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Jack Rupert, PE
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Simpler solution
Jack Rupert, PE   1/28/2012 3:17:57 PM
NO RATINGS
Nothing wrong with the hammer as an all purpose fix-it tool.  I once had an early computer (i.e., in the 8088 time-frame) that required a slap to get it going periodically.  I think the hard drive was "sticking".  The funny part is the power supply was the thing that failed first.  Other times, the proper application of the hammer is as suggested here:  "Oh look, the printer is broke - we need a new one!"

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Simpler solution
Ann R. Thryft   1/13/2012 2:46:16 PM
NO RATINGS

Chuck, I really like your hammer solution! It sounds a bit like my husband's frequent advice to apply a mallet to something to make it work better! Only yours gets rid of the problem entirely.

I think the troubleshooting approach that says anything that moves is likely to be the source of a problem makes the most sense.


Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not the power cord!
Rob Spiegel   1/13/2012 12:26:07 PM
NO RATINGS
What a different world, Npitech. I wonder of that has changed in the last 10 years. Certainly Asia has become more prosperous. Even with difficulties in world economics, much of Asia is still booming -- compared with North America and Europe anyway.

npitech
User Rank
Iron
Re: Not the power cord!
npitech   1/12/2012 4:12:08 PM
NO RATINGS
I didn't mention than when he disappeared, he took the power cord with him. Later on, the monitor disappeared but I was pretty sure the problem was with the cpu. I never saw the pc working again; I was there for six weeks. UNIX got better because the guy directly across from me went on vacation and I got to use the cable.

 If you wanted to print something you had to go to a manager and tell them exactly how many sheets of paper you needed. You then loaded the printer and sent your job hoping that no one else used your paper in the meantime.

For troubleshooting, I used to have to find THE tech who had THE scope probe and find THE TECH who had THE rf cable, etc, etc. Each tech had something unique and they kept it under lock and key because it was the only one. They all had well equipped test benches (capital equipment) and no accessories that allowed them to use the equipment.

This was ten years ago and they fretted over anything that was expensed. LAN hubs and cables were expense items. They have gotten way better (they understand the real costs) since then but it was frustrating and depressing to work there then. They didn't mind wasting hours of an individual's time (labor is cheap) but waste a piece of paper, that will show up on an expense report!

Some C.M.s still don't load their printers.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not the power cord!
Rob Spiegel   1/12/2012 2:57:19 PM
NO RATINGS
Did they ever get the PC running, Npitech? What was wrong with it? And how much can an LAN cable cost in Malaysia? That's quite a story.

npitech
User Rank
Iron
Not the power cord!
npitech   1/12/2012 1:20:07 PM
NO RATINGS
I went to Malaysia to transfer manufacturing of a complex product. I requested that a pc and a UNIX workstation be available for me when I arrived. The first day, the production supervisor takes me to a store room with a pc set-up on an assembly bench. I turn the pc on and get a black screen. The supervisor says he'll send a technician and disappears. A person arrives, looks at the set-up and decides that it is a power problem. There is a power strip built into the bench with a reset button. He starts to toggle the button. I don't speak Malay and he doesn't speak English. I try to point out that the light on the bench is working (plugged into the same strip) and that the standby LED on the front panel of the pc is lit. Apparently, those facts were not germane and he then tries to plug into different power strips on the bench then goes directly into the wall outlet. All of this lead him to somehow conclude the problem was the power cord so he disappears for ten minutes and comes back with a new cord. After that was not successful, he just disappers. OK, fine, I can go do some work on the UNIX machine. I locate the engineering manager and he takes me over to his department and points out a desk which he says I can use for the duration of my stay. This is in an area of three foot walls and rows of adjacent desks face other rows of adjacent desks. Each engineer's area was only slightly bigger than their desk and no test equipment or no other UNIX workstations were visible. All of the engineer's were typing away on pc's.  I thank him, go to desk, sit down and discover that the UNIX workstation is displaying an error message, "... could not connect to LAN...". I look behind the machine and there is no LAN cable!! I tell this to the manager and explains, "there is only one LAN on this row, you can share it when the other folks aren't using it". 

BrainiacV
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Simpler solution
BrainiacV   1/12/2012 10:57:35 AM
NO RATINGS
Too often people jump to the most complex part of the system forgeting that anything that moves, or is attached to something that moves is far more likely to break.

Ain't that the truth, but a variation happened to a coworker that had to fly halfway across the United States to service a computer that controlled a conveyor system.  Since the conveyor wasn't running, it was assumed it had to be our computer that was to blame.

 

It turned out to be the fuse to the conveyor motor that had blown out, not the computer at all.

lchien52
User Rank
Bronze
How long is a short?
lchien52   1/12/2012 10:28:36 AM
NO RATINGS
We had a instrument manufactured for us. It was built and checked out over a period of time, shipped 1500 miles to our shop and integrated and checked out. The rack it was in was air freighted to europe, then went by ship to an offshore platform in the North sea and connected to equipment. It worked for a couple of months and then the system died indicating a DC power failure.

The item was removed and shipped back to us, where I confirmed a 5V short to ground. W shipped it  back to the OEM over rthe same path. The main PCB had standoffs every 3-4 inches, mounted to a 3/16th stell plate. All very rigid and stiff to pass stringent vibration and shock requirements. They had a 5V component lead just above a bolt that was a bit too long and microscopically close clearance to the lead. Somehow it went months and endured all kinds of shipping and transportation handling and was just sitting there before it shorted out, then went all the way back to the factory without opening up again.

All I can figure is that some temperature expansion or contraction combination brought them into contact but can't figure out why it didn't open up again. AT least I'm glad it was not intermittent.

burntpuppy
User Rank
Silver
Re: Simpler solution
burntpuppy   1/12/2012 9:36:25 AM
NO RATINGS
When I was a licensed mechanic ( I worked in an import car dealership) too often we'd get cars towed in from other garages. Often the customer felt that a "greasy Bobs garage" was cheaper. Lacking the diagnostic tools we had the other garage would say the problem is in the computer system. In about 99% of the cases it was a basic mechanical fault.

 Too often people jump to the most complex part of the system forgeting that anything that moves, or is attached to something that moves is far more likely to break.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Simpler solution
TJ McDermott   1/12/2012 12:21:42 AM
"Doctor, it hurts when I move my arm like this."

"Well, stop moving your arm like that!"

 

Charles has the right answer.

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