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Re: SON OF A...

I worked as a network installer for a while and we fielded all sorts of questions about computers.


One customer called in with a laptop that would only power up for a few seconds. I asked if it was plugged in and he said "yes". We went through a few questions before I found out that the laptop was plugged in to the charger, but there was no cord from the charger to the wall socket.


You have to make sure ALL of it is plugged in correctly.



Message 31 of 78

Re: SON OF A...

Robert Cole wrote:

I worked as a network installer for a while and we fielded all sorts of questions about computers.



Two of the noteworthy calls I handled whil on second shift were;


1) "The cup holder will not pop out."


2) "I am so glad you called! I have a tape stuck in my disk drive."


A story relayed to me after a co-worked spent the night rebuilding crashed disk drives goes;



I finsihed the rebuild and loaded up the backup pack and we were standing behind the disk drive cabinets when we noticed a brown dust blowing out of the back of one of them.


Customer: "What is that?"


Co-worker: "Data"




Message 32 of 78

Re: SON OF A...

I took a call one day about one computer on a network having problems logging in to the server. I knew it was a problem with a flaky cable (thin net - before we had moved all our customers to twisted pair). I already had a replacement cable for the customer and was going to be there the next day with the new cable. I wanted to get the user to wiggle the cable so I said, "Maybe the data is going through the cable in the wrong direction. Disconnect the cable at both ends, reverse it and reconnect." My customer called me a genius. When I was there the next day, the person who was in charge of their network was back from vacation and we had a good laugh before he warned me not to do something like that again.



Message 33 of 78

Re: SON OF A...

In the early 90s I worked at a small radio shop. There were about five of us repair techs, two salesmen, a manager and a receptionist. Occasionally the receptionist would be out and so one of us techs would have to sit at her desk and watch the phones.


I was watching the phones for an hour one night until closing. We had this Novell local network with IBM PC DOS terminals on it. It was nothing mission-critical - it was just for email within the tiny company. I left a message at her login prompt that said something like "WARNING: System is experiencing a dangerous load condition. DO NOT LOG IN!! Contact Cray Computers to resolve the issue".


I was intending to just laugh at her in the morning but ended up on an emergency service call and forgot about it. She actually found Cray's number which lead to a very confusing telephone call.

LabVIEW 2012

Message 34 of 78

Re: SON OF A...

for(imstuck) wrote:

Maybe we should turn this into a thread of "engineering mistakes that have made one say sonofaaaaa...."

One of my first engineering catastropic failures was while installing some big-a car stereo system into my old beater (yes, this is embarrassing now, but at age 17, it just felt like the right thing to do at the time).


I was routing 4/0 cable and some ungodly-sized fuse (150-200A?). The fuse holder was mounted on a lead about 8-10" from the positive terminal clamp. After wrenching this short lead onto the +terminal, I *very carefully* laid down the lead, careful to miss anything grounded in the engine compartment. And not just *very carefully*, we're talking painstakingingly carefully laid this lead down. Moving at about an inch every two seconds, I missed every single grounded component on the car except for the negative terminal itself.


It wasn't until years later - during my electrical engineering training when I was introduced to Drawn-Arc Stud Welding - that I saw a spark-fest as horrifying yet transmogrifyingly fixating. When you're in the 600-cold-cranking-amps-and-4/0-cable domain, it's surprising what element in the system becomes the fusable link Smiley Embarassed


It was the negative terminal - blew a chunk of the sucker to smithereens Smiley Tongue

Son-of-a-Fuseholder  Son-of-a-4/0-Lead

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Message 35 of 78

Re: SON OF A...

Don`t the initials on the switch mean On Normal and On Full Force? If I had a nickle for every one of those faults....
0 Kudos
Message 36 of 78

Re: SON OF A...

I recently took over a small project from a colleague, which involved a CompactRIO, and I couldn't for the life of me get the code to execute as a standalone. The ode worked in the Devvelopment Environment, but not when compiled, deployed and rebotoed. The code would flash the User LED to show that it was running, so I could quickly tell when it wasn't.


I tried scaling back the code to find the fault/bug, tried reinstalling the firmware of the cRIO, all sorts. Then it suddently came to me : NO APP! The darned NO APP DIP switch was set! "Some Beach!" (as Blake Shelton would sing). Who set it I never did find out, but I really should have thought to check it first. I lost over two hours to that... Smiley Mad

Thoric (CLA, CLED, CTD and LabVIEW Champion)

Message 37 of 78

Re: SON OF A...

Thoric wrote:

... The darned NO APP DIP switch was set! "Some Beach!" (as Blake Shelton would sing). Who set it I never did find out, but I really should have thought to check it first. I lost over two hours to that... Smiley Mad


They guy that taught me how to do crash dump anaysis (He could add subtract multiply and divide in binary, octal, and hex in his head) killed three days in a similar situation after taking over when "all of the King's men" could not put humpty back together.


A VAX cluster was failing to boot and he dove into the code of the VAXes to realize the Hierachial Disk Controller (predicesor to modern RAID drive) was not responing. So he switch from chasing VAX machine langauge to PDP-11 and dove into the code of the HSC. Eventually he found the bit that was not coming true and chanced that back through the hardware to the "On-Line" button on the FP.


After all of the others had failed his work was still seen as a wonder but he was disapointed the solution was so simple.




Message 38 of 78

Re: SON OF A...

At our EMC chamber we'll sometimes run equipment off lead acid batteries so a switching power supply doesn't mess up the measurements.  Of course these need recharging every so often, so one of our techs hooked up the power supply to charge.  All is good, except we had been running a 24V unit.  For those that aren't familiar, lead acid batteries will begin out gassing large volumes of pure hydrogen if they get over 15V.  No damage other than blowing the cover off the battery container when it found a spark, but it was one of the louder things I've heard in my life.


Had an ATC fuse blow during testing, but the internal bits somehow reconnected.  It was now essentially a much higher value fuse and burnt up my unit.  Added that fuse to my collection.

--Using LV8.2, 8.6, 2009, 2012--
Message 39 of 78

Re: SON OF A...

taper wrote:
, but it was one of the louder things I've heard in my life.


My e-mail moniker "dopplertech" has an origin-

I once worked as an R&D tech for Kavouras in the design lab for weather radars.  We did distructive testing of high energy components at times to characterize how much of an engineering margin those components held.  (Turn up the volts till it goes poof is a good idea, think megawatt pulses.) A standing rule was "never disturb a tech at the bench.  Wait for the tech to look around, acknowledge you and "safe" the system. 


I was engaged in a fine piece of bench work one day and rather "intent" on certain measurments and indications while a co-worker was abiding by the afore mentioned safety rule.  To pass the time he picked up some packaging meterial and, as everyoneone who has ever held bubble-wrap in there hands while bored has done.......


SNAP-BAMB-POP (I'm stripping power left and right.. $h1T.That wasn't supposed to blow yet- Gotta stop the fire")   Actually, my coworkers were impressed with my speed of action.....


Bubble-wrap was banned from the engineering lab 30 seconds later.  All packages for delivery after that date were pre-opened and, singage was posted on the lab door that bubble wrap was prohibited from this area. 

Message 40 of 78