To troubleshoot a problem in an electrical circuit, it is important to analyze and find what is wrong with the circuit. Then only, you can rectify it in the least possible time. To do that, you need to follow a logical and systematic approach to find the problem.
Here, we are discussing a systematic procedure which is not targeted at any particular circuit but this is an approach which is used to determine the circuit’s behaviour and then it can help to find out which of the components are creating problems. You can use this approach whenever you have some faulty electrical system.
Before starting work on finding the problem, you need to do your home work, means preparation. One of the important things is to have full knowledge of the safety rules and procedures in regard of electrical devices in your organization. Then get complete understanding of the instrument and the problem. You must know the right working of the instrument to recognize the problem. Also get to know about any history of problems for that instrument. There may be some document describing the problem like trouble reports which can help you a lot.
You can find out most of the faults with careful observation, a bit of reasoning and little testing. There can be some visible signs of fault in the instrument like loose components, damaged wires or any parts lying separately. There may be some signs of overheating on wiring, printed circuit or the relay coils. Also you can use your senses such as there may be smell of burn or listen to some sound which may be erratic. You can check the temperature of the components but do this carefully without burning your hands.
Another important step to find the fault is to test the working of the instrument and all of its features. This is the time to make note of the features which are not working properly. If you know the actual working of the equipment, it is quite possible that you know the possible causes of its malfunction.
After thorough observation, you can apply your reasoning and logic to define the problem in that malfunctioning equipment. Most of the time, there are many components which are not faulty. Your job is to rule out the parts which are not creating problem. At the same time, make a list of components which may be faulty. Make out the priority among these.
First of all look for switches, light bulbs, relay contact, fuses as they wear out or burn fast. Next to them can be coils, transformers, motors or other winding devices. Then turn to connections like screw type as they can get loose over the period and break the circuit. Now at last, pay attention to the defective wiring. Wire may get burnt at places due to short circuit or it may be connected improperly in new equipment.
These are the basic steps to find out a fault in the electrical equipment.