The word VECTOR should be used to diagnose complaints. Which stands for: Verify, Examine, Confirm, Test, Organize, Repair, Replace or Rebuild.

Verify the customer’s complaint(s). Get the facts from the customer or  Service Supervisor. Have the customer describe the problem and under what conditions the problem occurs, i.e. frequency, intermittent, etc. Communication between the customer and technician is essential to accurately diagnose complaints.

Examine the equipment for obvious problems. Don’t forget the basics. Perform a visual inspection. Are the filters clean? Acceptable AC power, etc.? Attempting to diagnose the computer system before taking care of the basics will consume a lot of time and cause much aggravation.

Confirm that the problem(s) exist.   If it isn’t broken, you can’t fix it!  Try to duplicate the conditions the customer described.  Experience is the best diagnostic tool.  Experience the problem so that you have a better idea as to what the problem might be. If the problem cannot be duplicated, but you feel a problem may exist, refer to Technical Bulletins or a Technical Assistance Hotline your company may have for additional help.

Test the circuit or component(s) in question to pinpoint the problem.   Before testing the system in question, remember 3 things:

1.    Have a good understanding of how the system is designed to operate.

2.   Refer to the proper references to locate diagnostic procedures and specifications.

3.    Have the proper test equipment.

Organize the information collected. Analyze the data by comparing it to specifications,
prior problems, etc. and decide what course of action is required to fix this problem. Don’t just fix the end result.

Example: Problem – The computer is bad. What caused the computer to go bad? Did a diode across an output solenoid short? Did a solenoid short? Was there some other type of voltage spike? Is there a bad power ground?

Repair, Replace or Rebuild the component and retest. Once the problem has been identified, the repair is usually the easy part. Be sure to follow all service recommendations in the repair manual. Once you make the repair, retest and recalibrate the equipment to verify that the problem is fixed.

If you follow the procedures covered, diagnostic time will decrease, callback work will decrease, and customer satisfaction will increase. Our business is only as good as our customer’s satisfaction.