I've been a involved with hydraulic/pneumatic/electrical/electronic industrial control systems my whole life as an I/C Tech, but as I've gotten older and components have become smaller and less repair-friendly in this digital age, I have become more frustrated. Recently I've had two events occur which illustrate what I'm talking about:
I laundered my cell phone several weeks ago. It went for a wet ride in the pocket of a pair of jeans I was washing and I only realized my error when I heard it banging around in the dryer. I tried all the usual things like immersing it in a container of rice for a couple days and leaving it in the sun, but nothing could revive it. My wife was somewhat pleased as it now gave her an excuse to get new phones for both of us. I was working a 12-hour night shift and had just 3 hours sleep when she came home with the new phones. She was excited and it was almost like listening to a machine gun.
"Oh, I got our new phones, and they're a lot better than our old ones ..... blah, blah, blah......." as she hands me one of them.
"How do I call someone on it?" I ask
"Now we can text our kids, blah, blah, blah......"
"But how do I call someone on it ?" I ask
"And we can access the internet, check the weather, blah, blah, blah ..............."
"And how do I call someone on it ?" I ask as I throw it across the room
It has a touch screen that turns off in about 10 seconds if you don't swipe the right icon, and has a pull-out drawer that has a keyboard like a computer except it's about the size of a credit card. To use it, I have to "calibrate" the touch screen to my fingers. It won't accept my thumb as it is too big, as well as all my fingers except my little one. The keyboard is so small I press about half a dozen keys every time I try to type something. So now every time my phone rings, I'm scrambling to find my reading glasses and get them on so I can see the "answer" icon which I must then swipe with my little finger or a stylus or pencil which I have to carry so I can text. On top of this the #!$!%!^% thing has to be charged every day, so its pretty much worthless the second day of an overnight camping or float trip. Bottom line is I now usually just leave it at home to avoid the frustration.
Two weeks ago Jennifer tells me our oven isn't working. She had tried to set the digital clock and the electronic controls had locked up. I checked it and the digital readout read 5A6. I hit the reset button but nothing happened. I hit the "clear" button but again no change. I kill the breaker and when I turn it back on, the 5A6 is still staring at me. I ask Jen if she checked the manual that came with the stove but she has misplaced it. I go on-line to try to find a manual and find one I can buy for $10 and print out, but my $!@%!^!& printer isn't working. I think about it and in all my years of troubleshooting circuits I've never had one that wouldn't at least clear when the power is cut, so I figure the control board is bad and I'll just go ahead and order a new part. I spend a day trying to find out the model number of the stove. I check it all over, take panels off, etc and finally find out that if you remove the drawer beneath the oven (storage for pots and pans) and stick your head back in the hole (requires you to be laying on your belly), the model # is displayed on a small sticker.
Armed with this info, I finally located an on-line supplier and ordered the part. It came in when I'm on night shift again. I get my tools, take the stove apart, install the new electronic controls, and voila!! everything is working fine. I tell Jen she's good to go and head upstairs to take a shower. I get out of the shower and am heading for bed when I hear a commotion downstairs. I go down to find the &!&!*9 stove reading 5A6 again on the new controller and once again everything locked up. Jen explains she was trying to set the time again and now I realize that there probably wasn't anything wrong with the original component and I'm out $200. Frustrated, I go back to bed but get little sleep before heading to work again.
When I get to work I'm tell my buddies what happened when the phone rings. Its Jen telling me that she got on-line with a tech and found out what was wrong and the stove is now working. I ask what was wrong and she tells me the stove was stuck in the "sabbath" mode. I ask her to repeat and again she tells me it was stuck in the "sabbath" mode. What the Hell is that? I ask. It seems that for our Jewish friends there is an option to place the stove in a "sabbath" mode which does not allow the controls to be operated and just holds the oven around 100 degrees to keep food warm. Even the oven light doesn't function when in the mode. On our particular model, the mode is entered when the "clock" button is held for 4 seconds and can only be released from the mode by again holding the clock button for 4 seconds. The controller wasn't reading 5A6, it was reading SAb (for Sabbath). I would never have guessed that in a million years ........... and it only cost me $200 to find this out.
Needless to say, I'm now 0-2 in my recent digital battles.....................Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr