HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Comments
View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
<<  <  Page 2/2
Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Keep telling stories
Nancy Golden   9/28/2013 12:31:34 AM
It usually takes one event of long and painful troubleshooting for a particular failure mode to stick in one's mind forever. I was building a hall effect tester for high gauss devices and needed an IEEE current source to drive a coil. I have been GPIB programming for years - should not have been a problem to establish communication, although this particular piece of equipment was not by a well known manufacturer and the electronics seemed rather antiquated (which was fine for this particular application) with dip switches that needed to be set manually. I spent hours trying to get my program to talk to the current source but it would not respond. I went through their manual with a fine tooth comb, triple checking all of the dip switch settings. On a whim, I decided to invert the switch settings - ones to zeroes and zeroes to ones. The system started communicating. The company reps wound up taking us out for a steak dinner after I told them about the error in the manual. I learned never to trust documentation when troubleshooting - learn to look outside of the box even if it doesn't necessarily make sense. This is a great article because it reminds us to share these stories - you never know what you might run across.

BrainiacV
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Keep telling stories
BrainiacV   9/27/2013 9:10:30 AM
NO RATINGS
Minor edit to the story,

I had to WRITE the program without the OS or hardware.

And what fun it was with only a two page description of the interface card.

Onsite, I didn't have access to any debuggers since it was a realtime environment.  I was really happy that I had taken the time to write all the status results to a ring buffer instead of the more usual read and forget, otherwise I wouldn't have had a clue as to why it was failing, nor documentation to beat over the head of the hardware guy.

I never understood why people couldn't 'fess up to their mistakes. Over the years I've had to figuratively press people up against a wall to get them to admit the fault could have been theirs.  I wasn't looking to place blame, call me silly, I expect problems, but I needed solutions and they would be hiding information which made the problems much harder to fix.

a.saji
User Rank
Silver
Re: Keep telling stories
a.saji   9/27/2013 7:02:19 AM
NO RATINGS
@TJ: Even though you remember the stories, it will vanish with you once you leave the organization. So documenting or transferring the knowledge is something which should take place if it has to go from one mind to another

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Keep telling stories
TJ McDermott   9/27/2013 12:49:35 AM
NO RATINGS
The trick though, is to remember the stories.  That's why they retire engineers - their hard drives get full.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Keep telling stories
naperlou   9/26/2013 10:13:26 AM
NO RATINGS
Curt, I liked your article and your approach to solving the problem.  What really helps to debug hardware, especially in the field, is that knowledge base of actual experiences.  So, my suggestion is, keep exchanging those stories.  This column in Desing News is a great place to get such information as well.

<<  <  Page 2/2


Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
Here's a variety of views into the complex production processes at Santa's factory. Happy Holidays!
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
Thanks to 3D printing, some custom-made prosthetic limbs, and a Lego set, one lucky dog and a tortoise has learned new tricks.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
With Radio Shack on the ropes, let's take a memory trip through the highlights of Radio Shack products.
More:Blogs|News
Design News Webinar Series
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/10/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
11/6/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  67


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service