I am not sure if this is the right forum for my question, but I am unclear what the FAQ means by

it is not about

... consumer electronics such as media players, cell phones or smart phones, except when designing these products or hacking their electronics for other uses...

Here is my problem:

I opened up a hair drier because I wanted to remove the heating element, and I have some specific questions about which wires are doing what and how I can re-connect the right ones after removing the heating element.

I am not sure if this qualifies as 'hacking'.

Is such a question appropriate here?

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ how I wish we had more users that would actually ask "is this appropriate?" before asking. So maybe this question doesn't work, but I encourage thoughtful users like yourself to stick around. :) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 24, 2011 at 9:10

2 Answers 2


The site's title says "Electrical Engineering", there's nothing about "hacking" in it. The site's URL, OTOH, says "Electronics", and that's more appropriate. The site's title once was "Electronic Design" and that was the most to the point, but we had to change it for trademark reasons.
Anyway, we're doing Electronic Design™. In a strict sense a heating element in a hair drier and its wiring is electrical, not electronic, so no, I don't think it fits here.

We're dealing with electrons and such.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenh thank you for your answer. My confusion was due primarily to ignorance of the field, but I was unsure what the FAQ meant by: "(this site is not about): consumer electronics... except when ... hacking their electronics for other uses." so I have clarified this in the OP. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 24, 2011 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ When I first found this site, it was at chiphacker.com. I'm not sure when it was merged into its current incarnation, but that url still gets you here. \$\endgroup\$
    – captncraig
    Jul 27, 2011 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CMP it was brought over around October of 2010, by memory. It has been a bit now, forgive an error of +-2 months. Yes, I still normally type chiphacker.com to get here also. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Oct 2, 2011 at 12:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk - What, you have to type the URL? No shortcut on your bookmarks toolbar? \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Oct 2, 2011 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh, my browser actually opens a tab for chat and a tab for the main site. I also switched to chrome because it pings my desktop when someone messages me in chat. Helps me respond when someone has a question. I do still occasionally leave the tab doing something and fail to open a new tab, so I then type chiphacker.com \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Oct 2, 2011 at 13:45

I find it bizarre that a serious question that involves mains power, resistive heating (and the removing thereof) and driving a fan is considered as not suited to this forum.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Working on someone's drier is not classified as designing electronics, does that really seem bizarre to you? We cannot just include anything that includes electric power because it is electricity related. Look at other site divisions, Superuser and serverfault are good example, exact same subject matter, one is for professionals in the field, one is for consumers. Their takes are so different that being on one site they would constantly have issues with two valid answers from different perspectives. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Oct 2, 2011 at 13:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Resistive heating, mains power, and driving a fan are all on-topic problems. However, the context of taking a hair dryer apart and scavenging it is not a professional way to approach the problem. We don't want to be a site for just hacking stuff apart, we want to be a site for engineers, students, and budding engineers. Hacking a hair dryer may be one way to start down that path, but allowing that attitude to run rampant would result in a site which was uninteresting to experts. We don't want to be the Stack Exchange version of Instructables. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2011 at 12:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Understood - but fwiw - I'm a professional, using the formal meaning of the term, and hairdryers and parts thereof and their ilk are fair game for my test bench. But, again, understood. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon Mod
    Oct 3, 2011 at 14:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kevin Vermeer - speak for yourself. "We" don't necessarily share your elitist attitude at all. As far as I'm concerned, hackers and hacking related questions are absolutely welcome. \$\endgroup\$
    – mindcrime
    Dec 5, 2011 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RussellMcMahon, the number of questions we could include to get random parts for your bench is significant and not really productive in my opinion. I know guys whom have found great ways to get parts out of condemned buildings. The results of their search would definitively be on topic, as parts. Having questions about how to best get parts pulled out of walls in condemned buildings would not be. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Dec 5, 2011 at 21:14

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