Anybody have any interesting troubleshooting methods for saving time? The tips could be for anything from a complete system failure to an individual device.
Although this is common and probably used by everybody, I'll start the conversation with my method for a shorted out series of lights (say, and outdoor series with underground feeders)...
A. Look for physical damage or any other obvious causes along the length of the run, including damage or water intrusion to fixtures.
B. Isolate and reconnect: Isolate half of the fixtures on the run and reconnect each half. When the breaker pops, continue to isolate sections of the shorted run until you narrow it to either the bad fixture or the bad underground run.
Zapped, I hate to be rude or anything, but I don't think that a thread like this would be appropriate in a field of professional Electricians. What I am more or less thinking of is, a DIY guy reading some of the comments from a certain part of this thread and getting the wrong idea on how to fault-find a live circuit and the like. Other folks here may have different ideas, but I would hate to see anyone get hurt by taking anything here the wrong way. We tend to write things here in a way that outsiders of the trade find rather confusing, lets not cause anyone that doesn't understand the in's and out's of this trade any harm. I could be totally wrong and may have jinxed this thread. Anyone else like to post a reply?.
Trumpy, I agree with your concerns but maybe the site could open a board with registered electricians were we could have discussions like this. Another set of ideas could help someone with a problem. I know other web sites have taken this route to avoid DIY from misinterpreting what we say.
My appologies Dnkldorf, I do not see were I said ""select" few," As other trade sites do you have to be licenced tradesman to enter certain boards were they can discuss issues like trouble shooting. The rest of your post is beneath me to comment on. Have a nice day!
Actually, 'troubleshooting' is what you do when the customer has already had someone less competent than you try to 'fix' something. Do it well, and the customer will become a believer.... and might even stop trying short-cuts.
My personal rule is: Two 'best guesses,' and then it's time to get systematic.
"Get systematic" means to start over, from the very beginning, with no assuptions. Step #1 is to define exactly what the problem is. A "lights out" problem was quickly diagnosed, when I saw that one fixture would operate if one circuit was on, but not the other. Part of "Step #1" is reconnaisance; that is, looking the place over, and seeing how the bits connect to each other.
For example, a "receptacle no longer working" call was solved when I discovered that an entire wall of receptacles had never been connected to the panel. OOPS!
Step #2 is to localise the problem. Depending on the circumstances, you can either "follow the power from source to solution," or "divide by halves."
Step #3 is to be curious. I recently solved a problem only because I was curious as to how two red wires at the panel became two green wires at the appliance.
Mountain, don't get me wrong, I meant nothing by it. Just some sites, have those "hidden" forums, where only a select few, get invited in. I don't mean moderator forums, but general forums. Some sites are like this.
I'd hate to see this site go there, but if that is what someone is looking for, a site where some forum topics are "hidden", for a select few, like another site is. By all means head that away. (not meaning you go away). Sorry if you took it that way.
This is one of the best sites for electricians. I like it the way it is.
Oops, looks like I opened a bigger can of worms than I intended.
I never thought of the DIYer even finding an interest in these forums, but I guess that's a possibility.
My intent, as in several of the threads that I've started, is to invoke a discussion that maybe be benificial to all of us, as professionals.
No matter how long we've been doing this, or how much schooling and books we've been exposed to, sometimes the best advice is from others of us that have put our time in out in the field.
Troubleshooting can be one of the most frustrating parts of our jobs, as we often have to decifer the work of somebody who was either uneducated, unprofessional, or simply didn't care when they created the system in question.
I appologize if I offended anybodys professional sense.
Wow Trumpy, you did jinx the thread. I don't think that DIY's are showing up here in droves, and we often spot them really fast and sort of drive them off pretty quick. They are easy to spot... As for the lurking DIY'er, I would tend to a agree that it is Darwin's work for them to attempt to get in over thier heads, those types will already be working on the final solution anyway, by attempting thier own work. Have you ever wondered why residential is limited to single phase 120/240? It keeps it simple and safer for those dips IMO. Although working on that voltage can be a serious hazard, but sustantially lower than working with 277/480... And really - most of them will be lost in the jargon. They think white wire, black wire, and would not grasp phase grounded, or EGC. Then they ask, and we tear them a new one. Other-wise... we would all have to re-register with our license numbers and someone will have to check them all....
And it is not as if this type of thread is something new here, I can remember slews of them.....
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason