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MMD > Archives > July 1997 > 1997.07.10 > 05Prev  Next

Spider-web Damage to Electronic Circuits
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Twice in the past six months, I have been told by electronics
technicians that spiders (their webs) can cause a myriad of problems in
electronic equipment.  While I do not doubt their words, I am interested
to know if their explanations are accurate.

Their explanation is that the spiders weave their little webs around the
base of exposed transistors, effectively creating a path for electron
flow.  If the flow is great enough, it can change the way the transistor
(or IC) works.  The techs say that in extreme circumstances, the component
might simply short out or cause an overload in another part of the
circuitry.  What do you engineers say about this??

My impetus for writing stems not only for my desire to become more
educated but also my desire to advise owners of Pianocorder systems of
the potential problem of spider damage.  During the same six month period,
I have had three jobs on Pianocorder systems where the reason that the
unit quit working was directly related to spider webs and transistors.  So
be forewarned.  Keep the exposed circuitry clean.  It could save you lots
of buckos.

John A. Tuttle (

 [ The audio-frequency circuits in the Pianocorder tape player included
 [ many high-impedance discrete components, and that's exactly where
 [ the added conductance of a spider web could cause problems.
 [ Fortunately, most of the logic circuits in modern digital computers
 [ are more tolerant of bugs (!).  -- Robbie

(Message sent Thu 10 Jul 1997, 16:58:03 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Circuits, Damage, Electronic, Spider-web

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