Entry: Another saltwater damage tale Thursday, November 13, 2003

The Canon story (see 10/11/03) reminds me of the time, about 1979, I worked for a company making two-way radios, called Dymar Electronics - now long forgotten and passed into history, sadly. During my apprenticeship there I worked for a time in the repair department. In those days we repaired right down to the individual component level, no computer diagnostics, and very rarely replacement of entire assemblies. Instead we relied of proper knowledge of electronics, a little deductive reasoning, and persistence!

One day a set came in - an 883 portable if my memory serves - that was owned by an oil-rig operator, and had been found by an inspection diver lying at the bottom of the North Sea having been dropped off the side of the rig by accident six months previously. Naturally it was in a pretty poor state! Being the college boy it was assigned to me as a "challenge". I'm pretty sure that everyone expected it to be simply written off and replaced, but hey, my 17 year-old labour was cheap and they probably thought it would shut me up! The damage was fairly extensive, with significant corrosion of the metal shell of the set, and the two circuit boards were heavily salted. The Ni-Cd battery was definitely beyond recovery. I took the set up to the production area and got them to run it through the post-soldering cleaning tanks - huge vats filled with hot steaming trichloroethane - and then set to work. The receiver was basically functional, requiring little more than a general retune and setup. The transmitter worked but had very low power. This was traced to a blown output transistor, which was duly replaced. The speaker/microphone had to be replaced, as did the handset connector. One tuneup later, it worked perfectly. Total time, about two hours, total cost, maybe a few pounds. A couple of new covers and a battery from the stores and the owner got their set back for a very reasonable charge.

The upshot was that the company greatly impressed the customer, who had sent the thing back as a joke, it turned out. Whether a coincidence or not I don't know but we got a large order from them the following year. Maybe "things were different in my day", but Canon could learn from this.


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December 9, 2004   11:59 PM PST
a great story!

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