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Electronic repair

Discussion in 'Repairing Electronics' started by Ronald Lebrun, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. Ronald Lebrun

    Ronald Lebrun New Member

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    Hi to all,
    I'm an electronic technician, I do Fridge board repair everyday, I need a tester that can help me find the faulty parts faster other than the regular digital multi tester that I have,and I want to make sure the board is 100% good after repair before I give it back to my customer ,because I can not load it to see if it woks fine. I find something online call Board Master http://www.abielectronics.com/Products/BoardMasterExtCase.php
    And a Huntron Tracker 2800s http://www.huntron.com/products/tracker3200s.htm
    Since I never use such Automated PCB Fault Finder before , any advice will be welcome .
    It can be any other brand as long as it fits my expectation. Please! Ronald in USA, Florida
     
  2. spec

    spec Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Hi RL,

    Selecting the best approach for testing products is a complex issue with many facets, the main one being the nature and quantity of the unit under test (UUT)

    There are generally three core approaches to testing a product, new or repaired:

    (1) Manual (knife & fork)- what you are doing now.

    (2) Special to type test equipment (STTE)

    (3) General purpose automatic test equipment (ATE)

    General purpose Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) is a mine field- I speak from some experience. ATE is excellent for some products, the best example would be a telephone exchange where the only practical approach would be automatic. Certain high volume products are also suited to ATE. But for low volumes the overhead; programming, building interface jigs and other support activities, not to mention learning how to use and program the ATE and doing the actual programming, is unacceptable.

    Where I worked we had a number of ATE equipments over the years and all of them were expensive white elephants that just took up factory space and were hardly ever used.

    For your situation, I would think that special to type test equipment would be the best choice.

    spec
     
  3. Ronald Lebrun

    Ronald Lebrun New Member

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    Thank you so much for your advice ,but any other cheaper tool you know that can help?
    I'm starting to have many fridge board everyday.
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. spec

    spec Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I don't like to sound negative, but there is a common misnomer with ATE that all you do is buy the ATE, plug the UUT in and that is it, but afraid that is simply not true. By the way I spent a couple of years procuring ATE, designing test jigs and writing test programs, and I can tell you that it is no mean task.

    Even if you buy an ATE you would still have to build an interface jig and also learn about the ATE, the programming language, and write the actual test.program.

    Instead, I would suggest that you build your own test jig which may require some human actions to operate, but will still be much faster than knife-and-fork testing.

    I would then recommend that you control the test jig by a processor of some sort: personal computer (PC), Raspberry Pi, Arduino.

    But, remember that this is only my opinion. Other members may advise otherwise and they may be able to point you to a suitable simple low cost ATE.

    spec

    PS: afraid I do not have the time at the moment to research potential equipment for you like I normally would do- sorry
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  6. vtech

    vtech Member

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    While I am not familiar with the specific Abi brand, I have access and use a similar/product (PinPoint made by Diagnosys) and Huntron (manual & automated) machines at work. First and foremost the cost of such equipment is beyond the average operations(assuming that's what you have). Quite honestly depending on the board cost, it is probably not worth the expense.

    Having had an extensive Consumer electronics background for many years, I definitely know what you are looking for. Not to sound discouraging but you will never find a "generic" board tester. Unless specifically designed, any of the "Board" testers are simply a combination of various test instruments aimed at helping to troubleshoot and nothing more.

    Spec mentioned ATE which is a classic example. Drawback with ATE is the limited number of applicable devices.
    ie; One of our ATE testers (ATEC6 which looks like a massive mainframe computer) cost over a million$ and it is mainly aimed at testing the Engine controllers.

    I work in the Airline Industry and involved in repair of various Avionics. Each and every electronic device from a small seat controller all the way up to Flight Management computers are very expensive (thousands$).
    Therefore it is definitely worth investing in expensive test instrument.

    Huntron has been around for some time and it is mainly a VI signature tester. Board can NOT be powered and it is in fact a useful way to help tracking a bad component based on it's signature but the caveat was the device must be out of circuit. Also, can be limited to interpretation of the signature (akin to a XRAY read by a technician) . To this day I still use one of their early simple CRT based units.
    You can become very comfortable in reading and diagnosing the signature.--- Again this is with the "device" out of the circuit.

    Later on Huntron came up with several more computer integrated windows-based system where a propriety software is utilized to keep the "signature" in the memory. Removing a device is no longer necessary however, you must start with a "known good board" and manually scan certain or every point on the board, in turn allowing the software to learn the " working signatures" and retain it.
    Now when you scan across the same none -working board it is very likely you will be pointed in the right area. A defective device would certainly have a totally different signature than what is in the memory---rather time consuming.

    It is very beneficial when you have boards with similar connections. You can interface newer Huntrons with as many as 64 pins all at the same time by means of a connector. In no time the software will compare the scanned vs learned signatures and pop up any discrepancies between the pins. This puts you much closer to the defect in circuit.

    Another highly elaborate automated Huntron system uses a moving probe and camera. Similar to "Flying Probes".
    You actually install the board inside of a specific tray and allow the machine to do the probing. Interesting and can be effective however with a steep learning curve.
    We have several of the above systems and quite honestly I am not much of a fan due to amount of work involved although it can be useful in detection on mass memory cards.
    PinPoint is another machine where it is mainly designed for testing Digital IC's operation on a given board while powered up. No need to remove the device. It utilizes what is called "back driving" to isolate an IC within the circuit and analyze its operation. It is windows based, complicated and involves lots of programming...

    Point being that your application will require a specific set up(jig).
    I know this may be impractical especially if you are dealing with too many brands. Perhaps you may be able to gather important operations on a specific brand and come up with a test jig as if it was the actual fridge.
     
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  7. spec

    spec Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Hi RL,

    Could you post a schematic and picture of the unit you wish to test and give a brief description of its functioning.?
    That would allow us to asses the test situation much better.

    spec
     
  8. KeepItSimpleStupid

    KeepItSimpleStupid Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    The critical questions are:
    Is the troubleshooting you do on boards that you have the Intellectual property on?
    Do you have known good boards to compare?
    Are any "post assembly" or "never worked" boards?

    Functional checking requires a signature from a good board (best option).
    Conventional troubleshooting probably requires reverse engineering.
     

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