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Engineering Investigations
Content posted in October 2010
The case of the ephemeral etching and the adamant uxor
Engineering Investigations  
10/29/2010   5 comments
An aspiring metallurgy student hits an unusual bump in his quest for a Ph.D
EMI issues on rise; but you can avoid them
Engineering Investigations  
10/29/2010   11 comments
Like a ghostly apparition in the dead of night, EMI isn’t normal. But though EMI-related issues are on the increase, there are ways to avoid them in your designs.
Zombies upset physicists' model of the universe
Engineering Investigations  
10/27/2010   8 comments
When you eliminate the illogical, what ever remains, however improbable, must be the truth (or ask folk around you for ideas).
The power-sucking vampire in the vac
Engineering Investigations  
10/27/2010   7 comments
A vacuum cleaner on the fritz underscores a lesson engineers learn: Always check power, reset & clock first
The terror in the teleprinter
Engineering Investigations  
10/27/2010   Post a comment
In the dead of night a teleprinter chattered away, a few characters at a time, printing complete rubbish. Was it spirits or something more earthly to blame?
RF spikes haunt an experimental network
Engineering Investigations  
10/27/2010   4 comments
Overnight during the witching hours the system behaved nicely, no sync losses, no bit errors. So what was the trouble? Poltergeists?
Drifting photons projecting in the night
Engineering Investigations  
10/27/2010   2 comments
When it seems like there are ghosts in the machine, expand the scope of the variables you are observing before running for cover.
The ghost transient in the satellite data link
Engineering Investigations  
10/27/2010   7 comments
While trying to catch a ghost transient upsetting a PLL in a satellite link, an engineer learns that coincidences happen and can hide the real problem
The case of the constantly resetting alarm system
Engineering Investigations  
10/21/2010   7 comments
Inductance rears its ugly head during an investigation involving old, dial-up phones
Tracking system loses crashed copter
Engineering Investigations  
10/21/2010   11 comments
After an embarrassing failure with a flight tracking system, EEs learn to pay a lot more attention to the little things.
CDR module gets the jitters
Engineering Investigations  
10/21/2010   4 comments
A supplier’s clock and data recovery module will not stay synchronized. Engineers are hesitant to complain after their first problem with the module turned out to be an embarrassing layout error.
The incident of the metastable control system
Engineering Investigations  
10/14/2010   17 comments
A burner's control system cycles from high to low in a seemingly random manner
The case of the un-sensitive sensor
Engineering Investigations  
10/12/2010   Post a comment
An engineer learns that shielding can only help so much while investigating problems with a test stand for checking fuel metering pumps for a specific assembly defect.
EMI on the high seas
Engineering Investigations  
10/8/2010   74 comments
An engineer investigates problems with boat electronics
Contest: Things that go bump in the lab
Engineering Investigations  
10/7/2010   Post a comment
Submit your best story of mysterious happenings or a haunting troubleshooting experience involving transients, EMI, or other seemingly inexplicable phenomena.
Ornery oscillator finds problem with IEEE 802.3 Ethernet spec
Engineering Investigations  
10/6/2010   Post a comment
I had to design a 1-MHz oscillator in such a way that our production test people didn't have to tweak the frequency.
The case of the domineering processor clock
Engineering Investigations  
10/3/2010   57 comments
What was causing an early PC to shut down after 30 minutes of operation?


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23 comments
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Rich Quinnell

Making the Grade in Industrial Design
Rich Quinnell
13 comments
As every developer knows, there are the paper specifications for a product design, and then there are the real requirements. The paper specs are dry, bland, and rigidly numeric, making ...

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Book Review: Controlling Radiated Emissions by Design
Martin Rowe
1 Comment
Controlling Radiated Emissions by Design, Third Edition, by Michel Mardiguian. Contributions by Donald L. Sweeney and Roger Swanberg. List price: $89.99 (e-book), $119 (hardcover).