When should you replace your tester?
Testing technology generally advances at a faster rate than an older tester wears out. If your tester is still in good working order, when is it time to replace it? When should you update vs upgrade? How old is too old for a tester? Is it really necessary to replace a tester after ‘x’ number of years? We’d like to say that there is an easy answer to these questions, but in reality, there are many variables that should be considered when determining if you should update or upgrade your tester.
Let’s review 3 key perspectives when considering replacing your tester. You can ask the same question to three different people, and the answer will depend on the point of view of the person asked.
- Efficiency - making the operator’s job easier
- Budget - purchasing a new tester is in the budget or has a positive ROI
- Features - more or better functionality in one piece of equipment
1. Efficiency – From an operator’s perspective
When a new product hits the market and it makes an operator’s job easier, they will more than likely want to replace the tester in their tool kit. It may not just be about the time they are saving, it may also be about making their job easier. For example, lighter units make transport easier, information relayed through the unit is more informative, a lit up screen versus one that does not light up makes seeing the information on the screen easier. It all depends on what an operator wants from a product and if it will make their job quicker and easier.
2. Budget – From the manager’s perspective
When it comes to what a manager thinks, it generally boils down to dollars and cents. If an instrument begins to become too costly to maintain, or when new budgets allow for the purchase of new instruments or technologies with increased return on investment, that is when a unit generally gets replaced. Replacing a tester can result in reduced labor times, which in turn translates into reduced maintenance costs. It isn’t necessarily that an old tester isn’t performing its vital function, it’s just that it may be more costly to fix than replace, or a new tester will improve workflow and generate positive ROI quickly.
3. Features – From the engineering perspective
The engineer’s point of view sees replacement from a features perspective. When a new product or technology allows them to do more with one piece of equipment, or if it offers new testing functionality, it is time to replace what they are using. This is usually when there is more automation, less test time and less overall test equipment needed, like the multi-function units that Megger offers.
Ultimately, if your current equipment is not broken, tester replacement is up to the individual user. We suggest starting to consider replacing your tester when new technology allows customers to make better, more informed decisions. Sure, you may have an older tester, like Megger’s Delta2000 that still works well, but the latest model, the Delta4000, offers more functionality and won’t have you missing out on detecting potential issues that an older tester might not cover.
New test sets also benefit from improved user interfaces, which are extremely useful when training new personnel. Safety is another big consideration. New testers afford complete automatic protection. When test voltage is terminated, the tester instantaneously applies a discharge circuit, indicates this to the operator by both visual and audible indications, monitors the discharge of the IUT and keeps the operator advised by a descending voltage indication on the display.
Replacing a tester varies from person-to-person and company-to-company. Knowing what you need, what you have to spend and ultimately what your goal is, will help you decide when you should replace your test equipment.