Hey guys, Mike Wiltrout here. I believe many of you may know my father, John Wiltrout.
This really is not much of an introduction post, but it is my first on E-14. It is picture laden so I apologize for that ahead of time. I did, however, feel like it would be an interesting topic that some of you might be able to help me with, so here goes!
In my early childhood, I recall wanting to be a fireman. One day, my mother took me in to the clinic for a school physical. It was then that the doctor showed me a series of images with different color dots on them to determine if I was colorblind. Supposedly somewhere in the mix of dots on each image was supposed to be a number that I was to recite when I could make it out. Unfortunately for me I could make very few of them out. Below is an example of just such a chart and on that chart below I can really only make out the '12' in the upper right corner. It was then that the doctor began telling me about all of the careers that I would never be able to pursue. Included in that list was fireman. When I asked the doctor why I would not be able to be a fireman, he told me that firemen need to be able to see colors to be able to tell how hot a flame was. So I left the doctor's office that day a little bit sad and discouraged.
My father, being the troubleshooter that he is, set out to try and help me with my colorblind condition. He picked up color swatches in hopes that I might be able to "re-learn" the colors or at least be able to use the color swatches to compare against colors I wanted to know. Turns out it just doesn't work that way. The problem comes with being unable to differentiate. Red can look like orange, orange can look like yellow, yellow can look like green, green can look like blue, and so on. ORANGE means STOP and WHITE means GO! As a teen, I was interested in flying and wanted to get into the Air Force Academy, but pilots need to be able to see colors so they can tell if a plane is coming at them or flying away from them using colors on the wing and tail. I then considered the National Guard, where I was told that I could not be an engineer and that the ONLY military career paths that were open to me were about few different ones: a chaplain, a draftsman, or an infantryman. They wouldn't even let me be a cook because I cannot tell if meat is raw or cooked. Anyhow, you get the idea, being color blind can be a challenge. My wife finally made me get rid of my favorite blue office chair, because she could no longer stand the "hideous purple thing."
So, here is and has been my dilemma. How do I differentiate and identify the various color coded resistors?
My solutions so far consist of the following:
- GET A BUDDY TO HELP ME - Preferably a buddy who is also not colorblind, but while a buddy might be able to help me sort a new collection of resistors into bins, he isn't going to be attached to my hip when I need a resistor identified on a project that I'm working on at 3AM.
- MEASURE THE RESISTOR USING A MULTIMETER - This may work to identify a resistor outside of a circuit, but it also does not take into account any tolerances of the resistor, which I also cannot discern. I do not want to de-solder a leg on each resistor I need to measure on a PCB, either.
- LABEL THE RESISTORS - This will work if I buy resistors that are in label pre-packaged bags and I am able to label them right away. I probably would look to label them according to either European or SMT standards in order to keep the labels as small as possible. This method takes a considerable amount if time, and I will probably only use it for prototyping.
- PREMARKED RESISTORS - Some resistors like SMT resistors have their values printed on them. These I can figure out.
- VISUAL COMPUTER AIDED ANALYSIS - Another idea that I had was to use either a camera, or a USB microscope to "scan" the resistor. The image could then be dropped into a computer program that would orient the resistor and scan the color bands displaying a value in Ohms and providing me the tolerance. I have no experience with any program that can automatic manipulation and color matching, so I'm stuck there.
- FIX MYSELF? - The last idea would be to somehow fix myself with some type of contacts, glasses, or other medical method. (Again, not my field of expertise.)
The problem is not limited to resistors, either. I'm thinking a career in bomb disposal sounds pretty interesting, "Should I cut the RED wire or the BLUE wire?"
So lets hear some suggestions! GO!