Asset Management / Life Cycle Cost

Root Cause

Analyzing Semiconductor Failure

Semiconductor devices are almost always part of a larger, more complex piece of electronic equipment. These devices operate in concert with other circuit elements and are subject to system, subsystem and environmental influences. When equipment fails in the field or on the shop floor, technicians usually begin their evaluations with the unit’s smallest, most easily replaceable module or subsystem. The subsystem is then sent to a lab, where technicians troubleshoot the problem to an individual component, which is then removed–often with less-than-controlled thermal, mechanical and electrical stresses–and submitted to a laboratory for analysis. Although this isn’t the optimal failure analysis path, it is generally what actually happens.

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Corrective Maintenance and Repairs

Keys for Effective Troubleshooting

Expert troubleshooters have a good understanding of the operation of electrical components that are used in circuits they are familiar with, and even ones they are not. They use a system or approach that allows them to logically and systematically analyze a circuit and determine exactly what is wrong. They also understand and effectively use tools such as prints, diagrams and test instruments to identify defective components. Finally, they have had the opportunity to develop and refine their troubleshooting skills.

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