Electronics Trouble-Shooting Secret Weapon

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The other day I was working on a particularly difficult electronics problem with an ion gun controller and to help figure it out, I needed to dust off my trusty Huntron Tracker. I don’t need to use it very often, but when needed, there is nothing better for troubleshooting electronics problems.

Huntron Tracker
Huntron Tracker

First introduced in 1979, the Huntron Tracker displays an analog signature, which is a combination of resistive, capacitive, inductive, and semi-conductive characteristics. This visual display is very helpful for comparing electronics components on a defective board. The Tracker is particularly useful for comparing components on a known defective electronics board with a known good one. The Tracker applies a tiny AC voltage to the probes so you can test components with no power applied to the board that you are testing.

Compare known good board components to defective board components
Compare known good board to defective board

You can usually find defective electronics components with a DVM (digital volt meter) by testing diodes and capacitors, then measuring resistance values. But there are times when all of the individual components check out as OK with a DVM, but you know that there must be at least one defective component because the board does not work properly. For those times, the Huntron Tracker works like a champ every time. By finding some components that read differently with the Tracker, you can get a clue and ultimately, find the problem. 

The early model Huntron Trackers had a little CRT display and three power level settings. Those models are still available on EBay for about $300.00. The Tracker that I use is one of these early ones and it still works well.

Over the years Huntron Trackers have evolved and today’s models include more power settings, automated testing, and software. For more info visit Huntron at –


If a new Huntron Tracker is out of your price range or you can’t find an older one, there are also inexpensive curve tracer kits available on eBay that provide Tracker functionality using an oscilloscope. To find those, go to eBay and search for Curve Tracer kit.

Curve tracer board

4 thoughts on “Electronics Trouble-Shooting Secret Weapon

  1. I recently acquired a Huntron Tracker. It has no date plate to indicate a model. It is the model shown in the picture above. I cleaned it up and plugged it in. I get a dot to indicate that the CRT is still good. There is no Horizontal sweep. I am searching for a service manual with schematic and circuit board layout that labels the adjustments. I repair and restore old radios and collect old test equipment. My background is 47 years Military and Civil Service, working on Aircraft Avionics Systems and Flight Simulators. I would appreciate any help in finding tech data for my Huntron. Thank you.

    • Hi James, I am from Huntron Tech Support. The problem with the Tracker is either a bad range switch or the 80Hz oscillator is bad. Try cleaning the switches with tuner cleaner. You can check the oscillator with a scope. If it is dead there were kits at one time to replace it. Try the Huntron Users Forum.

  2. Randy, this is a great tip about a great little instrument. Historically, I believe that General Radio had a version of their Stone Age oscilloscope out in the 1920’s with this functionality. If you search the web, you will no doubt find instructions for achieving the same functionality with any oscilloscope and audio signal generator (and a single resistor for current sensing). But I like the little Huntron instrument. It’s small, simple, and for whatever reason less intimidating than lashing together a scope and a sig gen.

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