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EQUIPMENT  Infant  Incubator  Troubleshooting     Diagnostic  flowchart  


  #   Text  box   Explanation  or  Comment  1   Begin:  Infant  incubator   Start  the  diagnostic  process  for  a  work  order  on  an  infant  incubator.  2   Does  incubator  power  on?   Lights,  displays,  and  sounds  are  signs  the  device  is  powered  on.  3   Troubleshoot  power  supply  (separate  flowchart).   Infant  incubators  generally  have  an  AC-­‐DC  power  supply.  4   Change  battery  if  necessary.   If  there  is  battery,  test  its  ability  to  receive  and  hold  a  charge.  5   Does  incubator  maintain  selected  temperature  within  1ºC  for  every  temperature  between  34  and  40ºC?  

An  infant  incubator  should  maintain  preset  temperatures  between  34  and  40ºC.  First  check  if  the  temperature  is  between  this  range.  Second,  insure  temperature  increases  and  decreases  with  the  control  knob  or  selector.  Third,  insure  the  temperature  inside  the  incubator  is  within  one  degree  of  the  value  set  by  the  knob  or  control  panel.  
6   Does  temperature  control  work  at  some  temperatures  but  not  at  others?  

The  incubator  does  not  pass  the  third  test  of  controlling  temperature  to  within  one  degree  at  all  temperatures.  Does  the  temperature  increase  and  decrease  with  controls,  but  not  maintain  the  correct  temperature  at  all  selected  temperatures?    7   Is  actual  temperature  generally  too  low?   The  incubator  cannot  accurately  control  the  temperature  at  any  temperature  level.  Is  the  actual  temperature  generally  lower  than  the  setting?  8   Temperature  is  generally  too  high.   The  incubator  cannot  accurately  control  temperature  at  any  level  and  the  temperature  is  not  too  low.  Therefore,  the  temperature  is  too  high.  9   Does  high  temperature  alarm  sound  when  temperature  exceeds  40ºC?  
Does  a  safety  alarm  sound  when  the  actual  temperature  exceeds  40ºC?  

10   Check  alarm  speaker  if  it  cannot  sound.   Insure  the  machine  is  not  in  silent  mode.  If  the  machine  is  not  in  silent  mode  and  no  alarm  sounds  at  high  actual  temperatures,  check  the  temperature  sensor  placement  and  the  speaker.  

11   Consider  replacing  temperature  sensor.   The  incubator's  temperature  is  too  high  and  the  machine  is  having  trouble  regulating  the  temperature  with  controls.  Check  the  connections  and  placement  for  the  machine's  temperature  sensor.  It  might  not  be  located  in  the  correct  area  of  the  incubator  to  read  the  high  temperatures.  See  BTA  skills  on  electrical  connections  and  connectors.  If  the  technical  issue  cannot  be  resolved,  consult  with  clinical  staff.  If  the  clinical  staff  approves,  operate  the  incubator  with  a  separate  thermometer  and  turn  the  entire  machine  off  and  on  to  regulate  the  temperature  and  prevent  overheating  the  infant.  12   Clean/replace  fan  filter  if  necessary.   Low  temperature  can  result  from  problems  with  the  intake  fan  or  from  leaks.  Fan  filter  needs  to  be  cleaned  or  replaced  when  dirty.  The  filter  might  be  washable  with  water  and  detergent.  13   Ensure  fan  is  working  properly.   Use  a  multimeter  to  ensure  the  proper  voltage  reaches  the  fan.    14   Inspect  case  and  doors  for  leaks.   Large  leaks  can  be  detected  by  using  your  hand  to  sense  warm  air  escaping.  Small  leaks  can  be  found  by  using  a  toothbrush  to  apply  detergent  around  seals  in  doors  and  case.  See  BTA  skills  for  plumbing  leaks.  Leaks  might  be  repaired  with  sealant.  15   Does  incubator  use  incandescent  bulb  to  generate  heat?   Some  older  incubators  use  an  incandescent  bulb  to  generate  heat  instead  of  a  heating  element.  16   Ensure  heating  element  is  working.  Replace  if  necessary.   If  a  resistive  heating  element  is  used,  measure  its  resistance  with  a  multimeter  and  compare  to  manufacture  specifications.  The  element  can  be  replaced  with  any  resistor  with  the  same  resistance  and  power  ratings.  17   Does  incubator  maintain  sufficient  temperature?   Does  the  incubator  maintain  sufficient  temperature  after  any  corrective  actions  on  the  bulb  or  heating  element?  18   Consider  replacing  temperature  sensor  or  rheostat  if  necessary.  
There  might  be  a  problem  with  the  incubator's  temperature  sensor  inaccurately  reading  the  temperature.  Check  connections  (see  BTA  skill  on  electrical  connectors  and  connections).  Consider  replacing  temperature  sensor  or  rheostat.  19   Change  bulb  if  burnt  out.   If  the  incandescent  bulb  is  burnt  out  it  will  need  to  be  replaced  with  one  with  the  same  power  rating.  20   Ensure  rheostat  knob  is  tight.   Some  rheostats  include  a  knob  on  the  shaft  attached  with  a  set  screw.  Insure  the  set  screw  is  tight.  If  the  knob  is  broken,  search  for  a  replacement  plastic  knob.  If  replacement  knob  cannot  be  found,  control  the  rheostat  using  pliers  to  turn  the  shaft.  21   Clean  any  dust  or  dirt  from  rheostat.   See  BTA  skills  on  cleaning  and  repairing  switches.  

22   Does  incubator  maintain  selected  O2  concentration?   O2  concentration  can  be  measured  with  a  sensor  or  with  an  EWH  skill  using  locally  available  resources.  Contact  EWH  for  more  information.  23   Check  for  leakages  or  blockages  in  O2  tubes.   See  BTA  skills  on  plumbing  leakages  and  blockages.  24   Replace  O2  sensor  if  necessary.   The  O2  sensor  may  not  be  accurately  reading  the  oxygen  concentration.  See  BTA  skills  on  electrical  connections  and  connectors.    25   Is  fan  quiet  (<65dB)?   The  fan  should  not  be  excessively  noisy  (below  65  db).  Estimate  the  fan  noise  by  placing  your  ear  where  the  baby’s  ear  will  be.  You  should  be  able  to  hear  conversations  in  the  room.  26   Lubricate  fan.   A  noisy  fan  may  need  lubrication.  See  BTA  skills  on  motor  cleaning  and  lubrication.  27   Tighten  any  screws  securing  fan.   A  noisy  fan  might  be  unbalanced  or  insecure.  See  BTA  skills  on  mechanical  attachments.  28   Go  to  begin.   Restart  the  diagnostic  process  to  see  if  the  corrective  measures  have  repaired  the  machine.  29   Infant  incubator  is  working  properly.   Return  the  machine  to  service  via  the  appropriate  clinical  personnel.      

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