How To Test For Faulty Electronic Components
When troubleshooting electronic components during the manufacturing stage or when conducting repairs, it is important to be able to efficiently test components for their functionality. As electronic components can often be small, sensitive, and complex, it is recommended that one uses a tool such as a multimeter to conduct their tests. A multimeter is a measuring instrument that may be used to determine various electrical properties such as voltage, resistance, and current. Depending on the electronic component being checked, a multimeter may be used in different ways. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of how multimeters may be used for testing common electronic components.
When inspecting or testing cables and wires, the multimeter may be used to perform a continuity test. In such instances, the multimeter should be switched to the resistance mode, and both terminals can then be connected to the ends of the cable or wire. If the component is in working order, the multimeter should display a reading of zero resistance. If the meter reads an infinite value, the cable or wire may be defective and will need to be replaced.
Switches and push buttons may be tested in a similar way to cables and wires, and testing should be conducted for both hardware positions (e.g. testing both the “On” and “Off” positions for a switch). To ensure that the particular switch or push button is working correctly, the component should read as zero while in one position and infinite while in the other. If the electronic component reads as zero or infinite while in both positions, it may be short-circuiting or have a broken continuity connection which will require replacement.
Fuses and circuit breaker equipment are important for the protection of circuits, and multimeters may be used to test their functionality. When testing a fuse, zero resistance is the optimal value that denotes a functioning component. If the fuse is broken or blown, the multimeter will present a reading of infinite. For a circuit breaker, the multimeter is attached to the terminal screw and ground screw and potential voltage is measured. Unlike a fuse, if a circuit breaker has a measurement of zero, then the breaker is faulty and will require replacement.
Multimeters can also work on a number of smaller electronic components such as diodes and light emitting diodes (LEDs). With a multimeter, one should set the device to a diode testing mode if available, and the test leads should be connected to the diode once all power is removed. After recording the resulting measurement, the test leads should be reversed and another measurement should be obtained for recording. Generally, a diode is faulty if current is unable to flow in either direction.
For a circuit board, more tools may be needed in addition to a multimeter in order to optimally test components. Generally, testing a circuit board requires a multimeter, soldering gun, desoldering station, and a magnifying glass to efficiently be carried out. With these basic tools, resolving short circuits, broken traces, and faulty components can be done with ease. After a basic visual inspection, the procedure of testing a circuit board includes testing the power module, input and output ports, and communication ports.
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