Trouble-shooting 101 – Break this mutha down!

This post may seem really lame or rudimentary, but I gotta tell ya… some people just don’t know how to trouble-shoot. Over my years in post production I’ve seen so many editors and other crafts people who can’t seem to trouble-shoot even the most basic problems.

When computer tech support facilities get a call from a consumer having a computer, the first question the tech wants to know is: “Is your computer plugged in?”

Some people are insulted by this elementary question, but 20 percent of the time, that is the ACTUAL problem!! Can you believe it?

But it’s a great illustration of how so many people don’t do even the most basic trouble-shooting.

So whether you are having computer problems, video equipment issues, or whatever, here are the big questions to ask in order to locate the trouble:

1) Has the unit ever worked before?
2) Does the unit function as a result of some other process?
3) Is that “other process” functioning?
4) If the unit is swapped out, does the replacement unit work?

Okay, now let’s take this into a practical situation.

The lamp in my living room doesn’t seem to work. Time to trouble-shoot it.

1) Has this lamp ever worked before? YES

2) Is there another lamp that is currently working and available to swap it out for a test? YES

3) When the lamp is swapped out, does the replacement work? NO

4) Ah ha! This tells us the outlet is dead, right? MAYBE

6) Are there any wall switches associate with this outlet? YES

7) When you flip the switch(s), does the replacement light work in the “bad” outlet? NO

8) Hmm. Must be the circuit breaker. Has the cicuit breaker been tripped? YES

9) After re-setting the circuit breaker, does the replacement light work? YES

10) Cool, now we’re getting somewhere! Now we swap back to the “bad” lamp. Does it work in that outlet now? NO

11) Okay, now we know either the lightbulb is dead or the lamp is broken. So when we switch the lightbulb over to the working lamp, does it light up? YES

12) Bingo! The original lamp must be broken. When we put the good lightbulb in the bad lamp, does it light up? YES

13) Yes?? What the heck is going on here? Both bulbs work in both lamps.

CONCLUSION… The original bulb wasn’t screwed in all the way. Good thing you didn’t throw that bulb or lamp in the trash! Good thing you didn’t call an electrician either!