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Electronics controlled by force
  (+20, -1)(+20, -1)
(+20, -1)
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On occasion I have become frustrated with an electronic device and given it a good whack. Generally it refuses to respond to this physical force. Those hits could be made to be productive. Through the use of accelerometers, tilt switches and the like, an electronic device could be controlled by a good old fashioned smack. For example, a television: whack it on the left side="channel up", whack it on the right side="channel down". Tilt the set to the left="volume down", tilt to the right="volume up".

For the couch potato types who can't bear to part with their remotes--two words: Big stick.

When my PC locks up, it would be somewhat therapeutic to have the obligatory "monitor slap" actually reset the computer.

half, Apr 24 2002

What the Hell is Wrong With My Computer http://www.halfbake...ith_20My_20Computer
An [AfroAssault] classic and vaguely related. [bristolz, Apr 24 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Apple Tech Support http://docs.info.ap...e.html?artnum=58272
"Using moderate force does not damage your display." Gee thanks for the advice. [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       I love this idea. On those three or four occasions when I've gotten reaaaaly low on gas, I've wished my car could hear the desperation in my voice ("Pleeeease make it to the gas station! I promise I won't run you below half-empty again!") and somehow become magically more fuel efficient or pull from some hidden reserve of gas.
phoenix, Apr 24 2002

       Excellent idea. Appliances are like teenage shop-staff: sulky, unhelpful things that would rather be somewhere else. They delight in irritating you in small but numerous ways. The idea of being able to prod them into action is very pleasing. Can we have the same thing built into teenage shop staff?
Saveloy, Apr 24 2002

       Apparently, in the early days, IBM techies used to perform what was known as a "BRS Reset" if a machine locked up. ("BRS" = "big red switch".)
angel, Apr 24 2002

       I guess it could be like those alarm clocks you toss across the room -- a TV that goes off when you throw a large object at it would be handy.   

       But if thwacking a broken TV makes it work, why shouldn't thwacking a working TV stop it from working?
pottedstu, Apr 24 2002

       It could. The old "Thump it on the side, just *there*." tended to work because a few solder joints had gone dry and made only intermittent contact. The thump would sometimes cause them to make better contact. Or not.
angel, Apr 24 2002

       I already have a version of this. My monitor is on the fritz and it's making me crazy. A new one is in my future, but for the time being, I must make do with this one.   

       Every now and then it dims, way down, like the brightness/contrast has gone wacky. Occasionally, it will blink out entirely. I have discovered, however, that a little percussive maintenance to the top front, just above the screen, makes it pop back on and/or resume normal brightness.
waugsqueke, Apr 24 2002

       //I guess it could be like those alarm clocks you toss across the room //
Thought about flightless model with "snooze" time proportional to whacking intensity but, idea was getting long. Practicing brevity skills.
half, Apr 24 2002

       I had a car, back in the *old* days, that every time I hit a bump the radio would go off if it had been on or on if it had been off. When it would go off...I would head for something to run over to make it go on again....
runforrestrun, Apr 24 2002

       angel: I've opened up a few electronics thingies after "Thump it on the side" had ceased to work. The change in temperature or constant flexing seems to alter the structure of the solder joints. Applying the hot soldering iron to such a joint will cause the solder to neatly separate into two blobs on the component lead and the board, with no contact in between. A visual examination with a magnifying glass will reveal the fine hairline crack and a slight crystalline look.   

       The cure is to re-solder every joint in the vicinity. Maybe replace a few electrolytics going dry meanwhile, too, and drill a few ventilation holes if the problem was due to heat.   

       Moral: If it works after a whack - start looking for a replacement. Repair is no longer an option, with modern equipment anyway.
neelandan, Apr 25 2002

       It's partly to do with the flux that was used in old-type solder. It would often oxidize the metal of the component leg so when you re-melted the solder it wouldn't contact the component. A proper re-soldering job (which heated the component leg as well) with fresh solder would do the trick.
When I worked in a TV and VCR workshop, the engineers would know, just from a fault description, exactly which joints had gone dry on a particular model.
angel, Apr 25 2002

       Is it bad when a monitor starts to make a hissing sound?
waugsqueke, Apr 25 2002

       My computer often turns itself off on me, sometimes when I'm in the mi
stupop, Apr 25 2002

       waugs: A monitor (or TV set) starts hissing when the eht cable starts a leak. This is either a pinhole in the insulation or conductive dust deposited on the picture tube making a conductive trail with the high voltage carrying parts. If you look at it in the dark you might be able to see its path by the blue glow. There might also be a smell of ozone.   

       This, by itself, is harmless (unless you are allergic to ozone) but it might progress to the crackling and popping stage when serious damage can occur.   

       If the picture tube discharges (with a loud crackle and accompanying picture jump) the spark can cause excessive voltage stress in the components nearby (integrated circuits) resulting in a damaged device.
neelandan, Apr 30 2002

       Apple officially recommends "using the heel of your hand to moderately impact the side of your display" for certain problems with their flat panels. I thought it was hilarious that the company was quite elaborately describing what people instinctually do when things break with no prompting at all. See link.
krelnik, Oct 17 2002

       Actually it's certain problems with their CRT based monitors, not their flat panel LCDs.
bristolz, Oct 17 2002

       Oh, quite so. Sorry about that. All the better for the imagery of beating on the side of a finicky TV.
krelnik, Oct 17 2002


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