Repair For Lightning Damaged Circuit Boards

Fast and Accurate Quotes for Expert Repairs on Your Lightning Damamged Electronic EquipmentLast evening as the sky grew dark and ominous, I was reminded that it is THAT time of year.  Only this year it seems like it is getting started ahead of schedule.  It is thunderstorm time of year bringing with it storm and lightning damaged electronics.

In fact, we’ve already started getting a lot of circuit boards damaged by lightning strikes.  Many, like this GDI circuit board are repairable.  Others are just plain toast – literally.

This particular board came out of a prison located somewhere in Midwestern USA, one of several they sent into ACS Industrial Services for circuit board repair.  I couldn’t say that this board had a security related position in the prison because we don’t really know – but we do know we quoted rush repairs as requested.  It had no power on multiple channels and was useless.

After replacing several damaged components, repairing the traces, cleaning and testing, this board is ready to go back into service…maybe keeping the bad guys behind bars!

There are some things you can do to help minimize the potential for lightning damage:

•Diversion:  ground metallic structures

•Attenuation:  careful wiring such as metallic raceways, cable shields, twisted pairs, extensive grounding and earthing

•Suppression:  up-to-date suppression devices

Meanwhile, ACS Industrial is prepared for the casualties!

Red Poppies to Remember Our Fallen Heroes

The fields of battle and the faces may change through the years, but the courage, honor and heroism remain the same.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the Dead.  Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.

The poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was scrawled on a scrap of paper in 1915 as he sat near the battle field at Ypres where he lost so many friends and spent 17 days on the bloody battlefield.  He tossed the poem away considering it not good enough.   Fortunately, a fellow officer picked it up and sent it to London where it was published by Punch on December 8, 1915.

Almost all of us know someone who has given their life for freedom.  This year, remember to take a minute (or more) to remember the reason for Memorial Day.  You could display your flag, wear or plant some red poppies, or place a flag on a soldier’s grave.  On Memorial Day, the flag is flown at half-staff until noon when it should then be raised to the top of the pole.

Freedom is not free.

The staff at ACS Industrial Services, both veteran and civilian, is grateful to our fallen heroes for carrying the torch of freedom.

Okuma Spindle Drive Mysteriously Stops Working

Okuma drive repairsDid you ever think something as simple as a fan could hold up the completion of a huge order? No one at this major U.S. aviation manufacturer saw this coming as work on the order had been humming along smoothly. Until it wasn’t.

Our customer carefully tested the boards in the failing Okuma SDU-600W spindle drive by moving them to other machines fearing they were fried, but they worked. The problem “NM still not matching tach speed” persists and the project is stopped. What now?

After carefully crating the down drive, the manufacturer shipped the 100 lb. machine to ACS Industrial Services for a free electronics repair evaluation. Still worried, they request it be changed to a rush after it had already arrived at ACS. No problem for ACS…this is not uncommon and we really understand as the panic level can ratchet up with production deadlines looming.

Of course, it’s never as simple as “just a fan”. After evaluating the drive our tech team discovers that the big, evil problem holding up production is primarily a bad fan causing overheating, along with a fair bit of grease and dirt gumming up the works. The team replaces the bad cooling fan; cleans up the troubling grease and dirt; replaces some aging components; retests wiring connections, gate circuits, SCRs and the contactor. The whole unit is powered up and tested successfully.

Mystery solved and production is once again humming along. On to the next emergency!

Don’t Be “Shocked” if You’re Not Well Grounded

Stay Safe and Get Expert Industrial Electronics Repairs“Shocking” Info Bites:

  • Almost 500 people die each year from electrical accidents, mostly in the workplace, putting it among the top 10 causes of accidental death in the U.S.
  • Approximately 80% of all injuries and fatalities caused by electrical accidents are not caused by the electric shock itself, but by the intensive heat, light and pressure blast caused by electrical faults.
  • The blast made by vaporizing metallic components can break bones and damage internal organs.

Scary?  Don’t be one of these statistics. One important factor in plant safety is proper grounding techniques.  There is no faking it here, so make sure you are working with a licensed master electrician.   Here are just a few important things to remember about grounding to protect both people and equipment:

  • The ground wire must be sized the same size as the supply wires or one size smaller as a minimum.  The three-phase power brought into a plant must also have a ground wire.
  • Do not mix wires of different voltages in conduit.
  • Never run any wires through an electronic control panel that do not relate to the function of the panel; electronic control panels should never be used as a junction box.
  • Never allow field wiring to come in close proximity with the controller boards.
  • Never add relays, starters, timers, transformers, etc. inside an electronic control panel without first contacting the manufacturer for specific instructions.
  • Never run refrigerant tubing inside an electronic control panel (ammonia will destroy your electronics).
  • If the electronic control panel has a starter built into the same panel, be sure to run the higher voltage wires as indicated by the manufacturer since EMI from the wires can interfere with the electronics if run too close to the circuitry.
  • Never daisy-chain or parallel-connect power or ground wires to electronic control panels.
  • Sensitive electronics require special grounding; ground impedance of one ohm or less may protect people from electric shock but may not be enough protection for electronic equipment.  IEEE recommends a ground impedance to be less than 0.25 ohms for proper protection.
  • Check all devices immediately after installation to verify proper wiring; receptacles should be checked to avoid common wiring errors such as reversed polarity or an open neutral.
  • Check the manufacturer’s requirements, codes, and always hire a licensed master electrician for electrical work.  It may save a life and it will almost certainly save your electronic equipment.

The bottom line is, we CAN protect ourselves and our workers from electrical accidents AND ALSO prevent costly equipment damage by using certified devices, testing equipment from reputable manufacturers, and keeping up to date on electrical codes. For specific code compliance information see http://www.neccodebooks.com or get the latest electrical codes from the NFPA online.

If your electronic equipment does get fried, we will be delighted to provide the industrial electronics repairs you need.  We service virtually all electronics manufacturers.  ACS Industrial Services’ tech team is here to help you.  Click here to fill out a free repair quote form right now.

Water-Damaged Bosch Circuit Board Successfully Repaired

Yes, I shamefully admit it, I HAVE put at least two cell phones into a bag of dry white rice to save them from having taken a swim in a toilet bowl and a swimming pool respectively.

While this may work for the occasional cell phone, it’s not the magic needed for water damaged industrial circuit boards.  Take a look at the photos of this water-damaged Bosch circuit board that arrived at our repair center recently.  Ugh!  Looked like a goner at first sight.

But after taking a closer look and evaluating the board, we determined that it was probably repairable.  We depopulated the affected area, cleaned, and reworked needed traces, replaced the damaged components, cleaned the contacts and plastic, reassembled and tested the board.  Yes!  It worked like a champ!

Bosch Circuit Board Repair
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Bosch Circuit Board Repairs
Top After
Circuit Board Repairs
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Bosch Circuit Board Repairs
Bottom After
The cautionary tale here is:  if you find yourself with water damaged electronics, don’t automatically assume they are toast and throw them away.  That’s too much money to just flush down the toilet (pun intended).  Yes, a lot of them will be unrepairable…after all, water is the enemy of electronics, but many can be saved.  Have your water damaged boards checked out by our expert tech team to see if they can be saved.

How To Decide If Your Circuit Board is Repairable

printed circuit board repairsGot a stack of damaged circuit boards gathering dust in your plant?  If so, you are in some good company.

Instead of waiting for someone else to figure out what to do with these, go ahead and grab the bull by the proverbial horns…or rather the circuit board by its electronic components.

There’s likely something useful in that dusty pile of circuit boards, at the very least, scrap value.  Not to mention you will reduce clutter which, in some plants, that alone could make you a hero.

Grab two empty boxes and start by sorting the pile into a “potential repair” box and a “scrap” box.  (Can’t tell one from the other?  Send your damaged circuit boards to our techs and we can sort them for you and repair the circuit boards that are repairable.)  While today’s board assemblies have become very complex, they are still generally repairable and too valuable NOT to repair.

There are generally three types of printed circuit boards:

  • Single-sided boards which are straightforward with components on only one side
  • Double-sided boards with components on both sides that are electrically connected by holes in the board
  • Multi-layer boards with layers of printed circuits separated by layers of insulation and connected by plated holes.

All of these types of boards are usually repairable with the more complex boards requiring a higher level of technician expertise.

The following types of damage are often repairable:

  • Broken corners?  Usually  this is repairable even on an assembled circuit board by using thermoset epoxy and matching color agents
  • Bad or missing surface mount components?  Yes, this is usually repairable
  • Damaged circuitry, traces or plated holes?  Usually repairable
  • Blown capacitors?  Usually replaceable
  • Water damaged boards?  Sometimes repairable
  • Fire damaged boards?  Possibly repairable.  Use common sense here – minor damage can be repaired; a melted glob of plastic and metal, not so much.

If you decide the best option is to scrap your boards research the best options in your area.  If you still aren’t sure where to go, contact your local department of public works to see if they can recommend reputable companies that pay a fair price and dispose of any waste properly.  Some possibilities include metal refineries and electronics recyclers.