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# Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

## Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

(OP)

A dominating business magazine (electroics) sent me a link to a book so I could brush up on measurement techniques. The book is sponsored by another company, known for modular instrumentation with a “no programming” programming language – which means that it is graphical instead of text based.
I consider myself experienced in many measurement techniques. With a lifetime of field work in process industry where I have been commissioning, calibrating and finding out and putting right old analogue system to the latest DSP based ones and ranging from medicine to steel production I think that it would be sensational if I didn’t know the basics of everyday measurements. But, humble as I am, I thought that there might be something for me in the book and set one hour aside to study it.

I didn’t like what I read. The author was very particular about measurement uncertainty – although he never used that word – and there were definitions like:
“Precision–The quality of being sharply or exactly defined. It is the resolution with which a quantity is measured.
¨¨¨
Accuracy is a number that indicates how close a measurement is to its true value. Accuracy is the ratio of the actual value to the true value expressed as a percentage. Accuracy = (Measured value/True value) x 100% If the measured value is greater than the true value, use this variation. Accuracy = (True value/Measured value) x 100%
……
Error is a number that indicates the amount by which the result of measurement differs from the true or correct value. It is a measure of inaccuracy. If you know the accuracy value you can calculate the error like this: %Error = 100 - %Accuracy Otherwise, you can calculate error like this: Error = [(True value – Measured value)/True value] x 100%
……
Parts per Million–Parts per million (ppm) is a term sometimes used in very precise measurements. It is used to express accuracy or inaccuracy”.

I don’t know about you. But to me, this is next to incomprehensible. But, I read on. There must be some explanation – I am probably too dumb, after all… So, I continued reading. Hoping for some useful information. But when I tried to decipher the DC&AC voltage measurement chapter. I gave up. What about this (yes, the author is still wrestling with accuracy, error and such things):
“Accuracy is typically ± 0.01% to ±0.1% range. Accuracy is sometimes expressed as the error. Where 100% is perfect accuracy, an actual value might be 99.005% or expressed as the amount of error, 100 - 99.005 = 0.995 or .00995%. Accuracy may also be expressed in ppm, a range of 10 to 100 ppm is typical”?
So? Accuracy is sometimes expressed as an error – and 0.995% is equal to .00995% - and if 0.01% to 0.1% is the typical range – why then giving an example where the error (or is it accuracy?) is 1% ? Not to mention the 10 to 100 ppm, which (in my obviously limited world) equals 0.001 to 0.01%

I gave up here. But leafed through a few more pages. Just to find out that the author didn’t even care to borrow a picture of a sine-wave. Instead he uses a triangle wave with rounded crests. THAT IS NOT A SINE! Also, he defines period time as the distance between the peaks of that “sine” instead of between the zero crossings. Amateurish and showing no respect for hundreds of thousands of hard-working and knowledgeable EE:s.

Before throwing the “book” in the waste bin, I couldn’t help noticing that the author doesn’t have a clue how to measure current with a clamp-on current probe. What he shows is something that seems to measure the cable diameter (yes, jaws open) and the important soft-iron area is thinned out where the jaws meet. Like a tool used to measure diameters in a lathe.

SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
Half full - Half empty? I don't mind. It's what in it that counts.

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

At a guess the offending organisation might be known as I.N. or something similar.

You have not encouraged me to search for the publication based on this review: it sounds exactly how you describe it - amateurish.

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

What is the book? Sounds...unwise.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

Is this a "white paper" rather than a tried and true book? If so, I tried stumbling my way through it and scratched my head continually at the chosen verbiage. Way more complicated than it needed to be.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

(OP)
Right! It is not a proper book. More like an alternate white paper. Sponsored by NI. I am afraid there weren't any engineers involved in the conception. Nor in the delivery.

I feel sorry for the editor. It must have happened behind his back.

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
Half full - Half empty? I don't mind. It's what in it that counts.

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

Not to defend this assault to common sense, but I had a recent experience that may explain some of it. I wrote a paper / presentation for a large customer last year, then through a series of events it came to the attention of my masters. They decided to turn it into a White Paper and after that, our Marketing folks loaded it onto our company Blog with a link to their version of my White Paper. From there it was picked up by a publication, was re-written again and has been released as a magazine article (Control Engineering by the way, supposedly the June 2017 edition, but I'm not sure). All along in this process, I was given the opportunity to read the "edits" done by the marketing people. Holy cow... that was an experience! Each time I was given a copy to proof read, I'd find they had removed a lot of the engineering principals I had in the original White Paper. I attempted to get them back in, but ultimately my role became "advisory" and it is now reduced to a slightly interesting, if not somewhat bland, magazine article arranged and re-worded so as to offend the fewest number of people I suppose. So if you see it, please forgive me. What you see only vaguely resembles what I originally wrote.

"You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals" -- Booker T. Washington

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

I don't think that it's a question of trying to be non-offensive; I think it's more that they're trying to create something that isn't over the heads of 95% of the engineers. Although, one could possibly argue that reading something that is over one's head might make someone feel bad...

Unfortunately, there are, indeed, those engineers that'll read something like that and feel like they learned some new and great wisdom, and will repeat it, ad nauseum, to their co-workers. I used to have one of those co-workers who was always buzzing about the latest buzz words, like, "Ternary logic will make our products obsolete; we should immediately start development of a ternary-logic processor chip to keep up!"

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

I would rather "waste" a lot of time looking up new terms (i.e., going down the rabbit hole) than truly waste my time reading a fluff article with no substance. With the former I learn something... with the latter, I have something to use when the toilet paper runs out.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

IRstuff,

I had a new grad running about telling everyone about "laser robotics." Everyone knew about lasers, and robotics, but no one seemed to understand what the guy meant. One other thing that was handy was he visited the manufacturing side and asked what problems they had. Seems OK, right? Then he told them he would give them a solution, just before he transferred to another group, but didn't tell anyone else about those promises. Which meant the manufacturing management was especially angry when no one was actually working to fulfill those promises. Since no one knew exactly what he suggested we were at a loss.

I prefer articles as archived here: http://www.datasheetarchive.com/files/national/htm... (national semi, not the other one.) Or the ones "Things I Won't Work With"

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

(OP)
I picked up that book again. And, to my relief, the rest of it isn't at all as bad as the first two chapters. But "first impression stays". Bad luck, guys. Or too many bean counters around?

That current clamp measurement intrigues me. Has the author ever seen a CC? Or used one?

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
Half full - Half empty? I don't mind. It's what in it that counts.

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

Sorry, I think you're being a bit nitpicky on that one. By your description, it's a not a user manual for clamp-on probes, and the picture may be a composite that's attempting to present a couple of different operations in the same drawing, which was a partial failure.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

No, I can't think of any valid use of a clamp-on probe the way it is depicted there, unless one were using it as a crude caliper on unenergized conductors.... That depiction might give an unfamiliar user the idea that the jaws must be touching the conductor, and an open jaw split core CT is not only going to fail to give them a meaningful reading, it's potentially dangerous because the jaws will vibrate and may cause the user (if holding it) to over react around live conductors, or if left in place it may fall off and hit something else. So I'm with Gunnar on this one, that's not just sloppy, that's bordering on criminal negligence.

"You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals" -- Booker T. Washington

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

(OP)
Nitpicky, you say?

I am glad that Jeff corrected you. I may not have been as diplomatic as he is.

OK. If you don't know about current clamps - you surely know about Bode plots? Am I nitpicky when I ask you to consider this "masterpiece"? Licencia Poetica taken a bit too far. Don't you think?

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
Half full - Half empty? I don't mind. It's what in it that counts.

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

I do know and have used clamp-on probes and Bode plots. BUT, these are cartoons, without adequate context, I don't know who did them, why they were done that way, etc. Sure, it's definitely desirable that they be correct, but what are you trying to accomplish with the posting? Why not directly contact the author/company to get it fixed?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

Is it possible something was lost in translation? Also, not defending sloppy diagrams and meandering definitions in the glossary, but it can happen....

My own experience is similar to Jraef's, when I read a SRED form filled out by a "specialist" from our company's accountant, who had interviewed me about several development projects. In Canada, SRED (Scientific Research & Economic Development) is a corporate tax break. The application requires a summary of the development projects under way. He mixed up just about everything I said, and turned it all into so much gobbledygook I couldn't finish reading it in one try. He may have been convinced that the aircraft was going to fly with a row of open barbecue pits in its cabin. He calls me every year, now, and every year I explain more and more carefully what I do...

STF

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

(OP)
Sorry that you question my judgment and motifs to the point that I need to disclose the identity of the document. As I said, a dominating publishing company and a likewise dominating and influential measurement system company have joined forces to "educate" us EE:s.

The result is as shown in the examples given above. The text and the pictures are copied directly from the document No translation and no mistakes possible. I was thinking "Donald Trump has done this". He is also an expert on everything without caring much for facts.

More guys than me must have received this 50+ pages document. I was surprised that no-one recognised it. PM me and I will send you a copy. Or better, ask the publisher for a copy.

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
Half full - Half empty? I don't mind. It's what in it that counts.

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

Darn, I didn't mean it that way, Gunnar. I accept your evaluation, and was just exploring possible causes.
I never read "white paper" e-mails and usually unsubscribe when the spammers do get my address from somewhere.

STF

### RE: Why do large companies punish relatively innocent EE:s?

So, the text that references that figure says, "Instead it uses an accessory probe that clamps around the wire whose current is to be measured (Fig. 2.7)."

So, certainly sloppy editing, and you're welcome to give Lou Frenzel a piece of your mind, and mine, if you so choose. I'd be terrified of working with any engineer that doesn't recognize the figure as being problematic. If I were in the position to hire EEs, I might actually consider that passage a gateway test for new applicants.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

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