So quoting Martin B...
MartinB wrote:A frequent post topic on STH, and indeed all similar retro forums, is where someone has a hardware fault and is asking for advice on how to go about fixing it. In response there are usually plenty of helpful suggestions and/or pointers to ‘common fault’ articles such as those hosted by Sprow or Wouter.
In case this never goes anywhere, resources in the spirit of the approach can be found at....
For example :
and the zipped-up troubleshooting book mentioned in...
http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... 416#p43416
Now, in the electrical goods industry (and motor vehicles, and…) there are engineers ‘bibles’, paper and electronic, which are essentially collections of actual fault fixing reports by engineers and technicians which briefly detail which action fixed a particular fault. For example, you might get a TV entry which says “Ferguson TX100 / Repeatedly trips to Standby / Replaced IC6”. These list entries tend to be short, to the point, and, importantly, don’t include actions which didn’t fix the fault, the latter phrase being the key to the success and usefulness of such an index.
As an example from our world, I’ll pick a test case I was involved in - not to blow my trumpet but because it actually demonstrates a downside of the ‘free advice’ problem! retro_junkie posted ‘Beeb not hearing tapes' and I suggested at least 6 possible causes, all valid, and I could have suggested more, but ultimately he replaced IC7 and this action fixed the fault. BeebInc also suggested some common solutions which might equally have fixed this particular snag. The valuable knowledge there then was that a failure of IC7 does really occur and that it’s a fault which can cause a loss of tape capability. The downside was that he had to wait for replies and he might have felt swamped with suggestions, some of which could be totally anecdotal and/or theoretical and would never apply in reality. That of course was just one example from probably hundreds buried in the forum, all with a similar story.
I have for a while been thinking that a similar index would be very useful for our community and it could be hosted on this very site. It needn’t be in any way complicated and would just be partitioned by machine, e.g. Beeb, Elk, Master, Arc etc., and would simply have three or four columns – Machine configuration summary, Fault Symptoms (as detailed as possible) and what action actually fixed the fault. The single most important feature of such an index is that it is free of theory, speculation and anecdotal evidence and ONLY itemises real and successful repairs.
It would of course take time to build up some useful weight but retrospective input from users is fine as long as the information is correct and is not discoloured by memory. The index would be available to all members and all incident reports would be included unless they were clearly impossible – e.g. "Standard Iss.7 BBC B / Powers up and beeps but black screen / Replaced clear plastic keystrip cover" would probably not make the index
Someone (some people) would act as a repository for reports and these would simply be technically vetted for plausibility and then added to the list. I’m only thinking of a simple three/four column text file, nothing fancy, which can be visually scanned when hunting for a solution to a problem. I doubt we’d get into thousands of entries so a database wouldn’t be necessary although end users could import it into a their preferred package as they saw fit.
So, anyone have any thoughts on this? Good idea? Bad idea?
Answers on an electronic postcard to this thread
So if you have fixed up an Arc, a RISC PC or anything related to 32 bit Acorn, please post the details here
If some interest is shown, we'll make the topic a sticky thread.