What did You Manage to Destroy?

OK, fess up. I know that we all have some dumb moments. Here’s my most recent one:

I managed to melt a seemingly undestroyable potentialmeter. Well, I thought I hooked the tap to the input of a chip… but instead I connected it with Vcc… The next thing I knew was that there was a dreaded smell in the air, and of course the pot stopped working…

Yesterday I blew up a High brightness LED :frowning:
It was directly connected to a high voltage power source :frowning:

Nothing, yet, though a HV contacter I was using broke, but that wasn’t my fault

Back in 2000, I was working on my senior design project. In it, I used this brand-new device: “A FLASH-Memory Based Hard Drive.” It cost me about $500 and was a full 512MB. I saved a little money and bought the 5.25in version. (For some reason the 5.25in was about $100 cheaper than the 3.5in.)

SSDs are all the range today, but 10+ years ago they were in their infancy. They were just starting to come out with a direct IDE connection. So I installed into my project which was running Linux on a 386-based SBC.

What I didn’t know about (and how many people did?) was the short write-cycles of the Flash cells. (This was also before controllers had clever wear leveling techniques.) I had setup a Swap partition and virtually destroyed the drive after installing, booting a couple of times, and rebuilding the kernel.

$500 mistake.

Ouch James, that was painful.

$500!!! Omg! :o

Forget to add… the other day, I was soldering a pair of alligator clips on my battery pack.

I was using a “helping hand” to assist me. I clipped one alligator clip on the helping hand and soldered one terminal and clipped the other alligator clip on the helping hand and soldered the other terminal. So I left both clips on the helping hand (it’s metal!!!) waiting for the solder joins to cool…

A few minutes later, I came back and found the helping hand surprisingly warm and the battery pack is steaming hot! I realized I had just shorted the batteries… Thankfully, no explosion and after the battery pack cooled down, it seems that everything was still working OK (of course, this might have cut the useful life of my rechargeable battery pack by half :()…

Not hardware - but I was working on a Solidworks model of a robot chassis once and sometimes Solidworks deals with “mates” in a weird way. So I attached a screw to some hole, but it went in upside down, so I hit the flip over button - and instead of flipping the screw, it turned over the chassis, effectively destroying the rest of the construction and turning it into a virtual pile of useless sh*t. Solidworks also does this weird thing were it doesn’t reverse everything when you hit undo - so I ended up losing all the work for good.

One time I built the “Life Magazine Science Library Paperclip Motor”; I kinda rushed through the construction, and it wasn’t well balanced. Well, four D-batteries didn’t do the trick, so I decided to hook up a 12V 7AH SLA I had. It started to spin…

Then “poof” - a lot of smoke, a little fire, and I had a bunch of bare copper (and smoking hot) wire.

Turned out the rotor jammed, and left the motor as a direct short, and the battery happily supplied all the current the wire could carry!

…then there was the time I turned a wrench into an impromptu welder while removing the negative terminal first on an even larger SLA (was replacing the battery of a large UPS).


Last thing must be the parallel port on my router…

Had a GLCD laying and had a custom power supply for it, turned out just be a 7805, and I then wanted to remove that to connect it to a USB port instead. So I removed the way too big regulating board with only one component on, then overlooked a nut that had felt down on the pins on the GLCD, so the parallel port stopped working as soon as I turned the router on again, and something smelled burnt.

First thing I ever broke was my sister’s barbie phone, when I was about six. Took it apart and put it back together… minus a the fact that it didn’t work anymore.

I’ve blown up a capacitor on a servo motor PCB.

Burnt out a few 555 ICs.

Nothing major… except for getting in trouble for breaking my sister’s phone.

Well the most impressive thing I destroyed was a 8" screwdriver tip while attempting to discharge a 100 mfd 450volt cap for a ham radio power supply. The problem is I forgot to turn off the supply first. And that was my favorite screwdriver at the time.

I’ve explained to my wife that screwdrivers come in two basic types, pluses and minuses. That seemed to help her in life as she now looks at the tips with new knowledge and appreciation.


A V6 engine :frowning:

Most spectacular was probably my BBQ when I was trying to get a good mix for my thermite :wink:

Well I have to say, as far as I can remember, I’m pretty boring in terms of breaking stuff.

I also broke a potentiometer before though :stuck_out_tongue:

I think the most annoying was the 32GB ipod touch 2nd gen which I got for a tenner and I was going to replace the touch/glass - ended up knocking a few 1/2mm SMD caps/resistors off the PCB without noticing…
Nothing I could do - cheap ass 32GB ipod touch down the drain >:(

Back when a 486 PC was the thing to have and I was in my first month of real employment I had the awesome task of upgrading a hard drive on a PC. This involved taking the case off the PC and plugging in both the old and the new hard drives loose on their wires with a bit of card under them, I even placed the drives upside down to prevent any electrical shorts and then using DOS to do a complete copy from the old drive to the new one. I’d done it before and knew there was a chance of file corruption so I asked the Engineering Doctorate student + Full time researcher if he’d backed up all his work files and where were the backup discs. These were disdainfully presented to me so I continued with the process. Then much to my horror both hard drives exploded when I switched the power on, well not like a pair of hand grenades, but all the large ICs on the back (now facing up) popped and sent plastic shrapnel across the room and which pinged off the lampshades leaving little smoke trails behind them. The bloke assumed the foetal position and rocked back and forth from his heals to his toes moaning slightly and I made a sharp exit. On returning 10 mins later to find him sat down looking very ill I very gently said, “but its OK your files are over there on the discs” He eventually blurted out a few words and eventually pulled himself together enough to say “Yes, those are my WORK files what about my Phd thesis. You only asked me to back up my work files, what about the Phd…” (It was almost complete and ready for submission)

To cut the rest of the story short a brief investigation revealed the PC supply had been built with one power cable connected in reverse and it had been unused as a spare until now. The boss was a slippery smooth talker and spoke to the computer manufacturer (Elonex who had the supply contract) and some how managed to get them to admit that it was not the first time they had encountered this and so the hard drive was sent off at their expense so the data could be recovered by a professional data recovery service that I’m sure charged many thousands of pounds.

I’ll never forget that acrid burnt smell of burning components :wink:

I recently killed my PC. Ordered a new fan as the existing one was very noisy. Pulled off the old fan to replace it and the thermal grease must have been like strong glue as unbeknownst to me the CPU also came out with it. I then put the fan with attached CPU on the floor. It then got its pins bent and covered in gooey thermal grease. An attempt to clean it and put it back only ended up with a tiny amount of invisible grease getting into the holes too. Total disaster.

Had to go out and buy a new MB and Ram. Well it was time for an upgrade anyway so i’m not too bothered.

I recently destroyed a 12v lithium ion battery by hooking it backwards to an inverter. It smoked and I knew it was toast - duh.

I have destroyed a few LEDs and shift registers during the construction process. I may have killed some pins on my first two arduinos as the two wire does not work on either one, but does on others. Most likely I was sourcing way too much juice and toasted the pins, (I do not source any power from the arduinos any longer for anything more than an LED or two).

I also destroyed the regulator on a clone by hooking 5v to it directly while doing the same the a standard arduino did fine (bad clone design I think - I deserve it for buying a clone).

The list goes on but those are recent :slight_smile:

It’s a while ago now, but during my physics a-level I was banned from taking part in practical lessons because I was so disaster prone.

Its really funny how people break things I nevered broke anything isint that shocking ? :o ;D

[edit]Just was thinking and a small memeory :wink:
i was trrying to lift a dumbell and toppled the whole rack breaking it and the floor ;D[/edit]

Maarklar - I had one of the very first Lithium chargers for my RC Plane. It overcooked the battery, which exploded in a fireball. Luckily we were out in a field at the time. My 12v battery and my transmitter got a little charred but apart from that nothing else was damaged and no-one was hurt. It was pretty spectacular when it went up !