What should I do when I have a problem with a piece of test equipment?

What should I do when I have a problem with a piece of test equipment?

Before you pick up the phone, send an email or ask a coworker or vendor for help, here are some common sense tips for initial diagnosis. Please do this before you call your vendor or manufacturer for a Return Authorization Number. But be sure not to open anything up or break a calibration seal as that may void your warranty if you have any remaining.

Have you checked the line voltage to make sure the selected voltage on the unit matches the outlet?  Some units will automatically switch but a great a majority of the used and older units require the voltage to be manually switched.

More importantly did you check the line voltage before attempting to power the unit on? Something may not be plugged in. Again these are common sense tips.

Have you checked for blown fuses? If the fuse is easily accessible take a look. A simple low cost replacement may be in order.

Have you tried a different outlet or changed power cords? Depending on your set up this may be a simple cure.

Is there a separate standby power switch on the back of the unit as well as the on/off button or switch on the front?  Are they both on? Depending on the device this is easily overlooked.

Have you read the operators manual?  Many user and service manuals offer helpful hints for these common operational problems. When in doubt about anything related to your test equipment always read the manual.

Is there a self-test function? If so engage the sequence or press the button per the manufacturer’s instructions in the user manual. The result displayed most likely is the road map for a repair scenario.

Again a friendly reminder – always read the user manual!

These tips may seem simple and silly but it beats sending your equipment back to a vendor for no reason other than a minor oversight. Nobody wants to incur needless down time or shipping expense. In our 20 years of business we have received equipment back for warranty repair for each of the above issues.  Even the best technician can miss the obvious.  So take an extra few minutes to verify the problem you are having.

Again please note if you device is under warranty please be sure to not open anything up or break seals as that may void your warranty. This is important for safety reasons as well, especially with high power test gear such as power amplifiers and power supplies.

When you have exhausted these steps, and if you need to contact a vendor for resolution, always be ready to describe the problem you are experiencing, as an accurate detailed problem description can save you time and money by helping us determine if a high quality repair is feasible and cost effective. In many cases, we also include a swap out/replacement unit for customer consideration. Sometimes a replacement may be a better solution to pursue, depending on the problems you are having.

Contact us anytime for repairs or calibrations, whether your item is within warranty or not, we are happy to help.

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Mike is a finance industry executive with expertise in test, IT and avionics equipment acquisition, resale, residual valuation, leasing, renting and consignment.
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