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  • #31
    Mars Amp Repair,
    Kids ARE easily entertained and as serious as shocks are it sure can be fun to watch. That might be an entertaining thread on it's own.

    When I was 4 or 5 me and a friend were riding in those old coal cars from a nearby coal mine complex. We pulled the drag shoes away and rolled down the line until we came to a switch. Then we would jump off and let the car leave the rails. I remember when we watched the men using a crane to put the cars on the rails again. It doesn't bear contemplating what could have happened to us.

    txstrat, Ahh, the good ol' days. It's amazing how we were allowed to run as children. 4 or 5? that's insane!


    • #32
      Leaving the house today, I noticed in a box of stuff, my old original dummy load.

      back when, there was an electronics parts place nearby - Federated Electronics - and it was a real parts company. Local TV repair guys shopped ther, plus all manner of industrial electronics places. I of course was just some local kid. This was 1958-1960 maybe. I was always there buying a resistor or something. There was a clearance table. Hot stuff. Not usually anything I wanted, antenna tower clamps, 500 foot rolls of RG something coax. But I was a sucker for the mystery grab bags. Paper bags the size two 6-packs would stack in at the grocers, filled with miscellaneous junk and stapled shut. Who knew what wonders hid within? Well, I did. I'd always hesitate a few days then plop down my dollar or two. Oh the reality never lived up to the hope, but there was always something neat in there. Big open frame relays, odd pots with extender shafts, non-standard tube sockets or connectors. And so on.

      One thing was in one of them that I had seen stacked out loose but never considered. In fact I went back and bought a bunch of them later. Dial plates. These were aluminum plates painted blue on one side, about 4x5". On the painted side was a rould dial scale with frequency scale instended as the dial face for a table AM radio. There was a hole for the tuning knob shaft, and a kutke cutiut at the top for a light socket.

      If I folded down a 1" strip at either side, I got a U shaped mini-chassis. I built a lot of little projects on these things. One of which was this dummy load. From some old surplus stiff I had some ceramic 12 ohm resistors. I mounted three of them on end with bolt through center., wired them in parallel. Through one side strip I mounted a 1/4" jack, wired to them. 4 ohm load! and on top I had an RCA jack wired to the thing through a 0.1uf cap. So I could sample the signal off.

      And that 1/4" jack? The surplus places used to have these patch bay strips. Two-row 1/4" open frame jacks. High quality stuff. These were the jacks that had the barrel snout without threads, and a tab out the top with a screw hole. They mounted to the rear of a thick bakelite slab with a screw. Of course back then, I had no idea of patch panel, to me it was just a huge pile of jacks. SO I stripped down teh patch bay for parts.

      So there it sits, one of my early home made pieces of test equipment. Litle 4 ohm maybe 40-50 watt dummy load.
      Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


      • #33
        Originally posted by Danelectron View Post
        txstrat, Ahh, the good ol' days. It's amazing how we were allowed to run as children. 4 or 5? that's insane!
        From your words I assume you were allowed similar?
        It was at my grandparents house and I think they believed we were playing in the garden, which was alongside the rails. We just had to slide up a slope and slip through a couple bushes.
        Maybe I was 6 but I wasn't yet in school. The more I think about it I might buy a handheld playing console for my kids (what they're already whishing for).
        Up to now I usually said: "Go in the garden and play some, that's what I did." Aaaaargh
        Last edited by txstrat; 06-17-2010, 11:04 AM.


        • #34
          Originally posted by Mars Amp Repair View Post
          I got across what I can only figure was the 800V boost voltage. It threw me back up against the corner I was crouched in & knocked me out for about a second.
          You seem at least to be as lucky as I was to be alive. 800 volts, ouch.
          I have to admit, the way you described the scene with the kids going: THAT WAS COOL... I had to grin like I was watching a comedy show. Nothing to grin about, though.


          • #35
            Originally posted by txstrat View Post
            You seem at least to be as lucky as I was to be alive. 800 volts, ouch.
            I have to admit, the way you described the scene with the kids going: THAT WAS COOL... I had to grin like I was watching a comedy show. Nothing to grin about, though.
            800v is exactly the voltage my dear Dad got shocked with while perched ontop of an Phantom F4A. His main concern was hurting the wing when he bounced off it and landed in a heap on the runway, but given the tougness of that bird the shock didn't help to think too clearly. He recounted several such stories as we toured the amazing Evergreen Aviation Museum (they have the Spruce Goose!) a few weeks back . Seems being the "Airline of the CIA" worked out well for Evergreen...


            • #36
              Originally posted by txstrat View Post
              Have you ever considered writing a book? I really mean it. It is a pleasure to read through your lines. I'm eager for the next "chapter".
              Maybe i'm a bit too nostalgic but what the heck...
              Ummh... and I'm quite nosy about the naked lesbians... I mean just because of the motorcycles.
              He has started one and I keep telling him he ain't getting no freaking younger so he needs to finish it. Was talking about that very thing the other day. Come on Enzo finish the damn book. : G


              • #37
                Originally posted by txstrat View Post
                You seem at least to be as lucky as I was to be alive. 800 volts, ouch.
                I have to admit, the way you described the scene with the kids going: THAT WAS COOL... I had to grin like I was watching a comedy show. Nothing to grin about, though.
                I do tell the story as being funny since I didn't get hurt ;-] Gotta get as much mileage as ya can these days.

                Another example of a story that was funny in retrospect: I think someone already told a similar story of an older brother. I would be in the basement diligently & intently working on some TV in total silence at about 10yrs older brother would sneak up behind me with a CO2 fire extinguisher & set the damned thing off right under my chair...I'd just about hit the ceiling...not funny then...hilarious now...g


                • #38
                  Oh and the soldering iron. When I first started tearing down TV chassis, all I had was my dad's iron. It was a hefty thing with a tip about an inch in diameter and pyramid shaped. In the classic large screwdriver shape, cord trailing from the handle. You could probably build tin cans with it. Tough to do close work with this behemoth, but what do you do when you are a kid?

                  At some point, I got as a Xmas gift a Weller solder gun, the 100/140 watt one. It came from Montgomery Wards and had their label on it, but it was a Weller underneath the label. What a great improvement that was. Had that little screw in #222 bulb right under the tip. I think that was the number, the bulb pinched off into a tiny lens on the end to focus the light. Of course the light never really aimed right at the tip. And after replacing the bulb a few times, it spent most of its life with an empty socket.

                  The tips mounted in these screw-down little nuts with holes. The mounts were further apart that the tip wires. So the tip was offset some. You've all seen them. At some point I discovered that I liked the tips better "upside down." Probably would have worked out better for the light bulb, if only I'd kept it.

                  50 years later I still have that Weller gun. I have replaced the plastic sides a couple times, you can only drop the thing on the floor so many times. And I have replaced the trigger switch a couple times. But it keeps on working. I do buy official Weller tips, but a long time ago I discovered that plain old 12ga wire, like you wire your house with, could be bent to shape and used as a tip. The real tips have that wad of copper on the end, while bent wire does not, so the tip life was far less. But for quick and dirty, it worked well enough, and scraps of bare 12ga are cheap. And when you are fixing a pinball machine at 9PM on a Friday at some bar, it is tough to find a place to buy a real tip.

                  I still have the box that Montgomery Wards/Weller gun came in. It stores a collection of old knobs. The black bakelite fluted knobs from the WW2 era. The gun and the box outlived Montgomery Wards. "Monkey Wards" to my mom and many others of her generation.

                  To non-Americans: Montgomery Wards was a general merchandise department store like Sears.

                  Later in life, circuit boards happened, and we got some more modern soldering irons and stations.
                  Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


                  • #39
                    Yeah, sometimes those old fashion things come quite handy. I remember I had to change some thing in an amp while my soldering station was broken. It needed a new solder gun but the shop where I can buy those is quite a while away and I didn't have the time to go and buy a new one before fixing that amp.
                    So I used my bulky "old" (well, not quite as old as your's, ENZO) soldering iron (with the screwdriver tip) and fixed the amp. I still keep this iron in one of my boxes I carry with me while gigging, "just in case..."


                    • #40
                      how funny Enzo,
                      My story nearly parallels yours regarding the Weller soldering gun (100-140watt). I think what I had before the gun was a wood burning iron...I begged my folks to get me the Weller gun. I still have a picture or 8mm film of getting that gun I was about 8 or so...interestingly it was my younger brother's birthday...certainly didn't matter to me! I was thrilled.

                      AND like you, I still have the thing and carry it in my main toolbox. Likewise I recall at some point early on replacing on of the sides (from a droppage) as well as the line cord when I was much older. The rest is all still original.

                      I was never thought of the 12ga wire for a tip, but would use those orig tips until they split on the soldering end & then used them until I couldn't press them together to work on what I was soldering...again, too funny. as a kid with no dough, you just did what you had to do.

                      I first learned from a guy who befriended me at the local TV repair shop (Wolff's TV) about what a low resistance would do to a circuit that draws high current on that Weller gun. He stopped by my house once to help me work on something. I was complaining about how the Weller was just not getting as hot as it used to and how I thought I needed a new tip. He showed me how the nuts holding the tip in needed to be really tight to conduct properly. It was a revelation. g


                      • #41
                        I also *did* start with a conventional 100 Watt bare copper Pyramid or "screwdriver" tip. I was building tube amps at that time, and I could solder straight to iron cadmium plated chassis with no big trouble.
                        When I started doing transistor work, I bought the Argentine version of "Instant soldering pistol", with focusing pilot lamp and all; no pencil soldering irons here at that distant age.
                        I remember getting tired after a few hours soldering , it was relatively heavywheight.
                        It must still be somewhere, in an out of reach cardboard box.
                        Juan Manuel Fahey


                        • #42
                          Oh yeah, those Weller tips burn through just behind the tip glob, and yes, how many many times have I got out the needle nose to bend the two parts together to make contact for a few more solder joints. And on the occasional joint where I just let the two legs both touch the work and the work became part of the gun tip current path. I guess that would be "resistance soldering."

                          Yep you gotta keep your nuts tight on those old Weller guns. I had a little flat wrench for whatever size they are, and I hung next to where the gun sat.

                          I forgot I have had to replace the power cord a few times too. Right now I have a great loooong one on it. Plenty of slack so I can reach down into a speaker cab or something and not come up short on the cord.

                          Did you ever LOOK at what the gun really was? Those two pipes with the nuts on the ends for mounting the tip are just the two ends of the same pipe. Inside the gun is a large coil of wire - the primary - and the mains is across that. Then that pipe just loops through it once - the secondary. That chrome pipe is a one-turn transformer secondary, and the tip completes the winding turn.

                          I learned a trick once a very long time ago, then years later I actually used it once. The 100/140 watt gun is way too hefty for use on circuit boards. But in a pinch when you do have to solder on a board, you can adapt it. Again with the 12ga wire. Assuming a good regular tip, but this works even on a home made 12ga tip. The tip sticks out, two parallel thick wires joined at the end. Take a short piece of 12ga solid copper wire, and wrap it through that space, making good thermal contact. Then have an inch or so sticking striaght out the front. Your gun is now heating this inch or so of 12ga wire. Then use the end of this wire probe as a lower wattage solder iron. Crude, but it doesn't vaporize your pc board pads.
                          Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


                          • #43
                            I've still got my 3rd incarnation of the Weller soldering gun, don't know if I ever bought a factory tip, just made then like you say. Copper is pretty malable, and you can make some pretty exotic shapes with a hammer, and a file. I worked for several places where the gun is 30 ft off the ground, and someone walks by and trips on the extension cord. My 2nd gun was actually smashed by a bucket truck outrigger, I left it on the bed, and the driver did me a favor and set it on the ground. When I asked him to see if the remote start/stop circuit was working, out of habit he lowered the stiff legs!
                            I don't know how else you get a good chassis connection with a lesser iron. I don't even try with my regulated temp Weller.


                            • #44
                              I was about 8 years old, and had a slot car track. I remember thinking that if my cars went as fast as they did on 12 volts, how fast would they go with 110 volts from the wall outlet? I wired up everything and cut an AC cord off of an old piece of gear and hooked it up in place of the transformer. Plugged it in and pulled the trigger on the rheostat. The car jerked and went dead. Then it started smoking! When I looked down at the plastic encased rheostat, there was a hole melted in the side of it! Of course, I didn't realize that I could have killed myself, I was just worried Mom would see it! If she did, I would've been "killed" a different way. So I made sure it disappeared, along with the dead car. It did make me realize that I had a LOT to learn about electricity, and I don't think I've ever come close to being so stupid again. (Not yet, anyway!)


                              • #45
                                Yeah, only funny after no one was hurt, huh! At about the same age (8yrs) I was given 2 of those original Simpson 260 meters...the ones with the small pin probes...not the banana variety.

                                I decided to measure the 'current' in the ac outlets, so I set it on amps & dutifully stuck it in the socket. Well, nothing spectacular fact bascially to my percetion, nothing happened.

                                It was years later that I dug up those old meters & realized why none of the current settings worked! No fuses in those things back then...I figure I just burned up all the shunts! I actually still have those old things. g