A Y2K remediation failure in my office today

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Seasons greetings, all.

A Toshiba FT621 fax machine has failed to function after a "correct" chip was put in place of the chip that was to fail. I know. A lowly fax machine, but odd things took place here.

Interesting facts include:

I checked with Toshiba last April and saw on their website that this model had no problems. A Toshiba rep appeared at our office to replace a chip, unannounced. This took me by surprise in that this machine was supposed to be compliant. He stated that the flaw was discovered in June and they just received the replacement chip. Kudos to them for tracking us down to fix a four year old machine. He said that there are about 3000 of these models sold in his region (central CA) and they estimate that they can fix about 150 in the next two weeks. This is because they know the location of only a few. (We have a PM contract with the supplier).

It took 6 months to get a replacement chip ready.

Now the best part. After replacing the chip, the machine was all fired up, reset, and gave the ready/standby for fax. He left all happy. This morning I was standing by the machine as an incoming call was taking place, the first since the repair. At the termination of the reception we got complete failure of the machine. Nothing. Blank. No self testing, no copy function, no number memory. Zilch. Yes, it is still plugged in and the breaker did not trip.

Just a fax machine, but how many devices out there were initially reported compliant then found not to be, took months for a chip to be made, can be located out in the great big world, and then have the remediating solution fail? I was dubious about failures. Now I have witnessed one. I hope that is the only one. Pete

-- Pete (phytorx@lanset.com), December 19, 1999



Thanks! My office has a Toshiba phone system. I checked their website this past Spring and found that it was compliant. I hadn't thought I might need to check again. But, I guess, 'tis the season to be making a list and checking it twice. This is a good heads up. I hope your problem gets taken care of soon!

-- (RUOK@yesiam.com), December 19, 1999.

Thanks Pete.

"A lowly fax machine?" Unless most of your company's orders are placed via one.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), December 19, 1999.

Try reseating the chip, and be sure the curcuit boards are snugged up. If it still fails, then the chip is probably exhibiting 'infant mortality.'

Either way, Diane is right...if that machine hands you the purchase orders, you are out of luck.

Gawd! How did we get into this fix with these embeddeds? We will rue the fact that these do not exhibit the Jo Anne Effect in less than a fortnight!

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in less than two weeks.com), December 19, 1999.

so does anyone have an idea why the chip would go south two weeks early?

-- tt (cuddluppy@nowhere.com), December 19, 1999.

TT, check Pete's post again. It was the *replacement* chip that failed, apparently from some other cause (poor manufacturing process, hasty burn-in, who knows) not the original, which would have gone south post rollover. I can second Pete's experience, as some of you probably recall from earlier postings. Our Cisco router blew out all our internet and external e-mail connections during a y2k voice mail upgrade a couple of weeks ago, and we live and die by e-mail in our shop. Luckily, cisco found a replacement within three days and overnighted it to us, but we're still playing catch-up on the missed business.

-- Cash (cash@andcarry.com), December 19, 1999.

We've got over 36 hours of embedded thingee repair experience between us and I think we know what we are talking about.

-- Butt Nugget (catsbutt@umailme.com), December 19, 1999.

Isn't it amazing how, when confronted with direct evidence of y2k-related breakdowns, the pollies just go frantic trying to ridicule it?

-- Cash (cash@andcarry.com), December 19, 1999.

tt -

Most chips these days are protected from static discharges and the like, but if the chip has a nasty experience (e.g it has been installed without the engineer waering an anti-staic strap) it could shorten the chips life, or indeed kill it.

CMOS chips don't like anything over 14 volts being anything applied to them, so a surge on the power rail of the fax could also cook a chip.

I remember one engineer who tried to swap out a board out on an IMB XT without switching the power off - cooked the daughter board, the nmother board and the power supply.... Mind you, he wasn;t wearing a grounding strap either :-)

-- Rob Somerville (merville@globalnet.co.uk), December 19, 1999.

Na, this can't be Y2K related. It was probably some new feature of the "Answer Phone" function that screwed up. You know, when they upgraded the ROM chip, they gave you all kinds of new features, having nothing to do with Y2K. You would have been just fine after 1/1, if the unit would have lasted that long...

What was that? Why did they install the chip in the first place? ...

[Reality Mode On]

Yup, just a lowly new ROM chip for a fax machine. Doesn't really mean much. Sheesh, you can set-up free fax on the net these days...

But it's the important "embedded systems" that bother me. What's so different about them? Ok, so someone a little more qualified than the local rep may install it, but beyond that, what's so different? Are they tested that much better? Assume that the hardware is OK, After all, the machine sat up and looked pretty, just waitung to fetch a fax...

But then the phone rang. The chip was awakened from it's sleep. It was it's turn to go to work. It was time for the new program to run...

Yup, it's the Embedded systems, and the Mainframes, and the Desktops, and the Mid-range and Supercomputers, all added up, that bother me, and I look at this stuff almost daily. I guess I'm a doomer...

Welcome to reality... Tick... Tock... <:00= ...

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), December 19, 1999.

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