Production Notes31 Oct 2006 04:26 pm

Monday was not the best day to be at the Cafe Electric shop.

Unless, that is, you happen enjoy loud noises and great balls of plasma. It’s not a lot of fun when it’s a brand new Z2K turning into a charred mess. I guess it was bound to happen someday and yesterday turned out to be the day of the first catastrophic failure of a Zilla power section. There’s not much left in the black mass that used to be a Z2K. Looking at it reminds me of people who whine that todays controllers are not user serviceable. When you look at what less than one second of plasma can do to a controller (yes, the Hairball did it’s job and shut it down less than 1/2 second after detecting the failure) you see that trying to salvage half of it would be more work than building new.

It all started when a controller was throwing error codes, but only while in extra high voltage testing (somewhere over 370V) and only when currents were over 1800 amps. This is just the type of problem that is rather annoying to diagnose since reproducing it requires power levels that boil large amounts of water rather quickly and make the person testing (that’s me) very nervous. It was after having fixed what I thought was a potential cause of the problem, and hooking it up to a full pack with 400+ volts on it for a retest that the unit decided to self destruct. Yes, it was loud.
There is some good news out of all of this. The postmortem analysis did show a definitive cause of the problem and it was a slip up of mine that I made during the critical final assembly process. Live and learn. Unfortunately this will cause at least a week of delay in the schedule as I disassemble and verify the integrity of the remaining 13 Z2K’s in this batch. Not something I’m much looking forward to.
On other news, the Hairballs for these units are built and awaiting test.
That’s it for today.

One Response to “Sometimes you’re the windshield, Sometimes you’re the bug.”

  1. on 07 Nov 2006 at 4:06 pm Jim Husted

    Hey Ot

    Sorry to hear about the loss of both unit and time. I couldn’t help but notice the date, That’s why I take it off and scare the hell out of the kiddies!!!
    Anyway I just got word of the blog and had to drop by for a read (and a gasp).