Troubleshooting Tips

Electronic/Circuit Board Tips

  • A flatbed scanner can help trace single-sided circuit boards. Scan the solder side, then flip the image in software and use the brightness/contrast controls to wash it out (i.e. lighten the image so you can write over it later). Print it, then you can draw the components onto the page.
  • If you find patent numbers on a device, try Googling them. Sometimes the theory of operation is explained in the patent.
  • A huge percentage of electronic problems are due to bad solder joints. Try reflowing joints.
  • A wooden chop stick is a great tool for gently pressing on components on a circuit board under power. Often bad solder joints are revealed this way and there’s little risk of electric shock at any reasonable voltage.

Mechanical Tips

  • A flatbed scanner is a great way to get the dimensions of flat surfaces like gasket surfaces. Scan a ruler alongside the part for scale.

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