Philosophy Of Troubleshooting
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  1. #1
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    Here are a few things to think about. Perhaps some of you can add to these.

    1) Similarity is not identity!

    Because you had a previous system with similar symptoms and found and fixed the problem does not mean the next system with similar symptoms has the same cause. That is operating on the assumption that similarity is identity. That is not troubleshooting.

    2) Symptoms are not the cause!

    Don't confuse the symptoms of the cause with the cause of the symptoms. Treating the symptoms may make one or more of the symptoms go away but it does not remove the problem. In fact, it probably inserts yet another problem and the whole problem is compounded. Know the difference between symptoms and the cause of the symptoms. Some doctors treat the symptoms instead of finding the cause. We need to be better than that.


    Got any more?



  2. #2
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    Jan 2003
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    Beaufort, SC
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    1st thing in trouble shooting, understand the sequence of operation, 2nd thing, identify and understand what purpose each component in the system does and how it can affect the operation. If you know this you can fix anything, there is more but I will let someone else add to it.

  3. #3
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    SE Michigan
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    Its amazing what your ears can tell you. Carpenters always get pissed when I turn off their radio to do my start up or service.
    "Politicians are the lowest form of life on Earth. Liberal Democrats are the lowest form of politician"

    - General George S. Patton

  4. #4
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    Jan 2003
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    I was wondering if someone would mention your senses, its amazing what you find without even picking up a tool.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    Guayaquil EC
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    Communicate.....Ask questions of those who use the equipment or system before you do anything. If you get a first-hand description of what they have observed, you often can get to the cause of a problem a lot faster.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ft Worth Tx ( North Richland Hills)
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    Originally posted by hvac45
    I was wondering if someone would mention your senses, its amazing what you find without even picking up a tool.
    Amen....smelling a cooked transformer,contactor coil or motor windings.

    feeling vibrations,knocks,pulsations..temps

    all senses but taste.
    How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    9,871

    All the senses

    1. Feeling: Vibes from the unit.

    2. Hearing: Very important. A good tech can usually know if a unit is under stress from its harmonics.

    3. Smell: Phosgene gas. Burnt oil. Electrical frying.

    4. Taste. Well, taste is a little far out there but it does have its place.


    5. Sight. Damned hard to do it without sight. Not saying impossible.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
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    11,274

    re: Got any more?

    3) Gather up as much data as possible (write it down!) during your analysis to back up your conclusion.

    4) Don't assume anything! Verify everything!

    5) When you get stumped, back down. Hardest thing to do in a time crunch but the time spent on a break is time saved when you return to the job and nail it.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  9. #9
    KISS

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    9,871
    Anticipate the worst but look for the simple stuff first.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    Chicago, N/W burbs
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    I always try not to look at previous service history until AFTER I have gone over the system. Many times a service history will lead you down the wrong trail and you may overlook something important.

    I always start with airflow then go to the condenser.
    R2B4BTU

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    South Dakota
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    Originally posted by otto
    I always try not to look at previous service history until AFTER I have gone over the system. Many times a service history will lead you down the wrong trail and you may overlook something important.

    I always start with airflow then go to the condenser.
    I would not go to you if you were a doctor! I want to know as much as possible beforehand. History is very useful but you need to be mature enough to continue thinking outside the box and not be easily misled by the past.

    The same goes for people. It is helpful to know about their past but not let their past prevent them from moving forward.


    Norm

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    Chicago, N/W burbs
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    pretty hard on me there Norm. Notice, I said I don't look at the history until after I look at the system. Of course I know that history is important. I am saying that I like to draw my own conclusions based on information that I collect and not based on a previous service call.

    PS: If I were a doctor, I would look at your history but also look at your current complaint. When you come in with a cold it is irrelevant that you had gout last year.
    R2B4BTU

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