Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Faulty CaterCheck 3 Thermometers

I did resolve as a New Years Resolution to "crush my enemies mercilessly", and now at last I have found an enemy, namely the CaterCheck 3 thermometer from Comark.

I feel a little bad writing this blog post, the designers and engineers don't deserve this. Maybe they work incredibly hard for very little pay, designing the waterproof enclosure, the circuitboard, the display layout, spending weeks testing it, before a manufacturer elsewhere assembles hundreds, or thousands on a production line, minimum wage or lower workers spenind days hunched over their workstations, soldering and screwing them together. Or maybe its all automated, barely improved since version 2, the designers and engineer's role having evolved into the innate Dilbert-like cubicle existance, surfing the internet aimlessly for hours avoiding the being caught by the boss's, collecting their adequate paycheck every month, not quite appreciating how lucky they are.

I'm going to assume that this blog entry is going to figure quite highly in the google results when you try searching for "CaterCheck 3" and although I'm procrastinating, this is about how failure-prone they are. If it makes you feel any better, this blogpost may also serve as a googlewhack tripwire, someone in the management chain here, investigating faulty units will find my blog, read my previous moany blog entries and after very little investigation and ruminating, I get dismissed from my job.

These thermometer probes are used in the catering and food production industry, at my factory we have a dozen or so of them, they're probably very popular. And they knacker.

We start off with loads of them, working fine and a few weeks later only two work properly and those are the one's I use every day.

The screen is blank, it doesn't switch on. Or the display fills with characters then goes blank once more.

On closer inspection, there's condensation on the inside of the screen. Blotting the battery compartment shows that its moist in there too.T

Maybe my colleagues have been misusing them. Dropping them in waterbaths, or leaving them on radiators. It is quite a moist and humid environment in here, its kind of understandable.

But very frustrating.

Drying out the stack of faulty CaterCheck 3 units doesn't work. Opening up the battery compartment and using blotting paper then replacing the batteries, that doesn't work either.

I've tried unscrewing all the screws I can find but that doesn't open up the casing, so there's no drying out of the moisture in there.

The one month failure rate here is about 80% and sure there's probably warrantees and a service plan that gets them fixed, but its still incredibly frustrating.

That feeling of helplessness, that these thermometers, so vital for our paperwork and statutary obligations, that they fail so quickly and are impossible to fix with a screwdriver and absorbant tissue.

Maybe there's a better model that is more resiliant? I dunno, its not my call to spec out and order these things. I just have to use them. I just have to wade through and ever-growing pile of faulty units to find the one that works, to do my job.

1 comment:

  1. I'll give it a try next time I have a probe that works.