Common operational misconceptions

Gary Buhrmaster gary.buhrmaster at
Fri Feb 17 17:00:16 UTC 2012

On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 06:52, -Hammer- <bhmccie at> wrote:
> Let me simplify that. If you are over 35 you know how to troubleshoot.
> Yes, I'm going to get flamed. Yes, there are exceptions in both directions.

"Necessity is the mother of invention"

Long before there was a Grainger (and Home Depot) in
every city, and you could get parts shipped overnight,
one had to "make do", and "making do" meant being
able to figure things out to be able to "git r done"
with what you had on hand, or could figure out.

When working on my Grandfather's farm, I did not
look for work to do (actually, I looked for ways
not to do any work :-), but if the project required
pulling out the oxy-acetylene torch to cut and
weld something onto the tractor to get something
done, that is what you had to do, so you did it.
If the TV went on the blink (they all did then),
you opened up the back, looked for fried
components, and if one of the resistors was
smoking, you soldered in a replacement.  Or
you took the tubes down to the local drugstore
and tested them.  Even if you had no idea what
you were doing, you were willing (and expected)
to give it a shot, and try to fix it.  More often
than not you learned something along the way,
even if it took hours to figure it out (and had to
repair your repair a few times :-).  For those
without the capabilities, you took it to the shop,
where someone else did the troubleshooting
and repair.

Along the line, the costs of technicians to
do that type of work started to exceed the
cost of simply replacing the entire unit
(how many people remember when going
to the auto dealer that the cost of the parts
far exceeded the cost of the labor?  Now it
is the other way around).  Troubleshooting
became a lost art.  "Swap 'til you drop"
became the mantra.  It became the cost
effective way to do repairs.

There are advantages to the new way of
disposable devices, but almost no one
knows how they work anymore, and they
do not care to know.  The members of this
list are likely to be sufficiently self selected
to be in the minority of actually wanting to

There is a (small) backlash of people who
are trying to get back into the world of
actually building things, and understanding
how they work (popularized by such things
as Make magazine, and Maker Faires).


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