Fixing Other’s flubs

by admin on September 25, 2017

I have a 42″ LCD TV made by Olevia. Just after it finished it’s warranty period it died. I didn’t have time to devote to fixing it because of other commitments so I took it to a shop for repair. After looking it over, the owner told me it would cost $300 to fix because it needed a new main board. I agreed and it was fixed.

After having it back for a few months, it started quitting after being on for some period of time. It appeared to be heat related because if I restarted it it would quit again in less time than the first. This would continue until it would shut off within minutes of [click to continue…]

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Troubleshooting (part 5)

by admin on September 25, 2017

Documentation

I’ve been talking about this for a while.  I even offered up some suggestions in my previous post about how to possible modify the trouble shooting procedure.  Here’s another alternative.  I’ve used both methods and, for me, it’s a toss up.  I think I prefer this method a tad bit more as I can enter the data more easily into a spreadsheet. 


If I do that it gives me the ability to sort by date/time.  By step number, by words etc.  pretty much anything I want to.  This method requires that you keep a copy of the trouble shooting procedure as a reference so you can be certain of exactly what you did.

That means you would want to identify the procedure you used as well as the revision. 

REVISION? 

                                   What the heck are we revising? 

Let me explain.  To be certain of everything you’re doing and reconstruct things in the future should you ever need to, you must document what you did.  At the same time, if you don’t write a perfect procedure on your first try (I never have in over 25 years of writing and documenting procedures) you’ll need or want to change it. 

When supervising a large team it is imperative that everyone use the best known methods (BKM) when working.  This allows the collective intelligence of the group to be utilized everytime something is being worked on. 

You want  the organization to be a learning organization.  Someone once said of human beings that you are either learning or you’re dying.  The same could be said about an organization.  It is also said that  a business is either growing or dying. 

How does an organization learn anything?  Well, when any part of the organiation  learns something that has to be transferred to the rest of the organization.  How about saying that in English?  Well, what I mean is that if any individual within the organization learns something (improves a procedure, changes the order, adds a test fixture that speeds some step up or improves the accuracy of a step) the organization hasn’t learned it, yet.  The individual may have improved, but the organization has not.  The organization can be said to have learned it when that new knowledge is incorporated in the procedure that the organization uses AND everyone in the organization performing that procedure knows about and uses the changes to their, and the organizations, benefit.  If it is particularly complex or re-arranges a large number of steps or some other major difference, there may need to be training for other team-members that will be performing that same procedure. 

Perhaps you get a new piece of test equipment.  Maybe you get a new computer program.  How about a new power supply that is programmable when all you used to have is one that had a voltage adjustment?  Maybe a full on solder rework station that has integral vacuum and has a hot air pre-heat and hot air main heat?  If it is a big enough change, just writing it down won’t be good enough.  You’ll need to have training. 

Here’s an example of a learning organization.  I was assigned to a 688 class submarine that had just completed it’s commissioning shakedown. (it was brand-spanking new, everything was shiny and and…)  We took it into the shipyard to have a bunch of improvements made to it that weren’t included in the original, new construction, contract.  One of those items was to add  an anechoic coating to the hull.  This helped to make the ship quieter and stealthier.  When the shipyard did the procedure the first time, it took a long time.  The engineers that designed it gave there best guess as to how it should be installed and the time that it would take.

The actual shipfitters worked carefully, diligently and got it installed but it took LONGER than forecasted by the engineers.  The second ship was a little faster and by the time they got to the fourth ship they were at the time targetted by the engineers.  Everyone was elated.  The workers doing the actual work had another idea though.  They worked on improving the procedure.  They got permission from their superiors to try something.  After everyone agreed, they went to work.  Using their new procedure and an installation jig that a couple of them made in one of the machine shops they reduced the time by another 20%.  A couple more folks got involved and threw in their ideas.  By the time they competed three more ships they were doing the installation in 65% of the time allotted by the engineers.  All of these changes were incorporated into the new procedure.  The organization had learned. 

Shipyard management was so happy that they gave the installation team some really HUGE bonuses.  They were saving the company loads of  time.  (Everyone knows that time is money)  This allowed the shipyard to do the same job with fewer people and kept the upgrades on time and schedule.  The shipyard was also able to pass savings on to the Navy which means the american taxpayer was getting more for their money.  Everyone was happy.

This is why I recommend you have procedures that you actually use.  Periodically, review the procedure against the actual work being performed.  If it doesn’t match, figure out why. 

  • Has the person doing the work made an unapproved change?
  • Does the difference improve or detract from the standard output?
  • Should the procedure be updated to reflect this new technique or change or should the person doing the work be re-trained on the correct procedure?
    1. If training is held, be sure to include the WHY, most people do much better(remember longer, perform more accurately, etc.) if they understand why something is being done in a particular manner. 
    2. If the procedure is to be updated, make the changes and train everyone else so that they can benefit.  Remember, the whole organzation benefits from the learning.

Here are a couple of filled out copies of the log that I use when trouble shooting just about anything.  As I mentioned above, I often do it directly in a spreadsheet for ease of cataloging.  Hope this helps.

trouble-shooting-log

trouble-shooting-log_tiller

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Troubleshooting (part 4)

September 24, 2017

So How did you do?  Did you build you troubleshooting guide for no Power?  Did you start?  I hope so, the best way to do anything is to “jump in” with both feet or “go for it”. Nike’s ad is in a similar vein: “Just Do It” As promised, I’ll show you my troubleshooting

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Tips

September 24, 2017

As I think of tips I’ll post them and once I get enough, I’ll collect them on a single page so that they’ll be easier to find.  You may have noticed some random part numbers appearing on the site.  Since I’m always taking things apart and figuring out what they do, I’ve decided that I’d [...]

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Moribund Microwave Oven

September 23, 2017

Way back when, before wife and kids, after college, 1985 to be exact I bought a microwave oven. It was a Sharp model with a rotating carousel. The carousel was rather unique, and most ovens didn’t have one. You were required to stop cooking and rotate the food periodically to ensure even heating. The carousels [...]

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Troubleshooting technique (part 3)

September 23, 2017

(…continued)As I mentioned at the end of the last post, I’ve never owned an electronic repair shop.  In addition to all the things I mentioned in that post, I’ve worked in the military aboard nuclear submarines, I’ve worked in the chemical industry and the semiconductor industry.  In every case, the success of the organization has [...]

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2N2222 / 2N2222A

September 22, 2017

General Purpose NPN Transistor 2N2219A, 2N2221 and 2N2222A are silicon planar epitaxial NPN transistors in JEDEC TO-39 (for 2N2219A) and in JEDEC TO-18 (for 2N2222A) metal case. They are designed for high speed switching and small signal applications at collector current up to 500mA, and feature useful current gain over a wide range of collector [...]

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2N3904

September 22, 2017

Silicon General Purpose NPN Transistor This NPN bipolar junction transistor is designed as a general purpose amplifier and switch. The useful dynamic range extends to 100 mA as a switch and to 100 MHz as an amplifier. .Datasheet

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Is measuring voltage dangerous?

September 21, 2017

Measuring voltage and how to use a digital multimeter (DMM) can be confusing to a beginner and potentially dangerous depending on what you happen to be measuring the voltage of. For example if you are measuring the voltage inside a television set or other device that has a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) there will be [...]

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Troubleshooting techniques (part 2)

September 21, 2017

(…continued) From the generalist to the specialist (Remember from part one that my mechanic had figured out nothing that I hadn’t already  figured out and had sent me to a automotive electric specialist. ) On one hand I was elated that I was as smart as the guys in the shop on the other hand [...]

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