User:Emily Quinn/Sandbox/Diagnostic Mode
Diagnostic mode is a setting used by starship and station engineering personnel when troubleshooting various problems or inconsistencies in their systems, including sensors, transporters, and engines. A diagnostic mode can applied to any system linked to the main computer.
Generally the process is automated, though more critical examinations of ship systems require crew interaction to physically inspect the questioned system. The process is standardized across all of Starfleet, and engineers will refer to the thoroughness of the diagnostic by level.
Level 5 Diagnostic
A Level 5 diagnostic is the most basic level of diagnostic and is used all systems at least daily. They are also performed automatically during crisis situations, checking key systems on Yellow Alert and Red Alert. These simple diagnostics are entirely automated. The computer detects basic system function over a period of 2.5 to 30 seconds, depending on the complexity of the system being checked. There is no interruption of service of the investigated system during a Level 5 diagnostic.
Level 4 Diagnostic
A Level 4 Diagnostic is similar to the Level 5. While a Level 5 diagnostic is part of a daily routine, a Level 4 Diagnostic is meant for when a problem is suspected due to reduced system performance. This is still an automated test, but utilizes a more intensive series of tests and simulations without bringing a system offline. These tests are not expected to last longer than 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the system.
Level 3 Diagnostic
Level 3 Diagnostics are required when simple automated testing is insufficient to determine the cause of a problem. In addition to a series of automated tests, a crew member is needed for physical inspection and measurements. Systems are usually still functioning during this time. A Level 3 Diagnostic is generally intended to take no more than 10 to 20 minutes.
Level 2 Diagnostic
A Level 2 Diagnostic requires more extensive manual inspection in addition to the automated tests. Systems under a Level 2 Diagnostic may need to be temporarily disabled, although the duration of the interrupted service depends on the system. The automated tests are closely monitored by members of the crew, and manual measurements and maintenance are often performed on site. System restart is usually computer controlled and monitored, usually with an accompanied Level 4 or Level 3 Diagnostic (depending on the extent of the maintenance actions) upon completion. While a Level 2 Diagnostic is not as extensive as a Level 1, and therefore less reliable of a test, it is a smaller drain on resources and generally takes less than half the time of time of a Level 1 Diagnostic.
Level 1 Diagnostic
The Level 1 Diagnostic is the most extensive test run on ship systems. Because of the large number of manual inspections and crew monitored automated tests, systems under a Level 1 Diagnostic are usually taken offline for a substantial amount of time. Automated checks are less numerous than other levels, and more reliance is needed for physical maintenance and measurements to guard against potential malfunctions in the self-testing protocols. Level 1 Diagnostics on major systems can take several hours, during which the system in question will be inoperable. Following the checks and any maintenance needed, the system is re-initialized under close observation, followed by a Level 3 Diagnostic to confirm that the system is operating nominally.