Electrical troubleshooting becomes quicker when using the “half bracketing” technique.

Fellow Marine and Navy vets will recognize this a what we were taught as the “Half-Split Bracketing.” This electrical troubleshooting fundamental technique is a very useful and time effective method of troubleshooting.

The basic premise of “divide and conquer” is to check the system at the beginning to determine if a simple breaker or switch needs to be energized. If everything is OK at that point, you split the system in half and check there. If you have voltage or signal there, you know that the problem lies further down the line. If you don’t have the voltage or signal, then you know that the problem lies between here and the disconnect. You keep splitting the remaining portions of the system in half until you locate the problem. This is basic electrical troubleshooting fundamentals.

When I was Maintenance Lead, Supervisor or Manager, I always insisted that the techs utilized the electrical prints and drawings for that particular piece of equipment. Now, as a field service technician in the Memphis area, I have countless times been asked to help troubleshoot a piece of equipment — and no one has even looked at a print. They say they had been working on this equipment for years and did not need the prints. If the prints were available and used, then the problem could have been found and corrected sooner.

Use the prints when troubleshooting and electrical problem on a piece of equipment. Prints will usually determine which components are “make or break” for a certain function to occur.

Dave Oliver

By using the “Half-Split Bracketing” or the “divide and conquer” approach as mentioned in Mark Lamendola’s  EC&M article, your electrical troubleshooting will become more effective.

Dave Oliver grows very, very hot ghost peppers and is a field service technician for Innovative-IDM’s Memphis branch. You can reach him at [email protected]

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