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Keith Harris
User Rank
Iron
Re: Back to the basics
Keith Harris   11/18/2011 11:24:26 AM
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I work in an environment where production runs are very short, usually only a few copies of any design.  A common problem in troubleshooting is that we are lulled into believing that the written schematic is an accurate representation of the system.  For the prototype or first article the thing to remember is: "It ain't necessarily wired the way we think it is."  This is also true for EMC problems, which don't show up in the circuit diagram.

DougM21
User Rank
Silver
Re: Back to the basics
DougM21   11/18/2011 11:19:10 AM
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"... I honestly wonder how technically oriented kids learn anything today, given that not much stuff is repairable or even analyzable anymore."

Someone gave me an old Dynaco transistor stereo preamp/amp recently, it sort of worked, but needed some simple repairs to be useful.  I didn't feel like fixing it, so gave it to a local audio repair shop--with the suggestion to give it to a kid who could have some easy success and perhaps catch the "fix it" bug.  For those not familiar with the brand, Dynaco sold kit and assembled versions, the kit manuals are still available to help a novice get started.




Curt Carpenter
User Rank
Gold
Re: Back to the basics
Curt Carpenter   11/18/2011 10:59:59 AM
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Beth Stackpole mentions all of our great design tools -- which made me think about the very FEW tools we have to support routine troubleshooting.  Is there a business opportunity for someone there?  (Microsoft makes a valiant effort to provide troubleshooters for it's products -- but I find they usually just add to my level of frustration!)   Here's one vote for a "Troubleshooting App" based on a "troubleshooting science."





Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Back to the basics
Alexander Wolfe   11/18/2011 10:06:24 AM
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I don't mean to be glib, but I honestly wonder how technically oriented kids learn anything today, given that not much stuff is repairable or even analyzable anymore. When I (we; you and me both, Chuck) were young, we could tinker around with the innards of a TV or radio (often at risk of electrical shock) and learn important stuff before we even reached engineering school (which incidentally never taught me to read schematics; I learned that on my own long before, from electronics magazines).

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Back to the basics
Charles Murray   11/17/2011 9:01:26 PM
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I suppose that the lesson here is not to ignore the obvious, but I have to admit that I could have looked at that TV for a month and never have thought of the "non-magnetized magnet." Maybe that's why the author still got the job.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Great story!
Ann R. Thryft   11/17/2011 12:40:46 PM
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This story and the troubleshooting process the author followed reminds me of the 101 basics I learned first on my stereo system: Is it plugged in? Is it switched on? In this case, the question is, Is the magnet magnetized?

BobGroh
User Rank
Platinum
Great story!
BobGroh   11/17/2011 10:00:00 AM
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Enjoyed the story of the 'Non-Magnetized TV Magnet'.  It really embodies the essense of so much of the trouble shooting that we engineers and technicians go through as we go about our daily life.  Great stuff and an enjoyable read.

Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Blogger
Can you hear me now?
Alexander Wolfe   11/17/2011 9:52:25 AM
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As an old analog person, I'm reminded of how one could always test one's hearing by determining whether you could hear the faint sound of the 15kHz horizontal-scan signal emanating from those old vacuum tube TVs.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Back to the basics
Rob Spiegel   11/17/2011 7:48:33 AM
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You're right, Beth. We had a similar Sherlock Ohms posting, The Case of the Mismarked Resistor, where something as simple as a resistor that had the wrong ID snafu'd a project.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Back to the basics
Beth Stackpole   11/17/2011 6:38:31 AM
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Great lesson learned here in how important it is to consider all options, however small and obvious. Given how complex technology has gotten and in light of the really impressive and powerful tools engineers have at their disposal to solve complex design challenges, I think basic exploratory practices and simple design iterations are often overlooked in favor of pursing the big or overly complex idea or solution. Yet another reminder not to forgo the basics.

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