I have calls that irritate me. That’s bad, because I take between 50 and 90 calls a day, and unlike my father, tend to stew a bit. A bad call in the morning can leave me short until lunch, and two bad calls can mess up the whole day, leaving me short with people who actually do have problems and both deserve and need help.  Hey, I’m human.

One of the ones that irritates me is the guy who already knows everything (so why exactly, are you calling for tech support?). But the ones that Quick Fry me to a Crackly Crunch (as opposed to Baked to a Delicate Crunch) are “experts”. We give tech support for free (over the phone, if you want me to show up in person, that’s possible, but it will cost you), so when someone who is charging the customer calls me for tech support, I got to think his client probably doesn’t think he is paying hourly rate for on the job training. Let me tell you about a call I got last week.

Got a call from an “Integrator” looking to put a new PLC control on a machine, but keep the older servo drives. From my days in System Integration, I know an “Integrator” can be anyone from an actual engineer with a degree and license to a kid out of High School with a bandit copy of PLC programing software. Most of my last days in Sys Int were cleaning up the messes of the later types. Anyway, the guy starts off telling me how great the PLC is that he is putting on here but how the customer wants to keep his antique drives and motors. How it is so going to bring him down to have to put his new stuff on, and then hook it up to these old and dirty things…

Oh, and how can he do that?

The drives he is talking about aren’t that old, and they have discrete inputs for triggering Motion Blocks. However, he needs to be able to move block commands from his shiny new touchscreen to the drives, through the PLC. Could I tell him how to do this?

So, now I know.

1. He has never done this before.

2 He doesn’t know how to set up serial communication functionality on the PLC, making him more the second type of Integrator than the first.

3. He knows nothing about Motion Control.

4. He doesn’t (and I asked) have a manual.

Fortunately, I can send him to a different place (corporate Tech Support) where they get paid for this.  But I got to wonder if the company that hired him did any vetting of him or his company first, just hired the first person that was recommended to them (yeah, my Cousin Vinny can help) or just picked him up off the street.

And yes, I was short the rest of the day…