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Sherlock Ohms

Dishwasher's Jammed Water Pump Blamed on Bug

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Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
No escaping dishwasher debris
Beth Stackpole   5/31/2012 7:24:48 AM
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Kudos to you for continuing to search for the culprit. I have to admit while I haven't experienced the bug problem, we've definitely run into similar issues with glass and other elements being trapped in places that block water flow and essentially wreck havoc on the dish washing cycle. Given that I hardly expect we're alone in this probem, it seems to me, a bit more engineering time could be spent on coming up with a better design for dealing with debris so it doesn't interfere with the unit's operation.

 

GlennA
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Gold
Who found the original broken glass ?
GlennA   5/31/2012 8:45:44 AM
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How long before the pump stopped working was the broken glass discovered ?  Did that person not look for all of the pieces ?  And how small was the piece that blocked the impeller ?

tekochip
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Platinum
Re: No escaping dishwasher debris
tekochip   5/31/2012 9:56:09 AM
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I had a pistachio shell that made its way to the pump. The noise it was making suggested a bearing had gone bad and that a new pump was in my future. I'm glad I decided to open the machine up and take a look before ordering a pump. That made me wonder about the people that don't own screwdrivers and what they would do. Call repair service and buy a new pump? We're all lucky to be engineers.


Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
What's with the filters?
Ann R. Thryft   5/31/2012 12:02:28 PM
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This story makes me wonder about the filters: why aren't they designed to prevent small items like pistachio shells and broken glass shards from entering the pump, or for that matter, from ever leaving the dish compartment in the first place?

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Blogger
Re: No escaping dishwasher debris
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   5/31/2012 12:50:04 PM
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While I agree with you, (lucky to be engineers) I've been forced in many instances to rise to a higher, broader perspective, and know firsthand that the general public (family members included) don't always share that perspective.  A colleague of mine has a book on his desk entitled Design Engineering, and depicted on the cover is a bridge spanning a great chasm; one side of the bridge says "Design Engineers" and on the opposite reads "The Rest of the World".  Yes, we are set apart, and by our perspectives, happily so; but many times from the perspective of the "The Rest of the World" it's their choice to isolate us.  Everything is relative. But that's just an engineer's opinion.

Oh, and about the dishwasher – funny story;  too bad the insect wasn't the real bug; that would have been poetic!

Jon Titus
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Blogger
Finding Bugs in Odd Places
Jon Titus   5/31/2012 1:32:56 PM
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Interesting to read about a real bug in a circuit, but perhaps the problem was the bad pump and the insect didn't have any effect.  Who knows; it's a good story.

Grace Hopper, a US Navy admiral, worked on many early computers and taped a moth in one of her lab notebooks. The story goes she found the moth between relay contacts in a Mark II computer, noted the problem, and told people she was "debugging" the circuits.  Find more info and a photo of the mounted bug here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper.

While inspecting circuit boards a friend of mine spotted an insect on the reverse side of a board.  He turned the board over, but no bug. It was sandwiched between the fiberglass sheets used to create the substrate. I think I have a 35-mm slide of the encapsulated bugaround here somewhere. The board was "buggy," but thankfully the creature didn't affect any of the circuits.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Finding Bugs in Odd Places
Ann R. Thryft   5/31/2012 1:41:20 PM
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Jon, I heard the same story about Grace Hopper inventing the term "debug". A friend of mine who used to work tech support years ago told me that real bugs getting into electronics have in fact been the problem in many cases, at least on the old days with larger components.

Jon Titus
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Blogger
Re: Finding Bugs in Odd Places
Jon Titus   5/31/2012 2:03:51 PM
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Talking about large equipment: You can blame squirrels for many above-ground power failures, Ann.  They run along wires and sometimes put their paws on a transforner terminal while standing on the metal case. That causes a brief short circuit that blows a fuse on the power pole.  It kills the squirrel, too. I haven't heard about any squirrels in computers or appliances, though. 

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Finding Bugs in Odd Places
Ann R. Thryft   5/31/2012 2:11:36 PM
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I hadn't heard about the transformer issue. But I'm familiar with the problems squirrels cause in gnawing wires. The first three times my internet cable connection failed out here in the forest the Comcast tech said it was all their fault. Maybe they've learned, since we haven't had that problem since. My friends in the drier areas where there are many mouse and rat species tell me they continually have car failures caused by mice and rats gnawing electrical wires.

Jon Titus
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Blogger
Re: Finding Bugs in Odd Places
Jon Titus   5/31/2012 2:15:15 PM
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Those little critters seem to gnaw at almost anything that might resemble food.  My father in law had a porcupine or raccoon nibble through a brake or power-steering hose.  The repairman said most likely there was road-salt on the hose and animals like salt in their diets.  Who knew.

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