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The case of the loose screws

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JRM
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re: The case of the loose screws
JRM   9/30/2010 3:50:54 PM
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My boss gave me a chop saw that "needed a new trigger switch". Same thing.

DrQuine
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re: The case of the loose screws
DrQuine   9/27/2010 12:19:01 PM
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Great stories. "Random failures" can be especially difficult to find - until you know the answer. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I worked on a postal mail sorting machine prototype in the early 1990's that would randomly stop running and flames (literally) would shoot out of one of the integrated circuit chips. We finally discovered that especially thick mail pieces would bulge the sides of the mail track, that the metal would touch a contact on the circuit board, and the short circuited integrated chip would get so hot that the plastic would ignite. I'd never imagined that a chip could serve as a flame thrower before.

alkey3
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re: The case of the loose screws
alkey3   9/25/2010 9:31:53 PM
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The physical world is so often underestimated in our designs (I am guilty as well). As EEs we don't often think about Torque specs, retaining nuts, line corrosion, etc. yet these seem to repeatedly intrude on our "perfect" designs. I am both amazed and impressed by those engineers who know to consistently consider all aspects of where and how their designs will be implemented and take care to ensure their reliability for the long run.

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