TroubleTips

From Dr. Shopbot

Take a deep breath!


To quickly get your tool back in operation, whether you're solving the problem yourself or getting help from ShopBot Technical Support, the important thing is to identify the nature of the problem you are having and figure out at what level in the system it is occurring. It's also important to give some thought to when the problem is occurring and whether it is likely to be a single issue, or multiple little issues that are getting you bogged down.

Mike Richard, a regular on the Shopbot forum, posted these thoughts on troubleshooting:


"For almost an entire year I fought an erratic problem with the Shopbot that frazzled my nerves and cost me a fortune in ruined material. If I had followed three simple rules, I could have solved that problem the very first time it happened...here are the rules:

1. Document every change that you make to the machine or to the software.

2. Follow a systematic approach to problem solving.

3. Calendar regular maintenance.

In my case, if I had followed rule number one and written down the fact that I had installed a wireless network card in my computer on the same day I installed my spindle then rule number two would have dictated that I remove the wireless card and reinstall the regular network card. Using that simple systematic approach would have saved one whole year of frustration.

By keeping a log, it is almost always possible to 'roll back' an update or fix to a previous state when the machine was running properly. Planning regular maintenance and writing those items on a calendar would greatly help with preventative maintenance. If I had added a calendar entry for every Monday morning to grease the racks and to check the grub screws on the pinion gears, I would have caught a loose pinion on one of the X-axis motors before some parts were ruined.

It's so simple. Write down everything that you do to or for your machine. Systematically take small repeatable steps to fix a problem. If possible 'roll back' to a know state. If that's not possible, then if we take small repeatable steps, it will be easy to see if what we're doing is helping or hurting the situation. And plan regular maintenance by using a calendar where we're reminded to the 'little things' every time we check the date."


One thing's for sure; problems with your tool never occur when you have lots of time to enjoy solving them ... and when they happen, you will usually be stressed out by other things going wrong at the same time and you will, no doubt, be in the middle of a production crisis. It's easy to say 'be cool' but we know how hard that is to do when the &/@%^! thing just won't work ..!!!' What you want to avoid is going off in the wrong diagnostic direction by not thinking clearly or understanding clearly what kind of problem it really is.




Let's get to work!

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