Around 7:40 this morning, I noticed the unmistakable smell of an electrical fire. It was our Indigo digital press, a several hundred thousand dollar piece of equipment. The pressman had already shut the thing down and was on the phone to get a technician out to our shop. The smell was so strong in the prep/data center room where I work that I considered stepping outside until they had the problem resolved.
"Smells just like a smoked power supply," I said.
After the tech had arrived and had a chance to check things out, I popped my head in to see how bad it was. It turned out he needed my help. It seems that Ray (our Indigo technician) can't smell very well. So, he put me to work, climbing all around the machine.
"Smell this," he said, pointing to different exhaust ports and fans. Then, he'd open a panel.
"Oh yeah? Smell this!" said I, letting rip a gigantic- er, no, that didn't happen.
But he did have me smell a bunch of stuff on the press, trying to find out which component had fried. After a few minutes, I narrowed it down to the cooling fans on a series of power supplies. It's too bad someone didn't suggest smoked power supplies in the first place!
Ray ended up going over the whole machine, but his final diagnosis was, you guessed it, the very power supplies my nose had singled out.
Now, I'm not saying anyone else couldn't have done it or that I have a super-nose or anything. Just that you don't get asked to do diagnostic sniffing that often, and when you do, it's kind of fun.