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Browse Prior Art Database

Substitute/Equivalent Part Number and Service Message Control Function

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000037008D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-29
Document File: 3 page(s) / 45K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Dahl Black, W: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

As computer systems become more sophisticated in the area of self- diagnosis, automatic execution of diagnostics and analysis routines can identify a faulty part or FRU (field replaceable unit), and automatically dispatch service personnel to make the repair. The complete list of FRU part numbers is maintained within the computer system, and the analysis routines access this data base to identify the part number of the failing FRU. The FRU list (FRU table) is generated at time of manufacture, and is representative of all FRU part numbers actually installed in the system.

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Substitute/Equivalent Part Number and Service Message Control Function

As computer systems become more sophisticated in the area of self- diagnosis, automatic execution of diagnostics and analysis routines can identify a faulty part or FRU (field replaceable unit), and automatically dispatch service personnel to make the repair. The complete list of FRU part numbers is maintained within the computer system, and the analysis routines access this data base to identify the part number of the failing FRU. The FRU list (FRU table) is generated at time of manufacture, and is representative of all FRU part numbers actually installed in the system.

For on-site servicing, the failing FRU part number is included as part of the data on the system maintenance displays. For service personnel being dispatched from a distant location, the failing FRU part number is transmitted over a communication network to a display at the dispatch location. For IBM large systems in the U. S., this is the hand-held portable terminal provided to each service representative (SR).

Knowing the failing FRU part number, the SR must locate a replacement part, and if it is not stocked at the system location, he must order it or arrange to pick it up on his way to the customer account. The portable terminal provides the function to locate and place orders for parts.

A problem which exists today is that the SR receives no information regarding substitute or functionally equivalent parts which could be used instead of the actual failing FRU part number to make the repair. As a result, the failing FRU part number may be stocked at a distribution center four hours away, when actually a substitute part may be stocked on-site. This scenario could have extended the parts procurement time and, as a result, the system downtime.

This article describes a substitute/equivalent part number control function which provides visibility of all acceptable replacement part numbers for the failing FRU. The SR could then locate and obtain either the part, or its substitute, from the stocking location closest to the system site. Function is provided by a FRU addendum table which is maintained within the computer system (see the figure) and serves as a list of all substitute/equivalent part numbers for those parts listed in the FRU table.

The FRU table addendum concept of this invention provides for total flexibility in the use of substitute parts in systems at different EC levels. True "across the board" substitutes, which are not in any way code- or hardware-sensitive, would be in the addendum table of all systems. Equivalent parts, which may be sensitive to code or hardware support at defined System EC (SEC) levels, would only be in the addendum table of syst...