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Troubleshooting a malfunctioning ultrasound system

Troubleshooting a malfunctioning ultrasound system can be a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be.  By breaking the system down into sub-systems, it is easier to locate the source of the problem. 

Breaking the System into Sub-systems

There are three major sub-systems in an ultrasound.  The “backend”, the “frontend” and “power”.  If you understand the function of each it simplifies the troubleshooting process.  The “backend” is essentially a computer loaded with an operating system and applications software.  It is responsible for all of the processing, storage and video management of the system.  It consists of the PC, user interface and monitor.  The “frontend” is where all the ultrasound data is acquired.  It consists of circuit boards that perform the transmit, receive, beamforming and probe interface functions of the system.  Lastly, the “power” sub-system provides the high voltage needed to drive the crystals in the probe and the low voltage required for the logic circuits throughout the system.  If you analyze the problem and carefully listen to the user there is a good chance you can isolate the problem to a single sub-system.  For example, the system won’t fully boot.  Check your power supplies to see if they have LEDs indicating a missing voltage.  If you have an artifact in your image area, is it horizontal or vertical.  Vertical artifacts in the image area are indicative of a “frontend” problem whereas a horizontal artifact if likely caused by the “backend”.  These are just a few tips that can help you simplify the troubleshooting process.  As always, if you get stuck on a difficult problem don’t hesitate to reach out to our tech support specialists for assistance.

Author : Jim Rickner