That is a statement I hear from time to time and it seems so natural to push things back to the designer. A root cause analysis would be more useful. Often times, that designer has been constrained by a cost target, or a new content limit. So, in this constrained environment he/she saved 15 or 20 cents per hinge by avoiding stainless steel, or the designer found an existing part number in the system to avoid the release of a new part number. This is precisely why collaboration is SO important at the most infantile stages of writing the spec for a new or upgraded product. Too often, the functional [marketing] spec is written, and only then does the designer see it AFTER all the rules are written and the cost targets are set. Even a small level of experience at the spec-writing stage would have helped avoid the placement of a carbon steel part in a vulnerable location. Combine that issue with the steep ramp [short timeline] from new product request to "market-ready" and some types of tests just cannot happen. Tests that are not easily accelerated can be passed over IF the designer is allowed to fortify that untested component reasonably. If neither collaboration, adequate testing, nor fortification are allowed, it is very easy to see why a tiny component can create a mountainous issue in the field. So, just as we hope the designer learned from it, I also hope that marketing, purchasing, service/warranty, spare parts personnel, manufacturing, and quality control learned from it. COLLABORATE up front, and COLLABORATE on lessons learned.
We can work on them if armed with tools, reference material, patience and humility.
i 'bit the bullet' and bought a $49 code reader like Ann described. I was able to extinguish the "check engine" light on our "new" 2002 Ford Escort. Actually the computer does a lot of the troubleshooting for us, it spotted O2 sensors, a PCV line air leak, sticky thermostat and broken wire to a gas tank purge solenoid. But one absolutely needs the factory shop manual as well to find where they hid those things.
Thoreau advises "Simplify, Simplify". So as a retirement present to myself i've bought a 1968 Ford F100 pickup. "No EGR, No Computer, No Problem".
I agree, Ann. I prefer physical knobs and switches, especially for car radios. I've been saying for years that automakers should let Fisher-Price engineers design their radios. Kids toys have better interfaces.
Rob, it's a small tool and nothing like what they've got at the local garage. But at least it lets you figure out what's happening and then decide what needs to be done and whether you need to pay a mechanic for actually fixing the problem.
Rob, the tools aren't as expensive as they used to be. My husband just bought a device to display error codes for his used car, because the check engine light kept going on. It cost $100 or less, and avoided some big potential repair and/or mechanic expenses based on what it could have been as defined on the user forums.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
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