back to article Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco

It's while standing in the corner of the room wearing pointy hats emblazoned with a big "D" that the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team admits today that the blown fuse which scuppered our recent Punch test flight actually went pop back in September last year. Youtube Video Yes indeed, during the test flight of …

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If the professionals can fit sensors upside down and confuse metric with imperial measurements, I'm sure a missed blown fuse is quite forgivable :)

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Thumb Up

Nothing is fool proof for a sufficiently talented fool

Thumbs up for fessing up!

I do not doubt that <Austrian accent>You'll be back</Austrian accent>

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Mushroom

Oh come on, it's not rocket science.

waitaminute...

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Boffin

Re: Oh come on, it's not rocket science.

It's ballocket science!

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Re: Oh come on, it's not rocket science.

Ballocket science == it works

Rockoon science == something went wrong.

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This fits within the definition of engineering

Engineering; the discipline of dealing with technical artifacts that don't work. You start with something that is totally nonfunctional (indeed, nonexistent), perform engineering activity on it, and over time produce something that is nonfunctional at progressively higher levels. Just as soon as it all works, it ceases to be the subject of engineering, and the engineer goes on to something else that doesn't work (yet).

Viewed in this context, that overlooked blown fuse is clearly part of the engineering game. Look at it this way; at least you didn't vaporize an entire crew of astronauts because of a problem you'd been explicitly warned about. Plus, you HAVE a fuse, and the worst-case consequences of the error are noncritical. All part of the game.

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Re: This fits within the definition of engineering

at least you didn't vaporize an entire crew of astronauts because of a problem you'd been explicitly warned about

Yup, a tragic example of politics overriding engineering.

On the other hand, one thing that always deeply impressed me about NASA was that they already had in place their systems - such as the Flight Director polling all the various stations prior to making a major decision like launch/no launch, or of having only one person allowed to talk to the spacecraft - before the first Mercury flights. It all sounds obvious in hindsight but someone, somewhere had to think of all this stuff and then write the manuals. That's proper systems engineering, is that.

So, SPB: on the next live stream I want to hear Lester "Kranz" Haines polling each of his minions and securing a "Go!" from each before leaving hold of the balloon!

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That's one seriously botched preflight!

Meanwhile, the Playmonaut urgently feels the need to check his insurance cover...

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<cough cough>

The original SPEARS board had lots of pretty lights to tell you if the fuse (and everything else) was ok!

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Boffin

Fuse Blown - I can fix that

http://www.joydeepdeb.com/images/solution/electrical-problem.jpg

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Fuse Blown - I can fix that

Works for me.

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Re: Fuse Blown - I can fix that

I am so pleased to see the conscientious application of safe insulated handles on the fussors!

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Coat

Re: Fuse Blown - I can fix that

You Are Spartacus, I have this feeling that you, the Reg and all commtards ought to be arrested under extreme pornography laws because you linked to that, that, that… DISGUSTING picture!

I'm off to wash my mind with bleach and turn myself in.

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Re: Fuse Blown - I can fix that

It's amazing how well a hacksawed-down 6" nail works as a 13A fuse replacement and can even earn praise as an entirely professional bodge!

Without standards you are nothing.

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Re: Fuse Blown - I can fix that

TskTsk. When you need to plug a Euro plug into a BS1363 socket, you insert the scissors in the Earth hole to push down the shield, then insert the plug pins into the newly-accessible L/N holes. There shouldn't be any need to waste a perfectly good 13A plug.

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Re: Fuse Blown - I can fix that

No need for any other tools - simply insert one leg of the Euro plug into the earth hole to open the shield, then plug the other leg into the live hole.

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Re: Fuse Blown - I can fix that

Hmm, no RCDs in your installation, then?

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Points on the board

- 1 for a blown fuse

+ 1 gazillion for reporting a self fail.

BTW

Experience = SUM(ALL_MY_COCKUPS_TODATE) '' which are legion in my case

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Blimey

Make a major mistake with a fuse ruining a hugely important test flight, and have to stand in the corner wearing a hat; make one minor programming error in OpenSSL and get vilified.

What is the world coming to?

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Joke

Optional Joke

I though Lohan was a ginger, so how did you a have a blonde moment????

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blade fuse

Honest question:

Why are you using a glass fuse instead of a blade style? The whole fuse assembly would be lighter (not much but it all counts) and less sensitive to shock damage.

You could even go mini blade for the amps you are looking at.

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Re: blade fuse

Surely a blade fuse holder would be bigger and heavier than an inline fuse holder? (Or can you get inline blade fuse holders)

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Re: In-Line blade fuse holders

You can get these: for example. I don't know if the combined weight of the fuse and holder would be any less than the glass ones though: they look rather bulky.

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Pint

Re: glass vs blade fuse

The automotive-style standard and mini blade fuses I'm familiar are *much* harder to visually evaluate, and must be viewed from the side. The glass tubes are easy to evaluate from any angle, even if buried in a circuitry box. As a final bonus, they float if dropped in your beer.

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Mushroom

Hanging's too good for 'em!

NFT

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Learn from your mistakes

Look at it as a learning experience. You're all the better because of it for next time.

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more proof

once again, proof that it IS rocket science, and kinda hard.

Now El Reg SPB can't laugh AT SpaceX, they can only laugh WITH them.

Blown fuse, leaky thrusters-the devil is in the details.

So when do glide tests/ground launches of the airframe start? Gotta make sure it actually flies and can stabilize under boost...don't want it spinning or rolling like the SS1 tried to do.

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Read "The Checklist Manifesto"

My CEO just loaned me "The Checklist Manifesto", as he liked it. It's a good read about the history of checklists and why we need them. The first well-known modern use was very much related to flying, and avoiding minor problems like taking a nose dive into the ground. A simple checklist turned a failed Boeing bomber prototype (crashed and burned on the first test flight) into the very successful B-17 bomber. And the author notes that lives were saved during his own surgery practice due to using checklists.

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Pint

Testing

This is why testing is such a large part of any engineering/new product. There is no substitute after you have finished playing with calculations and simulations.

I also note the lack of emphasis on checklists up to now.

Per ardua ad astra as proper pilots would say.

Good luck with the big one. Beer already cold.

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Boffin

Standard Procedure

To avoid embarassing questions and awkward moments, the corporate model ought to be utilised in this situation.

Locate the one employee that had no part in putting together the bits, the sole worker who is looked on as merely a passenger.

Sorry Frogmanaut -- you get the P45.

Nothing personal, it's just business.

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Trollface

Maybe...

...a 13 amp one next time?

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Pint

You've done well....

You've advanced science a bit and also learned something along the way. Murphy is a pig and pops up when least expected. On the good side, you've fixed a glitch in the checklist and took the red-faced "oops" well.

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Problem identified, fix in place

Nothing more to see here.....

'you were only meant to blow the bloody doors off!' (not the fuse as well ;))

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I'd be inclined to go for a resettable polyfuse, esepecially if the igniters are known to go S/C sometimes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re, Polyfuses

Have been known to cause issues such as fire, turns out that under some marginal conditions they act as resistors rather than cleanly going near open resulting in overheating.

This can be prevented by following the manufacturers spec sheet and also using a fuse rated correctly for the intended load.

Disclaimer:- YMMV etc.

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Windows

Sorry...but...

Why a fuse in the first place??

Thing's designed to go 'bang' anyway, and unless the intrepid playmonaught has been trained to replace it in flight, just seems like excess weight to me.

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slow blow fuses please gents...

can handle a higher current for a period before blowing.

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"the responsibility for checking the fuse wasn't specifically his"

Your problem right there. Unless everything is specifically one and only one person's ultimate responsibility these things always slip past.

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Was the fuse mounted on a round tuit?

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Public Inquiry

Surely this warrants a full public inquiry headed by a high court judge with powers to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence? As the UK's, and probably the world's, premier ballocket research organisation with global significance (you do after all have an entry in the Guinness bok of records) this is a matter of national disgrace and humiliation.

A full on public inquiry is what is needed right now to assess the harm, what went wrong, and, of course to cost millions of pounds and take years to reach a conclusion. And questions in the House.

or am I over-reacting?

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Happy

Re: Public Inquiry

Not over-reacting at all.

Of course, following the public enquiry, an objection will be raised as to the selection of the members of the enquiry panel.

A judicial review will then be demanded.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Public Inquiry

I'm launching a pre-emptive objection to the public enquiry, the members of the post-enquiry enquiry panel, and the judicials who will sit in judgement of this most serious of matters.

Then we'll appeal and sue the fuse manufacturer, and the company who supplied the materials to the fuse manufacturer. Then we'll sue all of you lot for emotional damages. Reply to this post and consider yourself sued.

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Real professionals use HAZOPs

A thorough HAZOP analysis would have identified this as an issue at the design stage and it would have been added to a pre-flight check list.

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At least, that's what engineering professionals do in the pharmaceutical, automotive, manufacturing, building design, medical design and, God forbid, aircraft design.

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What happened here ????,

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Perspective

Not as bad as running 100% oxygen in a closed, manned capsule full of eletrical switches.

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