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Electronics Troubleshooting

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    Electronics Troubleshooting

    I am an electrical engineer with about 9 years in power working in various roles including design, but all my real experience is in power. My role recently changed and I am now in a metrology lab doing .... well, just about everything. This covers design and construction of small apparatus for testing of fuses, breakers, and other small electrical devices. I'm ok with all that. However, part of this position is also requiring the troubleshooting and repair of analog/digital circuits such as the Keithley 197 bench DMM, Doble voltage/current sources and other such devices. While I can USE these devices, I am in over my head when it comes to tracking down problems with the device. I know how to use a scope and other test equipment from a basic power standpoint (waves, amplitude, power spectrum, noise, etc), but I don't really know what to do when it comes to finding damaged, destroyed components.

    I have been looking for distance learning/training courses that would be helpful in learning the basics and advanced methods for troubleshooting complex circuits. I found a course at Cleveland Institute of Electronics ( that sounded promising, but it has kind of a hit/miss track record, and I don't have alot of money to throw at this with no real ROI.

    So, does anyone know of a good course for a sparky to take to learn electronics troubleshooting/repair?

    Thanks for whatever input is offered. I WILL follow up on everything posted as I am in way over my head here.

    Documentation needed

    Did you say you have to repair the things or just use them to repair other things? If you are trying to repair the test equipment the hardest thing is getting the proper documentation, if you don't have that it is just a shot in the dark and a waste of time, same goes for anything you need to repair.
    The best way to learn is to build something from a kit electronics are cheap to buy. radio shack used to have some pretty good project books.


      some manufacturers have classes.


        My employer has excellent documentation and schematics of the equipment (most of it anyway) that I'll be working on. I'll give you an example. The Keithley 197 DMM is used extensively in the lab where I am working. Sometimes we will receive one that has been hooked up incorrectly and blown out some traces or burned up a transistor or something. Obvious damages I can fix (blown out traces are easily seen under the scope and burned transistors are easily seen due to the dark pcd). This equipment is hopefully turned around and then recalibrated to continue using in the lab.

        The problem I have is that I don't know where to start or really what to do when one of these comes in. I can turn it on and see what it is or isn't doing, but to sit and find the problem when it is not evident (blown trace, burned transistor etc) I just don't know what to do. I am looking for some kind of training in electronics troubleshooting that will give me some "tools" to use when I am faced with a not-so-evident problem to fix. Classrooom teaching is fine if it's nearby (chattanooga, TN - I've looked at the jr colleges and tech schools and they just don't offer anything useful). Distance learning is fine too, but like I said in the beginning, the classes I found have a sort of sketchy reputation.

        I was hoping someone out there was familiar enough with one or more of the courses to make a suggestion.

        I have read many books, but without some hands-on type stuff, I have found it to be rather pointless.

        I've built some kits in the past and have some background in component level design that I draw from, but since I didn't build the circuits I'll be trying to fix and since they are significantly more complex than anything I have ever designed or built, I need to expand my abilities.


          Check out Louis Rossmann on Youtube. He repairs mostly MacBooks, but he does a great job talking out loud, stepping through thought process as he troubleshoots and tries to pinpoint the damaged components. I watch him from time to time just to get an idea on how small electronics are repaired. Language is salty but I kind of empathize with him.