back to article GE shows off tank-tough tech

Do you have employees who habitually bust up perfectly good tech? These are the people who have a different problem every other week, and they always say, “I don’t know what happened, it just suddenly stopped working. It’s just so weird...” Then they show you a desktop with a motherboard swimming in Coke Classic or a notebook …


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  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    See, that's the benefit of a UK sixties education...

    You *know* -40C = -40F without having to think about it, and you can prove it too...

    btw: -40C - 85C and only 40G shock loads? I'm working on stuff operating from -40 to +150C, continuous vibration significantly in excess of 40G, and operating pressures around 15,000psi... not as smart as a PC, but if it breaks in service, there's no-one around to fix it.

    One of the biggest helps is physically small (= low mass) components.

    1. danolds

      Re: See, that's the benefit of a UK sixties education...

      My US education in the seventies did cover the metric system but no one figured that we'd ever convert from F to C. The GE guys said the same thing to me as you mention above about working with low mass components. On the 'only -40C, 85C and 40G' point. These guys are building milspec hardware and I wouldn't be surprised if the public specs they disclose vary significantly from true capabilities. There could also be another line of equipment that's engineered to higher specs that they don't take to public trade shows.

  2. keithpeter

    "My idle question, “So what is -40°C in Fahrenheit?” generated a funny debate. Dustin Franklin, GPGPU specialist at GE, said that -40°C is the same as -40°F, which I immediately figured was too simple to be true."

    F = 1.8C + 32

    Substitute in C = -40 and remember your negative numbers!

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: F = 1.8C + 32

      I find the mental arithmetic easier as "divide by five, multiply by nine" rather than "multiply by 1.8", but in these connected days it's too easy to type "convert -40 fahrenheit to celsius" into Google ...

  3. Fihart

    $100 Hammer ?

    From the home of the defence procurement cost-plus-contract.

  4. TeeCee Gold badge

    "one true answer"

    That'll be the fact that anything below -30 is the same temperature. F***ing Cold.

  5. Rosie Davies


    Got there first. There was a short story covering an elixir of immortality that used the -40 temperature scale equality for its punchline.


  6. Ru


    So the ability to take 40g of force is considerable

    I rather suspect that 40 gravities of instantaneous accelleration is relatively easy to achieve with a rigid body impacting a hard surface... if you drop something like a ceramic cup onto a tiled floor, if could conceivably be experiencing well in excess of 100 gravities at the point of impact (because the decelleration time will very short indeed... under a millisecond, and it isn't a very elastic material).

    Feel free to point out where I'm wrong here though, I'm not a engineer!

    You can trivially test this by getting some old harddrives with known non-operating shock tolerances, and doing some drop tests and seeing if you can still read from em afterwards ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hrm

      Aaah, but the trick is in finding something that can stop a *tank* with 40g of acceleration, I rather suspect that the nature of the platform dampens down the forces somewhat...

  7. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "Do you have employees who habitually bust up perfectly good tech?"

    Yes, usually deliberately - in order to obtain the latest perfectly good tech.

    1. danolds

      Re: "Do you have employees who habitually bust up perfectly good tech?"

      I tried that once...figured I'd get a shiny new laptop to replace the horrible clunker I was using. It sort of worked, but the ordering/delivery process took so long that I had to use a crappy loaner for several months. By the time my shiny new laptop arrived, I had taken a job at another company.

  8. Paul Smith


    So is device was so riviting that you both ended up googleing a temperature conversion... You will forgive me if I don't actually watch the video.

    1. danolds

      Re: Bored

      Actually, it was kind of a funny moment, which is why I included it in the video you didn't watch. I also put in a few seconds of landscape time lapse footage to convey the sense of time passage. It was a tour de force of video wizardry. I'm so sorry you missed it, but I'm glad you took the time to let us know that it bored you. It's useful feedback and much appreciated.

  9. Glenn Hunt
    IT Angle


    I thought that amongst tech heads it was common knowledge that -40F = -40C. I guess my mind for trivia shows itself.

    The simple man's conversion is C * 9 / 5 + 32 = F. The reverse of course works too.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't it just be easier... just fire the clowns who constantly damge their PCs?

  11. Vance P. Frickey

    Yo, Author - you've just revealed yourself NOT a nerd

    ...because the first thing an aspiring young nerd does (UK, US, Canada, whatever) is find out for him(her)self is run the numbers after his or her teacher says -40 C = - 40 F.

    ((-40/5) * 9) + 32 = -40 has to be the most commonly worked-out equation in the English-speaking world.

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