How Often do Electronic Components Stop Working?

So, I'm a newcomer to Arduino, and have worked my way through the starter kit for the last month or so. Recently, I have spent hours trying to debug code, or rewire projects, until I finally found out the problem was that one of the components simply didn't work anymore. When I replaced it with a different one, everything worked again. To be more specific: three N/O switches died, and one tilt switch.

My question is: Is it normal for components to stop working so often? or is there maybe something wrong with my workflow which keeps killing them? or maybe the components that come with the starter kit are just low quality?

Thanks, vertigo5.

It reminds me of the old joke:

Passenger "Excuse me young man, do these planes crash often?" Steward "No ma'am, only once..."

No, it's not common to have so many failures, but it's strange that all the components are switches. Are you using them within their ratings?

vertigo5: To be more specific: three N/O switches died, and one tilt switch.

My question is: Is it normal for components to stop working so often?

If you're killing switches then you're definitely doing something wrong. What on earth are you connecting to them?

Mean time between failures (MTBF) is the predicted elapsed time between inherent failures of a system during operation.

The MTBF can be defined in terms of the expected value of the density function ƒ(t)

Electronics is Math.

vertigo5: To be more specific: three N/O switches died, and one tilt switch.

To answer this type specific question;-

The MTBF figure for a product can be derived from laboratory testing, actual field failure data or prediction models such as MIL-HDBK-217 (the Military Handbook for Reliability Prediction of Electronic Equipment, published by the U.S. Department of Defense, Approved for public release; distribution unlimited).

MIL-HDBK-217 contains failure-rate models for various parts used in electronic systems, such as integrated circuits, transistors, diodes, resistors, capacitors, relays, switches and connectors. These failure-rate models are based on a large amount of field data that was analyzed and simplified by the Reliability Analysis Center and Rome Laboratory at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, N.Y. (Instructions for downloading MIL-HDBK-217 are at http://www.t-cubed.com/faq_217.htm.)

N/O switches is at 14-1 section.

My guess is that you are wiring the switches up so you have a dead short across the power supply when they are pressed. Look again at how they should be wired up. The best way is between input and ground with a pull up resistor to +5V. See:- http://www.thebox.myzen.co.uk/Tutorial/Inputs.html

Grumpy_Mike: My guess is that you are wiring the switches up so you have a dead short across the power supply when they are pressed. Look again at how they should be wired up. The best way is between input and ground with a pull up resistor to +5V. See:- http://www.thebox.myzen.co.uk/Tutorial/Inputs.html

That might well be the reason, as I've been focusing on understanding pull up resistors lately. Are there common wiring/code mistakes that lead to dead shorts with switches? I've been fairly careful with the tutorials and wiring, but maybe I will recognize something I did wrong.

Are there common wiring/code mistakes that lead to dead shorts with switches?

yes we get a lot on here. A tip with the 4 pin buttons is to use the two opposite corners.

sonnyyu: Electronics is Math.

Isn't mostly everything?

Isn't mostly everything?

No. It is physics. Because Physics is the branch of Mathematics that deals with reality. Remember that maths is only a language used to describe things, you need Physics to constantly keep it on track.

sonnyyu: Mean time between failures (MTBF) is the predicted elapsed time between inherent failures of a system during operation.

The MTBF can be defined in terms of the expected value of the density function ƒ(t)

Electronics is Math.

I would go so far as to say that electronics can be described with math but I have yet to light a led with an equation.

AlxDroidDev:

sonnyyu: Electronics is Math.

Isn't mostly everything?

Ha!

Though experiment:

There is a room with 2 doors. In one corner is a bucket of sand. A fire burns in the middle.

In through one door enters an engineer. The engineer sees the fire, sees the bucket of sand and pours the sand on the fire solving the problem and then leaves.

Same room only this time a physicist enters, sees the fire and sees the bucket of sand. The physicist pours the sand in a ring around the fire and studies the fire until it goes out, solving the problem, then leaves.

Same room only this time a mathematician enters, sees the fire and sees the bucket of sand and realizes that there is a solution and leaves.

sonnyyu: Mean time between failures (MTBF) is the predicted elapsed time between inherent failures of a system during operation.

The MTBF can be defined in terms of the expected value of the density function ƒ(t)

Electronics is Math.

Due to t being in the equation, it doesn't seem to adequately take into account "infant mortality" on electronic devices, or the 2nd phase either. Likely only describes the 3rd phase. http://www.murata.com/products/emicon_fun/2012/04/special_en16.html http://blogs.indium.com/blog/an-interview-with-the-professor/electronics-failure-analysis-for-pb-and-pb-free-solder-joints

AlxDroidDev:

sonnyyu: Electronics is Math.

Isn't mostly everything?

This is very nice, but is really just the "reductionist" perception of the world, ie mainly that of physics.

What's missing is the concept related to complexity theory that use of the word "just" here limits the analysis to only half the problem. In reality, each time you go "up" to another level of description - ie, moving from right to left <----------- there are new sets of rules and interactions that come into play that are basically indescribable by the reductionist perspective alone.

The most obvious example is flying from physics on the right over to sociology on the left, it would be utterly hopeless to try and describe human behavior and male-female interactions using equations from quantum mechanics and movement of individual atoms and molecules.

To be more specific: three N/O switches died, and one tilt switch.

My question is: Is it normal for components to stop working so often?

No! Mechanical things can wear-out, but how often have you had to change the light switches in your house?

Have you tested those switches with a multimeter?

or is there maybe something wrong with my workflow which keeps killing them?

Your "workflow" should not harm them, unless perhaps you get solder flux inside the switch, or if you clean them with water and they corrode inside.... If you are running excessive voltages & currents through them, they can be damaged. But with 5V or 12V and milliamps, any switch should survive.

or maybe the components that come with the starter kit are just low quality?

Possible, but it's unlikely that they are THAT bad!

I like this posting. It has a little philosophy, a little humor, and lots of practical advice. I wish there were more like this one. :D

Lefty

oric_dan:

AlxDroidDev:

sonnyyu: Electronics is Math.

Isn't mostly everything?

This is very nice, but is really just the "reductionist" perception of the world, ie mainly that of physics.

What's missing is the concept related to complexity theory that use of the word "just" here limits the analysis to only half the problem. In reality, each time you go "up" to another level of description - ie, moving from right to left <----------- there are new sets of rules and interactions that come into play that are basically indescribable by the reductionist perspective alone.

The most obvious example is flying from physics on the right over to sociology on the left, it would be utterly hopeless to try and describe human behavior and male-female interactions using equations from quantum mechanics and movement of individual atoms and molecules.

LOL, I have an example of that!

When we boil water and are so certain what temperature we will measure, how large is our population sample? Compared to the entire human population today our water sample will be orders of magnitude more while the fuzzy psychologist is lucky to work with many orders of magnitude less. What looks like complete order and certainty in the water sample is so far from truth for individual water molecules they make individual people look well behaved.

And let's not forget the split behavior of the understanding of the nature of light. Is it a wave or particle, both or none of the above?

Actually there are loads of these things and a guaranteed unknown amount more if the Incompleteness Theorem is right. And that's a good thing since it means science will never be done if that's true.

GoForSmoke:
Actually there are loads of these things and a guaranteed unknown amount more if the Incompleteness Theorem is right. And that’s a good thing since it means science will never be done if that’s true.

Amen to that.

The right side people (in the scale), like Physicists, Chemists, Biologist, Astronomers, etc are all in accordance that science is an evolving thing, that there are more questions to be made than answers already found. Most of these people call what they do science rather than a profession. My wife, for example, has a PhD in cellular biology and has just started her post-doctorate in odontology. She calls herself a scientist, not a dentist.

To the left of the scale, the more applied people, can be divided into 2 categories: those that consider it a profession and those very few that consider it a science. The professionals usually think that their knowledge is an already evovled thing, that whatever there is to know has already been written. I know SEVERAL medics/doctors that are like that. They refuse to acknowledge that medicine is a science as well, and are more likely to think that everything they need to know, now and in 50 years, is already in the books. The same goes for several psychologists, sociologists, etc.

To a certain extent, we can also call religion a science (I am intentionally not using the word teology), because whatever faith we follow, how we deal with it has changed over the last hundred of years, at least in the western religions. We aren`t as tight ass about religion as out ancestors were 100-200 or 300 years ago. People in Massachussets don’t hunt witches anymore. The Pope doesn’t have that much influence in governments. Only recently some churches (as in “institutions”) have acknowledged that our relation to whatever Superior Being we believe in has changed.

If some people get their way, everyone who says they believe in anything that can't be proven will undergo correctional treatment to rid them of their delusions. Of course what constitutes proof will have its own insane BS ideology as the current in-fighting in the atheist movement is experiencing over feminism. People are still people and "power" recognizes no control.

AlxDroidDev:

sonnyyu: Electronics is Math.

Isn't mostly everything?

Nothing is math. Math is simply a tool for describing all sorts of things. Electrons behave in a way that we call mathematical for no known reason, it's just the way they are and it's just good luck that they do. They would still behave that way if there were no intelligent creatures to devise a mathematical description of their behavior.