Basics of Industrial Electronics Troubleshooting--Article Index

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There’s a tremendous gap between the theory of electron flow, magnetic fields and that of repairing/troubleshooting electrical equipment and control circuits in the factory or plant. In this guide, I will try to avoid or at least minimize discussions on the theory and instead focus on showing you how to troubleshoot electrical equipment and control circuits. The guide helps to increase your knowledge and skills in improving equipment productivity whilst reducing maintenance costs. Reading this guide will help you identify, prevent and fix common electrical equipment and control circuits. The focus is 'outside the box'. The emphasis is on practical issues that go beyond typical electrical theory and focus on providing those that attend with the necessary toolbox of skills in solving electrical problems, ranging from control circuits to motors and variable speed drives. This guide focuses on the main issues of repair/troubleshooting electrical equipment and control circuits of today to enable you to walk onto your plant or facility to troubleshoot and fix problems as quickly as possible. This isn’t an advanced guide but one aimed at the fundamentals of troubleshooting systems.

This guide is very practical in its approach to troubleshooting -- the examples you’ll be shown are applicable to any industrial facility.

I hope that you will gain the following knowledge from this guide:

  • Diagnose electrical problems 'right-first-time'
  • Minimize the expensive trial and error troubleshooting approach
  • Reduce unexpected downtime on electrical motors and other equipment
  • Improve plant safety
  • Learn specific techniques to troubleshoot equipment and control circuits
  • Analyze equipment problems
  • Determine causes of equipment failure
  • Troubleshoot electrical equipment and control circuits.

Typical people who will find this guide useful include:

  • Plant Electricians, Electronic Technicians
  • Mechanical Engineers, Mechanics
  • Production Operators and Supervisors
  • Utilities Maintenance Personnel
  • Plant Engineers


A basic understanding of electrical theory as well as any problems you've encountered in the past is helpful; but a basic, review/ "refresher" is given at the beginning of this guide.

[1] Basic principles [part 1, part 2, part 3]

[2] Devices, symbols, and circuits

[3] Basic troubleshooting principles

[4] Troubleshooting AC motors and starters

  1. Introduction
  2. Fundamentals of three-phase AC motors
  3. Fundamental of single-phase AC motors
  4. DC motors
  5. Motor enclosures
  6. Motor terminal identification and connection diagram
  7. Motor rating and insulation types
  8. Operating a motor for forward / reverse operation
  9. Motor braking methods
  10. Motor testing
  11. Measurements used for a motor
  12. Motor failures and methods to extend its life

[5] Switches, circuit breakers and switchboards

[6] How to troubleshoot variable-speed drives (VSDs)

  1. VSDs -- Why We Need Them
  2. The Basic VSD
  3. Power electronic components
  4. Electrical VSDs
  5. Power electronic rectifiers (AC/DC converters)
  6. Gate-commutated inverters (DC/AC converters)
  7. Overall protection and diagnostics
  8. Installations and commissioning
  9. Power supply connections and grounding requirements
  10. Precautions for start/stop control of AC drives
  11. Control wiring for VSDs
  12. Commissioning VSDs

[7] Troubleshooting VFD control circuits

[8, B] General Troubleshooting: Component testing; Troubleshooting techniques

[8, C] Low-voltage networks: Intro and Molded-case circuit breakers; Application + selective coordination; Earth-ground leakage protection

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