Tips for Buying Used Industrial Electronics

Vickers S40 CNC controllerBuyer beware! Caveat emptor….you’ve heard it many times.  And when buying used industrial electronics (or anything for that matter) be hyper alert for problems.  This 1986 Vickers controller S40 was purchased second hand for use in a sheet metal fabricating shop.

As it turned out, the controller did have more than a few problems.  Soon after purchase the Y Axis controller was losing Y values during a run which the customer kept to a minimum by cooling with an external fan.  Months later the unit was failing on start up. When this unit is working properly the L5 L6 L7 all light up ready to work but the customer ended up with just the L4 lighting.

On top of all that, it appeared that previous repairs had been attempted which had not solved the problems.  In fact, the “repairs” themselves were the biggest problem.  Because it was purchased used, our customer had no idea what the history was with this unit.   It was just a hot mess, literally.

Bad times at this Australian sheet metal fabrication shop.  Luckily, this unit was repairable, and just as importantly, worth repairing.  After disassembling the unit and identifying the problems repairs were performed including repairing the switcher supply circuitry and replacing all the supply caps and buss caps.   All of the components were checked including the IGBTs and any that were aging were replaced. The unit was thoroughly cleaned, reassembled and tested before shipping back to the customer in working order.

After receiving the repaired unit back in Australia, our customer gave our team a 5 STAR review and had this to say:  “repaired unit works as it should, many thanks”  – John .  We are glad this story turned out so well!

Not all stories do turn out so well.  Buying used electronics can save a lot of money, or sometimes not.  It’s not necessarily that the seller is trying to get one over on you (although they may), it’s just that sometimes the problems may be unknown.   Before purchasing used industrial electronics do your due diligence to the extent possible including:

  • Inspect the condition
  • Test the unit if possible
  • Confirm its authenticity
  • Make sure there is a warranty, or at least know the return policy before purchasing
  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably IS, so walk away and keep looking

If the good deal you bought turns out to be a possible dud and you end up needing an industrial electronic repairs center for your damaged controller or other industrial electronics, check first to see if your equipment is still under warranty and if so, contact the OEM about repairs. If it is out of warranty, contact an independent industrial electronic repair center to find out if they are a good fit for your company and your particular repair needs. They should offer free evaluations for your damaged equipment and, if needed, a free quote for repairs (no bench fees!).  They should also provide repair reports if requested and a good warranty of at least one year that covers both parts and labor.

 

About the Author: ACS Industrial Services is an independent industrial electronic repair center providing repairs for all types of industrial electronic equipment and most all manufacturers including power supply repairs, circuit boards, drives, servo motors, CNC equipment, encoders, monitors and touchscreens, test equipment, light curtains, and much more.  Rush Service is available and Two Year Warranties cover most repairs.  The customer service team is available to answer your questions and help solve your industrial electronic repair problems. You can reach them by calling 800-605-6419 or going to www.acsindustrial.com.

 

Solving High Voltage Power Supply Failure Problems

Kaiser LS402 repairs23 lbs of trouble!  Each Kaiser LS402 high voltage power supply weighs 23 lbs and each one we have received for repairs has had different, nearly catastrophic failures…including components blown beyond recognition (see pics). The problems causing this damage have varied and include:

 

  • Internal voltage regulator failure
  • Failure of the HV output coils
  • Failure of the HV, High Frequency output filter capacitors
  • Failure of the internal switching power supply that set up the 24 VDC output for the Voltage regulators and the buss voltage circuitHigh Voltage Power Supply Repairs

So why might you have trouble with this type of high voltage power supply?  As in the case of our Midwest U.S. laser technology customer, the reasons vary according to the age, condition, usage, and maintenance schedule for each unit.   For example, all capacitors wear out over time and usage.  Preventive maintenance service, which would include replace aging capacitors, would help lengthen the life of the power supplies.

How can you prevent this situation? Having the electrolytic capacitors (not just the HV HF) replaced periodically will help prevent serious damage in the long run. You should determine the frequency of this type of maintenance based on whether the machine often sits idle, or if it is used frequently. Have your HV power supply serviced at least every 3-4 years if it gets frequent use.

Are you hearing weird squealing sounds or resonance at high frequency? Warning! Catastrophic failure of your unit could be close at hand! If during use you notice any unusual voltage levels, odd sounds, or the unit begins to resonate, consider this a warning that your machine is in trouble and in need of service.  Take it off line immediately and send it in for service before the damage is unrepairable.

HV Power Supply RepairsThe cost of power supply repairs is usually far less that the cost of purchasing a new one, especially high voltage power supplies typically used for laser technology such as the Kaiser LS402 pictured. Having a test fixture on site at the repair center was invaluable allowing the service team to test each of these Kaiser LS402 power supplies with the actual load condition it would face in use as it fires the laser.

Test fixtures like this are comprised of components that are used in the actual laser application and allow the technicians to confirm that the power supply is fully repaired and operational under load before returning it to the customer.

The test fixture can include operation at low, medium, and high voltage output based on the acceptable range of the power supply. The test fixture can also be used to:

  • Make accurate HV in-line measurements
  • View and measure AC ripple & noise on DC HV
  • Measure absolute HV DC to 0.25% @ 25 PPM stability
  • View and measure Trise, Tfall, overshoot & settling time
  • Measure & monitor signals from 35Hz to 10MHz
  • View signals from DC to 20MHz

If you are searching for a repair center for your damaged power supplies or other industrial electronics, check first to see if your equipment is still under warranty and if so, contact the OEM about repairs. If it is out of warranty, contact an independent industrial electronic repair center to find out if they are a good fit for your company and your particular repair needs.They should offer free evaluations for your damaged equipment and, if needed, a free quote for repairs (no bench fees!). They should also provide repair reports if requested and a good warranty of at least one year that covers both parts and labor.

About the Author: ACS Industrial Services is an independent industrial electronic repair center providing repairs for all types of industrial electronic equipment and most all manufacturers including power supply repairs, circuit boards, drives, servo motors, CNC equipment, encoders, monitors and touchscreens, test equipment, light curtains, and much more.  Rush Service is available and 2-Year Warranties cover most repairs.  The customer service team is available to answer your questions and help solve your industrial electronic repair problems. You can reach them by calling 800-605-6419 or going to www.acsindustrial.com.