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Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Undocumented Feature
Nancy Golden   4/28/2012 7:51:50 PM
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I agree with your assessment about documentation gsmith120. It pervades all aspects of industry. One of the secrets to my success as a test engineer was that I documented my code (lots of comments). Whenever I needed to troubleshoot or upgrade a system I had built three years prior - I could very quickly determine how to accomplish the task. Documentation is very painful up front but it sure can solve a lot of potential problems in the future!

gsmith120
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Engineering
gsmith120   4/28/2012 7:27:01 PM
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Maybe some of those void if opened stickers are hiding that kind of "reset switch send it back to us so we can charge you" secret.

gsmith120
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Undocumented Feature
gsmith120   4/28/2012 7:21:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Nancy, don't get me started about poor technical documentation.  I must admit I'm a stereotypical engineer and don't like documenting but it is a necessary evil.  Getting my masters in systems engineering really trained me in creating good documents as well as taught me how to proof them.  Creating good documentation is very difficult, time consuming and really hard to get a lot of engineers to do.  Believe it or not most of my clients do a really really poor job and most of the time it isn't even on the list of important things to do.  So the fact that the reset switch wasn't documented isn't a surprise.  In some cases companies do this intentionally so the customer is required to return the product so they can be charged a fee. On the other hand, companies don't find it important enough to have documents reviewed and/or the reviewers don't take the necessary time to ensure the appropriate information is in the specific document. 

 

jmiller
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Engineering
jmiller   4/28/2012 8:56:22 AM
NO RATINGS
I think the difference is the fact that the engineer could put it back together.  Also interesting that taking something apart often is exactly what voids the warranty.  Still neat to see it get put back together and working.

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Engineering
Tim   4/27/2012 9:52:07 PM
NO RATINGS
The differnece between an engineer and a non-engineer is the phrase "I decided to disassemble the unit."  That is a big step the others would not take.  Good job in doing what needed done.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Undocumented Feature
Charles Murray   4/27/2012 5:54:04 PM
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I agree, jmiller. In all of the comments here, everyone seems to be scratching their heads. You have to wonder if this is just a matter of carelessness or intent.  

jmiller
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Undocumented Feature
jmiller   4/27/2012 9:49:23 AM
NO RATINGS
Sometimes I wonder in cases like this if the company isn't banking a little bit on service dollars.  So they don't want it to be fixed by someone at home.  kind of annoying, really.  I'm glad that the service line you called gave you the little hint to help you out.  But that doesn't always happen.

jmiller
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Undocumented Feature
jmiller   4/27/2012 9:48:12 AM
NO RATINGS
You could be right.  Something added after everything was set to go to market.  However, a little sheet of paper could have been added in the back of the manuel to help out savvy tech-EEz like this gentlemen.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Undocumented Feature
Nancy Golden   4/27/2012 9:35:19 AM
It sounds like the documentation was poor to begin with. I am also wondering how many other features for servicing are generally hidden from the public. I have noticed on other products that have a reset function available through a small hole that is placed unobtrusively somewhere that it is not always documented. An older computer comes to mind where the CD drive would not eject. A phone tech support guy directed me to the fix. I agree that an after-design add on for all the reasons you stated is very possible for this scenario - how hard would it have been to add it to the accompanying documentation as an insert and institute a documentation revision? Poor planning at its best...that church is certainly blessed to have a savvy engineer!

williamlweaver
User Rank
Platinum
Undocumented Feature
williamlweaver   4/27/2012 7:51:55 AM
NO RATINGS
 
So was the resettable overload switch added to the build after the original design was sent to the manufacturing line to assemble some prototypes for testing? I suspect this is an "after the deadline" modification that was added either after review of initial tests, after a few failures in the field, or just as possibly, added for distribution in the US in order to comply with U.S. electronic device certification. If it was not part of the original design, it is possible that this little feature was added after the original manual was sent to the translators to generate the English version...

 

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