What to do when you are stuck on a fault...

This post is part of a series designed to help our customers get the most out of the Electrical Troubleshooting Skills Training System™.

This complete Training System offers many resources to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to identify and repair malfunctions in electrical equipment. Each program in this system contains simulations of electrical equipment where the goal is to diagnose and repair malfunctions. Occasionally we get the question:

“I am stuck on a fault and cannot solve it. Can you help?” Sure we can!

Although we can’t provide the solution to the hundreds of fault scenarios contained in the TPC system, we offer some general approaches and several tips to get you unstuck when experiencing difficulties solving one or more faults.

  1. View a Hint: If you are stuck on a specific fault, exit the fault. On the work order screen, click the “Show hints for this fault” button for a clue to solving this fault.
    • Although the answer is not provided, the hint will help when returning to the Skills Test Fault again.
    • If you are still unsuccessful, check the hint again. Most faults have multiple hints.
  2. Use the Worksheets: The worksheets are a great way to keep track of each step of your process including test results. By reviewing the results recorded on the worksheets you can retrace your steps to see if you made an incorrect assumption or meter reading.
    • Worksheets are available in print format from each program.
    • Also note that these worksheets are helpful while troubleshooting actual equipment.
  3. Review the Guided Faults: The Guided Faults show the application of the systematic troubleshooting approach on a number of specific faults. The concepts shown are the core for understanding how to approach the Skills Test Faults. It is absolutely critical that you complete the Guided Faults and understand the concepts before starting the Skill Test Faults. If you are having trouble completing the Skill Test Faults, be sure to review these Guided Faults.
    • Typically, there’s one Guided Fault for every level in the program – Basic, Intermediate and Advanced – and the Guided Faults pose questions, provide responses, and walk users through the process of thinking through a fault.
    • We strongly recommend that you thoroughly review all the information screens and guidance in the Guided Faults because these are where expert troubleshooter information and best practices reside in all the TPC software programs.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice: Practice Faults offer tips and opportunities to gain additional practice with specific techniques. These faults should be completed before starting the Skills Test Faults. At the end of each practice fault session, when solved correctly, an epilogue information box offers detailed feedback and shows the best practices for solving the fault. You should review this information and compare it with your approach. If your approach was different then you should determine why.
    • If unsuccessful, hints are available providing clues to the location of the malfunction.
    • There are multiple practice faults per program. Be sure to try them all.
  5. Review Content: Return to the troubleshooting techniques taught in each program. Here you can review the content, techniques, and approaches as well as solve problems in the simpler exercises before resuming the more complex Skill Test Faults.
    • Each program emphasizes the systematic troubleshooting approach that is the backbone for problem solving. This material is always available and allows you to return to the foundations of troubleshooting and review the basic skills, such as working with a meter and locating opens and shorts.
    • Instructional videos are available as a resource on specific problem-solving processes. These videos review the actions taken when working with tools and performing troubleshooting.
    • There are additional exercises available to practice on simple faults. The exercises break down challenges to their smaller elements to prepare you for the more complex Skills Test Faults.
  6. Reassemble the Learning Building Blocks: The TPC troubleshooting programs have been purposely created to begin with the Core Skills Series training before progressing to the Advanced Skills Series.

As a result, the Troubleshooting Electrical Circuits program is meant to be the first program, the second is Control Circuit, and the third is Motor Circuits. These three programs cover the key skills required by most trade professionals. The Advanced Skills Series includes the programs specifically designed for PLC Circuits and Industrial Controls.

  • It’s important to begin with the Core Skills Series to understand the basics of troubleshooting before moving on to the Advanced Series. Even if you have several years of experience in the field, The Troubleshooting Electrical Circuits simulation can really help because it lays the foundation with TPC’s Systematic Troubleshooting Approach.
  • Even for those who have completed the Core Skills Series, it is recommended that you revisit the Core Series to review the troubleshooting basic skills and systematic approach. This is especially helpful if you are struggling with multiple faults.

Have we missed anything? Do you have a trick to getting unstuck from a fault and want to share with others?

For more help with troubleshooting, the TPC training platform has everything you need to ensure your maintenance team has the training they need. With our simulations, you can build your own curriculum and give professionals a safe, immersive environment to widen their skillset and reinforce their fundamentals. Schedule a demo for our 2D installed electrical troubleshooting simulations or our 3D cloud-based electrical troubleshooting simulations.


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