I am claiming dunce of the week

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bodgy
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I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by bodgy » Wed Oct 05, 2005 4:02 am

Just to lighten the board slightly and also to let those newbies know --- 'You're not the only ones who do silly things'.<p>I've been trying to port some PIC software that I've previously written in 'C' to structured basic. Since Sunday, I've been struggling to work out why one function that writes to an LCD works and another similar function won't. In fact the program appears to byte the dust :p <p>After rewriting bits of the program, putting in dummy numerals, deleting certain calls, checking the assembler for stack overflow, kicking the cats, launching the hardware across the room, I have just found the problem.<p>
NOWHERE in the second function did I remember to actually call the display function. So after giving the animals a piece of my mind and they now suitably cowering under the bed, I insert the call, reflash the chip, plug it in and nothing - now not even the function that was working works. The air is now purple, the cats back further under the bed, wondering do we track the gecko wandering around the ceiling or stay safe.<p>After more hair pulling, I suddenly remember I've just downloaded the latest advanced beta version of the compiler and I've forgotten to wander into the depths of the LCD library and change the library pinouts to my preferred layout.<p>As I type, calming down very very slowly, the LCD is all lit up showing what it should do.<p>So just remember folks, no matter how good or advanced you are, we all often make the same errors.<p>Colin
On a clear disk you can seek forever.

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Dave Dixon
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by Dave Dixon » Wed Oct 05, 2005 6:47 am

My ex-wife still gives me a hard time about this one....
Grandma's 3-way lamp wasn't working. I replaced the bulb, turns on and off but still didn't do the 3-way thing. Then I replaced the socket, still doesn't work. Went to see my buddy who works at the hardware store. Replaced bulb again,,, replaced socket again,,, still only on or off - no 3-way.
Then we asked another guy what we could be missing. He torqued the bulb into the socket nice and tight.... worked great. I learned that the main contact works fine, but the off-center contacts required that little extra tightness.
As the ex says... How many technicians does it take to screw in a lightbulb? THREE!!
Any other most embarassing moments out there?
Dave

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jollyrgr
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by jollyrgr » Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:45 am

I've done things similar. I was given a project to setup a computer for a particular user. It was for a product/program he wanted to use and PROMISED we (the IT department) would never have to support. The vendor of the product would be dialing in by modem quite often to update data in this program. The user that needed this program also needed full administrative rights to the computer (Windows NT 4.0), something nobody outside the IT department had because of the problems it caused. The computer this went on had an embedded NIC and I had to figure out a sneaky way to disable the NIC so this computer would NEVER be on our network. I had to make sure the NIC would never work.<p>Fast forward one year and this power user has left the company, a new person has taken over the program, and the vendor no longer supports dial up and needs VPN. Now we have to put this computer on the network. A PC tech was working on this project but could not get the NIC functioning. He found where I had disabled the NIC in the BIOS, he reloaded the working driver, and found my bogus entries in the NIC configuration. But he could not get the NIC to work. I had documented that this computer should NEVER be on the network. But I purposely left what I had done to break networking out of the documentation.<p>I worked for about two hours before I remembered the OTHER thing I had done to break the networking. In Windows NT 4.0 you could have multiple hardware profiles. I had setup a NETWORK DISABLED profile and set that as the default profile (since this computer was not on the network). I copied this profile and named it NETWORKING profile. So when the PC Tech switched to the Networking profile as the standard, it was a copy of a network disabled profile. When we both looked at it neither of us bothered to investigate the NETWORKED profile for any problems. That one hurt as I did it to myself.
No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. But billions of electrons, photons, and electromagnetic waves were terribly inconvenienced!

Robert Reed
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by Robert Reed » Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:43 am

What I would like to say :
" I have nothing to add to this post, since I am absolutely perfect". Sadly though, that is not the case.Years ago I was winding up a prototype design with a side breadbord to run some worst case tests for op-amp latch up. I didn't need any data book for this quick simple test, as I knew op-amp pinouts by heart. Upon power up the device went up in smoke--ohh just a defective chip. second try--up in smoke. Check my pinouts, power up again- up in smoke. Two more checks, trys--smoke. By now I had attracted quite a crowd, so I snuck a data book into a corner of the lab. To my surprise ,not only did I have the supply pins reversed but I continually made the same dumb mistake over and over again. Upon returning to the test bench, I corrected problem and redeemed myself, but fore ever after, these tests were known as --not op-amp latchup tests, but as the RRP tests (Reed Reverse Polarity Tests). This took a few months to live down. All of that because I was "so sure" I knew the chip.

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philba
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by philba » Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:48 am

I'd like to share this award with my electrician...<p>I have an old house that has a detached garage with an appartment over it (realtors call it a carriage house, I call it a pit...). We had it rewired with a new panel, brought up to code and went from 60 amp service to 240 in 2001 . One of the 3-way light circuits was flakey. It worked for a year, then it stopped working, when the electrician was out he fixed it and a year later it stopped working again. <p>So, of course the company went out of business so I called another electrician and he spent 4 hrs (billing all the while) tracing the circuit and then said - there's no power, I can't fix it. I can run a wire to get it power. So, being an ornery cus (you all know that part!) I said, hey, it worked before lets look at it. Well, half way in between the 2 switches was the old electrical panel (I bet you know where I'm going) that they hadn't removed 'cause I was too cheap to spend the money on the rework. With my toner/tracer, I was able to find that the wires went through the panel and were in fact hooked through the old breakers.<p>It was then that I realized I had just spent $140 to discover that some one had flipped the supposedly unused circuit breaker and killed the power to the 3-way switch. AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGG. I had the guy rewire the circuit so it wont happen again but if I ever find that original f*&king idio electrician I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna....<p>Phil<p>[ October 05, 2005: Message edited by: philba ]</p>

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Dave Dixon
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by Dave Dixon » Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:04 am

What a great thread you started Colin. It just may be more fun making fun of ourselves then it is to give others a hard time! Thanks! !
Dave

L. Daniel Rosa
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by L. Daniel Rosa » Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:25 am

Once I was installing a 'phone jack in a new house. I figured since it was so new it never had telephone service everything was cold. I found out otherwise when I stripped the wires with my teeth.

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dacflyer
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by dacflyer » Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:57 am

HAW HAW HAWHAHAHA..hey Rosa was your ears ringing afterwards..heeheee

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Dave Dixon
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by Dave Dixon » Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:59 am

That reminds me of when my neighbor cut my phone line while planting flowers. Sitting on the wet grass in the drizzling rain, doing a temporary splice, with her watching me and asking "isn't that dangerous?" Just as I was explaining the ring voltage to her, and remarking that I NEVER get any calls..... someone decided to call me. Wet hands, good ground, I completed the circuit real well!

Ron H
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by Ron H » Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:48 pm

Back in the '70's, I bought a house in the Santa Cruz mountains that had about a zillion single-pane windows, and only electric heat. My bathroom was always cold in the winter, so I replaced an in-wall radiant heater with a fan-forced heater and a separate 24 hour motorized timer.
When I got it all wired up, I turned it on and was surprised to discover that it roared like a jet engine, and blew out about as much air. Also, the timer sounded like it might come out of the wall. Then FLAMES started coming out of the heater. FAN-FORCED FLAMES! I quickly turned it off, but of course, the timer continued to make loud noises, so I ran downstairs and turned off the breaker.
You've probably already figured out the same thing I did as soon as I saw the flames. The wiring was 220 volts. It had not even crossed my mind. Duh!
I managed to salvage the heater, as it had two elements which could be wired either in parallel (as shipped) or in series (after I rewired it). I managed to find a 220V fan motor from Grainger (the old one was the source of the flames), but it had a smaller diameter shaft, so I shimmed it with some mylar in order to be able to use the same fan.
I never did find a 220V timer, and I was unwilling at the time to wire a 110V timer (or the fan motor) to one side of the 220 line, because the return would have been on the bare ground wire. So I still had to get up at 5AM, turn on the heater, and go back to bed for an hour. I remember thinking about putting a step-down transformer in the wall, but never did, for some reason.
Well, I'm an engineer. I never claimed to be an electrician. :roll:

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jwax
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by jwax » Wed Oct 05, 2005 5:18 pm

I was USAF, repairing shot up planes in Vietnam, when (I hear it happens to everybody-once!) after soldering 128 wires on the back of a big ass Cannon connector, discover I forgot to put the locking ring over the wires before soldering.
De-solder 128 wires, curse, add ring, solder 128 wires. Curse. Damn war.
:o

gerty
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by gerty » Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:10 pm

I work at what used to be the largest air conditioning plant in the world . Some of our units are 38' long, they are assembled on a moving slat conveyor approx 15' wide and 300' long. We had a thumbwheel switch to set the conveyor speed, smaller units= higher speed.
Anyways the thumbwheel got crunched by a forktruck
and I was in the process of replacing it (not knowing at the time that the line crew was back from break). When I unplugged the ribbon cable the line went into full speed and dumped 3 25' long airconditioners off the end of the conveyor in sort of a metallic grey log jam. The front office has no sense of humor...<p>[ October 05, 2005: Message edited by: gerty ]</p>

Newz2000
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by Newz2000 » Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:31 pm

Monday night my brother and I were working on the headlights of this old VW he's restoring. The rings were rusty so he wanted to demonstrate a trick where he mixes baking soda in some water, puts a metal electrode in the water with the black ground lead from a battery charger attached. He then attaches the red 12v lead to the metal parts and places them in the water.<p>He sets the charger to 20 amps and we watch as the rust comes off of the rings and attaches to the electrode.<p>After an hour he wanted to check the rings, so he carefully removed the electrode from the metal parts with his left hand, and then, while still holding the electrode, reaches into the bucket to retrieve the parts with his right hand...<p>Let's just say he made a funny noise. You know the noise I'm talking about; it sounds kind of like an unnatural combination of YOW! and ACK! but with a few extra syllables.<p>I might have the polarity wrong, so don't try that without searching the internet for plans first. Reversing the polarity has the opposite effect.<p>[ October 05, 2005: Message edited by: Matt Nuzum ]</p>

Ron H
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by Ron H » Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:14 pm

<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr>Let's just say he made a funny noise. You know the noise I'm talking about; it sounds kind of like an unnatural combination of YOW! and ACK! but with a few extra syllables.<p>I might have the polarity wrong, so don't try that without searching the internet for plans first. Reversing the polarity has the opposite effect.<hr></blockquote>
So reversing the polarity would make you say "WOY!" and "KCA!", or just "ACK!" first, then "YOW!"? Either way, it seems it would be best if you experience it as a spectator.<p>That should strengthen my position as dunce of the week. :o<p>[ October 05, 2005: Message edited by: RonH ]</p>

JPKNHTP
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Re: I am claiming dunce of the week

Post by JPKNHTP » Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:20 pm

-JPKNHTP
-God Bless

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