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Old 19th Nov 2023, 8:58 pm   #21
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Default Re: Accidents will happen...

My nightmare happened when I worked at a TV shop in Norwich. I had a huge 27 inch Sony to drop at a customer's on the way home. Mistake 1 it was so heavy I loaded it screen facing out to make it easier to grab at the customer's house, I should have loaded it sideways but I wasn't used to these thin tall sets. I stopped at a pelican crossing and when the lights went green I pulled away, the Sony went over and because the rear door was rusty the catch just gave way and dumped 800 quids worth of Sony onto the road. Luckily it only broke the front panel trim round the screen leaving the screen untouched. It still worked luckily. A bit of tape later to hold it together and a call to SES to order a new bit then off to explain to the customer what had happed to their pride and joy. I had bad dreams about that one seeing the Sony hopping out the back door in the rear view mirror!!

Last edited by nigelr2000; 19th Nov 2023 at 9:00 pm. Reason: missed a bit
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Old 24th Nov 2023, 5:06 pm   #22
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Bringing to mind the "screws" thing. When I worked for Akura . I had to go to Edinburgh to see 25 20" LCD sets that were allegedly not working. They had been fitted into some sort of hotel refurb. All wall mounted. I looked at the first set, true it was not working. I took it down from the wall bracket. The installer had used 2" M4 screws. Which punched through the Main pcb and nearly the LCD screen. What he was thinking I have no idea, I checked another.. same "M.O" The owner was not too happy when I told him, 25 sets ruined. I was back on the train home in an hour.
Should get out more.

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Old 24th Nov 2023, 6:41 pm   #23
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Default Re: Accidents will happen...

I bought an AVO VCM II for under a tenner from Jim Fish with some Christmas present money when I was 12 or 13. I'm afraid I blew the meter.

Can't afford the volcanic island yet, but the plans for my monorail and the goons' uniforms are done
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 1:29 pm   #24
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Default Re: Accidents will happen...

Just at the advent of the Airwave TETRA system for the emergency services I was working at the NTL public safety radio workshops. Cleartone sent us their one and only working demonstration mobile TETRA transceiver to have a look at

I decided to open it up and take a look at the internal construction. All good taking out the screws carefully so as not to mark anything, and diligently removing the anti tamper labels in a way that meant I could reveal it. Then I lifted the lid...

And there was a slight click.... as the protective "dead man" switch between the encryption key and frequency memory and its keep-alive battery operated and killed the memory.

One extremely nice looking brick was returned to the manufacturer
I got food in ma belly and a license for ma telly

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Old 28th Nov 2023, 2:01 pm   #25
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Default Re: Accidents will happen...

I’m glad it’s not just me then…….

I will sheepishly admit to such classics as:

Forgetting I had (in accordance with commonly heard advice) put the plug of a portable TV I was working on in my pocket and going across the workshop to the parts drawers. CRASH! The TV set fell onto the chair and miraculously survived, but unfortunately my Avometer was connected to it, but Newton wasn’t so kind there and the meter was never the same after it’s rapid deceleration trauma.

Knocking the pip off the top of a PEN453DD, when removing the chassis from my Murphy AD32. The valve was mounted on an adaptor (adapting the fated valve to work in place of the original PENDD4020) which had increased the overall height though, but I’ll never forget the hissing noise. Observers may have thought it was me deflating!

Another member of the "probe slip in a Quad 405" club, fortunately though I just blew up one of the output transistors (ISTR) I replaced the pair though, at my own expense of course.

The cost of the original repair was about a quid (4 or 5 electrolytics) but ended up costing me money as I didn’t think it was right to charge the owner for my slip up.

Plus many, many more
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 3:35 pm   #26
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Default Re: Accidents will happen...

Too many to mention I'm afraid, like the shock i received from a Philips tvette, pulled the set onto the floor, by some miracle it still worked, should i relate the story about a manager who 'thought' the contract to repair cameras for a big name manufacturer was cut and dried, he ordered all of the specialised test kit that would be contract!, 30k's worth of stuff lying idle, fortunately we managed to reuse most of it elsewhere but there were one or two expensive bits never used, that's one clanger I'm glad i didn't drop.
Picture, sound?, DOOR.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 6:27 pm   #27
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Default Re: Accidents will happen...

Post No.25:

I see i'm not the only one to have done the 'mains plug in the pocket' error, although it was to protect the plug and flex from damage rather than for safety.
It involved an Otis lift with me, plug in pocket outside it, and the HUGE appliance having been manhandled inside it. Before i could get inside the doors closed and the lift rose. We heard what happened inside the lift. Trousers undamaged, but appliance..not so much.

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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 2:51 pm   #28
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Purchased a second hand pcb etch tank, one of the small ones that RS used to sell back in the day.

Got it home and was about to fill it with FeCl but thankfully decided to fill it with plain water instead.

Which was good since it leaked like a sieve and I ended up with water all over the kitchen floor.

I dread to think what the repercussions would have been if I'd turned said floor an unpleasant shade of brown.

Said leak was caused by a broken compression fixing (not unlike a through panel cable fixing) around the pipe carrying the aeration air.

More amusingly the etch tank in work sprang a leak in the developer tank drain pipe over the summer holidays.

We never did find out where the 5 litres of developer disappeared to down the crack in the floor, presumably into the gent's bog.

When my predeceased predecessor was in charge, the etch tank drain pipe sprang a similar leak and the students in the lecture room below were impressed by the increasing size of the brown stain on the ceiling.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 5:25 pm   #29
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Thinking of things-watery; one of my clients worked out of a Victorian mansion-house - had a computer-room that was built into an old coach-house. False-floor, a VAX-8600, and wall-mounted airconditioners.

They got some local contractors in to install some new thinwire-Ethernet feeds [this was back in the days of DEPCAs, DEMPRs DESTAs and DELNIs and terminal-servers and DECNet].

The contractors managed to snag one of the condensate drain-pipes from an airconditioner, meaning that for a few weeks there was at least ten litres of water a day being dumped into the floor-void.

The amount of mould that grew down there was rather spectacular! I had to arrange disaster-recovery computing services while the place was decontaminated, along with managing the to-and-fro between the contractor's and the client's insurance companies to pay for it.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 11:30 pm   #30
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Default Re: Accidents will happen...

Then again, pouring spent FeCl into a 25 litre drum that you think also contains spent FeCl but actually contains spent developer turns to be A Bad Idea.

They don't play well together.

And, after about a minute or so you get an eruption of brown bubbling foam & have to quickly lift the container into the sink to minimise the mess.


Oh how I larfed.

Took a while to clear that mess up but no harm came of it.

Twas a bit of a chore finding someone who could process the resulting mixture.

As my professional chemist observed, first you have a quick smell to confirm it's what you think it is, then you pour.

Of course the container had no label on it.

It's not something you do twice.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 11:58 pm   #31
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Default Re: Accidents will happen...

Of course the quick smell could also result in curling nose hair or worse if it's yet another chemical.
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 10:28 am   #32
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A bad workman always blames his tools, and that includes me. Several times now I've had accidents with bench power supplies. There seems to be a trend on modern power supplies to make all the buttons the same size and colour, including the ones which change voltage/current range or recall preset output settings. They're conveniently placed next to the output on/off button, which I of course use frequently, and usually without looking, when working on circuits on the bench. So far I've managed to resist the temptation to hurl the power supply through the nearest window when, due to a slip of the finger, it suddenly applies 28V to a 5V-powered circuit instead of switching the output off. At least once this has resulted in the destruction of an (expensive) one-and-only prototype PCB, which necessitated some quick thinking and reworking to remain on good terms with my client!

Such power supplies are banned from my workbench, though I can't avoid them at clients' sites. My favourite PSU remains my 1962 Solartron. Voltage setting is by big clunky rotary switches, and the outputs are switched by impossible-to-mistake toggle switches. There's almost no chance of operator (me) confusion, and it's been working for 60 years so I reckon is unlikely to misbehave any time soon...

What's going on in the workshop?
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 2:17 pm   #33
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Default Re: Accidents will happen...

Originally Posted by Maarten View Post
Of course the quick smell could also result in curling nose hair or worse if it's yet another chemical.
Indeed. The resist stripper was the foulest smell.

I stopped using that since IPA was just as good & didn't smell foul.

A related event was the lovely 2 litre measuring cylinder that had some "stuff" at the bottom where something had evaporated.

Got it clean.

Then the facility moved 100 yards & 4 floors uphill, whereupon it fell over in the cupboard, struck a heating pipe & smashed the top off.

I was gutted.

Could have had the glass lot cut the top off it to make it a 1.5 litre cylinder but I bought a plastic one instead.
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 3:00 pm   #34
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Default Re: Accidents will happen...

The other day I war reaching over something in the garage, trying to get a heavy box on a shelf, I lost my balance and fell over knocking a pair of vintage Russian flying goggles to the floor, which in the drama I then proceeded to stand on, cracking the lens. Bu33er.

I was rather unhappy with myself for quite a while over that.
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 8:20 pm   #35
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On the subject of power supplies, I have a nice old 50's isolation transformer + variac combined, so it has two transformers and is quite heavy.
So, I carry it to my bench and put it down. Now .... I'm sure my glasses were round here somewhere?

General stupidity is a very long list, including the reason why the tips of 3 fingers are still stuck to the ceiling of the local woodworking class workshop, but for general annoyance factor, the time I was working on a ladder with a hammer, and I dropped the hammer, it bounced once on the floor and went sideways through the french windows.
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 11:08 pm   #36
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On a rainy day some boys played darts in a garage. I showed up like "Let me show you how well we did it in our days!"
Well, my first try missed the dart board but hit the 3 phase ac power line! Booom, lights out, and 2 hrs of work to fix the damage.

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