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General => General Chat => Topic started by: Joshua on October 12, 2011, 01:58:41 am

Title: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Joshua on October 12, 2011, 01:58:41 am

Warning: This is possibly my first forum rant, so it may not be up to the standard of the rants seen frequently here at the EEVblog.


<rant>


People never cease to amaze me on how incredibly stupid they can be. I am usually one to give people the benefit of the doubt. However, there are sometimes when you just wanna smack someone and knock some sense into them.


This is a different story. This product had to have been checked by multiple people, designed and reviewed by multiple people, and yet, they all collectively were utterly stupid. Take a look at this.


(http://i1140.photobucket.com/albums/n575/MrJoshuaUSA/ProductDesign.jpg)


Are you kidding me? Are you freaking kidding me??!!!  Take another look, the output adjustment knobs are laid out in a sensible fashion, 'A' on the left, then 'B' on the right. Perfect, that's how most people think, you know, in alphabetical order. Oh but wait, look at the outputs they control.           


You probably just laughed and got somewhat irritated when you saw that picture. What kind of a person does it take to think that its okay to 1) screw alphabetical order and put 'B' before 'A' and 2) Not put it in the same order as the actual adjustment knobs. It would be a completely different scenario if both the adjustment and the outputs were out of alphabetical order. The most I'd think of that would be' oh that's weird, I wonder why they did that...." But this just doesn't make any sense, that the outputs would not even be in the same order of the adjustment knobs!     >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(




Also, not only did the designer(s) say this is okay, but the managers, graphic artists who designed the panel, and reviewers of the product think that this was acceptable.


Now, if this is common industry practice then I take back all of my above statements, but surely no industry is dumb enough to think this is logical.


I think I will call BK Precision tomorrow and find out what the engineers were smoking when they designed this crap.


So, what do ya think, is it just me over-reacting, or did BK Precision really screw this thing up?
Joshua


</rant>
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Kiriakos-GR on October 12, 2011, 02:48:48 am
The only suggestion for you that comes in my mind are :

Never travel to England, you will find the steering wheel in the cars to be in the wrong place, and you will probably freak out ... LOL  :D
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: IanB on October 12, 2011, 03:06:41 am
If you are of a mind to like symmetry, then there is a nice symmetry between the adjustment knobs on the right and the output terminals on the left.

We also find the that the primary A channel elements are in the center and grouped together, with the lesser used B channel appearing to the outside and out of the way.

We also have the output terminals arranged A-B-fixed, which seems somehow neater than B-A-fixed.

I don't immediately find anything unpleasing about the layout.
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Psi on October 12, 2011, 03:47:10 am
That layout would annoy me too.

I'd probably open it up and swap around the terminals then re-label the front.
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: sonicj on October 12, 2011, 03:56:51 am
i don't know that it would trip me up or lead to a mistake but in general, i don't like it...

when i set up equipment with ins & outs, i always do it left to right; 1, 2, 3 or LR, LR, LR etc. it just makes more sense to my brain to keep things consistent like that. having the A output further away from the A adjustment makes it less likely to be in the way or get caught on a shirt sleeve when making adjustments to the A channel. this would feel more symmetrical to me as the A output to A adjustment distance is equal to the B output & B adjustment distance.

again, i don't think it would cause me any problems, but i wouldn't have done it that way if it were my choice. my 2ยข fwiw.
-sj
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Rufus on October 12, 2011, 04:19:37 am
I also consider it terrible.

I am reminded of the Ambra computer mouse (Ambra being a subsidiary IBM set up to make cheap PC clones in an attempt to compete with the other clone makers).  I tried and failed to find a picture on the web. The few lines devoted to Ambra on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMBRA_Computer_Corporation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMBRA_Computer_Corporation) include:

Quote
One notable aspect was the original Ambra mouse, which differed from almost all other designs in the position of its buttons. Conventional mice have the buttons on top: the user clicks by pressing down. The Ambra mouse had the buttons on the front, either side of the cable: the user clicked by pulling their finger backward, in a manner similar to squeezing a trigger. Criticisms led to Ambra changing to a more conventional design: one UK magazine review described the mouse as "looking like a torture device".

The design made it almost impossible to click a button without pulling the mouse backwards and so missing what you we trying to click. What were they (and there must have been several of them) thinking?

Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Kiriakos-GR on October 12, 2011, 04:26:14 am
I bet that the designers of it had a strong debate before they make their minds,
and probably did win the smarter one = highly practical design.

The A control buttons are next to the A output, this is practically helpful. 
The B output are one extra source =  not primary output = the A output is all ready busy = no way to plug the bananas in the wrong place if you need to use also the B output.

Totally correct design , and this is a small sacrifice so BK to maintain the low profile of the box.
By the way this must be a 10 to 15 years old unit, crying out to BK about it , does not sound as reasonable way of acting. 

 

 
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: EEVblog on October 12, 2011, 05:35:36 am
Yeah, I noticed that when I first looked at the photo.
I don't like it much either, it would probably annoy me too.
If they were forced into that by some layout issue or something, then colour coding could have helped.

Dave.
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Bored@Work on October 12, 2011, 06:27:43 am
Unfortunately, such things aren't uncommon for Chinese power supplies. Take the Instek GPS-4303 for example. http://www.us-instrument.com/objects/catalog/product/image/img1602.jpg (http://www.us-instrument.com/objects/catalog/product/image/img1602.jpg)

First thing they got wrong is the order of the amp and volt meters. From left to right it is amp meter, volt meter, amp meter volt meter. Not volt meter, amp meter, volt meter, amp meter.

Then they screwed up the channel numbering. From left to right it is  CH 4, CH 2, CH 1, CH 3. The main channels being CH 2 and CH 1 in the middle. The control knobs are hardly aligned below the meters. From left to right CH 4 volts (under the CH4/CH2 amp meter), CH 2 amps (in the middle between the CH4/CH2 amp and volt meter), CH 2 volts (almost right under the CH4/CH2 volt meter), CH1 amps (in the middle between the CH1/CH3 amp and volt meter), and the CH3 volts (right of the CH1/CH3 volt meter).

This layout, and the need to select the right channel to display, almost guarantees you are sooner or later adjusting the wrong channel or the wrong property.

And then they have the switches for serial, parallel and independent output. These are three operating modes, but they use two switches to select the mode. Two switches give four possible combinations. Three for the operating modes, one undefined and doing WTF. And since it is difficult to see which of the buttons is pressed it is easy getting the wrong mode.

All this fun for just 400+ Euros. Or you get it as the rebadged Iso-Tech IPS-4303.
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: IanB on October 12, 2011, 06:48:18 am
Unfortunately, such things aren't uncommon for Chinese power supplies. Take the Instek GPS-4303 for example.
OK, now that one really is a disaster. One just has to assume that no design was involved in the arrangement of that random assortment of controls.
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Mechatrommer on October 12, 2011, 07:16:04 am
how can you prove that is terrible? no human feeling here :D
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: vk6zgo on October 12, 2011, 09:54:26 am
I also consider it terrible.

I am reminded of the Ambra computer mouse (Ambra being a subsidiary IBM set up to make cheap PC clones in an attempt to compete with the other clone makers).  I tried and failed to find a picture on the web. The few lines devoted to Ambra on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMBRA_Computer_Corporation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMBRA_Computer_Corporation) include:

Quote
One notable aspect was the original Ambra mouse, which differed from almost all other designs in the position of its buttons. Conventional mice have the buttons on top: the user clicks by pressing down. The Ambra mouse had the buttons on the front, either side of the cable: the user clicked by pulling their finger backward, in a manner similar to squeezing a trigger. Criticisms led to Ambra changing to a more conventional design: one UK magazine review described the mouse as "looking like a torture device".

The design made it almost impossible to click a button without pulling the mouse backwards and so missing what you we trying to click. What were they (and there must have been several of them) thinking?
Then there was the MK11 Ford Zephyr,which AFAIK was the only car in which you locked the doors by pulling the locking buttons UP.
It was a good idea in a way,because it made it harder for the bogeyman to steal your car,but it freaked everyone out,nonetheless. ;D
VK6ZGO
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: tekfan on October 12, 2011, 11:52:06 am
Unfortunately, such things aren't uncommon for Chinese power supplies. Take the Instek GPS-4303 for example.
OK, now that one really is a disaster. One just has to assume that no design was involved in the arrangement of that random assortment of controls.

Well, at least the knobs that control a single channel are directly above (kind of) the outputs for the same channel.
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Excavatoree on October 12, 2011, 12:18:50 pm
One thing I do like about this design is the meters - a Voltmeter and Ammeter with a switch for A or B output.  My HP dual supply has two meters and two outputs, but each meter is switched between voltage and current.

With BK's design, you can see both for either channel.  If you are using one channel - you've got no problems, there's no switching needed.

With the HP design (and I admit it's old, maybe newer supplies are better) you must still switch, unless you can use the trick of setting channel b to track A, then setting B's meter for voltage, and A's for current.

Just a side thought.  It seems the problem is solved by modern LCD display supplies, with readouts for both items, on both channels.
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Conrad Hoffman on October 12, 2011, 01:55:33 pm
You're confused- that product is a huge improvement over one of their digital power supplies I use at work. It has a keypad and you have to hit shift and then some other key to turn the output on and off. The print by the keys is also nearly unreadable dark on dark. Rest assured that when your project starts smoking you'll never be able to find the right key combination to turn off the supply! (don't ask how I know this) IMHO, their stuff is designed by fools.
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: grenert on October 12, 2011, 02:10:47 pm
You're confused- that product is a huge improvement over one of their digital power supplies I use at work. It has a keypad and you have to hit shift and then some other key to turn the output on and off. The print by the keys is also nearly unreadable dark on dark. Rest assured that when your project starts smoking you'll never be able to find the right key combination to turn off the supply! (don't ask how I know this) IMHO, their stuff is designed by fools.

That sounds like this abomination (for those studying how NOT to do it):
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: vk6zgo on October 12, 2011, 02:47:50 pm
You're confused- that product is a huge improvement over one of their digital power supplies I use at work. It has a keypad and you have to hit shift and then some other key to turn the output on and off. The print by the keys is also nearly unreadable dark on dark. Rest assured that when your project starts smoking you'll never be able to find the right key combination to turn off the supply! (don't ask how I know this) IMHO, their stuff is designed by fools.

It's called a mains switch,& it's on the wall where the cord is plugged in! ;D

VK6ZGO
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Rufus on October 12, 2011, 03:16:22 pm

That sounds like this abomination (for those studying how NOT to do it):

That is a badged Manson power supply http://www.manson.com.hk/en/dcpowersupplies_detail.php?m=2&id=22 (http://www.manson.com.hk/en/dcpowersupplies_detail.php?m=2&id=22)
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on October 12, 2011, 04:05:08 pm
Here's another PSU layout fail I encountered.
They've shifted the +/- so far across the label  that + is nearest to the negative terminal!
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Conrad Hoffman on October 12, 2011, 09:18:35 pm
Grenert- you found it! That's exactly the one. I suspect it was designed by a committee, where none of the members had ever actually used a power supply. Also, there is no mains switch where I work. Best bet is to grab the cord and pull, though my mother taught me never to do this.
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: IanB on October 12, 2011, 10:03:41 pm
Best bet is to grab the cord and pull, though my mother taught me never to do this.
American plugs are designed to be pulled out by the cord; British ones, not so much...
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: SgtRock on October 14, 2011, 12:24:06 am
Dear Joshua:

--Excellent point you make. It is unclear to me whether they heated up ox bones till they cracked or threw the I Ching sticks in performing the augury that led to this labeling. But clearly the Tao and the Yin Yang involved. During the cultural revolution in China the young Maoists determined that red should mean go, and so changed all the traffic signals. They also killed all the cats to save food. After a plague of rats and traffic accidents, they repented.

--The Chinese have no monopoly on this kind of idiocy. Bill Gates sometimes thinks in a similar fashion. I.E. to shut down a windows computer first press start.

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein

Best Regards
Clear Ether
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: baljemmett on October 14, 2011, 11:34:31 am
--The Chinese have no monopoly on the kind of idiocy. Bill Gates sometimes thinks in a similar fashion. I.E. to shut down a windows computer first press start.

As explained by Raymond Chen (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2003/07/22/54559.aspx), who really ought to know seeing as he was on the team wot done it ;)
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: eliocor on October 14, 2011, 11:52:24 am
much more stupid than clicking on start to shutdown: eject the floppy/CD dragging it in the waste bin!!!
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Bored@Work on October 14, 2011, 04:34:05 pm
Master follow slave..

Wrong way round or?? In my opinion it sould be the other way.It has alway bugged me...

Must be the little brother of the GW Instek. Looks like the wrong way around thing is a family disease.
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: IanB on October 14, 2011, 04:54:25 pm
Master follow slave..

Wrong way round or?? In my opinion it sould be the other way.It has alway bugged me...
I certainly prefer it the way they have it. The primary output terminals and controls are on the lower right where most of my attention is focused, and where my right hand can most readily reach (sorry, lefties). The secondary output is at the lower left, in my "ignore" field.
Title: Re: TERRIBLE Product Design
Post by: Conrad Hoffman on October 14, 2011, 07:59:13 pm
IMHO, the classic test equipment products had it right. Look at the big boat anchor Tektronix scopes like the 545B and such. They had etched/engraved panels with colored fill. The labels couldn't come off and the controls were grouped together with a colored box around each channel. Lines would lead you to certain related functions. It's subtle, but a lot of thought went into those panels. Hewlett-Packard got it right most of the time too. Even if the layout was cluttered, it made some kind of electronic sense, and your fingers tended to go to the right knobs automatically. Ditto General Radio Corp. All those companies had exquisitely detailed manuals that explained not only how to use the instrument, the relevant equations for the type of work, the internal circuit overview and theory, the actual circuit operation and complete schematics that were large enough to fold out and read. Man, I sound like some old fart lamenting the loss of the past and claiming to have walked 5 miles uphill to school- both ways.