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Visual and odor indicators for identification of failed electronic components

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000239328D
Publication Date: 2014-Oct-30
Document File: 2 page(s) / 38K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a method to use odors and dyes to simplify the process of identifying, locating, and diagnosing failed components in a large-scale deployment.

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Visual and odor indicators for identification of failed electronic components

Electronic components often fail in ways that cannot be visually determined, requiring diagnostic routines, and/or specialized test equipment to identify the problem. It is currently not practical to diagnose component failures at scale due to the investment required to do so.

The novel contribution is a method to simplify the process of locating and diagnosing failed components in a large -scale deployment, such as a data center. The method improves operational efficiency for both identifying failed equipment and identifying the failure mode. In addition, it allows feedback for customization for future components. The main novelty is the use of odors and/or visual indicators to quickly identify and locate broken components.

A dye and/or scent is added to electronic components or circuits to provide feedback about failed modules . These indicators can provide locality for component failures within a row or rack, as well as quickly identify failed components and sub-components. Different odors and dies can be used to differentiate between components and failure modes .

Chemicals having a distinctive and strong odor are integrated into components that are known to fail. The chemicals can be automatically released when the component fails. The odors can be unique to assemblies and components to enable technicians to differentiate. For example, a vanilla odor may indicate a failed capacitor on a power supply, whereas a sulfur odor may indicate a failed voltage regulator. The odors can be used to help locate the failed components , and the overall odor of a datacenter could be used to determine its average health.

Dyes can be added to components to facilitate easy identification once the assembly is inspected , after it has been removed and is no longer powered. This deviates from traditional diagnostic panels that only work while power is applied, and only if the component's self-diagnostics are still functional. For example, a red dye could be added to fans to accelerate replacement time and outage periods.

A few possible mechanisms can be used for release of the chemical agents .

Heat-based release mechanism. Some components' failure modes include high-current failures that compromise the plastic case of the component, such as transistors, regulato...