Here is my latest run in with that albatross around my neck.
Production was trying to program a module using the device in Figure 1 in part one of thi series. The programmer software runs on a Windows XP PC and gets converted to an RS232 signal via one of those USB converters- a change made necessary when PCs lost their serial ports. Well the PC had a crash at some point and now the USB drivers/hardware do not recognise the USB converter or any new converters of the same make. Nothing pops up to say a new device has been connected. Yet the PC still runs other software which connects to a 2 channel USB to serial converter. Of course we are in a rush, so I haul out my old Win98 PC and fire it up.
Windows98 cannot connect to our network and I have to get the object file onto the PC in order to program. Although the old PC has USB ports it wants a driver for a USB stick. So we have to go with a floppy. We have a USB to 3.5" floppy and it's easy enough to copy the file to floppy on a modern PC. The Win98 PC has a 5.25 and a 3.5 floppy drives. But the 3.5" is non-fucntional no matter how I try to reconfigure it it through the BIOS setup. And it needs a driver for the USB to floppy device.
Now we have to convert it to a 5.25" floppy. We have just moved and I thew out all my 5.25 disks. So I had to get one from home. Fire up my MSDOS 6.2 machine and copy the file from 3.5 to 5.25. BUT the file name is longer than the 8 digits that MSDOS recognises so I can't copy.
Back to the USB to floppy drive on a modern PC and rename the file to the 8 characters and then back to the MSDOS machine. Copy the file from 5.25 to 3.5 and then transfer the disk to the Win98 machine. Copy the file on to the hard drive and rename it back to the original to match the programming documentation. Phew! we can now program. Now for production...
The module (it is bought as a module) is mounted on a locating pin. Somehow this diameter of the hole associated with the pin has shrunk at some point during the 15 years it has been in production (or the locating pin has put on weight) and the module will not mount on the programming jig.
So now we have to ream out the hole before programming.
@max I keep a Win98 computer with both 5-1/4 and 3-1/2 floppy drives just for that. I have an external 3.5 drive that can then plug into newer computers to get data. Problem is that newer computers may note have the saoftware to readsome of the old data.
My process has been to attach test part numbers to the units tested bill of materials so they are forever linked
We came up and still use a similar approach, including revving the jigs and flowing it through ECNs to the BOM. We are a small company and so configuration maintenance is a little irritating and according to the bean counter, expensive. So against my advice the practice is being shelved although with our new (and untested) MRP there is a side location that will still carry the information.
We have another problem, which we seem to have solved, is keeping a register of "assets" that are shipped and then returned (sometimes) from subcontractors.
@Antedeluvian: I still have 8" floppies- and with good stuff on them.
I once went to a small electronics fest in Silicon Valley -- at one table there was a guy with a pile of different removable media drives -- he would copy your old files from your old media to a newer format for you for free. I think he was a regular at this annual fest because people were lining up to take advantage of his services.
What are you talking about -- they are still with us -- I still have hundreds of them in the bottom of my drawer in my office LOL
I still have 8" floppies- and with good stuff on them. I have manuals and diagrams on 5.25" single density from my Osborne 1. They may make good Xmas tree decorations and maybe someone can figure out how to read them with a scanner (I think I mentioned this before) but otherwise they simply serve to stabilise my house during a hurricane.
Excelent list. I wanted to add that once the documentation has been created, it needs formal identification and linking to your product data management system. Otherwise, in 10years are you going to remember where it was stored? What if it is used with multiple products? My process has been to attach test part numbers to the units tested bill of materials so they are forever linked.
How about keeping copies in the cloud, like on DropBox?
I am a late adopter of many technological "advances" and so I omitted to mention the cloud. I encourgae all forms of storage and possibly more than one type of storage- You may want to read it in 15 years. Look what happened to floppy disks.
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.