Troubleshooting Techniques

The following procedure is arranged in an order that enables checking simple trouble possibilities before requiring more extensive troubleshooting. The first four checks ensure proper control settings, connections, operation, and adjustment. If the trouble is not located by these checks, the remaining steps will aid in locating the defective component. When the defective component is located, replace it, using the appropriate replacement procedure given under "Corrective Maintenance" in this section.

Before using any test equipment to make measurements on static-sensitive, current-sensitive, or voltage-sensitive components or assemblies, ensure that any voltage or current supplied by the test equipment does not exceed the limits of the component to be tested.

1. Check Control Settings

Incorrect control settings can give a false indication of instrument malfunction. If there is any question about the correct function or operation of any control, refer to either the "Operating Instructions" (Section 2) in this manual or to the instrument Operators Manual.

2. Check Associated Equipment

Before proceeding, ensure that any equipment used with this instrument is operating correctly. Verify that input signals are properly connected and that the interconnecting cables are not defective. Check the power-input-source voltages.


To avoid electric shock, disconnect the instrument from the power-input source before performing visual inspection.

3. Visual Check

Perform a visual inspection. This check may reveal broken connections or wires, damaged components, semi conductors not firmly mounted, damaged circuit boards, or other clues.


Dangerous potentials exist at several points throughout this instrument. If it is operated with the cabinet removed, do not touch exposed connections or components.

4. Check Instrument Performance and Adjustment

Check the performance of either those circuits where trouble appears to exist or the entire instrument. The apparent trouble may only be the result of misadjustment. Complete performance check and adjustment instructions are given in Sections 4 and 5 of this manual.

5. Isolate Trouble to a Circuit

To isolate problems to a particular area, use the trouble symptom to help identify the circuit in which the trouble is located. Refer to the troubleshooting charts in the "Diagrams" section as an aid in locating a faulty circuit.

6. Check Power Supplies


It is recommended for safety that an isolation transformer be connected between the ac-power source and the autotransformer whenever troubleshooting is done in the Preregulator and the Inverter Power Supply sections. Most autotransformers are NOT isolation transformers.

Check the power supplies whenever trouble symptoms appear in more than one circuit. The correct output voltage and ripple for each supply should be measured between the supply test point and chassis ground (see Diagram 9 and its associated circuit board illustration). When checking power-supply circuitry utilizing common as the reference, use either a DMM or an oscilloscope and observe the preceding WARNING. If power supply voltages and ripple are within their listed ranges, the supply can be assumed to be operating correctly. If any are outside their ranges, the supply may be either misadjusted or operating incorrectly. A defective component elsewhere in the instrument can create the appearance of a power-supply problem and may also affect the operation of other circuits.

7. Check Circuit Board Interconnections

After the trouble has been isolated to a particular circuit, again check for loose or broken connections and heat-damaged components.

8. Check Voltages and Waveforms

Often the defective component can be located by checking the appropriate voltage or waveform in the circuit. Typical voltages are listed on the schematic diagrams. Waveforms are shown adjacent to the schematics, and waveform test points are indicated on both the schematics and circuit board illustrations by hexagonal-outlined numbers.


Voltages and waveforms given on the schematic diagrams are not absolute and may vary slightly between instruments. To establish operating conditions similar to those used to obtain these readings, see the "Voltage and Waveform Setup"conditions in the "Diagrams" section for the preliminary equipment setup. Note the recommended test equipment, initial front-panel control settings, and cable-connection instructions. The control-setting changes (from initial setup) required to obtain the given waveforms and voltages are located on the waveform-diagram page.

To avoid electric shock, always disconnect the instrument from the power input source before removing or replacing components.

9. Check Individual Components

The following procedures describe methods of checking individual components. Two-lead components that are soldered in place are most accurately checked by first disconnecting one end from the circuit board. This isolates the measurement from the effects of surrounding circuitry. See Figure 9-1 for value identification or Figure 9-2 for typical semiconductor lead configuration.


When checking semiconductors, observe the static-sensitivity precautions located at the beginning of this section.

TRANSISTORS. A good check of transistor operation is actual performance under operating conditions. A transistor can most effectively be checked by substituting a known good component. However, be sure that circuit conditions are not such that a replacement transistor might also be damaged. If substitute transistors are not available, use a dynamic tester. Static-type testers are not recommended, since they do not check operation under simulated operating conditions.

When troubleshooting transistors in the circuit with a voltmeter, measure both the emitter-to-base and emitter-to-collector voltages to determine whether they are consistent with normal circuit voltages. Voltages across a transistor may vary with the type of device and its circuit function.

Some of these voltages are predictable. The emitter-to-base voltage for a conducting silicon transistor will normally range from 0.6 to 0.8 V, and the emitter-to-base voltage for a conducting germanium transistor ranges from 0.2 to 0.4 V. The emitter-to-collector voltage for a saturated transistor is about 0.2 V. Because these values are small, the best way to check them is by connecting a sensitive voltmeter across the junction rather than comparing two voltages taken with respect to ground. If the former method is used, both leads of the voltmeter must be isolated from ground.

If values less than these are obtained, either the device is shorted or no current is flowing in the external circuit. If values exceed the emitter-to-base values given, either the junction is reverse biased or the device is defective. Voltages exceeding those given for typical emitter-to-collector values could indicate either a nonsaturated device operating normally or a defective (open-circuited) transistor. If the device is conducting, voltage will be developed across the resistors in series with it; if it is open, no voltage will be developed across the resistors in series with it, unless current is being supplied by a parallel path.

When checking emitter-to-base junctions, do not use an ohmmeter range that has a high internal current. High current can damage the Transistor. Reverse biasing the emitter-to-base junction with a high current may degrade the transistor's current-transfer ratio (Beta).

A transistor emitter-to-base junction also can be checked for an open or shorted condition by measuring the resistance between terminals with an ohmmeter set to a range having a low internal source current, such as the R X 1 kS2 range. The junction resistance should be very high in one direction and very low when the meter leads are reversed.

When troubleshooting a field-effect transistor, the voltage across its elements can be checked in the same manner as previously described for other transistors. However, remember that in the normal depletion mode of operation, the gate-to-source junction is reverse biased; in the enhanced mode, the junction is forward biased.

INTEGRATED CIRCUITS. An integrated circuit (IC) can be checked with a voltmeter, test oscilloscope, or by direct substitution. A good understanding of circuit operation is essential to troubleshooting a circuit having an IC. Use care when checking voltages and waveforms around the IC so that adjacent leads are not shorted together. The grabber tip or an IC test clip provides a convenient means of clipping a test probe to an IC.

When checking a diode, do not use an ohmmeter range that has a high internai current. High current can damage the diode. Checks on diodes can be performed in much the same manner as on transistor emitter-to-base ¬°unctions. Do not check tunnel diodes or back diodes with an ohmmeter; use a dynamic tester, such as the TEKTRONIX 576 Curve Tracer.

RESISTORS. Check resistors with an ohmmeter. Refer to the "Replaceable Electrical Parts" list for the tolerances of resistors used in this instrument. A resistor normally does not require replacement unless its measured value varies widely from its specified value and tolerance.

INDUCTORS. Check for open inductors by checking continuity with an ohmmeter. Shorted or partially shorted inductors can usually be found by checking the waveform response when high-frequency signals are passed through the circuit.

CAPACITORS. A leaky or shorted capacitor can best be detected by checking resistance with an ohmmeter set to one of the highest ranges. Do not exceed the voltage rating of the capacitor. The resistance reading should be high after the capacitor is charged to the output voltage of the ohmmeter. An open capacitor can be detected with a capacitance meter or by checking whether the capacitor passes ac signals.

DIODES. A diode can be checked for either an open or a shorted condition by measuring the resistance between terminals with an ohmmeter set to a range having a low internal source current, such as the R X 1 kf2 range. The diode resistance should be very high in one direction and very low when the meter leads are reversed.

Silicon diodes should have 0.6 to 0.8 V across their junctions when conducting. Higher readings indicate that they are either reverse biased or defective, depending on polarity.

10. Repair and Adjust the Circuit

If any defective parts are located, follow the replacement procedures given under "Corrective Maintenance" in this section. After any electrical component has been replaced, the performance for that particular circuit should be checked, as well as the performance of other closely related circuits. Since the power supplies affect all circuits, performance of the entire instrument should be checked if yvork has been done in any of the power supplies or if the power transformer has been replaced. Readjustment of the affected circuitry may be necessary. Refer to the "Performance Check Procedure" and "Adjustment Procedure" (Sections 4 and 5) and to Table 5-1 (Adjustment Interactions).

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