It’s Still Not Right!   July 9th, 2013

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It is frustrating for both W&S and the customer when we get items in for repair and the fault does not show up. This is compounded when the equipment is returned with a “No fault Found” note, only to learn almost immediately that the customer reports that the fault is still there. Two quite different cases have happened recently and both seem to be circumstantial. In other words, the fault does not happen in our workshop but does when operated at the customer’s home location.

We do try and reproduce the problem and in one case it was a heat related event – we knew that, because the customer had established that much themselves. But try as we could, it would not happen in our workshop. We have a fridge, freezer sprays, hot air and the ability to cycle equipment through various tests. There was no way that this item was going to go faulty whilst in our possession. It was accordingly returned to the customer who was on the phone within two days, once again reporting the same fault.

There followed a few lengthy telephone conversations to try an get as much information as possible. In these cases you sometimes think you are asking questions that have little relevance to the problem. And then all of a sudden we discovered a factor that had not been disclosed. This particular item was operated on its side and not in it’s normal position. The lack of operating space made that necessary.

Well that was the missing piece of the jigsaw. We don’t normally test equipment on its side. Sure enough when we got it back, we found the fault and corrected it in a few minutes!

The second was a somewhat more complex problem that involved RF getting into a transceiver when a separate receive antenna was being used. This caused crosstalk in the receiver chain whilst the radio was transmitting on the main antenna. And to make matters even more difficult, it only did this on one particular receive antenna. Well try as we could, we found it impossible to recreate this problem, and actually spent a considerable amount of time trying to do so. It was one of those problems which was most definitely peculiar to one set of circumstances. We never did come up with an answer to this one. It was not a problem that we had ever associated with this particular transceiver. The customer decided that he would carry out some tests of his own with suggestions that we had made. As far as we understand, some antenna changes have cleared up the problem. Fortunately these are rare occasions, but like they buses, they sometimes turn up two at a time! Peter G3OJV.

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