I had a problem with a video recording system I put together for a client. I had a server case (tower that would mount in a 19" rack). The front bay held a bunch of disc drives. I had a high failure rate of drives - excessive read counts. I looked at how tightly packed the drives were. Ended up taking them out, re-drilling the holes to space the drives out, mounted three fans that just blasted air on and between the drives. Worked like a charm, even if I got comments from the MechE's.
Having witnessed electronic equipment failure after failure over the years due to excessive heat, I've become a cooling fan junkie. My wife calls me addicted, compulsive, and anal. I buy the little 4" 120V quiet fans and mount them by every computer, hard drive, digital display, and AV device. It must be working because I've never had another device failure since. Every custom design or install I do starts with figuring out how and where the cooling fan will be mounted.
Latest project was cooling my 27" iMac. Built a simple box using 1/4 inch plywood with a 3" back and pie shaped sides. Installed the fan into the plywood and attached the assembly under my desktop below the computer. Drilled 3/8 inch holes 1 inch apart through my desktop and directly under the edge of the computer/monitor. It's amazing how much cooler the computer runs, 24/7.
My father told me a similar story about a cabinet he worked onboard ship when he was a Navy ET. In his case, he mounted a big fan after having the machine shop hop out an appropriate hole, and sucked air thru the cabinet.
Of course, the only logical place for the output was wher a K-Krusty old Chief (a redundent description) liked to stand....
A similar albeit expensive solution involved a printer on an SMT production line. The printer would begin to falter and eventually shut down.
The theroy was that the printer controls were overheating so the enclosure was opened and a fan placed to blow on the electronic control cards. After that failed as a solution, the 2 inch exhaust duct was replaced with an 8 incher, almost sucking the machine off the floor. Still no good so the entire several thousand square foot room was chilled to almost artic temperatures with a month of 100 plus days outside. The electricirty bill alone I'm sure was more than the cost of the printer.
After pleas with the owner, it was finally agreed to PAY for a service tech to look at the machine. Within a short time, the problem was found ( a miswired interface between machines) and all went back to normal.
Meanwhile the months the room was under artic conditions, the process went to hell in a hand cart as solder paste is meant to be printed at room temp (think peanut butter in a freezer and trying to spread on bread)
The penny wise pound foolish attempt at a go around was indeed very expensive in the end.
a.saji, a backup plan is ALWAYS a good idea, no question about that. Sometimes that plan is just the work-around for the problem that does not cure it b8ut allows one to continue. Other times a backup plan is a separate and different solution completely. And I am wondering what branch of engineering you are involved with, you often have very good comments.
That's good advice, taimoortariq. We tend to blow up problems into something bigger than we are before taking the time to see what might be wrong at a basic level. I think this is something that's not unique to engineering but can apply to many other situations as well!
I agree, I have heard alot of instances in which engineers spent hours over complicating the solutions, and figuring out the solution in the most indirect ways. On the other hand technicians coming up with the direct solution in minutes. A great way to start with any problem is definitely to check out the most basic problem a system can have.
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