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Wrecked a circuit board doing an institute project:Who should pay?

  1. May 23, 2014 #1
    I am doing a project in my institute, which happens to be compulsory for every student that takes the course. Unfortunately,while experimenting with some electronics, I fried a circuit board which costs around 9 euros/12 US dollars. How does student ethics fit into this scenario?
    It was clearly my fault but on the other-hand its a project which the institute will put to its own use in the end i.e I won't be owning anything after this is done.

    Should I pay for it or should I let the institute pay?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2014 #2


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    If you were told by the institute to work on that circuit board, then they should pay for it.

    Things break all the time, and ultimately it is up to whoever is in charge to decide who should work on what: if they let someone with not a lot of experience work with a certain piece of equipment they will (hopefully) realize that there is a relatively large chance that something will go wrong.
  4. May 23, 2014 #3


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    My take (not that it is substantially different from f95toli): if it is compulsory for every student taking the course, first fried board should be on the institute. You are learning, frying boards is a part of the learning curve. Just like breaking glass in chemistry labs.
  5. May 23, 2014 #4


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    IMO you already paid for it, as part of the fees for the course.

    If you deliberately ignored some safety instructions, or damaged some expensive equipment that you were not supposed to be using, that might be different, but frying a $9 board is just a learning experience. Don't worry about it. They way you learn how NOT to wreck a board that costs $9000 later on in your career is by wrecking a few cheap ones :smile:
  6. May 23, 2014 #5
    When I took chemistry I did break a piece of glass and they did send me the bill...
  7. May 23, 2014 #6
    Conscience cleared-up now. Guess one can't learn electronics without failures.
  8. May 23, 2014 #7


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    That is a little different, a circuit board is a throw-away item, every student gets a circuit board, fabricates some kind of device, it gets graded and then binned. It's heading for the bin anyway so what's one more.
  9. May 23, 2014 #8
    Where do you get that idea? The original post clearly states "its a project which the institute will put to its own use in the end" which does seem weird for a class project, but there it is.
  10. May 23, 2014 #9


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    It was the way Marella phrased it:

    It doesn't say "I am involved in a project" or "We are doing a project", it certainly sounds like individual projects. The only information that goes against this is at the end of the post, so one has had 20-30 seconds of taking this original meaning before anything comes to change it, and it is natural, because we have limited working memory, not to weigh the new evidence against the old because the old has been taken for granted, it is no longer in memory. The new evidence is that it is some kind of joint project but there is nothing really solid to fix that to, we don't know what kind of project it is, what the circumstances are.

    And the i.e. has the effect that what follows it is more important. So one focuses on that instead of what precedes it, it's in the same sentence. So put that together with what has been taken for granted and you come away with the memory that it's an individual project and Marella won't be owning anything afterwards, hence something to be thrown away.

    Call it psychology or whatever you like, it's a consequence of the odd grammar used in the first sentence.

    PS. I know you weren't really asking but I wanted to respond to it.
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  11. May 23, 2014 #10


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    When I took Chemistry, we paid a lab fee at the beginning of class. It covered 1 replacement of each piece of glassware that was issued the first day of class. Anything beyond that, we had to cover the cost of the broken piece(s).

    marellasunny, was there a lab fee for this class?

    Regardless, the policy should be clearly spelled out at the beginning of the class.
  12. May 25, 2014 #11
    No lisab,no lab fee.But,we do pay our college tuition fees.The policy was unfortunately not stated before the beginning of the project. My project is an individual one and the institute uses it like a building block for a much bigger one.

    I made a mistake in not being brave enough in asking what the policy was.This was the reason I was experimenting with the circuit so much and eventually fried it. But then,...the frying of the circuit opened-up new ideas.
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