Five minutes, two hours

24th April 2008 – 6.40 am

I had a five minute vibration test to perform yesterday. It's not long, but it keeps me occupied, and the set-up and configuration can take a bit of time. I spent about thirty minutes in the morning taking off a jig from the previous test from the shaker's slip table and putting the jig appropriate for the current test on. Then I waited for the test hardware to appear.

The hardware turned up a little after 2 p.m., so a quick bit of bolting on and five minutes later I'll have completed the test. It's such a quick test that I'd probably need to complete the written test log after the event instead of during. But wait, the chap from the project forgot to bring a connection interface necessary for the structural integrity of the system as a whole. He'll pop upstairs to get it, won't be five minutes. I start to fill in some gaps in the test log and get the digital camera out to take a snap of the set-up once it's all together.

About half-an-hour later the project chap returns with the connection interface. The interface is missing the connector itself, so I ask if this would make a difference. Apparently not, he's happy to continue, so I bolt everything together. When I start the vibration period the interface starts rattling around significantly, because it is on floating connections and relies on the connector it is currently missing to provide a firm fixing with the test unit. The noise from the rattling feeds back in to the control system and overloads it, aborting the test. The project fellow says he'll just pop upstairs to get a connector, he won't be five minutes.

Indeed he won't, as it's over forty five minutes later that another bod turns up with the connector, attached to a test cable but that's not a problem. I ask if he also has the screws that secure the connector to its interface, and apparently this was overlooked. He'll pop upstairs to find some. A quarter of an hour passes and a 'phone call comes telling me that he cannot find any screws, but another engineer in my department points out that we've probably got some in the lab. We take a look and we do indeed have some screws, which I quickly use to secure the connector to its interface, and then reattach the test hardware back to the fixture, this time in its full configuration.

Five minutes of vibration and the test is complete, but it took two hours to get there. Still, at least I got my hands on some hardware. It's been a bit quiet of late.

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