Design Con 2015
Breaking News
Max’s Cool Beans

The Worst Oscilloscope User Manual of All Time

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Threaded | Newest First | Oldest First
Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Some assembly is required
Max The Magnificent   4/29/2014 10:01:50 AM
NO RATINGS
How about this as a starter:

As you will have discovered when you opened the box, some assembly is required (you will need a hammer, a chisle, and a complete set of Abyssinian left-handed torque wrenches).

zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Some assembly is required
zeeglen   4/29/2014 10:17:12 AM
NO RATINGS
From an actual "scope from hell" user manual:

Contents in this Manual are not allowed to copy, extract and translate before being
allowed by ATTEN company.

It gets worse...

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Some assembly is required
Max The Magnificent   4/29/2014 10:30:57 AM
NO RATINGS
@zeeglen: It gets worse...

Tell me more....

zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Some assembly is required
zeeglen   4/29/2014 11:33:28 AM
NO RATINGS
tell me more - Translations - some can be figured out, some are humourous, some use words that don't exist, some are totally confusing.

 

1.1 Accidence of the front panel and user interface

easy-to-use front panel to convenience
users to operate them, the panel contains knobs and buttons.

Using this knob can ... Set the Video Linage,

Connect the probe to the oscilloscope and connect the ground terminal to
ground before you take any measurements.  (well, duhhh!)

Note:If you connect a voltage source to a ground terminal, you may damage the
oscilloscope or the circuit under test. To avoid this, do not connect a voltage source to
any ground terminals.  (again, duhhh!)

When you operate the self Calibration, you should cut all the probes and lead.

...the on-screen lathy rectangle shapes represent the front panel keys.

Turn the "Universal" knob when holdoff time have been to
max or min value, now the system will clew this information.

The signal must be mediacy horizontal

When you operate, the screen would display the white (Color LCD) and black
(single LCD) repose.

USB Flash Drive Plug In! : This information will appear when you invert the
USB Flash Drive to the USB Host port.

Check the attenuation quotiety whether match the probe attenuation proportion or
not.

Attempt to change the " coupling" into "HF Reject" or "LF Reject" display, so
that the High/low frequency noise disturb the trigger should be filtrated

When you see the signal at the slow speed(from 10μs/div start), you can
capture high-frequency burr which are narrow to 10ns.

It Usually only have dry insulative pollution
It must be prospective that it is instant electric because
of icing once in a way.

Contract us

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Some assembly is required
Max The Magnificent   4/29/2014 11:48:02 AM
NO RATINGS
@zeglen: Translations - some can be figured out, some are humourous, some use words that don't exist, some are totally confusing.

It amazes me that companies don't get a native speaker of the target language to check things out. I can sense a follow-up blog coming on I fear LOL

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Some assembly is required
David Ashton   4/29/2014 5:10:58 PM
NO RATINGS
@Zeeglen... I begin to see why you hate Atten scopes so much... :-)

Sheepdoll
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Some assembly is required
Sheepdoll   4/29/2014 1:03:21 PM
It was the best of 'scopes, It was the worst of 'scopes, it was the age of condensers. it was the age of capacitors, It was the epoch of resistors, it was the epoch of wires, It was the season of LEDs, It was the season of CCDs. It was the spring of coils, It was the winter of diodes, We had everything before internet, we had nothing after the singularity, We were all going straight to engineering Heaven, we were all going direct the other way -- in short the manual was so far like the present manual that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received for Apple or Samsung in the superlative degree of comparison only.

-- with apologies to Charles Dickens.

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Some assembly is required
Max The Magnificent   4/29/2014 1:40:30 PM
NO RATINGS
@sheepdoll: It was the best of 'scopes, It was the worst of 'scopes...

LOL

OK, if you want to go down that route, how about:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good logic analyzer, must be in want of an oscilloscope.

With apologies to Jane Austen

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Some assembly is required
Max The Magnificent   4/29/2014 1:48:53 PM
NO RATINGS
@sheepdoll: It was the best of 'scopes, It was the worst of 'scopes...

Now you have my brain buzzing -- how about:

Elmer Gantry was drunk; he was eloquently drunk, lovingly and pugnaciously drunk, which is why we didn't let him have anything to do with the design of the fine oscilloscope you have in front of you (instead, he wrote this manual).

With apologies to Sinclair Lewis: Elmer Gantry (1926)


Or here's one more

It was the day my grandmother exploded (I always told her she should invest in a better oscilloscope, like the one you now see before you).

With apologies to Iain Banks: The Crow Road (1992)

zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Some assembly is required
zeeglen   4/29/2014 8:36:49 PM
NO RATINGS
Max,
As you will have discovered when you opened the box, some assembly is required


Slightly off-topic, but this exact scene played out 40 years ago in a Heathkit retail store.  A customer came in wanting to buy a radio direction finder for his boat.  Brought it to him , he insisted the box be opened so he could see it.  Somewhat puzzled, I obliged.  He was flabbergasted - had no idea what Heathkit was all about.


Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Some assembly is required
Max The Magnificent   4/30/2014 10:07:17 AM
NO RATINGS
@zeeglen: He was flabbergasted - had no idea what Heathkit was all about.


LOL


The thing is that it's easy for those of us who do this sort of thing to take a lot of things for granted. Based on this, it's easy for us to forget just how "lost" beginners can be. I'm working on a simple prototype spectrum analyzer just varying the intensity of a LED for each channel -- when I come to write this up, I will include the calculation for working out what series resistors to use with the different colored LEDs depending on whether you are using an MCU with 5.0V or 3.3V I/Os -- I'll do this because the folks who already know can skim over it, but I'm convinced that there will be at least one student or hobbyist who think's to themselves "So that's how it's done!"

dt_hayden
User Rank
CEO
Congratulations
dt_hayden   4/29/2014 10:27:45 AM
NO RATINGS
Congratulations on the purchase of your open source design based oscilloscope, supported by the best crowd sourced technical support available solely via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook .....

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Congratulations
Max The Magnificent   4/29/2014 10:31:45 AM
NO RATINGS
@dt_hayden: ...supported by the best crowd sourced technical support available...

ROFLOL

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Pick Me! Pick Me!
Max The Magnificent   4/29/2014 10:35:55 AM
NO RATINGS
The guys at Oscium (who make an amazing iPad-based oscilloscope that I use all the time) just sent me this link to the donkey from the Shrek movie shouting "Pick me! Pick me!" http://youtu.be/Dj3GH5myc3M

elizabethsimon
User Rank
CEO
Please see change list.
elizabethsimon   4/29/2014 11:15:28 AM
Due to the high demand of this model, your oscilliscope has been shipped with the previous model manual but we have included the following 37 pages of differences that you should note.

 

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Please see change list.
Max The Magnificent   4/29/2014 11:16:34 AM
NO RATINGS
@Elizabeth: Due to the high demand of this model, your oscilliscope has been shipped with the previous model manual...

Good one!!!

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
To read or not to read.....
David Ashton   4/29/2014 8:22:16 PM
NO RATINGS
With manuals like that cited by Zeeglen above, you often wonder whether it's just easier to try and work it out (with apologies to Shakespeare):
To read, or not to read: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The mis-spellings and errors of outrageous manuals,
Or to take arms against a scope with troubles,
And by experimenting, end them? 


zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
Re: To read or not to read.....
zeeglen   4/29/2014 8:28:58 PM
NO RATINGS
Hi David,

Yes, these really are actual quotes from the user useless manual.
Or to take arms against a scope with troubles,

Darn!  My sledge hammer just fell on my scope...

I also have a strong suspicion that the same person who wrote the manual also wrote the firmware.

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: To read or not to read.....
Max The Magnificent   4/30/2014 10:00:35 AM
NO RATINGS
@zeeglen: I also have a strong suspicion that the same person who wrote the manual also wrote the firmware.

It's that good?

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: To read or not to read.....
Max The Magnificent   4/30/2014 9:58:31 AM
NO RATINGS
@David: 
:
Or to take arms against a scope with troubles,
And by experimenting, end them?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear....


Measurement.Blues
User Rank
CEO
Re: To read or not to read.....
Measurement.Blues   5/3/2014 6:56:40 PM
NO RATINGS
@Max,

When I worked at Extech, I spent many hours rewriting manuals that were translated from Mandarin. Usually, I just three the manual away, learned how to use the instrument, and wrote a new manual from scratch.

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: To read or not to read.....
Max The Magnificent   5/5/2014 10:02:42 AM
NO RATINGS
@MeasuremrentBlues: Usually, I just three the manual away...

You are certainly the man I would want to write my manuals LOL

newtoni
User Rank
Rookie
And then, of course, there's pure machine translation
newtoni   4/30/2014 7:24:39 AM
NO RATINGS

Hardware install:

If what to use is multimeter the RS-232s provide with the form connect a

people's line, the RS-232 pick up a people line of red unauthorized biography

lose the line to receive to carry to insert multimeter fix in the slot with a back of

the form protection, then go on-line of another on carry with computer of string

a right conjunction is then.

If what to use is multimeter the USB provide with the form connect a people's

line, the USB pick up a people line of red unauthorized biography lose the line to

receive to carry to insert multimeter fix in the slot with a back of the form

protection, then go on-line of another on carry with computer of string a right

conjunction is then.

cookiejar
User Rank
CEO
Machine Translation
cookiejar   4/30/2014 9:35:50 PM
NO RATINGS
If you want to turn your carefully prepared manual into something truly useless try this. 

Get on to Google Translate and translate it into another language and then back into English.  This is especially entertaining when you use some idomatic expressions.  Translating popular songs this way is a real hoot.

 

Then you'll get some idea as to why many manuals are so useless.

 

 

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Machine Translation
Max The Magnificent   5/1/2014 9:51:36 AM
NO RATINGS
@cookiejar: Get on to Google Translate and translate it into another language and then back into English.

Unfortunately, this may explain a lot of user manuals (sad face)

SamuelBoegli
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Machine Translation
SamuelBoegli   5/2/2014 9:07:57 AM
NO RATINGS
I work in Switzerland and lately I've been dealing with a number of manuals/datasheets written by German companies. At first I despaired at understanding their statements and my coworkers asked me to stop my cursing, when I hit upon the secret. The trick is to read the manuals with English vocabulary but with the grammar rules of the original language! Now the sentences actually make a lot of sense. Of course, I don't speak Chinese or Japanese so most manuals still don't make sense but it's something... 

The upside is you learn a lot of new vocabulary. Or when's the last time you heard someone say "forenoon"?

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Machine Translation
Max The Magnificent   5/2/2014 11:55:48 AM
NO RATINGS
@Samuel: I work in Switzerland and lately I've been dealing with a number of manuals/datasheets written by German companies...

Thanks for your comment -- in fact, this prompted me to write this follow-up blog

 

Measurement.Blues
User Rank
CEO
Re: Machine Translation
Measurement.Blues   5/3/2014 6:54:03 PM
NO RATINGS
@Sam,

I know someone in Switzerland who freelances doing translation of technicallaterials from German to English. He was an  excelent editor in his day, having run Personal Engineering & Instrumentation News.

jjulian274
User Rank
Rookie
Example manual
jjulian274   5/1/2014 11:22:21 AM
NO RATINGS
Usage of the fine instrument that you have purchased is totally intuitive, but should you have a reason to inquire for help, please reference the installed help function which has been very useful for our customers for the past 20 years.  To access help, press the mode select button, select other, and select manual operation.

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Example manual
Max The Magnificent   5/1/2014 11:35:41 AM
NO RATINGS
@jjulian274: Usage of the fine instrument that you have purchased is totally intuitive, but should you have a reason to inquire for help...

LOL -- I love it!

Stargzer
User Rank
CEO
Getting the right idiom
Stargzer   5/5/2014 2:46:34 PM
NO RATINGS
A friend told me long ago about an article on different motorcycle manual translations. 

My favorite was from a Japanese motorcycle manual: "Beware the wet corner, for therein lurks the skid demon."

I don't think there's a better way to say than that in any language!

 

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Getting the right idiom
Max The Magnificent   5/5/2014 2:54:27 PM
NO RATINGS
@Stargzer: Beware the wet corner, for therein lurks the skid demon.

That is almost poetic -- I would be happy if all manuals read like this. For example, here's the way an oscilloscope manual should read:

Gently apply the probe to the pin in question. Should the desired waveform appear in full glory on the display, then we offer our heartfelt felicitations; if not, we commiserate and weep with you, and we humbly suggest you join us in the discussions on troubleshooting later in this manuscript.

Flash Poll
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed
Top Comments of the Week