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Diagnostics and troubleshooting are two activities that go hand-in-hand. Whereas a diagnosis is typically made with information external to the troubled asset or device, troubleshooting is an invasive step. It requires the troubled asset to be opened and the specific element or component that has experienced deterioration or a condition that will not support functionality to be identified.

Clearly, an accurate diagnosis leads the way to effective and efficient troubleshooting. In most cases, a diagnosis does not point to the exact failure mode, but it points to the near proximity of the actual failure mode. It still requires hands-on troubleshooting to find the actual failure mode.

Much like a dentist standing over a patient whose mouth contains a deteriorated tooth, it is critical that the troubleshooter be able to identify a specific component and a specific aberrant condition of that component to ensure the repair will be effective.

If the asset malfunction for the failed component’s condition cannot be identified, there is no assurance that the repair will be effective. Like a dentist who removes the wrong tooth, the patient’s pain will not subside and the patient will need to return in the next day or so.

Troubleshooting is the link between diagnosis and the specific instructions describing the work that must be done to recover from the failure and restore the inherent reliability of the asset. If the troubleshooter does not identify the specific problem, there is no way to achieve a specific solution. If the troubleshooter does not provide clear instructions on how to eliminate the defect resulting in the failure, the person performing the repair will be inefficient and ineffective.

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