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Old 10-10-2003, 05:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
Newb Techie
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Default HELP - for new maintenance startup

Hello All:

This is the first time that I've been here so ... hello all!

I've been in maintenance / service tech (electrical / PLC's) for 20 years and recently received an exceptional offer to start-up a maintenance program from scratch with only concrete existing at this point. The department will be quite small but a critical component to a high-profit medical product assembly station. The assembly station has 6 PLC's, 10 computers (PC’s) and basic assembly automated equipment.

I have extensive experience with similar equipment (different product line) and am not too concerned with the PLC's and assembly stations ... etc.

However, I am mainly concerned about being able to professional maintain the PC hardware / Networking side. I also have 10 years of programming experience and have replaced hard-drives, RAM ... etc. on my personal computers but not on a professional level. I do not need to trouble-shoot componet level. Just replace supplies, hard-drives, RAM ... etc.

- Any suggestions on must-have testing equipment for trouble-shooting personal computer hardware?
- Any suggestions on must-have testing equipment for trouble-shooting networking, serial port and printing connections?
- Any suggestion on must-have installable trouble-shooting software.
- Any suggestions on setting-up a test station

Any other suggestions are welcome!

Many Thanks,

chemaster is offline  
Old 10-11-2003, 08:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
Newb Techie
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 8

You can buy ethernet networking test kits that verify cables are running and test entwork speed and soforth, like this one .

As for simple hardware testing i've always found that having a good pool of working spare parts makes troubleshooting a lot easier. If say a floppy drive dies and you have a spare floppy controller ribbon and drive you can verify wether both these components are the problem by trying them leaving only the floppy controller on the board on the hardware side. Having the equivalent of a who pc in working spare parts makes finding a hardware problem easier.

I'm not really sure about software disgnostic, you could get sandrasoft to determine the details on a pc's spec and hardware. You could use something like norton system works to run windoctor and speedisk to try and opttomise running, maybe get a better defragmneter than the windows basic one and automate it. I'd get a few programs like that and leave them all to automaticly run weekly late at night or something if it's possible.

telemachus is offline  
Old 10-11-2003, 06:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
Wizard Techie
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,937

your questions seem a bit broad. i think it would be easier to ask questions about a specific problem when you run into one you cannot fix.

telemachus is right as my pc hardware instructor told me many times, that hardware troubleshooting isn't just swapping out things, but in reality most hardware troubleshooting comes down to swapping. at the very least it will tell you where the problem is even if the hardware is working fine.

unfortunately most computer problems are software related. there are very knowledgeable people here that would be glad to help you out with any problems you have. just ask!
ekÆsine is offline  
Old 10-11-2003, 06:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
Newb Techie
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2

--- swapping out parts

I agree .... I have swapped out parts for many years to find problems on my personal computers and have been successful. However, I have a fairly open budget to try and setup a station that would be effective in quickly finding problems. Maybe having a fully functioning backup computer is enough in just swapping out and later trouble-shooting the disconnected computer. So I guess I need to focus more on possible network problems and how to quickly isolate.

We are losing $60k / hr when down and I just trying to save every second I can.

As far as software ... its a closed system with nothing changing and remote drives locked.

Thanks for the replies.
chemaster is offline  
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