Backing up configuration information on ultrasound systems is the foundation of equipment maintenance. The data saved during a system backup includes: customer presets, network configurations for the system and destinations, system preferences and licensed options files. This information is extremely difficult to restore manually if lost. As ultrasound systems become more computerized, this is more important than ever. The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” could not be more appropriately applied than with this topic.
The most fundamental backup you can perform is through the system itself. All contemporary systems have some form of removable media, such as CD/DVD, magnetico optical, floppy or USB drives. The process for individual makes and models varies greatly, so you should reference the manufacturer’s service manual or consult a qualified independent service organization for assistance. Note that not all system information is saved when doing this. GE and Philips systems, for example, do not save the system’s network host information when making a backup. This must be manually recorded.
Another method for backing up system data is the old fashioned way. Manually record network information, option strings, presets and board part numbers and revisions. Pull up system service and configuration menus and use a portable printer to print them out. Other systems may require opening up the card cage for this information (make sure you have service access before attempting to do this).
You should have several backups for each system you maintain and keep at least two copies with the system in a secure location and another in your main office or shop in the event another engineer may need the files. The purpose
of multiple backups is this: In the event a backup may be corrupted, you have a backup for the backup.
This may seem excessive and redundant, but these backups can make the difference between a 30-minute service call and a three-day service call, and from the customer’s perspective, 30 minutes of downtime versus three days of downtime. As a former service engineer, I can attest that adhering to this process has saved the day too many times to count.
About the author: Matt Tomory is the ultrasound support engineer at Conquest Imaging, an independent service provider of ultrasound parts, probes, service, training, 24/7 technical support and probe repair. Matt has more than 25 years of experience in diagnostic ultrasound imaging and is considered an industry expert on multivendor ultrasound service, training, and technical support. Matt writes ultrasound service manuals, performs high-level technical support, and teaches advanced level ultrasound service classes on GE, Philips, ATL, HP, Siemens and Acuson systems. He continues to teach throughout the country on “Transitioning Ultrasound Service In-House” and “On the Spot” remote training, as well as presenting ultrasound application classes (cardiology and radiology).