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General Troubleshooting Tips

Here are a few troubleshooting tips I have picked up along the way.

Learn Who You Can Trust to Provide Accurate Information
Gathering accurate information is an important aspect of troubleshooting. However well meaning, some of the people you deal with will not provide accurate information.

This may seem like stating the obvious, but always try to verify all the information you are given.

Never Compromise The Safety Of The Machine Or The Workers
Many times when you are charged with troubleshooting a system, you are placed in a position of authority. Be aware that others will look to you to provide direction. Make sure that as you provide that direction, you are giving their personal safety your highest priority.

Listen to Your Boss
If he tells you to call a vendor, don’t fiddle around with trying to fix it yourself – call the vendor.

Don’t Let Your Ego Get in the Way
Your job is to fix the equipment. If it means making a phone call to someone you dislike, admitting that you made a mistake in your initial diagnosis, just do it and get over it. In the long run, it is the easy way.

Keep the lines of communication open. Network with people who may be valuable to you when you’re trying to troubleshoot a system. Keep those who have an interest in the system well informed of problems you discover or changes you make to the system.

It Is Not Necessarily About Knowing One PLC Or Another – It Is About Understanding The Troubleshooting Method
All PLCs are different. All systems are different. The real key to being a good troubleshooter is to understand the Troubleshooting Method.

First, try to understand how to troubleshoot anything and let your method be refined as you gain experience.

DO NOT Compromise The Safety Of A Machine By Altering The Program
Before you make any changes to the program, always ask yourself if this change will affect the safety of the machine or the people who work around it.

No One Expects You To Wave A Magic Wand
No one expects you to wave a magic wand and get the machine to work. What is expected, however, is that you have a goal and a plan, and that you are executing the plan. It is true that, many times, there is pressure in a troubleshooting scenario.

Don’t be nervous; present a blend of humility and confidence. In other words, respect what information is given to you, but be prepared to make your own decisions regarding how to proceed with the troubleshooting.

Know When To Stop
Don’t go past the mark you aimed for; know when to stop.

That moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. When you have solved the initial problem, and you are the hero, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for. By going too far, you make new problems for yourself.  Don’t allow success to go to your head.  Remember that there is no substitute for strategy and careful planning. Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop.