Engineers: Have You Ever Burned Off Your Fingertip?

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Re: Lessen in heat transfer
Island_Al   7/21/2012 12:18:50 AM
Years ago I got back from a 2 month field job, wrote my trip report, and sent it to our shop typist/secretary. I then just gave it to my boss. The next day he brought it into my office and it looked like a term paper with red pencil "spelling", "restructure", "needs clarification", etc notes all over it.  It was not a deliverable paper, but just for in-house future work.  I wrote across the top in caps "SEND TO THE TECH WRITER SHOP INSTEAD OF ENGINEERING.  THEY ARE MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE TO USE" and brought it into his office 5 minutes later, dropping it on his desk. I never saw the paper again. I think he just filed it.

Moral of story: Don't let English majors design electronic circuits (or manage engineers). You can't win in a battle of wits if you are half prepared. - Dilbert (paraphrased).

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How NOT to measure the length of a battery
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   7/22/2012 4:50:40 PM
In the 1990's in Telecom, before LiIon batteries became the normal standard, NiCad and NiMetal Hydride cylindrical batteries were the cell-phone industry's power-source of choice.  These cylindrical cells, just like Lead-Acid Duracells, were only 1.5V nominal, so typically, three were used to engineer a "cell pack" with a safety circuit. 

The battery department design engineers would routinely measure length of these cells using a metal Vernier caliper.  Guess what happens when you measure across (+) and (-) of a battery cylinder with a metal caliper-?

There was not a Vernier caliper in the entire department that didn't have arc-burns on them, and not an engineer in the department who didn't recognize the "pop" and burnt smell after the failed measurement. It got to be a running joke for the battery engineering department.

Scott Orlosky
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Does the Chemistry lab count?
Scott Orlosky   7/22/2012 8:14:01 PM
I loved my chemistry lab as a youngster, especially my alcohol lamp burner - you could really get reactions going with a little heat.  One day I was trying to remove the protective metal cap off the top of the burner (i couldn't figure out why it would rust since it was full of "alcohol" and not water).  Undaunted, I grabbed a pair of pliers, twisted for all I was worth and cracked the glass base severing my index finger down to the tendon. Yowtch!  Five stitches later and a bandage the size of a golf ball on my finger - I returned home.  Never did that again.

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6Joule cap fully charged = Pain
ervin0072002   7/23/2012 7:52:24 AM

Ok so let me define pain in electrical engineering terms. 6 Joule cap charged at about 4kV (do the math if you want to know C I don't remember it) shorting it across my thumb and pointing finger. I had a hard time closing my hand for about a week and had no strength on it for a good two weeks. I know there was some nerve damage but then it went away and did not need therapy.... Of course had I shorted that from one arm to the other I might not be here to tell the story ;)?

Oh and then there is the time when I shorted a capacitor of the same kind that had been sitting in a shelf for over three months. Don't you love capacitors that always stay charged and in case you discharged them they go ahead and charge themselves? Only at a couple of hundred volts but still tickles you if you short it across your fingers...

bob from maine
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Re: Spark coil sparks indeed
bob from maine   7/26/2012 2:17:20 PM
Model-T spark coils could, under the right conditions of condensing humidity, energize the dashboard metal each time the #1 cylinder fired. This made for some very entertaining driving. While in the military, we had HF transmitters of various output power all going through one antenna patch panel. Connecting a 10KW transmitter to a whip-antenna with a 1KW tuning coil at its base usually caused the whip antenna to launch at fairly significant velocity. It also occasionally caused the transmitter power-supply to crow-bar and scare the heck out of anyone standing nearby.

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