Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install, repair, or replace a variety of electrical equipment in telecommunications, transportation, utilities, and other industries.
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers typically do the following:
- Prepare cost estimates for clients
- Refer to service guides, schematics, and manufacturer specifications
- Repair or replace defective parts, such as motors, fuses, or gaskets
- Reassemble and test equipment after repairs
- Maintain records of parts used, labor time, and final charges
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers work on complex pieces of electronic equipment.
Automated electronic control systems are becoming increasingly complex. As a result, repairers use software programs and testing equipment to diagnose malfunctions. Among their diagnostic tools are multimeters—which measure voltage, current, and resistance—and advanced multimeters, which measure the capacitance, inductance, and current gain of transistors.
Repairers also use signal generators, which provide test signals, and oscilloscopes, which display signals graphically. In addition, repairers use handtools such as pliers, screwdrivers, soldering irons, and wrenches to replace faulty parts and adjust equipment.
Commercial and industrial equipment electrical and electronics repairers repair, test, adjust, or install electronic equipment, such as industrial controls, transmitters, and antennas.
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers of transportation equipment install, adjust, or maintain mobile communication equipment, including sound, sonar, security, navigation, and surveillance systems on trains, watercraft, or other vehicles.
Powerhouse, substation, and relay electrical and electronics repairers inspect, test, maintain, or repair electrical equipment used in generating stations, substations, and inservice relays. These workers may be known as powerhouse electricians, relay technicians, or power transformer repairers.
Electric motor, power tool, and related repairers—such as armature winders, generator mechanics, and electric golf cart repairers—specialize in installing, maintaining, and repairing electric motors, wiring, or switches.
Electronic equipment installers and repairers of motor vehicles install, diagnose, and repair sound, security, and navigation equipment in motor vehicles. Motor vehicle installers and repairers work with an increasingly complex range of electronic equipment, including DVD players, navigation systems, and passive and active security systems.
Electrical and electronic installers and repairers may specialize, according to how and where they work:
Field technicians often travel to factories or other locations to repair equipment. When equipment breaks down, field technicians go to a customer's site to repair the equipment. Because repairing components is a complex activity, workers on the factory floor usually remove and replace defective units, such as circuit boards, instead of fixing them. Defective units are discarded or returned to the manufacturer or a specialized shop for repair.
Bench technicians work in repair shops in factories and service centers, fixing components that cannot be repaired on the factory floor. These workers also locate and repair circuit defects, such as poorly soldered joints, blown fuses, or malfunctioning transistors.
Electricians install and maintain electrical systems in homes, businesses, and factories.
Electricians typically do the following:
- Read blueprints or technical diagrams before doing work
- Install and maintain wiring and lighting systems
- Inspect electrical components, such as transformers and circuit breakers
- Identify electrical problems with a variety of testing devices
- Repair or replace wiring, equipment, or fixtures using hand tools and power tools
- Follow state and local building regulations based on the National Electric Code
- Direct and train workers to install, maintain, or repair electrical wiring or equipment
Almost every building has an electrical system that is installed during construction and maintained after that. Electricians do both the installing and maintaining of electrical systems.
Installing electrical systems is less complicated than maintaining older equipment. This is because it is easier to get to electrical wiring during construction. Maintaining older equipment, however, involves identifying problems and repairing malfunctioning equipment that is sometimes difficult to reach. Electricians doing maintenance work may need to fix or replace outlets, circuit breakers, motors, or robotic control systems.
Electricians read blueprints, which are technical diagrams of electrical systems that show the location of circuits, outlets, and other equipment. They use different types of hand and power tools, such as pipe benders, to run and protect wiring. Other commonly used hand and power tools include screwdrivers, wire strippers, drills, and saws. While troubleshooting, electricians also may use ammeters, voltmeters, and multimeters to find problems and ensure that components are working properly.
Many electricians work independently, but sometimes they collaborate with others. For example, experienced electricians may work with building engineers and architects to help design electrical systems in new construction. Some electricians also may consult with other construction specialists, such as elevator installers and heating and air conditioning workers, to help install or maintain electrical or power systems. At larger companies, electricians are more likely to work as part of a crew; they may direct helpers and apprentices to complete jobs.
The following are examples of occupational specialties:
Inside electricians maintain and repair large motors, equipment, and control systems in businesses and factories. They use their knowledge of electrical systems to help these facilities run safely and efficiently. Some also install the wiring for businesses and factories that are being built. To minimize equipment failure, inside electricians often perform scheduled maintenance.
Residential electricians install wiring and troubleshoot electrical problems in peoples’ homes. Those who work in new-home construction install outlets and provide access to power where needed. Those who work in maintenance and remodeling repair and replace faulty equipment. For example, if a circuit breaker is tripped, electricians determine the reason and fix it.