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Thread: Scoring boxes started shorting

  1. #1
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    Default Scoring boxes started shorting

    After twelve years + of sterling service a chips in a number of our scoring boxes has shorted.

    The boxes are roughly the same age, but probably get variable levels of use (the boxes at the back of the storage unit will get less use I imagine).

    Has anyone else experienced shorting?

    What are the environmental factors which might cause this to happen? Conditions in the storage area seem to me to be one possibility (damp, heat, cold); or alternatively heavy handed users.

    Any ideas? We have had eight go now within the space of a few weeks, and they are expensive to repair. I would dearly like to stop the rest from going too.
    Edward Peck

  2. #2
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    Default

    From your description, there isn't a lot to go on but if they are all going at the same time I would assume some external factor is having an affect,

    A few possible issues could be:

    The recent cold snap saw the storage area get very cold overnight then gets heated to room temp the next morning, Normally this shouldn't cause an issue but if some solder joints are on the way out or some caps are a bit touchy, it could just cause the box to die.

    Same as before but being taken out of a cold storage area into a warm sweaty hall could cause condensation to form on the cold circuitry and shorts something out.

    Is it possible that the failed boxes shared a single power source, if so it could be that is faulty pushing out a higher than expected voltage.

    I am currently in the process of replacing the guts of a 1984 LP box which had suffered massive corrosion throughout as a result of being kept in someone's garage for a few years.

  3. #3
    Peter James
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    Default Just a Quickie

    What are the make and model of the boxes?

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    "Shorting" seems to be the default cause in people's mind, but it may not be what's actually happening. I get this all the time when a noob brings me a foil that's not firing on a hit.

    Them: "It's shorting!"
    Me: "Uhhh...no....the tip is missing."

    Describe the actual fault that's showing in detail....giving your doctor good info is a preferred starting point.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Agreed, some more information on the behavior would be useful, as well as the make and model of the scoring boxes.

    If they have an external mains-to-DC power adapter, that is always the first thing to check. Have someone put it on a voltmeter to see if it's still putting out the rated voltage. A failing power supply will generate flaky behavior, and after some years of people flexing the leads as they are plugged in and unplugged it's not unusual for them to go bad.

  6. #6
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    Sorry not to respond - I have had my attention elsewhere.

    They are LP Boxes.

    We isolated the chip as the culprit - by taking a working one out of another similar box, and adding it to the broken ones - and the problem goes away.

    We bought replacement chips (cheap as...without the programming) and tried duplicating the programming from a working one, but they are locked so we couldn't.

    This is fair enough IMO. The boxes get a lot of use and some pretty rough treatment, but have lasted without significant problems for well over a decade. We have only had one chip replacement in all that time.

    I dont mind buying the replacements - but thought I should consider the cause first.
    Edward Peck

  7. #7
    Chris Howser cesh_fencing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ED_R View Post
    but have lasted without significant problems for well over a decade.
    I have a box with a marking on the circuit board of 1967 which is still going strong.

    I have several LP boxes much older than yours and no problem.

    Maybe an idea to get them to the likes of Steve Hyman who is pretty good at getting things going.
    Oundle, Peterborough & Stamford Fencing

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ED_R View Post
    What are the environmental factors which might cause this to happen? Conditions in the storage area seem to me to be one possibility (damp, heat, cold); or alternatively heavy handed users.
    At a guess I would say dirty power or heat.

  9. #9
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    We are changing the chips, and will see what happens. Thanks for suggestions.
    Edward Peck

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