Ever heard of Occam’s Razor? It basically a principle (in physics) that generally recommends, when faced with competing hypotheses that are equal in other respects, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions… a little deeper than the simplest explanation I guess. The point I wish to make is that we most often overlook the simplest thing when trying to solve a problem.
Once, I performed a simple service on a BMW… adjusting the valves. They were all within the manufacturer’s specs, so I basically checked them with a gauge, and replaced the valve cover. The car did not crank afterwards. I tore it apart and then replaced everything while tracing my steps, and it still would not fire up. My manager checked things out, and was a bit perplexed until he looked at the instrument panel only to find out that there was no gas in the tank.
The other day, I was dispatched on a service call to inspect a malfunctioning lift chair for an elderly couple. It was the second time that I had been to their home to take a look at this chair, and they were not pleased. The first time I went out, the culprit was a loose connection which I tightened up. This time, the chair had no power. I checked everything while listening to them tell me “We just want you to take it back. We don’t want this chair in our house.”
I checked everything out, and concluded that the power control box must be bad. After telling them I have never seen this part of the chair ever go bad, I told them that I would recommend an exchange on their behalf even though a part could be ordered. Upon leaving, I decided to just ask the customer if I could swap the plugs in the outlet to test the outlet out. Of course after I switched the plugs, the chair had power. The culprit here was the outlet. We found out that it was connected to a switch on the wall that the customer had flipped off. They never knew that the outlet was wired to a switch.
You’d think I would’ve learned my lesson years ago.