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Some people think they can repair their scales themselves. This is generally a really bad idea. First of all, it definitively voids any warrantee they may have. Second, modern high-tech scales (such as our Gemscales) are made from static-sensitive electronic components. If the "repair" is done without thorough grounding of the scale, the soldering iron, and the technician, the semiconductors may be damaged. Static damage (caused by ESD or "electrostatic discharge") is insidious. Generally the damage is not visible. Strangely, its resulting trouble can appear months after it was created. If you don't believe me, check it out on the internet using the Google search engine.
Bell Labs has this to say in their article "Bell Labs Engineers Detect Invisible Microcircuit Killers":
As chips get smaller and more powerful, and as factory automation increases, the risk and cost of ESD damage increases. ESD damage can be insidious, not showing up for days, weeks, or months later, when the product is already in the consumer's hands.
ESD could be as short as one billionth of a second, and can be generated by jingling coins in your pocket or brushing your hair. It can be experienced by scuffing your shoes across a carpet, then touching a light switch or door knob. It also can be heard as a crackling sound while pulling wool socks from clothes clinging together in the clothes dryer. In its most dramatic form, the lightning in a thunderstorm is a massive electrostatic discharge.
These phenomena occur at levels of about 3,000 volts or more. At lower levels, ESD is not harmful to human beings, nor can it be felt, heard or seen. Yet it can still cause damage or destruction to electronic components, thereby affecting the operations of products that contain them. ESD can damage or disturb sensitive equipment and machines used in the manufacturing process. Radiation associated with ESD can also upset equipment while it is in operation.
Usually we will refuse to work on customers' scales exhibiting this sort of abuse, as we find that the results are not satisfactory for anyone. They should just be thrown in the landfill and replaced with new scales. Over the years, we have collected some juicy images of do-it-yourself electronics repairs. Here are some (Click for larger views):
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