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The 12 Most Common X-ray Machine Problems and Troubleshooting

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Isn’t it annoying not knowing how to trace and correct common X-ray machine problems? 

When a machine doesn’t start or suddenly shuts down after five minutes of operation, the inability to know what to do can make it more challenging. 

There is usually a solution for common issues that occur while using an X-ray equipment. Knowing the steps to take or where to even begin can save you from unnecessary anxiety. 

So, either it’s a technical problem or not, this article will show you 12 of the common challenges you are likely to face, how to troubleshoot machines as well as solutions. 


x ray machine


The 12 Most Common X-ray Machine Problems and Troubleshooting Solutions 

Now here is the thing. The fact that the list is labeled as common does not mean you will run into these challenges every time you operate your machine. 

Yet, it does refer to the increase in the possibility of their occurrence. 

Just looking at the frequency of these incidents, reported by many X-ray machine users over the years, is eye-opening.

Therefore, the aim is to give you a heads up and prepare you to handle them in the likelihood that they arise. It will ensure that you don’t get all annoyed losing time and money without doing anything constructive to fix your X-ray machine. 

So, if you’re ready, let’s dive right in.


➀ The computer will not start normally.

If you cannot get the computer to start, then it means that you cannot use it to analyze your image, let alone generate the analysis report. 

A few things might be responsible for these interruptions, but they can all be categorized into two main types: electrical and software problems.


Analysis and troubleshooting

If it is an electrical fault, this means your computer is not receiving power but to confirm if this is the case, you’ll need to find out if certain accessories (apart from the monitor) are not working. These parts include the fans, blinking indicators, and sound. The absence of these three indicates a possible electrical fault.

To solve this issue, you need to confirm that the power cables, power sockets or batteries, and plugs are in good condition and replace any faulty accessory. 

However, if it is not an electrical fault, a check on the software side of things becomes necessary. 

This challenge might be because of corrupted operating system software or a damaged motherboard. 

You might have to format the hard drive and reinstall the operating system software or replace the motherboard for your computer to start normally.


➁ The software will not start.

There are incidents where your computer comes on but either freezes or keeps rebooting the operating systems software without ever entirely booting up.

This challenge will stop you from analyzing your test samples as well as generating reports.


Analysis and troubleshooting

This problem often exists when the software has the latest update that you need to download as the one you have has become outdated.

Visiting the software developer’s website should usually have the latest updates that you can download and install.

This method should effectively solve this issue, and your software should resume analyzing images.


➂ X/Y/Z/R axis only moves toward one direction.

This problem causes disorientation with your operation as the X, Y, Z, and R axes orientate your sample correctly to get the right position for the object and the image.

This type of problem often results in inaccurate analysis and incorrect results that can hamper production quality.


Analysis and troubleshooting

The problem is usually because of wrong data calibration by entering the wrong values into the calibration area in the software.

To resolve these issues, simply go to the data calibration area of the software and reset the values of the X, Y, Z, and R axis.

These values are often standard parameters that the manufacturer has inputted from the factory and should be recorded and kept safe to help restore the axis’ setting when problems like disorientation occur.


➃ The guide rail is jamming during the movement.

The guide rail ensures that the sample gets into the machine and aligns appropriately without falling off on the way in. 

However, with the guide rail jamming, you can’t get the test sample into the machine appropriately, which can delay the production process if not fixed.


◉ Analysis and troubleshooting

This problem often occurs when there is an electrical fault since it is electrically controlled and automated.

To solve this issue, you will need an experienced technician to fix it and have it working correctly. 


➄ Automatic restart after booting.

If your X-ray machine restarts automatically after booting without ever entirely booting, this will hinder you from using the machine to perform any analysis. 

This fault can cause significant downtime in sample quality assessment.


◉ Analysis and troubleshooting

Usually, when you encounter this type of problem, there is a problem with the operating system software. However, other reasons can be the cause, including computer virus attack, incorrect operational system update, or even a clogged cooling system.

The solution involves first checking the cooling system for dust and debris that is making the fan ineffective. Clean the fan and restart the computer.

If cleaning the fan doesn’t stop this problem, uninstall the operating system and reinstall the latest version, which carries the latest updates. This procedure should fix the faulty operating systems update issue. 

Still, if the problem persists, you might have to run an antivirus program to clear all malware on your computer, and this problem should be over.


➅ Blurring effect in X-ray imaging.

The quality of the image significantly influences the accurate identification and analysis of a defect on a sample. Hence, a clear and sharp image represents the hallmarks of an excellent X-ray machine.

However, many factors may contribute to a blurring image, which can hamper the accuracy of the analysis and results of an X-ray inspection.


◉ Analysis and troubleshooting

Firstly, there is the issue of undesirable scatter X-rays, a type of secondary radiation that results as the beam from the X-ray tube projects on the sample causing the rays to scatter. 

This scattering often occurs as multiple scattering but can sometimes be a single scatter X-ray beam, but both scatter X-rays result in blurry images.

To solve this problem and increase the clarity of the images caused by X-ray scatter, you should use narrower X-ray beams by controlling their width from the console. You can also make use of the grids below the sample object under inspection. 

The second cause of blurry images involves the width of the focal point of the x-rays as a continuous increase in focal point will result in the continuously blurrier image. 

For a quality image that is sharp and clear, you should use minimal focal points of between 0.5mm to 1.0mm.


➆ The X-ray radiation center does not align with the image center.

A few situations occur where you cannot get the image centers and the radiation centers to align. 

The effect of this challenge is that part of the object might be missing in the image, making it difficult to make an accurate assessment which causes inadequate results.


◉ Analysis and troubleshooting

This problem is often the result of wrong positioning, which is due to a lack of positioning guides when placing the sample on the platform. 

Most X-ray machines have positioning lights or guides to help align the sample or objects. 

To solve this issue, ensure that you obtain the proper positioning guides from the manufacturer to align the sample with the X-ray properly. 

Also, ensure that the sample is firmly placed to disallow twisting in its position, resulting in misalignment of the X-ray radiation and the image’s center lines. 


➇ No output data after pressing the “start button.”

The output data is critical information that allows you to carry out a proper analysis of the test samples. 

However, several things might go wrong, making it impossible for you to get output data even after engaging the start button of the X-ray machine software.


◉ Analysis and troubleshooting

This situation might occur when the computer program is trying to ensure that there is no mistake on the operator’s part while using the computer. 

It will engage a default procedure written in the software to avoid accidental use of the “start button,” which might cause an error in analysis, especially for small images. 

To solve this problem, go to the data output settings on your computer and set the number of repetitions to a relatively large number. 

Also, set the dwell time corresponding to the output data repetitions to “delay” from the dropdown option. 

You should start getting your output data consistently without any setbacks. 


➈ Long delays in X-ray imaging.

The time it takes for the image to appear on the screen doesn’t take up to a minute and can be almost instant in some cases. 

So, when you have the image appearing a minute or more after projecting the X-ray radiation, then you know that you have a problem in your hand.

This type of issue can cause many delays not only in the inspection process but also in the production process.


◉ Analysis and troubleshooting

The problem is often the result of weak signals from the X-ray projections on the sample. This challenge makes it difficult for the detector to receive more than a few radiations since the test samples absorb most X-rays.

You can overcome this challenge by adjusting the amount of radiation reaching the detector from the console. 

To increase the radiation intensity on the console, simply increase the voltage released from the tune generator. 

Also, you can change the X-ray tube and generator to one with a higher capacity. This change can make the picture quality even better aside from increasing the response time of detecting the image.


➉ A part of the image is not visible on the X-ray machine.

When you expose an object to X-ray radiation, you expect to get a full image of the object on the screen for complete analysis and result report. 

However, this isn’t always the case, as you might have some details of the image absent.


◉ Analysis and troubleshooting

A few reasons for this anomaly include an inverted radiograph, and you can simply solve this issue by turning the radiograph back to its proper position.

Nonetheless, there are other causes of this problem, including a scratched screen that blotches some part of the image-making it looks whitish and unclear.

To solve this will mean you’ll have to replace the botched screen with a new one which instantly solves the challenge.

Lastly, overexposure of the test sample can cause a portion of the image to be missing replacing that portion of the image with a whitish color.

Simply reduce the object’s exposure to too much radiation by going to the exposure options on the X-ray machine menu and reducing it. 


➀➀ No computer output for the X-ray machine.

The computer is a device that takes inputs from other devices like the keyboard, mouse, and X-ray machines while producing outputs on computer screens.

Sometimes you might encounter situations where your input from an X-ray machine does not produce any output on the computer. 

This incident means that you place the sample object in the chambers, and after beaming the radiation on the sample, there is no output on the computer to show its analysis or result.


◉ Analysis and troubleshooting

This problem can occur if you fail to set the software parameters, including gain, brightness, sharpness, filtering contrast ratio, and integrated frame number. 

Simply click the reset button and set the parameters accordingly, and you should get a computer output. 

Another cause could be the output serial port settings not being the same as the software serial port setting. 

In this case, you’ll have to check the software serial port setting and then reset the output serial port setting the software’s setting, and you should get an output.

The third possible cause can be interference by static electricity on the data line, which results in no computer output.

Simply check the ground connections and reconnect them properly to get your computer output back.

Lastly, if all else fails, uninstall then reinstall the computer program, after which you can then reset the test. 


➀➁ How to maintain the X-ray machine?

Good maintenance practices usually serve to elongate the life span of any piece of machinery, and the X-ray machine is no exception. 

So, here are the best maintenance checks that you should do periodically to ensure that your X-ray equipment remains an asset for many years to come.

  • Daily checks

The environment where you position your X-ray machine is critical to its health and normal function. 

Therefore, it should be a daily task to keep the area clean and free from dust because dust can get into the interior parts of the machine and build up over time. 

The buildup of dust over time can clog up the internal working parts and the cooling systems that are not visible, thereby making it difficult for the machine to perform normally. 

  • Monthly checks

You must check working components every month if you want your X-ray machine to keep working for the long haul. 

Components like filaments in the X-ray tube may need cleaning or replacements depending on whether it is closed or open.

Other components like the detector, manipulator, and the console also need monthly checkups to function at peak levels.  

  • Semi-annual checks

For computer-related tools like the machine, the software will need biannual checks to confirm updates.

Manufacturers often provide updates for their software periodically to enhance the machine’s function and make its operation more intuitive.  

  • Annual checks

You should carry out an overall check of your X-ray machine at least once every year. This check will involve a thorough inspection and maintenance of all machine parts, including external and internal components.

The electrical cables, plugs, and sockets, including all other electrical accessories, should undergo these detailed assessments, ensuring no internal breaks in the wires that lead to system failure.

Also, you should critically assess mechanical parts and all moving accessories that may need retightening, for instance, screws and nuts of rotating devices. 


Related Article: X-ray Machine Installation: the Complete Guide

➤ Related Article: X-ray Machine Maintenance: the Complete Guide



Finally, you should be confident to tackle any common X-ray machine problems highlighted in this article. You should be able to distinguish if it is an electrical fault or caused by sample placement error in the case of image anomalies. Ultimately, your ability to carry out regular preventive maintenance should help you avoid most of these common problems. 

As explained in this article, you should carry out these maintenance activities periodically, including daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annually, and yearly. In all, the information given in this article is thorough, and it will be best for you to go through it regularly to remind yourself of the solutions to these common X-ray machine problems. 

Being able to solve challenges is all that matters.


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