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FM
10-24-2003, 04:07 PM
I have an Anilam Wizard 100 that has stopped working. Anilam says there are no parts and wants $500 for a upgraded one. Does anyone have any ideas or know someone that can fix this one cheaper? Thanks

debequem
10-24-2003, 05:30 PM
What are the symptoms?

Bruce Griffing
10-24-2003, 10:45 PM
Is the the whole thing dead, or just one axis?

FM
10-25-2003, 08:49 AM
Both axis are dead and it will sometimes blink just the decimal point.

debequem
10-25-2003, 10:32 AM
I used to service electronics before becoming an engineer, so I'll try and help. Get your Sherlock Holmes hat and magnifying glass old bean!!!

The following may sound dumb, but it is really what service people do, so don't freak out.

Sometimes a bad solder joint is the problem. Before opening the case, give it a mild slap while it is on. You should repeat this from different sides and make sure that the slap causes any observed change. Correlation does not mean causation.

No joy? Okay, wiggle external connections and observe any changes. Usually, cables break down at the interface of a mechanical interface.

Still no joy? Okay, open the case with the power off (unplugged). Once the PC board is exposed, turn the unit on. Using an insulated probe like a wood dowel about 1/4" in diameter, probe around moving any wires side to side. Again, you are looking for changes in the operation of the unit, You might isolate the problem.

Getting tough, eh? Okay, next start pushing gently on the PC board on various locations. Start with very gentle pressure and slowly increase pressure after each round. Tapping on the board is another tactic. You need to try both. Just be gentle! If you find that this works, then continue to home in on the exact spot that causes the fix. This can be tricky, buy if you can isolate the fault, then you can resolder that area. Obviously, it takes some electronic soldering skills. If you don't know them, look on the WEB and you will see what is involved. You may want to farm this out.

Also, use your nose! if you smell burned stuff inside, look carefully for black carbon spots on the PC board. You may find a toasted component. Once toasted it may be impossible to identify what it was. You may need a service info packet or at least a schematic to figure out what popped.

Sometimes a bad component will get hot. Be careful! Using your finger for a temperature probe is allowed, but you can get burned if you don't pull it off quick! Having some emergency ice cubes is a thoughtful idea! Also, DON'T GET SHOCKED!!!! Electronics use low voltage, BUT POWER SUPPLIES DON'T use low voltage at their input. 110 volts CAN kill. 220 volts WILL kill!

Well, if you still are not getting joy, this is probably going to be a tough one and may be too deep for you. If it isn't a faulty solder joint, then it is likely a failed component. From the symptom I would consider the microprocessor as a prime candidate. From here on in you need at least basic service equipment like a meter and a scope.

If you have these, you need to start by taking a blood pressure check. That is, look for power supply voltages. I usually hunt for ICs that I can get a spec sheet from the WEB. Digikey is a good source. Once I find a chip that I can get a pin out from, I look for the power and ground voltages and check if the specified voltage is there. If so, then the power supply is probably good.

You can also check the oscillator for the micro with an oscilloscope. If that is working, then I look for life at the micro pins. I don't know what pins do what, but I look for waveforms.

If you can solder and desolder, you can shotgun it and start replacing suspect components. This is a viable solution, but not very scientific.

Let me know what you find.

Marv

[This message has been edited by debequem (edited 10-25-2003).]

Bruce Griffing
10-25-2003, 11:10 AM
Another simple check is to remove one axis at a time. It could be that one is bad and is pulling the whole thing down. It is not too likely, but it is an easy check - assuming they are simple plug in scales.

FM
10-26-2003, 08:15 AM
Thanks for the ideas I'll try them.

JCHannum
10-26-2003, 08:25 AM
debequem has very good advice. It is so easy to get stymied by the flashing lights and fancy names when something as simple as a broken wire is the problem, and is easily found just by slapping things around.
You may also want to try the Yellow Pages if all else fails. There are many businesses that can repair PC boards by the more refined methods described if that equipment is not available to you.

Oso
10-26-2003, 10:40 AM
One caution....

If a component has failed, there may be a good reason. If the component is toasted, there very likely IS a good reason, and it isn't that component.

The failed component is a symptom in many cases. So replacing it without a convincing reason as to why it failed is an excercise in frustration in many cases.

As another former technician and now engineer, I always want a reason, so I can feel confident that the fix is a "real" fix.

Evan
10-26-2003, 12:25 PM
Oso,

Yeah, it's called "root cause"