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'[OT]: Patience'
2004\03\17@002637 by llile

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How patient are you?

It seems our profession is one that requires a great deal of patience.

Things I have patience for:

Code that doesn't do what I expect it to
analog glitches that occur very rarely and take days or weeks to track
down and fix
soldering 0604 components with a soldering iron
computer troubleshooting that requires reboot after reoboot after reboot
after reboot.
Tiny little hemostats and needlenose tweezers
Manipulating tiny objects under microscopes and 10X loupes whille holding
a soldering iron in one hand, a tweezer with two fingers of the other
hand, and a wire of solder in another two fingers of the second hand.
etc. etc.

Things I do not have patience for:

People who yell when there are no fires about
Children who obstinately put themselves in harm's way in order to be
disobedient
Software with buggy and needlessly complex user interfaces
Mechanical contraptions in general, if it is smaller than a two-by-four
and the tools weigh less than 5 LBS, and it is not electronic.

Now these are all things that would try the patience of most people, I
believe.  however, here is a situation where my patience is tried to the
breaking point.  This is typical - I have no patience for mechanical
contraptions.

I have a cord retractor for an appliance. The cord retractors are
prototypes, and so do not work very well.  There is a major appliance show
in two days, the guy who made these is in China, The appliances are going
to be shown to a major client who may buy a million of them, the
appliances are here and so am I.   There is a fix that needs to be applied
that involves taking the cord retractors apart.  So far so good.

Now it is almost impossible to get one of these back together if the
mainspring gets out of the cord retractor unit.

Step 1. I take one apart, being careful not to let the constant-force
spring go sproing! and fly out of the housing like a jack in the box.  I
put it back together after appling some grease.  It works a lot better!
But the cord doesn't go in all the way.

Step 2. I take it apart, and SPROOIIIYOYOYING! There goes the mainspring
across the room.

No Worries! I have another.

Step 1. I take one apart, being careful not to let the constant-force
spring go sproing! and fly out of the housing like a jack in the box.  I
put it back together after appling some grease.  It works a lot better!
But the cord doesn't go in all the way.  This time, I clamp onto the
mainspring with hemostats and hold it in place.  THis works pretty well
for a while and then...

Step 2. I take it apart, and put it together.  It works a lot better!  but
the cord still does not go in all the way, but it is closer now.

Step 3. I take it apart, and SPROOIIIYOYOYING! There goes the mainspring
across the room along with the hemostats.

No worries ! I have one more.  However, my career may depend on whether
this one works when I get done.  BTW it is midnight.

Step 1. I take one apart, being careful not to let the constant-force
spring go sproing! and fly out of the housing like a jack in the box.  I
put it back together after appling some grease.  It works a lot better!
But the cord doesn't go in all the way.  I Anchor the end of the
mainspring with epoxy putty so it cannot go sproing.

Step 2. I take it apart, and SPROOIIIYOYOYING!  The other end comes loose
and there goes the mainspring across the room .

At this point, ...  well, ...   I am not sure I want to publish what I
said at this point.


Anybody wanna hire a mechanical klutz?  I will be looking for work
tomorrow........

-- Lawrence Lile

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2004\03\17@010058 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 11:23 PM 3/16/2004 -0600, you wrote:
>How patient are you?
>
>It seems our profession is one that requires a great deal of patience.

<snip frustrations>

Hey, hang in there, Lawrence. It probably won't look as bad tomorrow.

I'm just about finished doing pin assignments on an 18F8520 and I've got
maybe a dozen pins free. Something must be wrong ;-)  It's nice (sometimes)
to start with 80..

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
spam_OUTspeffTakeThisOuTspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com

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2004\03\17@012004 by Russell McMahon

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> No worries ! I have one more.  However, my career may depend on whether
> this one works when I get done.  BTW it is midnight.
...

> Step 2. I take it apart, and SPROOIIIYOYOYING!  ...


Take two prototype vacuums- only outer housing is required on one but can be
complete..

Go to (preferably all night) department store.
Fry's perhaps ????
Look at vacuum cleaners with cord retracters that work 100%.
Buy smallest available.
But 10 syringe packs of quickest setting poxy available and several tubes of
neutral cure silicon rubber.

Take back to office - or better still home workshop..
Use hacksaw, angle grinder, skillsaw, dremel as appropriate to excise
working mechanical spring retraction unit.

Look inside prototype.
Install spring retractor in optimum position.
Remove whatever of interior is required to allow this.
If the vacuum can be made to work after this, well and good.
If not, well and good.
Test cord retraction action.
Epoxy retractor in position.
Test cord retraction action.
Hold till epoxy set (5 minutes)
Test cord retraction action.
Add copious silicon rubber to maintain position.
Test cord retraction action.
Smile at lack of strong acetic smell.
Test cord retraction action.

Seal up vacuum.
Test cord retraction action.
Smile.

Take 2 prototypes to show.
Demonstrate cord retraction action.

"This prototype is functionally OK but the retractor doesn't function as it
should" (which is 100% true.).
"Here's how it's meant to work"  (which is 100% true)
"They'll all work like this" (which is 100% true)

A 3d motion walk through is worth a 1000 pictures.


       Russell McMahon

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2004\03\17@043023 by Howard Winter

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Lawrence,

On Tue, 16 Mar 2004 23:23:42 -0600, .....llileKILLspamspam@spam@SALTONUSA.COM
wrote:

> How patient are you?

It depends!  When things go wrong I start losing
patience the third time...

<...>

> Things I do not have patience for:
>
> People who yell when there are no fires about

I do my best to stay calm and not get flustered or
infected by their panic.  Sometimes it works...

> Children who obstinately put themselves in harm's way
in order to be disobedient

Well here I think Darwin applies.  ;-)

> Software with buggy and needlessly complex user
interfaces

Agreed.  Since I've designed systems with user
interfaces, and then watched them being used afterwards,
I have a good idea how these things should be done, and
it gets my goat when others get it wrong.

> Mechanical contraptions in general, if it is smaller
than a two-by-four
> and the tools weigh less than 5 LBS, and it is not
electronic.

I think (having read the rest of your message) I'd say
"anything with springs in".  Since it it in their nature
to explode out of their housing and get lost.
Especially small ones that can't be replaced by stealing
one from a retractable ball-point pen!

<...>
>
> Now it is almost impossible to get one of these back
together if the mainspring gets out of the cord
retractor unit.

I often wonder how they build things like this.  It went
in once, why won't it go *back* in?

IMHO anyone who designs a device with a spring in it
that is preloaded on assembly, where the housing itself
won't keep it in place without special tools or jigs,
should be taken out and shot now, to save the rest of us
untold trouble later...

<...>
> Step 1. I take one apart, being careful not to let the
constant-force spring go sproing! and fly out of the
housing like a jack in the box.  I put it back together
after appling some grease.  It works a lot better!
> But the cord doesn't go in all the way.  This time, I
clamp onto the mainspring with hemostats and hold it in
place.

This is the point I'd hit it with lateral thinking.  If
the cord won't go all the way in, cut the cord short at
the point where it is all in the retractor, and refit
the plug.  Especially as this is a prototype, the
potential customer isn't going to complain about the
cord being slightly short - would they even know?

<...>
> Anybody wanna hire a mechanical klutz?  I will be
looking for work tomorrow........

Presumably it's all over by now - I hope it went well!

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\03\17@044721 by Alan B. Pearce

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>> Now it is almost impossible to get one of these back
>>together if the mainspring gets out of the cord
>>retractor unit.
>
>I often wonder how they build things like this.  It went
>in once, why won't it go *back* in?
>
>IMHO anyone who designs a device with a spring in it
>that is preloaded on assembly, where the housing itself
>won't keep it in place without special tools or jigs,
>should be taken out and shot now, to save the rest of us
>untold trouble later...

hallelujah, AMEN.

I can never figure out how they get assembled either. Why is there never
some form of retention for the spring to hold everything while it is
assembled, without needing to be an octopus with feeler gauge fingers to
hold everything as the final cover goes on?

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2004\03\17@102928 by Tom

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As usual, Lawrence, you have once again entertained the piclist with
nothing more than a description of your job.  At least I find it highly
entertaining!

Unlike Russell and some others, I have no great advice for you.

Well... How about sending it to the show *without* the cord retractor and
even without the cord.  Tell them it's the new wireless model. "Bluetooth?"
they ask.  "No, we're way beyond blue.  UVtooth..." you tell them.

As far as your long term job prospects go, just let us know if you
encounter any difficulties with the 'suits'.  1000 letters from piclisters
who have read your emails over the years on the trials and tribulations of
modern appliance design will set them right.

"Dear Appliance Executive, we the undersigned are here to tell you Mr. Lile
has one of the most difficult jobs around and does excellent work.  Think
seriously about promoting him."

Just say the word, Lawrence, just say the word!
Best of luck with your retractor contraption!
Tom


At 11:23 PM 3/16/2004 -0600, you wrote:
>How patient are you?
>

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2004\03\17@112049 by John Ferrell

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I am your mirror, we would work well together.
It is the difference between Field and Factory perspective.

John Ferrell
http://DixieNC.US

{Original Message removed}

2004\03\17@112712 by Koen van Leeuwen

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On Wednesday 17 March 2004 06:23, llilespamKILLspamSALTONUSA.COM wrote:
<snip>
> No worries ! I have one more.  However, my career may depend on whether
> this one works when I get done.  BTW it is midnight.
<snip>
> Step 2. I take it apart, and SPROOIIIYOYOYING!  The other end comes loose
> and there goes the mainspring across the room .

Same story with starter cords/ropes. We have quite a collection small petrol
engines here (sand compactors, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, diamond saws,
chainsaws...) and of course those cords break after a year of heavy use.
Replacing them also requires some ducking for wounded strings. After some
deep wounds (lots of kinetic energy!) we decided drill a hole through the end
of the spring and through the housing, after we rewound it (that part is easy
enough). Small screwdriver through the hole, reposition housing, remove
screwdriver and repeat until it works :o)

Koen

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2004\03\17@121648 by llile

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>> Step 1. I take one apart, being careful not to let the
constant-force spring go sproing! and fly out of the
housing like a jack in the box.  I put it back together
after appling some grease.  It works a lot better!
>> But the cord doesn't go in all the way.  This time, I
clamp onto the mainspring with hemostats and hold it in
place.

>This is the point I'd hit it with lateral thinking.

I think I was hitting things with something a lot more substantial and
massive than lateral thinking at this point.  There is a cardboard box in
the lab that is pretty much shredded.


-- Lawrence Lile
Senior Project Engineer
Toastmaster, Inc.
Division of Salton, Inc.
573-446-5661 voice
573-446-5676 fax




Howard Winter <.....HDRWKILLspamspam.....H2ORG.DEMON.CO.UK>
Sent by: pic microcontroller discussion list <EraseMEPICLISTspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
03/17/2004 03:28 AM
Please respond to pic microcontroller discussion list


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Presumably it's all over by now - I hope it went well!

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\03\17@181524 by Barry Gershenfeld
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>I can never figure out how they get assembled either. Why is there never
>some form of retention for the spring to hold everything while it is
>assembled, without needing to be an octopus with feeler gauge fingers to
>hold everything as the final cover goes on?

Because they have a special jig to assemble it and somewhere they
saved $0.005 on each one doing it.  And they're proud of this.

Barry

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2004\03\17@182733 by Richard.Prosser

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Or, by making it effectively non-repairable, they force you to go & buy a
new one rather than repaitr the old.
RP



>I can never figure out how they get assembled either. Why is there never
>some form of retention for the spring to hold everything while it is
>assembled, without needing to be an octopus with feeler gauge fingers to
>hold everything as the final cover goes on?

Because they have a special jig to assemble it and somewhere they
saved $0.005 on each one doing it.  And they're proud of this.

Barry

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