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OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: They can't both be bad
OLD_CURMUDGEON   10/25/2012 10:47:30 AM
In the early 1980s, a fellow engineer (of Chinese descent) told me quite emphatically that he AVOIDED doing ANY business with anything connected to the Chinese (as a nation) because of their unethical behavior.  Since this was at a time in history which was less than 10 years removed from Pres. Nixon's historic trip to mainland China, I immediately dismissed his comments as being very biased & bigoted.  At that time the world was not so deeply engaged with Chinese manufacturing & trade.

Now, however, as I reflect on those comments from decades ago, and become more aware of the devious business practices that are undertaken AND sanctioned by the "higher-ups", it is becoming more apparent that his comments bore a great deal of validity, SORRY to say!

I'm SURE that with every other endeavor in human relations, one can find the "bad apple" which seems to rise to the fore, make the news, etc. whereas the rest of the barrel of apples goes completely unnoticed and/or unrecognized!

p.s.  During his diatribe against the Chinese, he mentioned one startling fact...... he'd MUCH rather engage in business deals with a Japanese company or entity since they ARE so ethical. 

bob from maine
User Rank
Platinum
Re: They can't both be bad
bob from maine   10/25/2012 10:15:15 AM
NO RATINGS
In the late 80's during a business trip to Russia I was given a tour of a fabrication facility. Standing on the mezzanine with my interpreter and 2 managers we overlooked a floor with probably 70 lathes and at least 50 milling machines, all being operated. Sitting right in the middle of the floor was a very modern multi-axis CNC machine surrounded by yellow lines on the floor and sitting idle. Upon seeing the CNC machine I asked why it was idle? The manager smiled and said that machine could replace 5 skilled machinists and produce 3-4x the volume, but "you understand in Russia, we can have no unemployment". The only time the CNC machine was operated was when dignitaries from the central Government came to visit. From stories I gather China has smiliar problems.

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
Triac failure modes
Larry M   10/25/2012 10:01:43 AM
Glenn Atchison wrote "When this happened, the unit had to be allowed to cool before any testing could be done. The heating was controlled by a triac (triode for alternating current). When the unit cooled, I monitored the triac control voltage and output voltage. Even when the triac control was not on, it was heating, so the triac was shorted."

"Latchup" is the most common failure mode of triacs. They remain in the "off" (non-conducting) state when power is applied until the trigger voltage is first applied to the gate. Then they turn "on" (conducting) as they should. The problem occurs when the trigger voltage is removed from the gate. The triac should turn off at the first AC voltage zero-crossing but it does not. The device "latches up" and remains conducting until voltage is completely removed from device terminals. In other words, the triac won't reset until the product is completely powered off.

I had the same failure and related symptoms in my 1984 washing machine in about 2007. A new controller board would have cost $350, but they were no longer available. I isolated the problem to the triac, as Glenn did. Also similar to Glenn's experience, I could not get an identically-labelled replacement--no longer made. But triacs are not critical components. Any one with comparable or greater ratings and a similar package will do. Fortunately replacements were available for 37 cents.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: They can't both be bad
Nancy Golden   10/25/2012 9:25:15 AM
Rob, I think that philosophy falls under what in ethics is called utilitarianism. In their minds it brings about a desired result (employment for a large number of people) therefore it is good - the means are not as important as the end. It's especially hard to fight in this case because it is part of their worldview...

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: They can't both be bad
Rob Spiegel   10/25/2012 5:32:03 AM
NO RATINGS
Yes, I remember that comment during the debate. And that's how a lot of it works. I remember a story about a plant in a small town in China that was producing counterfeit components. Officials were apparently well aware of what the plant was doing. When an Chinese official was asked why the government didn't shut down the plant, he replied, "This plant employees 2,000 people. It's the biggest employer in town by far."

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: They can't both be bad
Nancy Golden   10/24/2012 6:55:40 PM
NO RATINGS
That reminds me of what Mitt Romney said during one of the debates, Rob. The topic was about trade with China and Romney was talking about some type of valve that came back to the manufacturer as defective, so the company replaced it. But the company noticed something was wrong when they got several additional defective valves returned - all sporting the same serial number!

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: They can't both be bad
Rob Spiegel   10/24/2012 6:14:38 PM
NO RATINGS
That's a good story, Nancy. With counterfeit parts, it can be really bad. The parts often come back to the distributor or supplier in its own packaging. They look and act right -- the first layer or the first part of the roll. After that, it's garbage. In the independent distributor market, their association offers classes and certification on how to identify counterfeit parts.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: They can't both be bad
Nancy Golden   10/24/2012 1:08:53 PM
NO RATINGS
It is tempting to assume that because something is "new" that it is good...we forget that manufacturing processes can shift and sometimes entire lots of "new" stuff with a defect escape QC before it is detected and wind up for sale. Kind of the same idea - I remember one time I bought several red LEDS for a project I was building, from the same place I usually bought my parts from. My project was a wind rose being controlled by an 8751 and different color LEDs would light in response to changes in wind strength and direction.  After I soldered in the LEDS into my homemade PC board, I was amazed that my "red" LEDS were both "orange" red and "red" red. I just couldn't understand how I could buy something new and have that much variance in the same product. I went back to the electronics store I had bought the LEDs at and because I wanted my LEDs to match in color, I powered them up before I bought them (with the store manager's permission) so that I could get matching colors. That went a long way in teaching me not to assume that what I purchased would meet my expectations, regardless of how well prior purchases had worked in the past.

GlennA
User Rank
Gold
Re: They can't both be bad
GlennA   10/24/2012 12:55:35 PM
NO RATINGS
naperlou;  The cable was new from stock.  It had never been installed into a machine before.  Fortunately I had a known-good cable in the working unit to use for troubleshooting.  But 'swap-tronics' only works when you have multiple identical units to swap parts between.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: They can't both be bad
Rob Spiegel   10/24/2012 12:35:53 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree, Nancy. Glenn had a great solution. He knew the cable on the second machine was good. So he was able to double check the cable.

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