Six Preventive Maintenance Tips That Will Help Your Test Equipment Last Longer
I don’t have to tell you that test equipment is expensive. It’s expensive to buy, and it’s expensive to fix. That being the case, doesn’t it make sense to take some simple steps to keep your equipment from failing?
Here are six preventive maintenance tips that will:
• extend life of your test equipment
• reduce equipment downtime
• ensure that your test equipment meets specs
#1. Keep it clean.
Heat kills, and the biggest culprit when it comes to overheating is dirt. Dirty fan filters and clogged ventilation holes impede the flow of air through your test equipment, meaning that the components inside are not being cooled properly. 70% - 80% of the test equipment failures we see are heat related failures, and the majority of those can be traced to excessive operating temperatures.
At the very least, you should take a brush and regularly dust the fan filters and ventilation holes. How often depends on the environment in which the equipment is operating. If your test equipment is in a manufacturing environment, you should do this at least once a month.
#2. Keep it calibrated.
All test equipment needs to be calibrated regularly to ensure that it will make good measurements. You should maintain a calibration schedule so that you know when to send out equipment for calibration. There are software packages that you can purchase that will notify you of calibration dates, and companies that do your calibrations may send you notices when equipment is due.
When you do send in a piece of equipment for calibration or repair, ask that they clean the filters and make sure that all the fans, including those internal to the equipment, are working properly. Here at Axiom, we do this as a matter of course when calibrating or repairing equipment.
#3. Keep it cool.
If at all possible, keep the ambient temperature below 75° F. The internal temperature of some test equipment is much higher than the ambient temperature, and that heat rises as the ambient temperature rises. At an ambient temperature of 80° F, the internal temperature could be well over 100° F, and that kind of heat kills.
#4. Keep it “fresh” (by recycling the power).
Power supplies sometimes get “stale.” This often happens when equipment has been on for a long period of time, and when you finally do turn this equipment off; it sometimes doesn’t want to turn back on again. To avoid this from happening, cycle equipment on and off at least once a week.
#5. Keep equipment separated.
Don’t stack equipment, one right on top of one another. Remember, heat rises, and if cooling air cannot flow freely, the equipment on top is going to get hotter than it should be.
#6. Keep the power clean too.
Be sure to check line voltage regularly. Low line voltage is very hard on test equipment and will cause it to fail more often than if you run it at the proper voltage. Line voltages below 105 VAC are generally when you start to see equipment malfunctions.
Power line disturbances, such as voltage spikes, can also cause equipment failure. The best approach to avoiding power-line problems would be to use a power analyzer to continually monitor the power in your facility. You can program these instruments to alert you when the power dips too low or when spikes occur on the power line.
At Axiom, our job is to ensure that you get the most out of your test equipment. If you have any questions about test equipment repair or preventive maintenance, please feel free to contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 760.806.6600.