I hide mine. I've also got a stash of pencils, pens, markers put away. Some of the equipment that I use in my job, like 3-phase power analyzers are very expensive, so they are stored in a locked cabinet when not in use - a sensible procedure for ALL lab equipment, if you think about it.
Our labs remain pretty well-equipped, but scope probes seem to be one of those things that have a habit of simply vanishing into the ether, like one sock in the dryer that loses its mate to the lint trap, or wherever it is that missing socks go :)
I was just out getting a demo on a new low end digital scope - a beautiful thing compared to the old models - and they quoted a price of maybe $2-3k without probes. Oh, how much are probes? A single low end probe was nearly the cost of the scope itself. I had a new respect for o-scope probes that afternoon.
Right you are, I like your system. Quality probes are very expensive and lab people need to respect this, such as not letting probe tips dangle on the floor where they will get stepped on. This also means keeping everything together and taking responsibility to replace parts when they wear out.
I think it has to do with the NFMB syndrome -
ie (with apologies to Mr C. Dickens)
"Please sir, may I have another scope probe?"
"Not From MY Budget!!"
As for those DMMs (Damn Missing Meters) there are places where they are so scarce that engineers have to hide them in their desks to ensure they can get hold of one the next time they need one. This makes them even scarcer around the lab, and of course missing meter probes are a whole 'nother story. The simple concept of a meter assigned to every engineer seems beyond comprehension. Then of course there are times when an engineer might need 3 or 4 meters to monitor various parts of a test at the same time so there should be some extras available.
I have worked in some good labs where colleagues respected each other's test setups and only borrowed stuff after obtaining permission. Usually there was no need to borrow since the labs were well-stocked. The good old days...
Re "penny pinching bean counters". You've hit on my MAIN pet peeve (beside which missing scope probes and crimpers pale into insignificance). What is it with these guys? They'd rather pay you to be unproductive and stuff you around than get you the tools you need to BE productive. How much does a scope probe cost, for heaven's sake? About a hundredth the cost of the scope, and without it they have an expensive scope (and an engineer) sitting doing nothing. I better stop here before my blood pressure gets tooo high.....
There's always something. In an office it is staplers and pens. In a lab it is scope probes. (One wonders...what is the use in stealing a scope probe without a scope??) We do have a scope in our workshop, but it does not get a lot of use and the probes usually stay attached. However my pet peeves are the workshop DMM and the RJ crimpers, both of which we use a lot. I have the same tools in my truck for field work, but it's a pain having to go and get them. And then I forget to put them back in my truck so I find myself in the field without a DMM. Which is the same as being up the creek without a paddle......
You have put down scenario which is quite common in labs. Well from my experience, we used to share the oscilloscopes. And probes were allotted to test and dsign engineers and kept proper record of who is using the probes. Actually these are quite costly accessories and engineers are required to take good care of. I wish freshers get properly supervised and others understand the important of a good probe. I agree without good probes its difficult or almost impossible to debug a hardware.
I thought the job before last was bad. I asked for a scope ("What do you need a scope for?") and eventually was given an ancient HP with a sample rate of 10 Ms/s. With no probes. ("What do you need probes for?"). At last I was finally able to convince the boss to let me buy a couple of cheap probes, and a few other assorted test cables.
But the last job was worse. I found a fairly decent scope scrounged from a pile of test equipment not currently in use, but again without probes. The boss managed to find a broken probe from a junkbox. No grabber tip, broken ground wire, and main tip broken off leaving a dull little stub.
I researched all the probes I would need to do the job properly and presented the wish list to management. No go. Management thought I could use a 4 channel scope with a single broken probe. After much complaining, a manager type "managed" to find me another broken probe that someone threw away - again no grabber tip and no ground connection, but at least the pointy tip still worked.
So I have to wonder - is this a normal situation? Probes do break through regular use, but do they get repaired or replaced in your lab? Do your colleagues respect the next user and keep all the accessories together with each probe kit, or do the accessories get filed away in desk drawers never to be seen again? Do you have to fight when you need another probe?
What about test cables, gator to gator, BNC to BNC etc. What about normal test equipment such as DVMs, power supplies, sig gennies etc? Is your lab well equipped so you can set up a test at a moment's notice, or is your lab encumbered with penny pinching bean counters?
I've been to both kinds. What a difference a good lab makes to an engineer's efficiency. Let's hear about what kind of lab you work in.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.