According to the help center: https://electronics.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic

… if your question …

… is not about …

consumer electronics such as media players, cell phones or smart phones,

except when … modifying their electronics for other uses

… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

Why then am I getting my question about adding to the feature of a PCB rejected with

Questions on the use of electronic devices are off-topic as this site is intended specifically for questions on electronics design.

Does this only count if I am modifying a water heater for keeping glühwine warm and stirring it at the same time?

In this question Smarting up a water heater I am asking how to add some other sensors to this, modifying it to interface with other systems than those it was designed for. Is it really only on-topic if I was designing a new PCB for it?

  • \$\begingroup\$ You were asked for a schematic in the first comment left 10 minutes after posting your question. You didn't, hence nobody could help because it became apparent that indeed you were not in a position to be able to modify that controller board and had no schematic to help with any modification thus, the closure reason IMHO was perfectly valid. Sometimes you have to help yourself a little more and take note what commenters said. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Dec 15, 2021 at 19:24
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I’m voting to close this question because the OP (in the original closed question) should have followed up on the request for a schematic. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Dec 15, 2021 at 19:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The close was 2.5 hours after the question posted. That's a pretty intolerant window. We shouldn't expect someone to be tied to the site to see how the question is received. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2021 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman I would suggest that EE is a pretty responsive site. In fact getting feed-back after ten minutes on what details to add to the question is about average. So, we have something like a 10 minute response time. If I were posting a question, it would be that important to me that I'd be checking every ten minutes so, maybe somewhere there should be information that tells the OP to check back sooner. I mean they can get notifications on their phone if they wished - how problematic is that? \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Dec 19, 2021 at 14:31

2 Answers 2


While I'd generally agree with your position that the reason for closing your question doesn't seem to apply, I would nevertheless have instead voted to close it for being far to broad - I think the specific wording in the close-vote screen is something like "needs more focus".

You need to try to ask one specific question - SE is not the place for open-ended discussions.

Then when it comes to 'modification' questions, although I don't know if it's called out specifically in the help pages(s), there's also an expectation that the asker either has access to or is capable of working out the relevant parts of the schematic diagram of the device they want to modify and/or have the equipment necessary to intercept and analyze a communication protocol where there is one.

The way your question is presented it reads more-or-less as "I want to do X, but don't really have any idea how to do so. Please guide me" - and as I wrote above, that's IMO far too broad.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I accept that and agree It was too broad, I am dong some preparations and tests before trying to reformulate it, I just wanted to know If I would have to find another forum for it like hackaday instead of SE \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14, 2021 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jonas - Hi, I agree with the assessment from brhans. (a) FYI there are limited closure reason options, and usually only one is shown, even if the close voters chose different reasons (this happened in your case). So the displayed closure reason is sometimes only a limited guide as to the problem with the question. (b) Doing remote reverse-engineering (which seems to be a large part of your question) is rarely successful here, as the to-and-fro of clarification has to occur in comments / chat, can take a long time, and people run out of time / goodwill. Personally I would ask elsewhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Dec 14, 2021 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ So if I rephrase my question to reading the output of a sensor in to discrete circuits, it would be specific enough? (I will look elsewhere. I have already looked at reverseengineering.stackexchange.com as a possibility even though i doubt it \$\endgroup\$ Dec 15, 2021 at 9:39
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @JonasStumphStevnsvig rephrasing your question to be more specific would probably imo make it more on-topic. \$\endgroup\$
    – brhans
    Dec 16, 2021 at 19:20

The question was closed for the wrong reason. It is on-topic here, but should be closed because of the following problems:

the temperature is monitored by a 2-wire thermistor as far as I can tell...

I considered monitoring it in parallel, adding my own micro controller, and a 433MHz transmitter to be able to monitor the temperature, But I am worried that doing so will interfere with the measurement of the temperature.

It is not clear what you mean with monitoring in parallel, why you think this would interfere with the thermistor or how you plan to connect it. We don't even know if this is a PTC or NTC. A simple schematic would be helpful here. Also, it isn't clear if "it will interfere" means the temperature measurement or if you are talking about EMC and the 433MHz radio.

sends the same signal on to the main circuit board using PWM, but besides potential voltage differences, I can't figure out if that is feasible.

What main circuit board? It is unclear how many circuit boards there are, which ones you are modifying and which ones you are designing/adding. Also there is no way to determine if PWM is feasible with such little information given.

So overall the question should have been closed as unclear. It is also too broad, which is another reason for closure - open-ended big picture discussions are not suitable for these kind of Q&A sites. Questions should not ask for opinions, but specific technical solutions given a specific technical question.


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