One day, my roommate's desk lamp stopped working. When the switch was set to the on position the lamp failed to illuminate. We had a hunch. The problem could either be the bulb or the transformer brick. The bulb was simple to remove and after I swapped his lamp bulb with my lamp bulb, and saw that his bulb worked in my lamp but my bulb didn't work in his lamp, we were able to further isolate the problem–the brick.
A friend and I who is equally passionate about handling, fixing ,and simply tinkering with electronics got down to work. We unplugged the lamp and set the brick, the Pro Tech Toolkit and the Magnetic Project Mat on a work desk with plenty of space. Then we got down to business. We removed the 4 philips head screws that held the two halves of the transformer casing together, and viola! There it was. The exposed transformer coil and soft iron core were in full view. The core looked fine but before we handled it we took some safety measures. We weren't sure if there was a capacitor hidden somewhere in the device, so I got the static discharge band and grounded the whole component by placing the discharge point on multiple positions. After that, we inspected the transformer even closer, and what did we find? Salt deposits all over the interior of the soft iron core and the secondary winding. We had our answer.
The entire transformer assembly had short circuited. My roommates shoes from walking out in the snow were lined with snow and ice salt deposits. Then he would sit at his desk and rest his foot on the ledge that was coincidentally over the transformer brick. Salt water would drip into the transformer (the brick has wedged oppenings) and then went on to short the assembly. Yikes.
Don't track your snow boots into your dorm room. Leave them outside or by the door.