Always think of the End User

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This is a bit off-topic for the forum, but I'm hoping it will be an object lesson for all of us who aspire to be good embedded firmware programmers. I came across an article in the Old Picture Of The Day blog that speaks to poor embedded design. Design of a consumer appliance can be difficult, but this just reeks of poor planning, slap-dash implementation, and zero testing.

Old Wood Stove

Read, and be horrified! :evil: I expecially like the part where the guy is told he will have to "reboot" the stove. :roll:

How would you have designed this differently? What was the end user's expectations? How many things did the manufacturer get wrong here?

Stu

Good Judgment Comes From Experience. Experience Often Comes From Bad Judgment.

Engineering seems to boil down to: Cheap. Fast. Good. Choose two. Sometimes choose only one.

Newbie? Be sure to read the thread Newbie? Start here!

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That was too funny, I just had to pass that link on. I can't believe that guy wouldn't know to turn off just the breaker to the stove! He has more patience than me, that stove would have been sent back long before the point he's at now.

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Dreadful story. Still I read it with a smile since I recognize the situation too well.

When I started reading I first guessed that the story was about a lousy written manual. DO NOT let people from very foreign countries do translations of your manual. I've listened to radio programs where people could send in the most astonishing translations to simple stuff. being exposed public that way does not improve your sales.

After reding it all my guess is that they've used a PIC as the stoves brain. And probably the guy who wrote the code was PICilized and couldn't think straight...

Another reflection: Don't you have dedicated fuses for stoves and things in US?

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Quote:
Another reflection: Don't you have dedicated fuses for stoves and things in US?

Yes, they should always have a dedicated breaker or fuse.

The guy obviously wasn't thinking to clearly by switching off the mains. :)

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Another similar story from Jack Ganssle. This one concerns a simple stove hood with nothing more than fan speeds and light levels. Sure enough, it had to be "rebooted" to get it working again. The story is actually part of a larger article about the importance of watchdog timers.

Dave

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Stu,
Thanks for the post, both for the laugh, and for the reminder for the underlying message.

JC

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One aspect of my Masters Degree thesis was an attempt to identify the components of project success. Early identification of the stakeholders, their roles and influences, and what success means to them can go a long way towards creating a successful outcome. Ignoring them always means disaster!

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia