Also known as "Technical Tap", "Ape Mechanics," "Fonzarelli Fix", "Spike Spiegel School Of Repair", or "Emergency Repair Procedure #1." This is a case of Truth in Television, as many people will often do this with malfunctioning machinery, frequently with mixed results.
A common variation involves a character, having tried every method they can think of to get something to work and after working for hours with no success, hits the malfunctioning device solely for the purpose of Percussive Therapy, only for the device to respond to the Percussive Maintenance and start working again.
Compare Percussive Therapy where a character hits things solely for their own emotional benefit, rather than the proper functioning of whatever they're hitting. Contrast Percussive Shutdown where the hit is intended to stop a thing from working. Compare and contrast Healing Shiv, a weapon or technique designed specifically to heal and repair things attacked by it. For use on life forms, see the Dope Slap, Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!, Face Palm, or Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off.
- This advertisement features a man running through a delightfully old-fashioned area (Kastelruth/Castelrotto, Italy) in order to fix a delightful old-fashioned mechanical clock as the townspeople wait. Unable to find fault with the machine, he attempts Percussive Maintenance in desperation (perhaps by accident), and the clock strikes three, allowing everyone to perform their scheduled activities on time.
- A recent ESPN ad features Landon Donovan with an acting-up copier. He kicks the copier...and it produces a yellow card. When he complains, it produces a red card!
- A promo for a GSN programming block called "Sunday Night Buzz" featured a woman in an office panicking over a malfunctioning copier. "It keeps jamming, what are we going to do?!" Cue a sarcastic man who suggests "Kick it?! [hits buzzer] We'll kick it!"
- A Capri Sun commercial features a kid who can fix anything this way while drinking their product. Including a locker that's not really broken — its owner simply didn't remove the lock after unlocking it.
- A broadband ad featuring Riley and her emotions has Anger take control when the internet flakes as Riley's doing homework, prompting her to attempt this on her modem.
- To quote Ran Kotobuki from one episode of Super Gals:
"Electronic goods can be fixed by banging on them!"
- City Hunter: Kaori is convinced that if a machine does not work, a punch (or a kick. Or a mallet blow) will fix it. And if it keeps malfunctioning, you are not hitting it hard enough.
- Digimon Adventure: Taichi did this a lot.
- Used with some success in the fifth episode when Taichi rescues Andromon from under a pile of gears by kicking the gears.
- Also attempted in the sixth episode, where Koushiro's computer is acting up. Typically, both Taichi and Agumon say that all it needs is a good whack and charge at Koushiro, who then moves out of the way causing Taichi and Agumon to Cross Counter one another.
- Subverted nicely in Our War Game, where Taichi hits his father's computer (the monitor, not the main system) when WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon on the internet slow down. The computer promptly does a BSOD... completely paralysing their Digimon.
- Digimon Tamers: In the English dub, Calumon is dismayed to discover the schoolyard shed had been padlocked (and later supplemented with even more locks) due to Calumon's nightly break-ins to steal and play with a blacktop marker. Calumon's response is the apply some "gentle persuasion" to break the locks.
- Spike Spiegel of Cowboy Bebop, from whom comes one of the alternate names of the trope, claims, "My ship works better when I kick it." His attempt to fix an antique Betamax player in the same fashion, however, does not turn out so well.
- Higurashi: When They Cry
- Rena "fixes" a sulking Mion the same way, saying it's how she fixes her TV.
- A more serious example occurs at the end of Meakashi-hen. Whereas Shion seems to gain some grip on everything that had happened as she fell, in the game, she hit a roof and landed there, and that was what allowed her to overcome her insanity... and then she decided to roll off that roof too.
- Another serious example is in Tsumihoroboshi-hen, when Rena takes the class hostage and started "fixing" Mion... while holding her cleaver blade facing the other way.
- A semi-serious example of either this or Dope Slap occurs in the manga version of Tatarigoroshi-hen, where Mion smacks Rena in the back of the head to get her out of one of her dark moods and/or get her to shut up about Oyashiro-sama's curse.
- Lupin III: The Columbus Files has Goemon doing this to the motorboat's engine.
- In the Mahoraba manga, Megumi tries to fix a gas stove like this, calling it the "Russian Repair Method", possibly as a Shout-Out to Armageddon. It blows up (comedically) in her face.
- One episode of Martian Successor Nadesico sees Ruri repair a malfunctioning Jovian communication device by walking up, saying, "Kick," and giving it a swift boot to the side. Particularly hilarious since this happens right after the resident Gadgeteer Genius has declared that he has no idea how to fix something as crazily advanced as a Subspace Ansible.
- In Darker Than Black, Hei apparently fixes his landlady's TV by hitting it with his hand. This is our first hint at what Hei is capable of.
- In Doraemon, this is the preferred method of television repair because Nobita's family is so poor (Nobita's mother even shows Doraemon the preferred angle at which to whack) until Doraemon uses a magic cloth to restore the television to shiny newness.
- Sola: Matsuri Shihou does this. But it is understandable because she is Really 700 Years Old.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
- In one Super Robot Wars manga, a character suggests "fixing" Tifa Adil's Demonic Possession problem with this. Garrod, obviously, isn't too happy at the start.
- During Mihoshi's introduction in Tenchi Muyo!, she stomps her foot to correct her cruiser when it starts acting up. It actually makes her look pretty cool before the rest of the episode establishes her as a complete bubblehead.
- In Zone of the Enders: Dolores, I, the title character, a Humongous Mecha Robot Girl, applies this to herself when she inexplicably throws a jealous fit after James recovers a female enemy pilot.
- Subverted in one episode of Yumeiro Pâtissière. Ichigo tries to fix an oven by karate-chopping it. The oven starts functioning... but explodes in less than fifteen seconds.
- In the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the members of Celestial Being try to get the titular Gundam's Twin Drive system to work, but never seem to get it to stable operation, even with the hypothesized 'best combination' of 0 Gundam's and Exia's GN Drives. Guess how Setsuna gets it to work when the mothership gets attacked a few minutes later.
- Used by Tamama in an episode of Sgt. Frog, where he fixes a machine with a rapid fire punch attack. It does take a few tries to find the attack that works, though.
- The whole premise of Hikkatsu is centered on this, where geomagnetic abnormalities have let to a complete technological breakdown, with various electronics, vehicles and appliances going berserk, and after his martial arts master is killed by a runaway construction vehicle, the main character tries to turn Percussive Maintenance into a martial art.
- Lucky Star: When a CRT television goes on the fritz, Miyuki mentions having heard of cases where banging on it helped. Konata, having heard of that too, tries it, and it works. When Hiyori tries it later on her frozen desktop computer, however, it goes completely dead.
- In A Certain Magical Index, Touma meets Mikoto for what he thinks is the first time when he just lost ¥2000 (roughly $20) to a juice vending machine. She gets her supply of beverages by kicking the shit out of the machine, tarnishing Tokiwadai's reputation for ever. She explains it with the mechanics having rusted due to age, he explains it with the constant application of violence. Then, to regain his lost money, she hacks the machine, bombarding them with cans.
- Tower of God features a little scene between Hwa Ryun and Koon, where Hwa gets juice out of a disperser he was having problems with by hitting it. She comments on how he didn't read enough manhwa and he tries to follow her suit. He hurts his hand.
- In the Big Finish Doctor Who story Shadow of Death, when the Doctor is trying to rewire an automatic door without success, the narrator says "In frustration, he smacked the controls with the palm of his hand", and we immediately hear the door opening sound effect.
- One of Michael Winslow's routines, he relates getting stuck with an old, worn-out "cruck" of obscure pedigree whose engine resolutely refuses to turn over until he gives the console a good solid kick.
- French comedy comics Isidore has a gag in which Isidore, a mechanic, is trying to watch soccer on his TV, but it keeps breaking. He repeatedly punches his TV, without any results. A client comes in with his car, asking for repairs; Isidore, still caught in the anger, punches the car, AND IT RESTARTS. The client leaves happy, but the TV still isn't working.
- Tech support according to Deadpool.
Deadpool: Once, my TV didn't work, so I kicked it. And it started working again.
- ElfQuest: The Rebels #3 page 19 and 20.
"All those years of school to learn where to hit it with a hammer."
- There was a Star Wars Expanded Universe comic where a frustrated and angsty Anakin Skywalker (is there any other kind?) fixed a small cleaning droid but it still wouldn't work, even when he took it apart and reassembled it. Enter Aayla Secura to give it a thump, getting it to activate, and tell him that he shouldn't ignore the simple things.
- In a The Transformers comic, a two-bit crook finds Megatron, whose cyboneural circuits have been knocked loose in an earlier issue. The result is that Megatron has no free will, and will simply do whatever anyone else tells him. The crook embarks on a crime spree, but when he goes to confront his old boss, he drops Megatron — conveniently reconnecting his circuits, allowing him to Take Over the World once again.
- One issue of Paperinik New Adventures features an old and obsolete Evronian cruiser whose antimatter alternator often makes an annoying noise until a giant-size technician uses the "standard procedure": a powerful punch. This is ultimately subverted: when the cruiser enters battle the alternator, damaged by too many hits, breaks down, crippling the ship.
- In the second DC Comics Star Trek series, picking up after Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the malfunctioning Captain's Log recorder from the film becomes a Running Gag for the first three issues, until Captain Kirk finally orders Scotty to fix it himself. Scotty examines the device for a few moments, before slamming it against the armrest of Kirk's chair.
- A 1970s comic strip titled Campus Clatter included one incident where the college's new computer was malfunctioning. The genius student and a professor discussed possible high-tech fixes, but an ordinary guy suggested it needed "a good swift kick!" and applied one. The computer began running perfectly — and printed out the words, "Thanks, I needed that!"
- In a 1960s installment of Our Boarding House, Major Hoople successfully repairs his old TV by using "the BSKK method: Bang, Slam, Kick, Kick."
- Averted and parodied in The Perishers. On a couple of occasions Wellington has attempted to fix Marlon's buggynote by hitting it with a hammer. This only ended up making things worse, due to the fact that Wellington would rather sell Marlon a new buggy than fix the old one.
- Lucy used this method to "fix" an invisible Snoopy (he was doing the "Cheshire Beagle trick"), saying that it's the same principle that fixes the picture on a television.
Lucy: This is going to work out great. My TV repairman bill is higher than my psychiatrist bill.
- An early Sunday strip has a young Lucy walking down the sidewalk holding a teddy bear with a music box mechanism. When it stops playing, she shakes it a bit, then swings it against a fire hydrant with a loud "WHAP!". It starts back up and she walks on.
- Lucy used this method to "fix" an invisible Snoopy (he was doing the "Cheshire Beagle trick"), saying that it's the same principle that fixes the picture on a television.
- During the Garfield in Paradise arc, Odie and the local mechanic are trying to get a classic car to start in order to drop it into a volcano to appease it. They try every repair job they can think of, until Odie, in a classic The Fonz style, hits the carburetor with a hammer...at which point the car roars to life and takes off.
- Ashes of the Past: In Chapter 1 (Chapter 2 if you count the Prologue), when Dexter fails to register Ho-Oh, Ash hits the machine with his hand to restore its memories. It registers Ho-Oh... and reports that it has data on pretty much all Pokémon in existence up to this point... and then reveals himself to have become a fully functional AI.
- Growing Up Kneazle:
[Ginny] enjoyed the car when it was working, but the invisibility booster had gone out for a good thirty minutes before either of them had noticed. A well-placed kick from Harry had started it up again; 'percussive maintenance' he called it.
- In a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction set after The Eye of Argon, Mike mentions how he snapped Crow out of his Heroic B.S.O.D. by repeatedly banging his head against the desk until he shut up.
- In Browncoat, Green Eyes Harry kicks a faulty generator and it starts right up.
- Happily Ever After:
Head chef: We'll be on time, Miss Delacour. We've had a few problems with the equipment, but it was nothing a few curses and kicks couldn't fix.
- In Harry Potter and the Hands of Apollo Harry tries to turn off a magical communicator by smacking it against a table after it startles him.
- In Who is June Potter? Snape's TV starts working after June kicks it.
- Kiki's Delivery Service does this with a Flying Broomstick. Kiki's about to launch off, it has a tough time starting, and she smacks it to get it going.
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Milo uses this method, in the form of an elaborate series of blows, to fix both the boiler at the Smithsonian and Mole's digging machine.
- At the beginning of Up, Carl is going downstairs on his Stair Lift, when it stops halfway down. One fist bump later, it's going again.
- In A Goofy Movie, Max and Goofy are visiting an incredibly lame opossum-centered Theme Park. The Chuck-e-Cheese-ish animatronic band gets stuck at one point (repeating the same phrase over and over like a stuck record), until an employee whacks the base with an elbow. All better.
- Happens in Toy Story 3: Apparently the best way to get your Buzz Lightyear back to normal after a hard reset is to drop a TV on his head.
- Heavy Metal segment "So Beautiful and So Dangerous". One of the aliens tries to open a compartment to obtain a bag of drugs. When pushing a button fails to do anything, he kicks it and it slides opens.
- Wreck-It Ralph:
- Fix-It Felix Jr. fixes everything — brick walls, the bars of a prison cell, his face, the shattered remnants of a go-cart made of cake and candy — by whacking them with his gold hammer. Note that the hammer only fixes. Felix is trying to break those prison bars, making them even stronger instead.
Felix: WHY DO I FIX EVERYTHING I TOUCH?!
- Calhoun frequently shakes and hits the motion-detector she's using to track Cy-Bugs, as it has trouble functioning through all the sweets that constitutes Sugar Rush's landscape. It doesn't do much good, though.
- Fix-It Felix Jr. fixes everything — brick walls, the bars of a prison cell, his face, the shattered remnants of a go-cart made of cake and candy — by whacking them with his gold hammer. Note that the hammer only fixes. Felix is trying to break those prison bars, making them even stronger instead.
- In Chicken Little, Runt hyperventilates and loses it after a vending machine won't accept his dollar to get a MacGuffin. He then proceeds to unleash absolute vandalism upon the machine with great gusto, which then gives up its soda pop.
Runt: What happened? I blacked out there for a second.
- In Zootopia, in the scene where Judy is trying to start the subway car, the car starts, begins to shut down only for Judy to bang on the console to restart it.
- One segment in The Gate to the Mind's Eye features a pair of disembodied eyes breaking their TV by jumping on the remote, which causes the TV to rapidly change the channel. In a cringe-inducing move, one eye floats up beside the TV and bodyslams it back into operation.
- Titan A.E.:
- A deleted scene that can be found on the special edition DVD features Korso trying to fix a beverage machine by kicking it. It doesn't work, so Cale steps in and fixes it.
Korso: She's a little bit twitchy. Hold on. [he kicks at the machine; no liquids come out of it]
Cale: Oh yeah, that's better.
- Within the movie proper, this is how the cockroach chef "fixes" the gravity device in the cafeteria.
- A deleted scene that can be found on the special edition DVD features Korso trying to fix a beverage machine by kicking it. It doesn't work, so Cale steps in and fixes it.
- Used by Peter Ustinov's character Jules in We're No Angels (1955). He opens a lockbox by meditating, then tapping it with the edge of his hand. So this may be Older Than They Think.
- The Longest Day:
Capt. Colin Maud: [walking up to a stalled vehicle] My old grandmother used to say, "Anything mechanical? Give it a good bash."
[hits hood with his swagger stick]
Capt. Colin Maud: Try it now.
Private Flanagan: That did it sir!
- Dick van Dyke's character in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang used this in the form of a kick on the Truly Scrumptious Doll's stand when she stopped rotating mid-song.
- Star Wars:
- Han Solo uses this method to fix a sputtering Millennium Falcon, in The Empire Strikes Back. Given the general state of the ship and Han's personality, it's a minor miracle that he only does this once.
- This was apparently an ad-lib by Harrison Ford when the lights on the Falcon prop failed to illuminate as expected. It would seem that hitting the prop actually did fix it.
- In the Expanded Universe, he does it often enough that he and Lando (the Falcon's previous owner and one of Han's best friends) refer to it as "Emergency Repair Procedure Number One".
- Inverted in one instance in Specter of the Past, where for once the Falcon is working fine until Chewie, manning the communications, gets mad at the guy on the other end and smashes the switch.
- A Shout-Out to Han's repair method is given in the film Fanboys.
- Director Irvin Kershner said it was an homage to The African Queen where Humphrey Bogart's character Charlie Alnutt beats the engine of his boat to get it to start it back up again.
- Han Solo uses this method to fix a sputtering Millennium Falcon, in The Empire Strikes Back. Given the general state of the ship and Han's personality, it's a minor miracle that he only does this once.
- Used in Aliens by head-smacking: "Drake, check your camera... [bash] that's better". The novelization expands this scene. Drake mentions that he learned that in training:
Drake: Only works if you bash the right side.
Hudson: What happens if you bash the left side?
Drake: Your head implodes.
[cue at least one marine trying to bash Hudson's helmet on the left side]
- Done in Armageddon, when the crew was stranded on an asteroid: The Russian cosmonaut fixed the ship by banging the engines with a wrench, possibly in a Shout-Out to Star Wars
Lev Andropov: This is how we fix problem in the Russian space station!
Lev Andropov; Components. American components, Russian Components, ALL MADE IN TAIWAN!
- Wolff, the Solo-wannabe from Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, calls this "Emergency Repair Procedure #1".
- Back to the Future:
- At the climax of the first movie, Marty can't get the DeLorean started until he despairingly hits his head against the steering wheel, at which point the car and its equipment spontaneously roar to life.
- Averted at the beginning of the movie, when Marty smacks the time circuits and they stay dead. Played straight in Back to the Future Part II, when Doc hits the time circuits to stop them from glitching.
- Ace Ventura also has to do this while his problematic car is under attack by an angry man.
- The title character of Judge Dredd uses this to get a Mark 4 Lawmaster (flying motorcycle) to work.
- Double Subverted in GoldenEye. After the car of the CIA agent transporting James Bond breaks, said agent tinkers with it, finally asking Bond for a hammer ("No, [not that one,] the sledge.") He leans over and lightly taps the engine with the gigantic hammer, then steps back and swings it full strength, making it run again. Joe Don Baker doesn't do subtlety.
- The Julie Andrews Movie Musical Thoroughly Modern Millie (as well as the The Musical adaptation for the stage) featured an old timey elevator that you had to tap-dance in to get started.
- Hudson Hawk. While Eddie is climbing on top of the Vatican he jostles a television aerial causing the Pope's TV set to have wavy lines. The Pope tries to get the set working by hitting it with his staff.
- At one point in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, a locker is opened by hitting it just right.
- The ship's boiler in The African Queen has to be kicked vigorously every morning to get started. Charlie explains that this is caused by a screwdriver stuck inside. He admits he could open the panel and remove it, but he leaves it in there because kicking it is kind of fun.
- In Commando, Cindy couldn't get the seaplane to start. Then John Matrix pounds the control panel.
Matrix: Come on you piece of shit, fly or die! [seaplane starts] Works every time.
- In Iron Eagle, Charles "Chappy" Sinclair turns his jukebox on by kicking it, and off by slapping it.
- In the Jackie Chan film First Strike, Jackie has to spend a night on the street and ends up in a window alcove on an apartment building. The homeless man in the next alcove advises him that hitting the wall hard enough will turn off the building's lights.
- At one point in Flight of the Intruder, the navigation computer in the protagonists' A-6 Intruder attack jet flakes out. Tiger Cole claims that the manual says to "kick the damn thing" to get it to start again. Justified in that the likely cause for that computer to fail is for the internal gyroscopes to get stuck, with the kick knocking them loose again.
- In the made-for-TV film Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers, the crew is trying to get an old Minbari ship ready for launch. The Captain (a human) suggests his Number Two and best friend (a Minbari) smack the console to get it working. The Minbari replies that this is barbaric and not a way to work with sensitive technology. Later, frustrated at being unable to get a screen working, he hits the console, and it immediately starts.
- Towards the end of TRON: Legacy, Kevin Flynn and Sam Flynn are sneaking around in Clu's "Rectifier" note . Quorra's been captured, so Sam goes to rescue her while Kevin steals a Light Fighter. There's a Brainwashed program standing guard, so Kevin sneaks up behind it and fiddles with its Identity Disc so it would allow him access. It doesn't work. Frustrated, he bops the program on the head. It works.
- Referenced in Minority Report. When John has Precog Agatha hooked up to a recording device to see her visions and sees one he saw before, he tells the techie he's shanghaied into helping him to "slow it down." He responds by asking, "Slow it down? What do you want me to do, whack her in the head?"
- In Splash, when the character played by Tom Hanks gets stranded on the boat, it doesn't start until he opens the casing and whacks it with a hammer. At which point it promptly fires up, lunges forward, and pitches him overboard.
- At the beginning of Jack Frost (the family version, not the serial killer version), Michael Keaton's character is going to a music gig with his band but then decides to go back to spend Christmas with is family. His best friend gives him his car. A snow storm starts, and the guy is trying to see where he is going. Then the windshield wipers stop working. This is when he tries Percussive Maintenance on the dash to try to get them working again, as his friend showed him before. Unfortunately, he loses sight of the road and drives off a cliff.
- And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird!: Max gives the robot Newman a whack on the head to fix a voice glitch.
- Red Planet: "No joy on all scenarios for engine ignition. That includes hitting the console."
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon: When Sam's car (not Bumblebee but some old "sad piece of shit") won't start, angry as he already is, his best resource is to open the hood and start kicking the engine frantically. It's a mix of this and Percussive Therapy.
- In the opening of WarGames one of the Air Force launch officers reports a warhead alarm on one of the missiles. The other officer tells him, "Tap it with your finger". He then taps the indicator light and it goes out, showing that the warhead was fine, it was just the alarm light was seated incorrectly.
- The first Mortadelo y Filemón live-action movie combines this with a Eureka Moment of all things. Dr. Bacterio has invented a device that he just can't get to work. He's sure that something is missing but doesn't know what. When his radio stops working, he hits it to get it going again. That's when he realizes what is missing: "Of course! Beatings!" He proceeds to beat the crap out of the device with his shoe, and it works! It's the only part of the movie that is even remotely funny, and the German dub completely ruins it because the joke went right past the translator.
- In Star Trek: First Contact, Geordi points out a red light on the second engine valve during Cochrane's historic warp flight. Cochrane flicks the offending light a couple times, then whacks the side of the panel. It stays on. Having failed to correct it, he just brushes it off as unimportant. Cochrane also successfully does this with a jukebox. Perhaps he's descended from the Fonz...
- In Jumpin' Jack Flash, whenever Whoopi Goldberg's computer terminal accidentally tunes into Russian TV signals, she gives it a whack to restore the terminal back to its normal functions.
- The X-Files: Fight the Future: Mulder can't get his drink out of a vending machine. At first he whacks as if he might fix it, but then he just shakes it angrily. There is actually a bomb hidden inside that unplugged machine.
- Oblivion: Jack does this to make the Bubble Ship restart when it gets struck by lightning the first time.
- In Star Trek Into Darkness, Kirk manages to realign the housing of the warp core by kicking it with both feet. This is actually a slightly more realistic example, as the goal in this case is to force the core back into position as opposed to banging on it until it works.
- In North West Frontier, the locomotive Empress of India has a tendency to suddenly and violently leak steam, which is corrected by Gupta hitting the offending pipe with a wrench. When Captain Scott tries the same thing, he's rewarded with a faceful of oil.
- In Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol the famous This Page Will Self-Destruct trope is spoofed by having Ethan's IMF briefing (hidden in a Russian public phone) fail to self destruct after five seconds. Ethan walks back and thumps the phone, which finally produces the expected puff of smoke.
- In Gravity, Sandra Bullock's character is in disbelief of the readings, so she taps one of the instruments of the Russian space station to make it show the correct oxygen level.
- Shears in The Bridge on the River Kwai is frustrated that the radio won't work, kicks it... and then it does.
- Innerspace underplays this one, but does so perfectly straight. During the startup checklist for the miniaturization pod, one of the status lights refuses to come on. Pilot Dennis Quad takes a moment to look annoyed before repeatedly whacking it with his finger until it finally comes on.
Dennis Quad: State of the art...
- In Thor: Ragnarok, the bracers that allow Valkyrie to remote-control the guns of her ship are acting up, and she has to slap her wrists a few times before they deign working.
- Subverted in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, where Ian Malcolm repeatedly attempts this with an uncooperative satellite phone, and Eddie Carr repeatedly tells him not to do this.
Eddie: Violence and technology... not good bedfellows!
- Old joke: A man can't get his car working, so he gets it into a repair shop. The repairmen turns over the engine a few times, then goes to his tool rack and grabs a hammer. He comes back, pops the hood, gives the engine one quick rap with the hammer, then turns the key and — presto! Engine works. The repairman then hands the owner his bill for $220, to which the owner responds "What!? $220 for hitting it once with a hammer?" The repairman responds, "Nope, hitting with the hammer is only $20. The other $200 is for knowing where to hit it."note
- In Larry Niven's Ringworld, Teela Brown activates her sky-cycle's emergency booster at a key moment by fainting and smashing her face on the control panel, thus saving her life. The emergency booster required several controls to be hit in a specific order, at least one of which was recessed and thus much harder to hit accidentally. The other characters take this as proof that she was literally Born Lucky (a plot point in the story).
- In Tom Holt's Odds and Gods, Thor manages to get a flying engine to work again merely by threatening to hit it with a hammer, which shows that even non-sentient machines know when to stop mucking about.
- Virgil Cole, a U.S. Navy bombardier in Stephen Coonts' Flight of the Intruder, uses the Fix to keep his A6 bomber's balky primitive computer in line.
- Lampshaded in Good Omens, in which one of the Bikers of the Apocalypse takes up the name "Things That Don't Work Even After You've Given Them A Good Thumping".
- Terry Pratchett again in the Discworld novel Hogfather, where Archchancellor Ridcully asks if the term "Reboot" means to kick the computer. Ridcully also gets surprisingly good results by threatening to hit HEX if it doesn't start doing what it's told, although this has more to do with HEX being at least partly sentient by this point than anything else.
- The short story At the Rialto by Connie Willis involves a group of Quantum Physicists at a convention. An overhead projector isn't working and one scientist explains that "it needs its fractal basin boundaries adjusted". She proceeds to whack it twice and it works.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, the protagonists manage to rent a car from a very, very low cost rental agency and proceed to fly to the moon (they were already in space and the car's a spaceship). Being a budget rental, everything goes wrong as they try to land. At one point the computer (which controls the rockets) fails. The husband hits it. No go. He hits it again. No go. His wife hits it nearly hard enough to crack the casing. It comes back on. (Briefly.)
- Julio Poertena from the Prince Roger series carries a big wrench which he uses to adjust the attitude of malfunctioning gear. The twist is that the "wrench trick" is actually better than the standard procedure for removing jammed powered armor.
- Artemis Fowl: The telescreen freezes, and Foaly goes to repair it. Julius hits it to make it go back on line, but that not only fails (with the narration making it clear that this almost never works) but he burns his hand because the screen gets hot after a time.
- Ciaphas Cain HERO OF THE IMPERIUM has a "Litany of Percussive Maintenance" that he picked up from the techpriests. He quickly chants it as he taps his binoculars whenever the image is getting fuzzy.
- Wet Desert: Tracking Down a Terrorist on the Colorado River: A worker tries to unjam the fifth spillway gate at Parker Dam by hammering it.
- The Fonz (pictured) on Happy Days, using this trope to get the jukebox to play free songs and as a way to fix some cars. This is, of course, to show how The Fonz can channel Rule of Cool like magic. To the point where he knows how and where to strike the jukebox to play whatever song he wanted. Lampshaded in one episode where he hits the brick wall of a building to turn the exterior light off. Richie Cunningham is stunned near-speechless, to which the Fonz simply explains, "It's a gift."
- Lampshaded by Dorian from Almost Human, season 1, episode 6, commenting on Kennex's thumping of a staticky radio.
- Blake's 7:
- Vila, generally noted for his lockpicking abilities, is trying to get out of a hatch that is stuck. He chooses this option instead in a fit of Hypocritical Humor.
Avon: [on vox] Use your delicate, skillful touch.
[Vila kicks the hatch open instead]
Vila: I used my delicate, skillful boot.
- In "Traitor", when Orac is being its usual stubborn self, Vila states that this is the only way to deal with solid-state circuitry.
- Vila, generally noted for his lockpicking abilities, is trying to get out of a hatch that is stuck. He chooses this option instead in a fit of Hypocritical Humor.
- The famed jukebox scene was subverted in an episode of Cheers when Cliff tries to fix the bar's broken jukebox by kicking it. It obviously doesn't work.
- Also used many times by the Doctor in Doctor Who, often on the TARDIS controls. Some notable instances:
- In "The Web of Fear", the Second Doctor has reprogrammed one of the Great Intelligences' spheres, but it doesn't respond until he whacks the bench it's on.
- In "The Three Doctors", the Second Doctor fixes a radio by whacking it against the TARDIS console.
- "State of Decay":
- The Doctor thumps a malfunctioning scanner in the rebels' base, and it starts working properly again. "Aha! Earth technology!" he remarks.
- Later on, he does this again to a console in a disused scout rocket to get it working again. He expressed admiration about Earth technology.
- The Fifth Doctor is particularly known for this, including a scene in which he needs to smack the console with his fist to get the doors to open after he has just overhauled the console and supposedly either fixed or upgraded everything that needed it.
- This is lampshaded in "The Visitation" when Adric and Nyssa are trying to fly the TARDIS on their own. After a few failed attempts at landing, Nyssa tells Adric to think what the Doctor would do. Adric thinks about it for a moment, pushes a few buttons, and thumps the console. It works.
- Toward the end of the 1996 telemovie, the Doctor uses the Fix on the TARDIS.
- The modern incarnation of the TARDIS actually has a hammer attached to the console with a chain for on-the-fly percussive maintenance.
The Doctor: Behave! *WHAM!*
- At one point in the new series, the Tenth Doctor attempts to kick the TARDIS back into working order. The exchange goes something like this:
Mickey: Did that work?
The Doctor: [defensively] Yes!
Mickey: Did it hurt?
The Doctor: Yes...
- Of course, the TARDIS is alive, so this might be a combination of Machine Empathy and Time-Lord technology. Or the TARDIS is just kinky.
- The Ood also do this in their debut episode. They approach the Doctor and Rose while menacingly repeating "We must feed...", then one of them irritatedly whacks his translator device and the output becomes: "We must feed... you, if you are hungry."
- Amy does this to a computer in the Silurian ark in "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" while pleading with the ancient system, "How about a picture, huh? Come on, for me?" [whack]
- In "Empress of Mars", the Doctor attempts to send out a distress signal, and the screen starts going hazy. He whaps it alongside the monitor, and then casually leans on the console to pretend it was his intention for it to go as smoothly as intended.
- The robot Kryten on Red Dwarf was known to do this to himself on occasion.
- In the Get Smart episode "Schwartz's Island", Siegfried does this to the secret technobabble machine by kicking it.
- When the crew of Babylon 5 finds on old Earth ship in the Season 2 ep "The Long Dark," Ivanova smacks a control panel to get the ship's systems running.
- In the Small Wonder pilot episode, Jamie fixes a malfunctioning Vicki by slapping her, remarking that it's how Ted fixes the stereo. In the third-season episode "Bank Hostages", Vicki herself performs this on an errant ATM: "That's how my father fixes me."
- Hogan's Heroes: "It's a German machine — all it understands is force!"
- In the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, O'Brien, trying to transport Odo back after a bit of sabotage on the Cardassian ship, is frustrated with the transporter not working. He kicks it — and Odo promptly materializes on the pad. It was the pilot and the Cardassians had left the station in a MESS. They were lucky that the transporter was even working. The novelization of the episode takes it a little further — his foot actually hit the control he was missing on the unfamiliar control panel.
- Lampshaded in a first season episode of Veronica Mars:
Troy: I'm kinda tired of this song. [smacks the jukebox, but nothing happens] I would have expected sex, had that worked.
Veronica: Had that worked, you would've gotten it.
- Lampshaded in Stargate SG-1. While trying to frantically repair the Odyssey before the ship comes under fire, Vala rams a power crystal into one of the slots despite the fact that it's not supposed to fit there. Vala then remarks that it almost never works.
- The second-season premiere of Dollhouse features a more futuristic version of this when Paul Ballard, trying to save Echo from capture by arms dealer Martin Klar, repeatedly punches the Active, hoping to coax out a personality that can defend itself. He eventually brings out the same fighter imprint that tried to ambush him in the previous season, and Echo manages to turn the tables on Martin and subdue him.
- Daisy and Onslow operate their TV this way on Keeping Up Appearances, even thumping it in certain spots to bring in the right channels.
- Elliott's sorority sister hits a Jukebox and after it turn on, she says "Hey, I'm the Fonz!"
- There was also an Imagine Spot in which J.D. fantasized about being the Fonz, and performing Percussive Maintenance on a patient in a coma.
- The Todd claims that he saved a dying patient by giving him a high five. "The Miracle Five!" Dr. Cox replies, "Great story. It begins with a fundamental lack of understanding about the human body and ends with you shattering some old guy's hand."
- The episode "Best in Faux", when Stark tells Carter the computer is malfunctioning:
Carter: Smack it.
Stark: Seriously? note
- Also the episode "Dr. Nobel". After managing to shut down the device that's been threatening global destruction, it seems to stop, then malfunctions and resumes the countdown. The scientist who built it spends a few seconds thinking, then kicks it. It stops... for a while, anyway.
- The episode "Best in Faux", when Stark tells Carter the computer is malfunctioning:
- This is how Al fixes Ziggy's handlink in Quantum Leap, so often it's practically a Character Tic. Although it sometimes does more bad than good. In the third-season episode "The Great Spontini", he actually manages to break the handlink, and is seen with a different model from that point forward.
- In Bottom, episode "Contest", Richie tries to fix some dodgy TV reception by waving his palm above the set and giving it a sharp smack, causing it to go off completely. Eddie quickly gets up and successfully fixes it with another smack. Richie, impressed, smacks it again causing the television to explode, throwing him to the floor.
- On The Sopranos, Paulie Walnuts deals with a recalcitrant DVD player with what his Army Signal Corps training referred to as a "brogan adjustment". It works about as well as you'd expect a Paulie Walnuts plan to work.
- On Mad Men, season 2 episode 13 on a television
- Referenced on Freaks and Geeks: Mr. Rosso catches Daniel Desario trying to set off the school fire alarm in the hallway:
Rosso: You think you're pretty cool, don't you, Daniel?
Desario: No, I don't think I'm cool.
Rosso: You don't think you're the Fonz or something? If a jukebox was broken, do you think you could hit it and it would start playing?
- In the episode "Namaste", Miles uses Percussive Maintenance on the Dharma security monitors.
- And in a later episode, a character slaps around an atomic bomb in order to get it to explode. This is presented as a good thing.
- In NewsRadio, this was electrician/maintenance guy Joe's go-to method for fixing nearly anything, including in one noteworthy case a nuclear power system.note Subverted neatly in the first season when he's "fixing" Dave's malfunctioning laptop: giving it a whack, he kills it.
Dave: Well, thanks, Fonzie. I think the screen did clear up for a moment right before it went blank.
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles:
- A car bomb resets Cameron back to killer mode. After chasing John and Sarah across the city, she winds up slammed between two trucks and pleads with John not to deactivate her because she's "fixed now". Of course, it's slightly more complicated than that... (It should be noted that there's a high possibility that she was lying when she said that she was fixed.)
- In another episode, when John tries to buy some "Let's" brand chips from a vending machine, it gets stuck. Cameron hits the machine in just the right spot to make it dispense several products at once and give John his money back.
- This is Gibbs' favorite method of fixing technology. Subverted in that he has broken a truly alarming number of computers and cell phones. Lampshaded when he gives his phone to Kate to fix and she merely drops it in the trash and replaces it with an identical phone from the stash she keeps in a desk drawer. This is also his favored method of fixing subordinates.
- Gibbs once gives a slap to Mr. Mass Spectrometer to stop it from growling. This time, it works. (Thankfully, he's doing this while Abby has her back turned.)
- Tony DiNozzo in a later episode is shown to use this method to score free candy from the machines in the break room.
- Ziva is seen doing this as well. Unlike Tony, she is actually applying this to a vending machine in a hospital where she has spent most of the episode. Upon seeing her do it, Tony remarks something along the lines of "you know you've been somewhere too long when you know how the machines work."
- Jeremy Clarkson's general attitude to car maintenance on Top Gear. During the Top Gear Ground Force special, May and Hammond assumed that Clarkson was going to use a hammer to get rid of weeds, since that's what he normally uses for fixing everything. He didn't. He got a shotgun instead.
- One episode features a particularly dodgy ship that only really works when the engines are thumped with a stick.
- A variation of this occurs when Aeryn awakens Pilot (one of the many organic components of a Living Ship) from a coma by pumping him with adrenaline and kicking him. With both feet.
- If a Luxan is bleeding and the color is inky-black, Percussive Maintenance must be performed on the wound until the blood turns to a clear color. Yes, an entire species whose first aid procedure consists of Percussive Maintenance. It's that kind of show.
- An episode of the Disney sitcom Hannah Montana has one of the characters, Oliver, have the nickname "Locker Man" because he is gifted with the talent of being able to open a stuck locker with a series of blows.
- Lexx's indestructible assassin Kai finally suffers serious damage — which he calls being "out of alignment" — when he jumps down to a planet from a spaceship in orbit. The solution? Make another jump and land on his other side. It takes a couple of tries, but it works.
- Warehouse 13:
- Claudia uses this method in one episode, and mentions it by name, in order to get the holographic display projector to work properly.
- Artie also resorts to this method whenever his computer decides not to cooperate.
- When the time machine breaks, this is the method they use to repair it.
H.G. Wells: Back in the old days when things didn't work...
- Referenced directly by name on Space Cases — Thelma kicks the engine, which has been making odd noises, and it resumes its more usual hum.
Thelma: Percussive maintenance. Works every time!
- Referenced again by name by Chloe on the eight season of 24.
- Mr. Bean attempts to use Percussive Maintenance in the episode "Mind The Baby, Mr. Bean" to cheat at one of those token pusher machines. It doesn't end well: As soon as he manages to get the machine to drop all the tokens, a kid comes along and nabs all the coins. Never mind that token pusher machines do not work that way.
- Power Rangers:
- Power Rangers Zeo has a visiting Cestro (the Blue Aquitar Ranger, The Smart Guy, basically the Alien Rangers' Expy of Billy and so often working alongside Billy. Like Billy, his solutions usually involve lots of techie-sounding made-up words) make something in the command center work by banging his fist on it, causing a shower of sparks to erupt. He says "there, it's fixed!" It works.
- In one episode of Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, "It's Hammer Time", after Pink Ranger and Techno Wizard Rose fails by using her own methods, Yellow Ranger Ronny does this to fix the main computer. It works.
- Power Rangers RPM:
- In the second episode, Dillon and Ziggy notice a bunch of Grinders setting up a weapon to attack the Yellow Ranger's zord. Dillon tries to start his car, but can't because it's out of fuel. A hard whack on the steering wheel later and he gets it going again, running on the fumes.
- One-upped later on during the Road Attack Zord's debut. It's out of control, but Flynn says to hit it; he designed the thing to shut down from a solid smack to the center.
- In Power Rangers Samurai, the method for clearing jams in the Lightzord's disk launcher system is to smack the Lightzord in the butt.
- Bob Barker was fond of kicking and/or slapping stuck set pieces on The Price Is Right. The pricing game Squeeze Play was the most common victim.
- On Saved by the Bell, AC Slater could use this to make lockers open.
- In one episode of MacGyver (1985), starting a car this way becomes a Running Gag.
- Parodied on Brass Eye, where viewers were advised by unwitting celebrity guests to bang on electricity wires with large hammers to stop the north of Britain from being catapulted into Finland.
- In a direct reference to the Fonz, Marshall from How I Met Your Mother is shown to have done this, as one of the many ways he's "beaten the machine."
He triumphed over Pitfall, he vanquished the alarm, he brought the jukebox back to life with his Fonzarelli arm!
- In Pixelface, Romford's hard reset function involves picking him up and dropping him. Possibly a Shout-Out to the Apple Computers example described in the Real Life section.
- Trapper is writing a letter home in the Officer's Club, and the jukebox started to skip. He tries a Fonz-style repair, but all it does is jostle the needle off of the record altogether.
- Also attempted by Hawkeye on a jeep, as he said he once had a car that "only understood a swift kick in the radiator".
- A Britcom called The Big One had a running gag about a fridge that would only open if you punched it twice, kicked it once and yelled "Bastard!".
- A Moody Christmas. In one episode when Dan's brother is fixing an aircon at a customer's house, a kid at the house trys to get a playstation control to work by hitting it.
- In one episode of Taxi, Louie demonstrates this twice when the other cabbies try to unclock a brief case belonging to a big shot who rode in Bobby's cab. Louie first opens it with a punch only to close it shut right away so he can charge the cabbies for his service, and then opens it again just by pointing at it.
- In the unsold game show pilot Cop Out, one of the taped episodes had the answer display malfunction. After everyone else left, creator Chuck Barris kicked the display and despite fracturing his toe, it finally worked.
- Played for Laughs in Daredevil. In an early episode, the office Wi-Fi at Nelson & Murdock is acting up, frustrating Matt and Foggy as they try to research case law. To fix it, Karen smacks the router a few times, which gets the connection working again.
- During Steam Powered Giraffe's live shows, there's a segment where the robots all get knocked into "Japanese setting", requiring the Walter Workers to do a "hard reboot" on them. When they get to Rabbit, she starts dancing until one of the Walter Workers hits her in the head with a wrench. Then she's fine.
- In the beginning of the clip for "Derezzed", one of the Daft Punk kicks the Derezzed video game cabinet to make it start.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic faces this in the video clip for "Like a Surgeon". He (a hospital intern) visits a patient who is flatlining. He thumps the heart monitor a few times, thinking it is at fault. When that fails, he tries the same on the patient — it works.
- This video uses instances of percussive maintenance to provide actual percussion for the music. It also happens to contain clips from a number of the examples on this page.
- On an early episode of Sesame Street, a Dalek-like robot named S.A.M. (standing for Super Automatic Machine, of course) arrives on Sesame Street (he meant to go to Mulberry Street), asserting repeatedly that "machines never make mistakes; machines are perfect — are perfect — are perfect." The humans have to thump him hard to make him stop repeating the phrase, for which he thanks them.
- This is used a number of times on The Basil Brush Show, usually without success.
- In Time Lord, a Doctor Who tie-in RPG released in the 1990s, it was possible to equip characters with this ability (called "Bench-Thumping" in the game).
- In Rifts, this is an ability of some of the mystically-endowed-mechanic-type classes, like Techno Wizards and Operators, under the punny name "Guerrilla Repairs".
- In the Old World of Darkness game Changeling: The Dreaming, Nockers had the ability to fix machines by smacking and/or threatening them.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- The game gave us the (in)famous "Ritual Slap on the Left".
- And because of the peculiar nature of Ork technology, this method is the normal means of fixing most broken (or in many cases, perfectly functional) Ork machines.
- Dark Heresy has it as a talent to unjam weapons. The Technical Knock is a swift prayer to the Omnissiah, and a swift smack to the jammed weapon. And it always works.
- There's also the "Rite of Ignition", an ancient tradition of Forge World labourers. This is "a form of prayer to the Machine Spirit that involves striking the object in question several times". This is seldom used in the presence of actual Tech-Priests.
- In Storm of Iron it's implied the "Chant of Awakening" consists of nothing more than swearing at the unresponsive device while pounding on the buttons.
- The rulebook appendices also note that a standard Mechanicus ritual for particularly old and revered machinery involves "a rhythmic striking with a special metal tool"
- In GURPS 4e if cinematic rules are in effect and the GM allows, it is possible to do this at a big penalty if the kicker is sufficiently skilled.
- In Iron Kingdoms d20 setting, the Bodger class has this as one of their main class features. At higher levels, they can even do this at range ("Toss a Hammer At It").
- In Spycraft 2.0, the Wheelman class gains the "Manual Adjustment" ability, letting them use this, depending on their level, to automatically succeed at most Mechanics, Electronics, and Security skill checks, should the initial skill roll fail.
- Iron Crown Enterprise's Cyberspace. One entry in the Equipment Mishandling Chart said "A sharp slap and the item begins to function normally again."
- The D20 system also gives us the "Guerilla Repair" ability, which allows the user to keep a malfunctioning weapon firing a few turns yet through anything from this trope to verbally reprimanding it.
- Starblazer Adventures, based on the 1980's British science fiction Comic Book.
- The "Thump of Restoration" stunt (under Engineering) and an Engineering roll will cause any device that isn't working to start working again. However the device only works for a limited period of time: the better your roll, the longer it works.
- The "Just Hit It" stunt works exactly the same way, but specifically for starship engineering.
- Murphy's World. Brownies have an Excellent Sense for Things Mechanical. It allows them to get just about anything working with a well-applied kick or thump.
- Probably one of the first instances of this in a role-playing game: in Fez V: Wizard's Betrayal the "Final Engineer's Test" is performed during the introductory scene — in this adventure it works somewhat like an exposition. Of course, this comes back later in the adventure — a newly built machine doesn't work until one of the players performs the "Final Engineer's Test" on it to get it running.
- Dungeons & Dragons: The Complete Scoundrel sourcebook includes the skill trick "Opening Tap". It gives a rogue a chance to open a lock without any tools, just by tapping it with a hard, blunt object.
- In The Time of Your Life, Nick tells Willie to fix the pinball machine when the flag is stuck by giving it a whack. This causes the flag to go up and down repeatedly before it rights itself.
- In Half-Life 2, due to an oversight, the player is never shown inserting new magazines into their SMG. They just slap the bottom of the gun and magically reload it.
- Team Fortress 2:
- The Engineer fixes and upgrades his machines by hitting them with his wrench. Just as good: If you hit an enemy or enemy machine with this wrench? Head trauma or a damaged building respectively.
- The game's "manual" [PDF] (as accessed online) is actually a manual on the Sentry, an automatic gun. The directions included for upgrading and setting up a sentry are all elaborate synonyms of "hit it with your wrench".
- Even better: In the game's predecessor, The Medic can heal teammates with his axe. This is carried onto the sequel with the Crussader's Crossbow for the Medic- shoot it at enemies, it hurts them. Shoot it at your teammates, and that bolt lodged in their heads heals them.
- Similarly, the Engineer could heal teammates' armor by hitting them with his wrench.
- Made even better with the Gunslinger. A robotic hand added as an alternative to the wrench in the new engineer update, it lets you repair your buildings by punching them.
- The Battlefield series toys with this trope somewhat.
- The Engineer in each game in the series is usually equipped with some kind of tool or device that allows them to repair vehicles as long as said tool is in contact with said vehicle.
- Battlefield: Bad Company has a Drill. Yes, you drill health into tanks and jeeps. As long as you know the drill. (It's really more of a battery-powered socket drill, but that doesn't change the fact that you repair things by grinding them with the drill)
- In Far Cry 2, you have weapons that constantly jam. Part of the unjamming process can include beating the crap out of your gun to unjam it. Such ways include whacking the side of your stove-piped shotgun, slamming the lid down of your LMG, or tapping (hardly) on the slide of your jammed pistol.
- Devil May Cry:
- Devil May Cry 3 features Percussive Maintenance in its most basic form, with Dante punching a jukebox to get it to play ("This party is gettin' crazy!"). Destroying a jukebox in Mission 3 will inexplicably incite it to play a few notes (a remix of the combat theme from DMC 1).
- Also from DMC 3's fifth mission, when Dante used an ornate trident to trigger a switch. It didn't work. Guess what he did? He kicked the device, and it worked.
- Similarly, in Devil May Cry 4, Nero finds that the controls for lowering a drawbridge refuse to operate. He walks away in frustration... and then whirls around and shoots the uncooperative console. It sparks and then explodes, after which the red light turns to green and the drawbridge lowers (It should probably be noted that he looked pretty surprised when this happened, suggesting that the shooting of the controls wasn't deliberate Percussive Maintenance so much as him venting the aformentioned frustration). Dante once gets into trouble hitting the jukebox; he hit it a little too hard, as he punched it with enough force that the metal on the jukebox bent inwards from the impact, leaving his fist in a crater that he just made.
- Inverted in Wing Commander IV, during the cutscene where Pliers (ship's mechanic) has found a disc of unknown purpose in a captured Dragon (to the characters, that is — the players know it as a Flash-pak, a bomb capable of burning out a entire capital ship if it hits ANYWHERE on the hull). He doesn't know what it is, so he drops it on the deck, while everyone around him dives for cover — when it doesn't explode, he then picks it up, states that that's apparently not how it works, and resigns himself to some actual work.
- An FMV cutscene during a mission of the second Crusader game has Denning doing this, with the upgrade of the power outage apparently affecting the entire base.
- In one scene in Army of Two, either Salem or Rios is trying to get into a room containing a circuit breaker needed to activate a monorail. When trying to flick the switch to open the breaker room, it doesn't work, even with a few hammer blows from the contractor's fist. It isn't until he headbutts the switchbox that the door opens.
- Final Fantasy:
- In Final Fantasy X, Tidus hits a piece of ancient machinery repeatedly to get it working, even though his teammate is far more efficient with machinery. (As a Funny Background Event, you can see said teammate Face Palm.)
- In Final Fantasy X-2, the commsphere that Shinra threw into the Farplane Abyss malfunctions and won't connect. Leblanc whacks Shinra's control panel with her fan-weapon and suddenly it connects.
- Another example in Final Fantasy VIII. Zell does try to fix a machine the traditional way, but eventually gives it a kick out of frustration. The machine works fine afterwards. Zell's example is somewhat of a subversion though, as while it will does fix the machine and open the door to the dungeon, it also forces you to fight a series of tedious and difficult monster battles. While if you go about the slightly more tedious way of acquiring enough points to open the door normally, you can chose whether or not to fight the monsters.
- In the same game, Selphie shuts off the power to the missile base by slamming a control panel repeatedly. (This was the intended result)
- In Final Fantasy VII there is a malfunctioning vending machine in the break room of the Shinra building. If you try to hit it, the lady present will stop you. But if you return here during the "Raid on Midgar" event much later in the game, the lady is gone and you can bash the machine for a strength source.
- In Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon, the barkeep turns his jukebox on by kicking it, then tells Chocobo that changing audio tracks is done the same way.
- Shadow the Hedgehog:
- Shadow manages to not only bypass Eggman's security systems, but to bodily enter cyberspace by karate chopping a computer terminal.
- Charmy also does this later in the game to load up an old recording by Prof. Gerald that gets promptly broadcasted on any monitor on Earth. Interestingly, in both instances, Espio tried to conventionally hack into a database of some sort with little success.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II has Section trying and failing to fix a CLAW drone. Frustrated, Harper kicks it, and it immediately starts mowing down every bad guy in sight.
- Makai Kingdom gives us the Wrench weapon, which can repair vehicles with the Tech Bash skill.
- In Wild Arms 2, using Brad's kick ability on a malfunctioning computer terminal in the prison level makes it work again, giving you access to a room with a few bonus stat boosters.
- In Warhawk, this trope is literally played straight: A few whacks from a wrench will repair vehicles and defenses.
- Ratchet & Clank:
- In Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Big Bad robot Mad Scientist Dr. Nefarious has a habit of having screaming outbursts that make his circuitry overload causing him to freeze in place and broadcast a random soap opera. The problem is easily solved by someone (usually Lawrence) whacking Nefarious in the head (an act that Lawrence calls "the best part of (his) day"), after which Nefarious proceeds as if nothing had happened.
- Also makes a brief appearance in the first game, when Ratchet repairs a drill by whacking it with a fist.
- In Jak II: Renegade, during the first Pump Station mission, Daxter attempts to steal Jak's glory by turning the pump's main valve. Sadly, the valve is not only too heavy for Daxter to even MOVE, it's completely STUCK! So Jak fixes the problem by hitting the pipe, which instantly unsticks the valve...and promptly sucks Daxter on a ride through the pipes!
- In RollerCoaster Tycoon, mechanics fix broken down shops by kicking them.
- In LEGO Indiana Jones, one of the random animations when using a wrench to fix something is hitting it with the wrench.
- The Sims:
- In The Sims 3 you can "upgrade" appliances by... hitting them with hammers. And let's not forget fixing broken appliances by poking them with a screwdriver. If only...
- This also happened in The Sims social network app, where the Sim repaired anything that's broken by hitting them with a wrench.
- Metal Slug:
- Happens near the end of Metal Slug 3, when the player has to escape from the alien mothership. The formerly kidnapped member pushes some keys on a console/computer and then gives it a kick, and only then the hatch opens to release them.
- In Metal Slug 7/XX onwards, one of Tarma's unique abilities is the Slug Kick, i.e. kicking mechanical Slugs with a chance of restoring their health. Sometimes the Slug Kick averts this trope, however, damaging the vehicle instead.
- A futuristic stage in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage/Gateway to Glimmer has a maintenance droid suggest you do just that in order to get various broken-down mechanics working again.
Maintenance Droid: I always say, there's no repair quite like hitting something.
- You can play Savage: The Battle for Newerth entirely with melee if you want to. It's probably done to keep things simple. Building, repairing structures, mining and claiming spawn flags are all done with melee. The people at newerth.com at some point said they were thinking about adding different animations for the different actions depending on what you're aiming at but they never got around to adding it.
- In the Super Nintendo beat-em-up game The Peace Keepers, in one level your hero finds that the bad guys have rigged the plane you're on to crash. The only way to prevent it from crashing is to completely destroy all the control consoles so the autopilot kicks in.
- In the Commodore 64 game Super Pipeline and its sequel, your helpers fix leaky pipes by hitting the pipes with their hammers.
- In the introductory cutscene for Donkey Kong 64, King K. Rool's shiny new gun is being readied by his idiot mook Kremlings. It starts to power down for no discernable reason, so one of the Kremlings gives it a nice head-butt, which causes it to power back up again.
- In Zork: The Undiscovered Underground, the player's lantern has been through "several cycles of impact revitalisation", and needs to be given at least one more.
- The iPhone app Vending Machine Champ.
- In Space Quest V: The Next Mutation, the SCS Eureka's Chief (and only) Engineer Cliffy (that's "Clifford" to you) fixes things by first actually tightening something, then whacking away at them with a wrench or kicking them. Given that the entire Space Quest verse runs on the Rule of Funny, this makes total sense. (He's actually an incredibly competent engineer, rebuilding a destroyed droid and integrating an incompatible piece of tech into the SCS Eureka without any problem)
- In the 3D games, a common jam animation involves the player character whacking the malfunctioning weapon. Actually a part of the drill for clearing a jam on many military rifles.
- In the Alien DLC, the jam animation on the alien laser rifle (while in first-person view) doesn't show the replacement of any cartridges or batteries. In short, it seems as if you reloaded the gun by just whacking it a few times.
- A quarry foreman in Fallout: New Vegas also references this if you ask him about the machinery he uses.
"It's Pre-War tech, so you need to thump it once in awhile to keep it running."
- Dead Money has a console that can activate some security turrets to help you deal with the Final Boss of the DLC, provided you can pass one of two skill check. One requires you to have sufficient Repair. The other needs you to simply bash it in, and requires a high Unarmed skill.
- Fallout 2 gives you this option when you're trying to get the Vault 13 computer to work. "Kick the computer in that special way"
- Portal 2: Wheatley seems to take this method of hacking. For example, he attempts a "manual override" on a wall, by slamming Chell's relaxation chamber into it. Later on, he "hacks" a door by slamming himself into the window to break it.
- In Batman: Arkham Asylum, there's a part where Batman needs to use a control panel to turn on a ventilation system. Instead of approaching it and using it manually, he throws a batarang, effectively destroying the panel. The ventilation system turns on as if Batman had used the panel properly.
- The scene mentioned above from Martian Successor Nadesico also occurs in Super Robot Wars Judgment, only with even MORE Mad Scientists and Gadgeteer Geniuses standing around with no idea on how to deal with the malfunctioning Hyperspace Communicator before Ruri applies some Percussive Maintenance, stunning everyone when it actually WORKS...
- Mega Man Powered Up: If the protagonist destroys Dr. Wily's combat machine on Normal or Hard, Wily rebuilds it — and makes it fly — by hitting parts of the cockpit with a hammer several times.
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations:
- Ezio solves a Clock Punk puzzle that has been under water and presumably has some gunk in the gears. It grinds to a halt, and he kicks it to get it moving again.
- In one of Ezio's kill animations with the hidden blades, one of the blades fails to extend properly at first and he smacks its sheath against his victim's head a couple of times to get it to extend.
- In the reboot of Syndicate, Agent Kilo's DART 6 chip is activated by a Mook punching him, this actually Makes Sense In Context as the opening sequence says it is fueled by adrenaline.
- In Mass Effect 3 there are a couple of sections where Shepard needs to send one of his squadmates off to hack an important device. If you send James to do it, however, the game makes it clear he's not the techy type by having him kick the thing. Repeatedly.
- During the Chop Shop level of The Punisher video game, you can hear one thug struggling with a pop machine that won't give him his soda. Another guy tells him "Stop beating on it dumbass, it don't hardly work as it is!", leading to this hilarious burn, "You don't work either, but beating you gets results."
- In Crystal Story, after Hiro is knocked out by Rita with a single slap, the following conversation takes place between the Mercenary Inc members:
- Limbo of the Lost requires the player to open a pipe by whacking the valve... WITH THOR'S HAMMER.
- The Rockmen in FTL: Faster Than Light take this approach to repair, judging by their animation. They get no penalties for this. They're also immune to fire, so put out fires in your ship by stamping on them.
- Tales Series:
- In Garry's Mod, the easiest way to fix a spazzing contraption (when the physics engine breaks and sends everything spinning around wildly out of control) is to pull out the Physgun, grab the contraption, and repeatedly smash it against the nearest wall until it stops spazzing. Unfortunately, delicate player-made mechanical objects (such as guns and engines) require much more finesse to fix - performing Percussive Maintenance on these will usually make the problem worse.
- The Alien vs. Predator video games often require you to operate electronic equipment and computers to proceed. If you are not playing as a human, this tends to mean simply smashing the object in question, which somehow always leads to the machines it controls doing precisely what you want.
- Crewmen in Guns of Icarus Online repair damage to their vessels by running around and hitting various pieces of machinery with a wrench. There's also a special hammer available in the loadout that won't actually repair broken things, but will buff their stats if you start hitting the fully-repaired machinery with it.
- In Metro 2033, when you are exploring an old Soviet military base, you spend a couple of minutes flipping some switches to get an old elevator working. After that fails one of your comrades hit the control panel and starts the elevator.
Ulman: Cool, just like in old Hollywood movies about Soviet Union.
- In Bohemian Rhapsody in Red, one of Touhou's companion books, Yukari Yakumo is accused by local gossip rag editor Aya Shameimaru of animal abuse against her shikigami Ran when she's seen whacking her with her umbrella. Following a Running Gag in which Touhou shikigami are equated with computers, Yukari clarifies that she sees Ran first and foremost as a tool, essentially saying she's following this trope.
- This ability to do this was added with the skill tree rework in PAYDAY 2, with a perk that gives players a 50% chance to repair a drill with a melee attack, finally allowing the players' frustration to be put to good use.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora's ridiculous banging on the keyboard when he, Donald and Goofy are searching for information on King Mickey and Riku on Ansem the Wise's Xehanort's computer is what prompts the Master Control Program to identify them as intruders and send them into the world of TRON.
- Active Desktop Recovery flash animation by JohnSu demonstrates how this works.
- Red vs. Blue shows Wash trying to repair a radio, and when the Reds arrive to help out (i.e. bringing Lopez Dos.0), he gets more and more frustrated as the Reds and Tucker bicker, until finally, he punches the radio out of frustration. It works. But only because Lopez Dos.0 fixed it offscreen.
- In a episode of RWBY, "Kuroyuri", The farmer boy, Oscar, tries to buy a train ticket to go to Mistral, but can't due to an insufficient amount of Lien. Hazel, who happens to be there at the time, helps him by pounding the top of the machine hard enough to dent the metal, resulting in it spitting one ticket out. He then tells Oscar not to let small obstacles get in his way. Ozpin states that Hazel is someone from his past, and tells Oscar that Hazel is not someone to take lightly.
- User Friendly has several instances of "percussive maintenance".
- Referenced in Molten Blade
- How do you get Dominic Deegan out of a trance? While it didn't work, Dominic's mother's trick was worth a try. The next attempt will probably work better.
- Schlock Mercenary has Tagon asking a medical computer whether it couldn't do illegal biomodifications or wouldn't. The computer asked the difference, and Tagon explained that hardware that can't do something gets replaced. Hardware that won't do something gets abused until it will, or until it can't. It then agrees to perform illegal biomodifications.
- A regular enough practice in Girl Genius. Very few "Sparks" are subtle, especially when they're in a hurry.
- Rogue in Exterminatus Now knows how to fix his lightsaber in the field.
- The Whiteboard: Doc demonstrates the procedure, in this strip.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Jean's ex-boyfriend Slick can do Fonzie's jukebox trick.
- The Sergeant from True Magic proves that this works on magical devices just as well as physical ones.
- The July 9th PvP strip features a bit of vending machine repair.
- Grrl Power:
- Sydney does it to her own brain to "reset her reflexes" so that she stops jumping straight to the violent reaction every time she's surprised. Somehow, it works.
- When Sydney gets cramps, she threatens her ovaries and then punches them at full force, resulting in her doing a forward flip straight onto her face.
Sydney: ...hopefully that's the stupidest thing I do today.
- In Freefall, those who try this are considered "one of those people" by robots.
- Karin-dou 4koma: Kinka explains this trope after Tamaryu sees her halfheartedly slapping a fan that had just stopped working. Tamaryu's attempt to assist splits the fan in half.
- Darths & Droids naturally includes a reference to Han's repair technique, including calling it "percussive maintenance" in The Rant.
- Guenevere does this to an alien device (the frame after Arthur says "we'd better tread softly, people") in the space arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space.
- In this El Goonish Shive filler strip, Dan uses this to fix his computer.
- In the Skin Horse storyline "Unsinkable" we're introduced to Cinderblock, The Big Guy of the superhero team AG-I, who is also responsible for calibrating their supercomputer. Nera thinks this combination of brains and brawn makes Cinderblock like She-Hulk. When they see how Cinderblock "calibrates" the computer, Jonah amends this to "just regular Hulk".
- In The Dr. Steel Show, Episode 3, Doctor Steel's last resort in silencing a broken videophone is to take a giant sledgehammer to it.
- In the Gorillaz universe, the mechanic Murdoc hired to work on Plasic Beach insists on repairing the malfunctioning devices with a frying pan. Unlike most examples, he doesn't want to get the things to work in the first place — he's just a lazy guy who's hoping to get more cash out of it, as he eagerly explains in the Plastic Beach adventure game on the official site.
- Dr. Ashen tends to resort to this, to the point of using the phrase "percussive maintenance" at one point. This doesn't stop him from taking the alternative route to prying malfunctioning devices open to find the problem, though.
- In Cracked: "I've even seen people who insist that their televisions or vehicles require a special touch that only they know, a touch that usually turns out to be a pretty substantial punch or kick, which I guess makes their superpower physical abuse?"
- In an episode of Family Guy, Peter tried to pull this jukebox at the school. Unfortunately, he hit the glass too hard and broke it, cutting his hand rather badly (though this did have the side effect of everyone thinking he was cool). And Fonzie was shown fixing an old guy's erection this way. Ehh!
- Subversion: the TV signal goes out because of interference from Bender. Fry hits the TV just as Bender leaves the room, and does Fonz's thumbs-up "Hey!" when the signal returns.
- Played for laughs in Bender's Game where the Hal Institute for Criminally Insane Robots uses hammer therapy on its patients.
- In the episode "Bender Should Not be Allowed on TV" a Antonio Calculon Junior breaks down. Someone comes by and hits him on the head a couple of times. it didn't work.
- The Fonz himself is featured in The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, employing his trademarked fix in order to, among other things, repair a time-traveling flying saucer, vehicle of choice of the gang in the cartoon. In several chapters the Percussive Maintenance (usually in the form of a finger snap) is even seen stopping and reversing inertial momentum (!).
- Daria: Daria does this with Trent's van, "The Tank". After it makes a certain, strange noise, there's a ten count, followed by a punch to the dashboard, and suddenly everything's right as rain.
- Muppet Babies: The kids are in an old roofless police car on railroad tracks with two trains coming.
Piggy: Kermit, step on it!
Kermit: [turning the key] Gee, uh... the motor won't start, Piggy.
[he keeps turning the key to no avail as the trains get closer]
Piggy: [reaches forward and karate chops the hood] HI-YAH!
Kermit: Thanks, Piggy.
Piggy: You're welcome. Now get us outta here!
- Averted on Beavis and Butt-Head when the title duo try to get their TV working again with numerous kicks. Pieces fly off, but that's all that happens. Due in part to a citywide power outage they don't notice.
- In The Penguins of Madagascar, Skipper tries to smack a malfunctioning flashlight. It works... for all of about three seconds, and then fizzles out again.
- In an episode of Pucca Abyo try to do this with a kick, searching to repair a problem with the time clock of the Master Soo's temple, which because the dragon was sleeping (it was the main mechanism of the clock), it was causing a day loop, which only Garu could detect, but he couldn't repair the problem. Their two attempts caused that the time was going to forward and back respectively. Then, the Master Soo came and with a punch he can solve the problem with the clock... or well, until that Pucca came later, but that's another story.
- Tish in The Weekenders bangs the top of a television while trying to hook it up. It starts working, causing her to remark "Why does banging the television always work?"
- In Turtles Forever, Donatello initially ridicules his interdimensional counterpart when he tries to apply this philosophy to their transdimensional portal stick. Guess what Donny eventually has to do to eventually save their shells.
- An episode of The Fairly OddParents! parodies the concept... by jamming an axe into the TV. And it works. Twice.
- VeggieTales: In "The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown", the machine used to tally the votes occasionally breaks down, and Pa Grape uses a wooden mallet to fix it. At one point, he has to hammer it so much that Mr. Lunt and Larry have to improvise a song in the meantime, and they use his "percussion" (and a Chinese takeout menu) as inspiration.
- The Transformers, episode "Cosmic Rust". After trying to get the matter duplicator to work to replicate more Corrorstop to cure the Autobots of said disease, it's Perceptor who resorts to this.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, this is how Heloise fixes her Brainiac Booster.
- The Flintstones: Fred Flintstone is a master TV repair man, provided he has his club.
- Filmation's 1960's Green Lantern cartoon. In the episode "Evil Is As Evil Does", the title character's power battery has stopped working.
Kairo: With my radio, sometimes this makes it work.
- Lampshaded in the Phineas and Ferb episode, "Hide and Seek" when Dr. Doof tries gets his Incredibly Obvious Bug working by after repeatedly hitting his monitor.
Dr. Doof: Oh hey, random pounding works.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars has this in episode fifteen. A large group led by Obi-Wan and Anakin is investigating a droid base, the inhabitants of which have all been decapitated... not far from a Republic base where the same thing had happened. Obi-Wan attempts to use a computer to find answers, and has no success. Anakin gives it a good punch, and the hologram comes up.
- During an episode of King of the Hill, the horn on Hank's truck is stuck blaring, thanks to Bobby hitting it by accident with the lawn tractor. After a few moments, Dale, annoyed at being disturbed while meditating just as he was about to achieve inner peace, walks outside, delivers a kick to the truck's side, and the horn stops.
Hank: Don't even try to take credit for that.
Dale: It was not done by me, it was done through me.
- Johnny Test. With earth under alien invasion, and the twins stuck trying to get the earth's defense grid going, Susan can't figure it out, so Mary gets it going with good swift kick.
- The Karate Kid: In "Homecoming", Miyagi kicks Papa Tony's truck as the last resort to fixing it.
- In Wacky Races, the Slag brothers often do this to their stone-age car. Once though, the car hits back. The other racers also do this from time to time; Peter Perfect once fixes his car that had completely fallen apart with one kick.
- In Lavender Castle, Isambard often applies this to the Paradox's engine whenever they need a bit more speed. This backfires at one point when after a short burst, the engine explodes leaving them sitting ducks.
- In an episode of The Dreamstone Sgt Blob manages to get the Urpneys' current mech working again after it broke down underwater.
Blob: [proudly] You lads is most probably not aware of my felicitations with engines. Of course I don't talk about it much, but it's there... it's there.
Frizz: All he did was hit it with a hammer.
- Thomas the Tank Engine:
- In the episode, "Whistles and Sneezes", Gordon's crew fix his jammed-open whistle by knocking it into place with a hammer.
- In the episode, "Toad's Bright Idea", Gator's lamp often fizzled out, and in order to get it working again, his driver had to knock it. Eventually, it stopped working altogether, and Toad let Gator borrow one of his lamps.
- Dogstar: In "The Quick and the Dog", after Zeke's Doom It Yourself attempt to repair the food synthesizer, Alice is able to fix it with a single well-place thump.
- In one episode of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, Snoopy imitates the Cheshire Cat and makes himself invisible. Unfortunately, he eventually overdoes it and can't get visible again. Lucy got him back by applying this technique, saying it's just like when the image of a television goes out.
- In one episode of Danny Phantom, Jack has Tucker hit one of their devices with a coffee mug when it goes fuzzy.
Tucker: Hey! I'm a real live scientist!
- Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century: In "The Crime Machine", Holmes gets an old subway train working by kicking the control panel.
- In the TUGS episode, "Bigg Freeze", when Ten Cents and Sunshine bring in the pre-fueled emergency light barge to help guide the S.S. Vienna liner into Bigg City Port, they can't figure out how to turn it on. Warrior turns it on by bumping into it.
- On Doc McStuffins, in "Stuck Up," before giving his toy, a bulldozer named Riggo, to Doc to fix, the boy had tried banging it with no success.
- In a cartoon in Die Sendung mit der Maus the mouse wants to make a photo of herself. All the photo machine produces are elephants. This trope doesn't help a bit. Why is revealed when the mouse openes the maintenance lid: the machine is a fake and the little blue elephant inside does the pics with crayons.
- In "Pizza Delivery" in SpongeBob SquarePants, Spongebob panics and floors a car down the highway until it runs out of gas. Stranded in the middle of nowhere, Squidward gets out of the car and kicks the bumper, causing the driverless car to refill itself and then speed away in reverse, presumably back to the Krusty Krab.
- Elena of Avalor: In "Model Sister", Gabe tries to fix Princess Isabel's invention by punching it. It starts working again but still has the kinks she was worried about before the invention stopped working.
- In the Steven Universe episode "The Kindergarten Kid", Peridot kicks a malfunctioning cannon, yelling at it to work. For reference, Peridot is a tech genius who comes from an alien species that makes humans look like cavemen in comparison...and this trope is still her first resort.
- In "Flooded Burrow" on Peter Rabbit, Peter and his friends use a vacuum-like device to get the water out of the flooded burrow. Later, when the owl Old Brown threatens to attack, Peter decides to try to reverse it in order to spray him, but isn't sure how. Benjamin suggests giving it a kick, and does so. He ends up suffering Agony of the Feet for it, but it also works, albeit with a bit of a delay.
- In "The Great Swamp Search" from The Octonauts, Ranger Marsh tries this on a malfunctioning radio. It doesn't work, but Captain Barnacles is able to get it to work with a more delicate touch.
- Smacking a failing flashlight against your palm can get it to full power again for a short time
- During the Apollo 16 mission, an alarm light kept malfunctioning until commander John Young tried kicking it. When he reported success, the response from Earth was "It's an old American custom: kick it if it doesn't work."
- Apollo 12:
- Alan Bean was instructed to try and fix the camera by tapping it with his hammer. He radioed, "I hit it on the top with my hammer. I figured we didn't have a thing to lose. I just pounded it on the top with this hammer that I've got." The capsule communicator in Houston joked, "Skillful fix, Al." Bean agreed, "Yes, that's skilled craftsmanship."
- Alan Bean had the job of removing the plutonium source from the cask and inserting it into the generator but after he pulled it partway out, it stuck and refused to budge any farther. After a few minutes of fiddling with the long-handled removal tool, Bean got frustrated and suggested that they give the cask a couple of good whacks with the hammer. Conrad wasn't quite ready to be so unsubtle and wanted to try using the hammer as a prying tool. But, when that didn't work either, he, too, gave in to the inevitable and gave the cask a good, sharp rap. The fuel element slid out a fraction of an inch. He hit it again and harder. And again. And that did it.
- Alan Bean still has that hammer to this day, and uses it to add textures to his paintings.
- Apollo 14: While running through the pre-PDI checklist, Al Shepard and Ed Mitchell noticed that the abort light had come on, indicating that the computer had gone straight into abort mode. If this happened during the actual burn the computer would abort the descent and that would be mission over as there'd no longer be enough fuel for another attempt at landing. They got the light to go out by tapping on the console with a pen. Of course this was only a temporary fix, and a more elegant solution required some in-flight reprogramming of the guidance computer (by tricking it into thinking it was already in abort mode, so it would not monitor the status of the abort button). The moment is recreated in the Apollo 14 episode of From the Earth to the Moon.
- The first Skylab mission (the one that had to fix all the major malfunctions that were mostly the result of one solar wing trying to deploy during the damn launch) had a problem with the small solar array hardware having accumulated static. They fixed it by thumping it during a spacewalk. (This works on certain classes of electronics prone to malfunction due to static electricity build up. A suitable thump will help disperse it.)
- The SR-71 Blackbird flew so high and fast that the airframe would stretch by several feet during flight. Because of this, the plane was designed with skin panels that, on the ground, overlapped and had gaps between them (meaning that the plane leaked profusely) and would slide into place and tightly lock together when the plane was at cruising length. After landing, ground crews would have to use blow torches and mallets to physically pound the airframe to make sure that the skin panels would go back to their pre-takeoff configuration.
- World War I fighter pilots often kept a small hammer in their cockpits in the event that their machine guns jammed.
- 999 had a real life story where a couple were trapped in a car with its engine on fire and but found the electric locks wouldn't open. The husband in desperation started belting the steering column with his hands multiple times, until the locks suddenly opened on their own.
- Familiar enough among musicians to become a joke. "Percussive Maintenance: Having to hit something with a hammer a few times to get it to work properly."
- While this is not advisable unless you have no other choice (e.g. you don't have a backup for some reason or other, your laptop is out of warranty and you don't have money for the fan repair immediately, you're on tour or assignment and can't get to a repair shop/can't do without your only laptop for a week) this does work occasionally to restart a stuck fan on a Macbook Pro (at least the 2010 version). First try to loosen dust/dirt with compressed air if possible, then, find the location of the stuck fan (your fan control software should tell you which side is running slow/not running). With the laptop turned off, smack the case under the fan with the palm or heel of your hand once or twice, then boot, turning the fans to max speed. If this has worked, it will blast out a cloud of dust and dirt and run at normal (or at least some of normal) speed again, usually long enough for you to safely back up or get the money you need or finish your assignment/touring/work...
- In the mid- to late '90s this was a standard procedure if a hard disk refused to spin up. The disks' lubrication had a habit of getting out of kilter, and "lift the computer three, four inches and let it drop again while turned off" usually relubricated the axle.
- If you call up the Nintendo Tech Support line with a Wii Mote problem, and they diagnose it as a stuck accelerometer, the fix they give over the phone is to, quote, "Hold the Wii remote buttons-side down, and whack it into your palm loud enough so I can hear it over the phone." It works.
- A 1980s guide to console gaming:
- Insert cartridge.
- Turn on console.
- Turn off console.
- Remove cartridge.
- Blow on cartridge.
- Blow in console slot.
- It should be noted that Step 7 isn't just there for the meme. (Step 8, however, is.) If you get to this point and it doesn't work, keep doing random things such as jiggling the cartridge in the slot or cramming folded pieces of paper between the cartridge and the walls of the slot until it works.
- Best way to deal with step 7 is: "START WORKING YOU PIECE OF MOTHERFUCKING SHIT OR I SHOVE AN AXE INTO YOU AND BURN YOU ON A CROSS!!!!" Usually works. At least when you stand up to pick the said axe.
- Also, only the console's owner can blow on the cartridge and/or console slot. Anyone else attempting to do so will invariably fail to correct the problem. note
- Also, for the original "VCR style" NES, banging the top or dropping it works because the connector that the cartridge plugs into might have come loose from the board. Whacking it helps seat the contacts.
- This is, believe it or not, one of the many ways to (temporarily) cure the Red Rings of Death on Xbox 360s. (Another one is baking, mentioned later on this page for GPUs — because the fault is in fact an unsoldered GPU.)
- This will only work temporarily at best, until the excessive heat inside the console warps the motherboard so badly that pin contact can no longer be maintained.
- Smacking the console immediately after loading a disc is the easiest solution to the common "Open tray" error...assuming it's caused by the laser track getting stuck rather than the laser itself dying.
- After a few years of use, the original Xbox's DVD drive may stop opening. The correct procedure for this is a good, solid thump right above the drive.
- Continuing with the Xbox, a lot of Xbox Ones shipped with faulty Blu-Ray drives, due to one of the gears being loose. The solution? Unplug the console, turn it upside-down and give it a good whack.
- Back when Apple was not only called Apple Computer but they made computers besides Macintoshes, their big, expensive (and most importantly, fanless and made of solid aluminum) Apple III models had an issue where the computer would run so hot, its chips would unsolder themselves. The official tech support solution was "raise the CPU three to four inches off the desk and release it," which usually re-seated the components.
- Cards/components in early Macintoshes of all types would creep out of their sockets from thermal expansion/contraction cycles due to high operating temperature. Mostly affected units turned off/on daily. The solution was to pick up the case and drop it. Sometimes just carrying the unit would reseat the cards. Tech support's solution? "Just bring it in." They'd let it sit untouched for a day, then have the user come pick it up. The joggling from the transport fixed the problem. Easier than explaining.
- Early PCs as well. And even modern day PCs with cases manufactured under questionable quality control will have this problem. The author of "Building and Maintaining Your PC" called this issue "card creep", although his advice was a more sensible albeit time consuming "open the PC up and push every single card and RAM bar down". Yeah, a applying percussive force from the top fixes things too in many cases.
- When Commodore was producing Amiga 500s in its West Chester, PA facility, the engineers and other employees became fond of drag racing on the parking lot. Subtler means having failed to dissuade this practise, the company had speed bumps of ever-increasing size installed. The bumps got to the point of shaking the shipping trucks so much that the socketed main chips would loosen in the motherboards, causing sporadic failure. It got to the point where dealers were instructed to take their freshly delivered machines and drop them several feet to reseat the chips.
- Atari ST enthusiasts are familiar with something similar, called the Universal 4 Inch Drop. And for pretty much the same reason as the above Apple IIIs.
- The unofficial solution for problems with some early iPods with sticky hard drives is to whack it against a table.
- If your iPhone is having trouble with a replaced touch screen detecting input properly, it's normally because the new screen is not fully seated into its connectors. Giving it a good thump against your hand should work if you don't have a screwdriver handy.
- Averted: This is one of the reasons why PCI-E slots (commonly used for Graphics Cards) are often outfitted with a plastic hook which will click into a small slit (or 'key') in the card. The card cannot be moved in the slot unless the hook is pulled back first.
- While not a computer with the same mindset as your early PC, the Austrailian Fairlight CMI (Computer Musical Instrument) sometimes required a great deal of "impact maintenance" when instrument ROMs were inserted via floppy disk so the buggers wouldn't jam. Despite these limitations, their use has been lauded and seen by many top-tier artists of the Eighties and even early Nineties, from producers Trevor Horn and Brian Eno, to musicians Mike Oldfield, Peter Gabriel, Jan Hammer and Stevie Wonder. That, and only ~300 units were made at a starting price of $25,000.
- Played Straight and For Laughs quite recently, courtesy of Peter Vogel, co-inventor of the original and proprietor of the revitalised Fairlight. The former comes in the CMI 30-A System, but who knows with its price. The latter comes with the iOS App Vogel CMI, which can emulate every detail of the original machine, from the sampling and sequencing capacities to the key-driven start-up sequence and shaking the iPad/iPhone to get the ROMs to work, though the last two are there just for fun; keep the price in mind, however, even for an iOS app.
- Sun Microsystems had a period of time where a lot of tech support calls went like this:
Customer: My system won't boot.
Support: <<verifies model and so forth>> OK, take the hard drive out, hold it <this way>, and slam it against the desk. No, harder. No, harder. No, harder. OK, put it back in. <<system boots>> Yeah, we got a run of bad hard drives that stick, and slamming them on the desk like that will temporarily unstick them. I'm sending you a replacement unit.
- Banging the top with a closed fist sometimes does wonders with old CRT screens that have a recurring "picture suddenly compresses into a single horizontal line" issue. This is also the officially recommended way of dealing with aperture grille displays when their thin vertical wires stick together.
- In the Church of the SubGenius, the laying of hands on malfunctioning equipment, done swiftly and sharply, is called "Appliance Healing".
- Any British geek of late '70s/early '80s vintage worth his or her salt can tell you what a balky piece of equipment the typical Sinclair computer was. The fact that the most common storage device was a common or garden domestic tape recorder didn't help matters in the least. The tinkering that ZX-80/ZX-81/Spectrum owners would engage in with azimuth adjustment screws, volume and tone knobs, cabling position, tape recorder position, computer position and a dozen other things became almost ritualistic. But when all that failed, just whacking the tape recorder, or the computer, or the power supply brick would actually work on a disturbingly regular basis. Some still remember having to keep their feet on the power brick otherwise the dreaded R: Tape Loading Error message would pop up.
- Inverted by the behaviour of the 16Kb RAM pack which attached onto the back of the ZX-81, any slighest movement of which relative to the computer could cause an instant system crash and loss of all data, slightest movements caused by, for instance, using the keyboard at all. Users jammed blu-tack, plasticine, modelling clay, cardboard and many other substance into the gap, mounted the computer and RAM pack in improvised vices, and took many other precautions to avoid the nightmare scenario.
- Carowinds, a theme park on the North Carolina/South Carolina border, has a roller coaster called the Carolina Cyclone with a few restraint bars that have a habit of getting stuck. The correct method of unsticking them, as ride attendants are instructed during training, is to kick them.
- One of the first things to try when clearing a weapon jam is to simply smack the magazine, which it is also recommended you do before loading the magazine in the first place (it helps the cartridges to seat correctly and reduces the chance of a misfeed). A few good mag taps on a your hand, your helmet or a nearby rock before loading will do wonders for a weapon.
- A technique used in emergency medicine is the precordial thump, which involves laying a carefully aimed blow to the chest at just the right time to convert a witnessed cardiac arrest. (Contraindications include "presence of a pulse", as the reverse—commotio cordis—will happen and a cardiac arrest will be induced should you hit the chest at the exact wrong time.)
- CPR is another example, effectively meaning "compress heart repeatedly (with good rhythm) and forcefully (it frequently breaks ribs) to make it go". Similarly if someone is choking the procedure is "encourage to cough" > bash them in the back (back-slaps) > bash them in the front (chest-thrust, a.k.a. the Heimlich manoeuvre), which can also do some damage, but better than suffocating.
- Engineer's Creed: "If it moves, and it shouldn't move, use duct tape. If it doesn't move, and it should move, use a hammer." Add a can of WD-40, a pocket-knife, and a six-pack, and you have the Redneck (or Red Green) Tool Kit.
- This is an actual maintenance procedure in U.S. Navy engineering manuals, under the name, "Mechanical agitation".
- The Technical Manuals for old military analog man-portable radios (such as the PRC-25/PRC-77) suggest a drop of one to three feet onto a solid surface as part of operator-level maintenance.
- Slot machines typically have several different doors leading to various parts of their innards. Sensors are connected to the doors, and generate a tilt whenever they register as being open. Unfortunately, sometimes the machine will be manhandled to the point where closed doors will still show to the machine as being open. An experienced slot attendant often knows how to diagnose which door is the problem and clear the error with one well-placed smack, without going through the trouble of actually opening the door and adjusting the sensor (which often involves filling out logs and other red tape).
- Recorded Books Incorporated used to put on their cassette tapes that if you ever ran into any problems with tape, you should "place it in the palm of your hand and slap it smartly against a hard, flat surface." If that didn't work, and you could not "otherwise free the reels," then you could send it in for a free replacement.
- Modern vending machines: A good few hits with one's shoulder or rocking it back and forth (Don't Try This at Home!) is usually sufficient to dislodge something. The downside is that ramming one's shoulder into a piece of hard plastic can be quite painful, and rocking it runs the very real danger of tipping it over, leading to severe injury and/or death.
- Capsule vending Machines like this◊ can usually be fixed by tapping between the lock and the turning knob. Over long periods of use, the path coins travel to engage the gears gets worn down. Tapping/punching said area can shift the coins over small imperfections in the path. Experienced users can usually tell how far the coin has traveled just by sound. Tapping/jiggling the entire machine sometimes works if the capsules are on the larger side(greater tendency to get stuck). They're designed to prevent free-play by tipping though, as there's a large spring which blocks the exit port unless you turn it the proper way.
- Coin-op arcade machines can have tokens get stuck in the intake chute. Normally, there is a lever or button to make the coin fall into the coin return, but on worn-out machines or particularly bad token jams, a few hammerfists to the coin-intake mechanism might be just the thing to knock any stuck coins loose.
- London, Brighton and South Coast Railway locomotives had a special hammer for this purpose as part of their standard toolkit. The business end was made of lead, to reduce the risk that it would damage the paintwork.
- Renowned Soviet T-34 tank had a very poor transmission/steering design, unfaithfully copying an American project of the late 1930s which hadn't get put into production exactly because it didn't work. The massive iron levers which actuated the steering and gearshift would often get stuck, even worse in freezing temperaturs which are typical to Russia, and they had to be moved with a hammer. There were hammers issued to tank drivers just for this purpose.
- Another Soviet standard, the AK-47 and its clones and offspring are infamous for their simplicity and reliability. On the off chance anything does go wrong with one, though, there's more than a few incidences where the solution was "hit rifle with hammer." Debris causing stoppage? Hit the receiver with a hammer til the debris falls out. Firing pin eating chunks of the primers? Hit the firing pin with a hammer until it stops doing that. Handguard catch fire because you overheated it? Hit the furniture with a hammer until it's extinguished or the furniture falls off, whichever causes your rifle to stop being on fire first. Bolt is stuck due to a stovepiped or disintegrated brass? Pry the (remains of) brass off with pliers and hit the charging handle with a hammer until it moves again. Because of its simplicity —"an elegantly simple nine pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood," as it was famously put in Lord of War— the AK can take this abuse in stride and keep working right through the fix.
- The M-16 was no slouch, either, and bashing the hell out of it was not only considered valid, but included in the manual. Specifically, if the action jams due to fouling or case telescoping to the point where pulling the charging handle doesn't eject the jammed cartridge, the correct procedure was to remove the magazine, grip the weapon by forestock and carrying handle, and bash the butt against the ground as hard as possible. A thump or two usually got the rifle to spit out the jammed brass.
- The key-insert for some older models of Saturn gets stuck, usually due to temperature change making the bits inside swell/shrink/shift. The best (only?) solution: smack it hard and firm a couple of times. Inspires great confidence in new passengers.
- Apparently, there is/was a car used by the US Army that was fixed like this. This particular make and model would always break down in the exact same way and could always be fixed with the same method: kicking in just the right spot under the dash. There was actually a "painting duty" the soldiers had every so often where they would paint/repaint a red circle over the spot so the driver knew where to aim his foot without having to look/think too hard about it.
- Works quite well if something like a remote control or calculator has a loose battery.
- This guy used this technique successfully on a plasma TV. With a baseball bat.
- The Hayabusa mission was supposed to return a capsule with samples of an asteroid. Due to some technical problem, it returned with only very small particles of dust, which had to be carefully extracted to be examined. In the end, the procedure they used was: turn the capsule upside down over a quartz disk and hit the capsule several times with a screwdriver.
- This is also known to many people as an "RCA Kick" - as in, give that TV an RCA kick to get the v-hold back in line.
- The "RCA Kick" name is actually a reference to the Radio Corporation of America, and the devices which first popularized this practice in the early days of massed produced electronics. The finicky vacuum tubes and mechanical relay, switches, and toggles which were at the heart of any cutting edge device allowed an unprecedented level of compactness and processing power, but low dust tolerance, extreme levels of heat (and thus heat expansion of mounts), and loose tolerances in production of sensitive parts meant that these devices required frequent reseating of tubes and contacts, unsticking of switches, and clearing of dust to function at their best. Most owners of early radios and televisions quickly learned that a swift light kick or whack to the right spot was actually a quick and fairly reliable way of accomplishing all of these tasks without having to miss the rest of a broadcast doing it properly. Given that it continues to occasionally actually work, (largely by doing the same thing for today's smaller and slightly less sensitive circuit boards) this remains Emergency Repair Procedure #1.
- Related to destructive repair techniques is "Baking" (officially, "reflow soldering"), a delicate and highly technical process of getting a video card with screen artifacting to work again by literally baking it in a 380F oven for 8-10 minutes. Of particular interest to Nvidia 8800 and 9800 owners. This works because official way of mounting a BGA chip on a board is baking it in a special oven, and some formulations of the modern leadless solder have a tendency to crack under repeated thermal stress, disconnecting the chip's pins. Re-baking the board in a home oven restores any disconnected solder joints the chips may have.
- At least supposedly, some phone techs will ask users to tap their computer on the back side of the case. This is actually a subversion - the point is that in doing so, they'll look at the back and notice if a cord is unplugged, while if you ask them whether the network/power/etc is plugged in they'll get defensive.
- One of the so-called "AI Koans" told at MIT has this as a variation:
A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
[Tom] Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: "You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong."
Knight turned the machine off and on.
The machine worked.
- This is a common quick fix for automotive starters. Most of the time the starter doesn't work because the throw-out bearing is bad. Hitting it with a hammer is often enough to get it to let the starter gear to engage the flywheel and turn the engine over.
- Carburetors are preferred over electronic fuel injection precisely because they can be fixed with Percussive Maintenance when stuck.
- Sometimes, the wear on the starter gear teeth and flywheel gear teeth will get the starter stuck in the flywheel and therefore starting the car is impossible (turning the key has no effect other than overheating the starter motor). Solution: engage second-tallest gear (either 3rd or 4th gear, depending on car) and push back and forth violently the car a few times. Stuck starter disengages with almost 100% certainty and starts afterwards.
- With cheaper phones, such as the simpler TracFones, hitting the phone against a palm or thigh can generally fix problems with the battery, screen flickering, and signal loss; in ascending order of how often it works.
- Cordless power tools, especially the older ones, react incredibly well to this technique.
- US Army basic training — if your M-16 jams, try Sports: Slap, Pull, Observe, Release, Tap, Squeeze. In other words, hit it, take a look, then hit it again. (The forward assist on the M16 and its variants is specifically designed for the user to bash it there, for when a round doesn't seat properly.)
- The easiest way to deal with a skipping record is to hit the turntable or the piece of furniture it's sitting on, jostling the needle a groove or two ahead. Jumping on the floor works sometimes too. Not really a solution, but it does the trick if all you want is to get through the rest of the record one time before having to break out the vinyl repair kit.
- If your computer's video card is loose, it might not contact with the circuitry and your computer's display won't work. Although a better, long-term solution is to open up your computer and secure the card snugly, a simple short-term fix is to simply whack the side of your computer and hope that it encouraged the card back into place.
- Two cases of percussive fault-finding from a telecoms company that shall remain nameless: one of the official tests for one particular new installation was the coke-can test. Power the kit, put test traffic through it, then, with a full (still sealed!) can of soft drink in your hand, raise that hand above your head and let the can (still in your hand - you don't want a loose can bouncing around the place, it doesn't look professional) fall onto the top of the kit. Infrequently, this would reveal that one of the daughterboards was not fully seated, which would save the engineer a return trip a few weeks later when said daughterboard had worked its way loose. In a similar vein for a different piece of kit, the engineer was instructed to use a large bunch of keys to tap gently (just the swing on the ring, no force required) on the front plate, which would show up as signal errors on a traffic analyser if any of the optical fibres were slightly loose.
- In The Vietnam War era Grumman A-6 Intruder, the analog-digital hybrid bombing computer (DIANE - "Digital Integrated Attack Navigation Equipment") often stuck up during bombing runs - the established procedure was to gentle kick the side of the console pedestal, to try to get the gears and linkages to start moving again.
- Almost mandatory to safely dislodge food stuck in a hot toaster without making a mess.
- A more tragic example: William Bullock, inventor of a type of printing press, was installing one in 1867 when it developed a glitch. He attempted to kick it in a specific place, but his leg was caught in the machinery and severely injured. He died during an attempted amputation.
- Onkyo home theater A/V receivers have a notorious reputation for faulty audio channels. Sometimes audio channels will stop working and can easily be fixed by tapping the receiver on the front or site with a hard object, like its remote control.