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8. Talk to someone who knows the machine - soon!

If you are dealing with a machine that you are not familiar with, a few minutes spent on the phone to someone who is familiar is usually worth a lot of time spent poring over circuit diagrams. Your customer won’t mind you appealing to higher authority - its saving him time and money.

9. If it works when you switch it on don’t assume they are idiots

Engineers know that machines are perverse, and will usually operate perfectly in the presence of someone who has come to fix them. This is when you need to pit your cunning against the machine. Also if something happens just once and then is alright again - it wasn’t a fluke! Intermittent faults are often power related - this is where you need to quiz the staff, see if anything was switching on when the fault occurs - and so on.

10. Write notes - and keep them

In the throes of fixing things we soon get confused about what state things were in when we arrived and what we have done since. Keep a note of these things and file them after the job - it is surprising how often they come in handy.  Any policeman or lawyer knows how unreliable our memory is.  Hence the well-known lawyers’ adage ‘no-one lies like an eye-witness’

12. It always shall be mechanical *

It is surprising how many times I have been called to fix a control fault only to find out it is a mechanical fault. Part of the skill of fixing is being able to demonstrate to the customer what that mechanical fault is. The least understandable bit - ie the electronics, usually gets the blame.

© RW Buswell 2016

Fixit2 You Can Fix it! - Handy Tips 3

11. We only shall switch it on and see if it blow up *

This is one of Patrik’s most memorable sayings, and it contains quite a lot of practical wisdom. I’m not saying one should be reckless if something may get more damaged, but often it saves a lot of time to force the fault out in the open in the form of a little coil of smoke! Fixing things is usually a compromise between time and understanding. If you had unlimited time you could gain great understanding, but you only need enough knowledge to repair the fault and get  the machine running again.