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John Wiltrout's Blog

159 posts
It is always hard for me to not be amazed by the technological progress that has been made in the last 50 or so years. The other day I came across an unusual motorized switch that was made for Western Electric by Raymond Controls Corp. It is a KS-19175-L1 Interrupter. Since Western Electric was the manufacturing arm of the Bell System my first thoughts were that this unique device was part of a telephone system and a little research confirmed this. Here are a couple pictures of the device:   ...
       Since I do a lot of circuit board salvage I end up with a good supply of great components with short leads. When I use these components in my experiments and builds I must either deal with the short leads or add an extension. This is usually done by tinning the component lead and the extension and then holding them parallel while heating the solder and allowing it to bridge them. This works fine but there is always the danger when soldering the component to t ...
A week or so ago I wrote a short blog about a variable AC isolated bench power supply that I wanted to build. See the following Blog:   An Extreme Ripple Power Supply Build   The idea was just a seed and a pile of assorted resources. Just as I hoped, four of my friends here on element 14 stepped up and gave me some great advice and collaboration on the build. I want to specially thank: genebren , lui_gough , three-phase , and jc2048 without whose suggestions and ideas I could not h ...
I usually like to build my projects before I blog about them. This is probably due to the number of times the initial plans do not lead me down the envisioned path. The simplicity of this build along with a good pile of solid resources and the fact that I must wait for my panel meters to arrive has made me decide to blog a preview.   In my shop almost never a week goes by with out the need of an AC voltage source. I use the AC source to test motors, lights, power supplies, and circuit boar ...
In honor of tariq.ahmad 's emphasis on magnetism this month, I thought I would do a little experiment involving the Magnetostrictive Phenomenon. Magnetostriction is a property of a ferromagnetic material whereby it changes shape when it is subjected to a magnetic field. Anyone who has worked with transformers is familiar with the low frequency 50 or 60 Hz hum that can usually be heard coming from the transformer. This is an undesirable magnetostrictive effect that is causing the hum and a subse ...
Karen's Learning Circuit Presentation:   The Learning Circuit 39: Inductor Project: Battery Juicer   got me to playing around with the Battery Juicer Circuit also called the "Joule Thief". You can check out her blog for a schematic and some suggestions. For her build she made a flashlight but I had other ideas for a good use.   When I finally crash at night I put my watch next to the bed. Unfortunately it is quite dark in the room so if I wake up and want to know what time it ...
About 6 months ago we had an Essential Post on Power Distribution:   element14 Essentials - Power IV: Smart Power Distribution   Tonight as I studied a junk circuit board in my bin I came across a good example of the De-Centralized Architecture.   This is a board from an upscale Audio Video Sound System Receiver. The board has multiple micro processors which usually don't have much interest for me but in the lower right corner of the board I saw a parts layout that was repea ...
When a linear power supply is in operation the DC output voltage is regulated. The internal regulator circuit of the power supply takes its source voltage and produces a resistive voltage drop using its power control transistor so that the output voltage is at the desired level.  The difference in voltage potential between the source voltage and the output voltage is a critical quantity as it is one of the two factors in the wasted energy that must be dissipated by the power supply.   ...
Today I watched Karen's makerkaren   Video about building a circuit from a schematic:     https://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-91328/l/the-learning-circuit-34-making-a-circuit-from-a-schematic?sr=inbox&ru=360462   At first thought one might wonder what an old dog like me who has been playing with electronics for the last 62 years could learn from a beginners level 11 minute lesson on making a circuit from a schematic. As it turns out there is always a lot t ...
The Process Duration Timer has been a long term project of mine and has gone through several upgrades. Recently I have improved its utility by adding increased flexibility by adding a mechanism for it to disconnect one of its inputs when a process has finished. It has also been modified so that it will track an input voltage that is rising or falling towards a target voltage. An external interface was also designed so that it could track changes in light and temperature. I have covered these upg ...
jw0752

One Less Inconvenience

Posted by jw0752 Top Member Dec 9, 2018
I just finished a build that took me about 30 hours. While I am working on things I always try to be mindful of the flow of the work and whether there are things that are inconvenient in the shop environment. This could be related to the placement or organization of parts as well as tools. Inconvenience and trouble can mean there is an opportunity to improve. It is easy to accept things the way they are presently and soldier on but this leaves one with a situation that will frustrate over and ov ...
The computer in my lab is very important to me. This of course is very subjective as its contents and utilities are understood and utilized only be me and so someday, when I can no longer use it, it will go directly from my lab to the computer recycle facility. In the meantime I do everything in my power to keep it clean, backed up, and with a protected UPS power supply. The original battery of the 650 Watt UPS is long since failed and when it did I bought a car battery and rewired things so tha ...
I like to build simple bench test and experimentation equipment, particularly power supplies. Those of you who have been here for a while have had to endure numerous power supply builds from me. My previous builds have been fairly traditional with a mains to operational voltage step down transformer, rectification and filtering, and then a linear voltage and current controller circuit to the outputs. Over the years I have experimented with different variations on this theme. A couple times ago w ...
As I worked today at the Retro Electronics Store where I help out two days a week I came across a box of metal cylinders with four pins on one end. They looked like this:     They were called car radio vibrators and they came from another age. I immediately remembered my first car, a fairly beat up 1957 Chevrolet and its radio. Cruising around was great fun but it was even better with the radio blaring out the tunes of the day. The radios that were being used at that time had not ye ...
A week or so ago I wrote about my experience with a pair of Aven  10826F Flush Cutters   https://www.element14.com/community/groups/test-and-measurement/blog/2018/11/06/my-kingdom-for-a-good-pair-of-flush-cutters   I was very pleased with the response and the way the discussion carried over into the quality of small specialty pliers as well.   In the previous post dougw  mentioned having some good quality pliers capable of picking up 40 Ga wire. He asked how many pli ...