Skip to main content

Houston - Basic Electricity & Electrical Troubleshooting Course (Dec 4-7, 2023)


Basic Electricity & Electrical Troubleshooting

Houston (Pasadena), Texas

Dec 4-7, 2023

Course Overview: 

Length: 4-days

Percent Hands-on: 75%

Description: This course helps the students begin making sense of typical electrical circuits, schematics, prints, and diagrams, and helps them develop a sound logical approach to troubleshooting.


Public (open enrollment) course sessions are taught in English unless otherwise noted. 

This course is available in Spanish Language (for onsite training sessions). Pending demand, we hope to offer Spanish versions of our courses in select locations (targeting Houston soon). Please let us know if you are interested in this option so we can gauge demand and keep you posted on status.

Summary Description

Students will first solidify the basic concepts of electricity, Ohm's Law, series & parallel circuits, proper electrical testing methods, and gain familiarity with common components, symbols, and terminology, after which they will move to our Electrical Troubleshooting Trainers to build increasingly complex electrical circuits and troubleshoot numerous faults installed by Instructor. 

Detailed Description: 

Part 1 - Basic Electricity Portion (Typically Day 1-2)

Students will first learn and solidify the concepts critical to basic electricity. They will establish a strong working understanding of Ohm's Law, series and parallel circuits, proper electrical testing and measurements, and familiarity with common components.

Our Basic Electricity course utilizes a wide range of modular electrical components with simple push tab connectors to allow quick and easy construction of numerous electrical circuits. Students build several basic electrical circuits directly on the classroom tables and then test and observe responses to various changes to conceptualize and form a working understanding of the important concepts. 

We teach electricity from a very intuitive observational framework (versus spewing formulas that are taught in much longer college type programs). Our unique approach allows students to better visualize the circuit flow and the relationships between voltage, current, resistance, and power. Through many years of training, we have observed that this approach results in much longer lasting understanding of the key concepts, and a much better ability to apply those concepts in actual work. 

The Basic Electricity portion of this course is approximately 75% hands-on, along with some demonstrations, whiteboard sketches, short presentations, and open discussions. 

Students will learn the core concepts of basic electricity in a functional and useful way. The objective of this course is to build (and/or fortify) a strong foundation that we can build upon as we move into the Electrical Troubleshooting course. 

The Basic Electricity portion of this course has been very highly rated by our students, including those who had learned basic electricity much earlier (and in depth) in their careers, but who never solidified the theory or basics or did not get to apply that knowledge in a useful way. We have had many electrical engineers and highly experienced electricians say that the refresher on basic electricity was very useful and helpful and that it should be automatically included in the overall course. Additionally, we have noted in skills assessments of techs that the basic electrical concepts are the single most common root cause of weaknesses in the entire electrical field - so we solidify that as a first step. 

Once students are solid on basic electricity (after 2-days), they move into the fun and challenging Electrical Troubleshooting portion of the course for days #3-4 (see description below): 

Part 2 - Electrical Troubleshooting Portion (Typically Day 3-4)

The electrical troubleshooting portion of the course is 75% hands-on with real electrical systems and components. Using our exclusive table-top electrical training stations, students will construct increasingly complex electrical control circuits and learn to apply logical troubleshooting techniques and proven methodical approaches to troubleshoot various faults inserted by Instructors.

The hands-on exercises in this course have been strategically refined over decades to help students correlate schematics, diagrams, and prints to the real-world systems, and teach technicians to properly use appropriate references and resources instead of leaning on tug-tracing wiring, part-swapping, or other incomplete practices.

After constructing and operating typical control circuits, the Course Instructor will insert a fault into the system (such as faulty switches, relays, or output devices, wiring problems, grounded components, shorts, opens, or even mechanical issues, etc.), Then students will use our logical 7-step troubleshooting method to solve each problem, including root case failure analysis (RCFA), and determining and performing appropriate retest procedures. 

Rather than simply focusing on whether the students 'find the fault or not', this course emphasizes the process and the logic students used to find the fault. This course strives to 'unteach' the practices of 'easter-egging' or 'guessing' or ‘simply part-swapping’ (i.e. poking around with fingers crossed). 

After each troubleshooting scenario, we will discuss what could have been done more logically or more efficiently in the troubleshooting process, and will talk about the RCFA, and the repair & retest procedures. Many I&E technicians fail to fully perform these steps as an integral part of their troubleshooting efforts and the results are; repeated failures, added problems, cost of swapped parts, damage to swap-tested parts that are placed back in the warehouse to cause future problems, damage to other systems, repeated and excessive downtime, personnel or process safety issues, and many other expensive or unsafe situations. 

Performing the hands-on work and electrical troubleshooting directly at the classroom table maximizes the efficiency of the training and is much more convenient and comfortable for students. It also facilitates classroom instruction and guided group discussions during the practical exercises (which is incredibly helpful) and allows us to move quickly and easily to and from practical mode to presentations or whiteboard sketches/discussions. This better aligns with how people actually learn and has proven extremely successful in all of our training courses since 2001. 

This training will develop and improve the logic, efficiency, and accuracy of electrical troubleshooting for maintenance techs and others involved with electrical maintenance or troubleshooting. Even Electrical Engineers and Certified Master Electricians who attend this course consistently praise the value of this course in improving troubleshooting skills.

Course Outcomes:

Part 1 - Basic Electricity Portion (Typically Day 1-2)

  • Be able to relate physical circuits to wiring diagrams and electrical schematics.
  • Intuitively visualize the relationships of current, voltage, and resistance in a circuit (rather than memorizing formulas) via hands-on exercises and demonstrations.
  • Understand the relationships of power, energy and wattage in practical ways via hands-on exercises and demonstrations. 
  • Be able to utilize the concepts associated with Ohm’s Law to solve typical problems in electrical circuits.
  • Understand how current and voltages behave in series, parallel, and combination series + parallel circuits. 
  • Be able to utilize a digital multimeter to properly measure voltage, current, and resistance. 
  • Be aware of tips and tricks, and common mistakes when using digital multimeters in electrical troubleshooting and maintenance. 
  • Understand and be able to read and interpret basic electrical schematics, one-line diagrams, and wiring diagrams. 
  • Gain familiarity with common electrical components.
  • Gain practice testing, analyzing, and troubleshooting common simple electrical components such as resistors, potentiometers, rheostats, disconnects, fuses, circuit breakers.
  • Learn to test and analyze the operation of key electrical operational components such as switches, indicators, solenoids, relays, motors, capacitors, inductors & inductive loads, etc..
  • Understand the basics electrical safety.  

Part 2 - Electrical Troubleshooting Portion (Typically Day 3-4)

  • Understand and be able to read and interpret electrical ‘ladder' diagrams to include understanding wire numbers, terminal numbers, component tags, etc. 
  • Relate electrical ladder diagrams to typical wiring diagrams, schematics, and other prints. 
  • Know how to methodically build (and/or trace or interpret a circuit) from a wiring diagram and/or ladder diagram or schematic.
  • Understand the difference between electrical ladder diagrams, schematics, and wiring diagrams and know when and where to use each. 
  • Learn to read and interpret an electrical diagram to predict system operation, voltage, and current readings at key points. 
  • Learn to use advanced features of digital multimeters to advance troubleshooting capabilities (Diode check, min/max/avg, continuity test, etc.)
  • Learn how to properly test and troubleshoot common components including various types of switches, indicators, relays, timers, diodes, capacitors, and others in a safe manner.
  • Learn to troubleshoot typical motor starter (contactors and overloads).
  • Learn to utilize troubleshooting tricks and tips such as half-splitting, negative tie-down & voltage tracing vs voltage drops, comparison checks to working circuits or branches, avoiding parallel circuit errors, etc. 
  • Learn to utilize a systematic logical troubleshooting methodology. 
  • Learn to keep track of symptoms, measurements, tests, and outcomes when troubleshooting. 
  • Learn how and why to find the root cause of failure for all equipment failures.
  • Learn to determine necessary retest requirements for various equipment, systems, and components pertaining to safety, operations, efficiency, regulatory requirements, etc.  

Hands-on Exercises: 

Part 1 - Basic Electricity Portion (Typically Day 1-2)

  • Construct a series of series and parallel circuits using our modular quick-connect components such as (switches, resistors, potentiometers, float switches, batteries, power supplies, lamps, relays, fuses, circuit breakers, motors, generators, diodes, LED's, capacitors, etc.).
  • Students will predict and then observe the operation of each circuit and solve various problems assigned by instructor.
  • Typically, students will be quizzed to guess what will happen prior to manipulating the circuit. This is to help 'open the box' in their minds. Then we make the change and answer the natural questions that arise. This approach best matches how people truly learn technical concepts and has proven tremendously successful at developing real understanding and long-lasting skills that can be built upon and expanded. This is one of many things that cause our training to deliver superior 'long-term' results. 
  • As the course progresses, students will build and integrate an increasing knowledgebase and understanding of key concepts.   

Part 2 - Electrical Troubleshooting Portion (Typically Day 3-4)

  • Construct a series of increasingly complex circuits on our Electrical Training Stations per provided electrical prints, schematics, ladder diagrams and/or wiring diagrams. The circuits constructed will include various types of switches, circuit protection, indicators, pneumatic solenoids, potentiometers, speed controls, SPST relays, DPDT & reversing relays, timing relays, motors, pumps, pressure switches, cam/limit switches, motor contactors & overloads, etc. etc..
  • Troubleshoot increasingly complex faults in a methodical, logical way and discuss the logic and potential areas of improvement for each fault.
  • Analyze the RCF (root cause of failure) for each fault and resolve as appropriate. Several faults are designed to help solidify and show the importance of this step in the troubleshooting process. 
  • Determine and perform appropriate retest procedures needed to ensure full functionality of the system based on fault, RCF, components replaced, and work performed (in other words don't just check that the reported faulty symptom has been corrected and move forward - verify that the system is truly 100% operational, to avoid the often-missed issues that can cause repeat problems, down-time, safety issues, etc.)

The Basic Electricity & Electrical Troubleshooting Course is one of our most popular and effective offerings. Managers consistently tell us it provides a very positive impact and ROI. Students greatly enjoy this course and give it consistent high marks in all categories. 

Seating is limited! Register today to reserve your seat!

To register, Contact us or register online: Houston BELTS 231204

See our upcoming Schedule for other course offerings.