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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Field Repairs

Submitted by Marcel Stieber

As an electrical engineer, one of my favorite pastimes is to take things apart and put them back together
again. In most cases, I hope that the things work better _after_ I put them back together. The joke around the airfield these days is for people to keep their distance from me if there is a screwdriver in my hands for fear of getting taken apart and put back together again!

Sometimes this "disease" comes in handy for fixing the many things that keep breaking or needing repair from the harsh environment. Recent examples have included broken charge cables on our battery-backup light fixtures and mouse-chewed computer mouse cables. All of which were subjected to a quick and painless screwdriver session and a bit of fresh solder to bring them back to life. My personal favorite example is the LCD monitor from one of the computers that had an intermittent connection on the power connector and was frequently shutting itself down. Screwdriver in hand, I proceeded to take the whole thing apart to get to the power module that had some cracked solder joints on it from metal fatigue in the heat. A quick reflow and a dabble of solder was all that was needed to breathe a fresh life into an otherwise junked piece of electronics.

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