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Stephen.Sywak
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Freelancer
re: Analogue computers to the rescue
Stephen.Sywak   10/5/2010 10:31:33 PM
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@zeeglen: I failed to mention...the moment the machine went "hard over," the human hurricane disappeared! I remember turning around, and he was gone. The lead EE was a pretty smart guy; he was designing some very high-order analogue servo-control circuits there. I'll assume this was the one time he screwed up... And I can't recall what we did to overcome the push-rod damage. @Karen: I hadn't even realized that Heathkit was still in business! Thanks for the update.

kfield
User Rank
Blogger
re: Analogue computers to the rescue
kfield   9/27/2010 1:29:56 PM
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Heathkit offers some great kits -- check them out at http://www.heathkit.com/

zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
re: Analogue computers to the rescue
zeeglen   9/26/2010 6:39:21 PM
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Great story! Love to hear when ingenuity overcomes Murphy. Have to wonder if the "human hurricane" was from management trying to speed up the schedule. Did he slink away in shame after breaking the push rod? Also wonder what was the jury rigged repair to the pushrod. And the educational background of the lead electrical engineer. Nice to hear from another who cut their engineering teeth on Heathkits.

Jimelectr
User Rank
Rookie
re: Analogue computers to the rescue
Jimelectr   9/26/2010 6:34:28 AM
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Hmm... GE in Philadelphia, that could be the company that morphed into a customer of a startup that I worked for in the late 1990's. The guys we worked with had been at the company as GE, RCA, and then Lockheed-Martin. Military and Data Systems Division it was called until they started doing telecom systems and changed the name to Management and Data Systems to keep the acronym (MDS) the same. The startup built boards with multiple DSP chips on them for voice channel compression and digital tuning to go in Lockheed-Martin's satellite telephone system. One of the tuner boards went up in flames one day, of course while the customer was visiting! A few years later at Powerwave Techologies, I was testing a power amplifier for a cellular basestation and I disconnected the load to check the circulator and dumpload. Not advisable when driving 500 Watts (average, peak was about 10 times that) at 880 MHz! A purple flame several inches long shot out of the type N connector with a whoosh and melted the center conductor of the connector! I'm sure those of us who have been in the business for several decades have plenty of stories of smoke and flames!

Fabius
User Rank
Rookie
re: Analogue computers to the rescue
Fabius   9/25/2010 4:46:25 PM
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Wow! An analog computer able to deliver an output up to 400V and, I guess, more than few Amps! I suspect a lot of old faithful BJT in TO3 case paralleled on a very big heatsink, or, why not?, tubes!!

WKetel
User Rank
Rookie
re: Analogue computers to the rescue
WKetel   9/25/2010 1:24:13 AM
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Sometimes warnings can be ignored, other times-NOT. I recall a stepper motor driver module that demanded a large external capacitor. If you forgot it, just a few steps and the (expensive) driver module would emit a stream of very bad smelling EXPENSIVE white smoke. We did learn, but that will be another story.

Stephen.Sywak
User Rank
Freelancer
re: Analogue computers to the rescue
Stephen.Sywak   9/24/2010 11:05:13 PM
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Yeah, yeah...so you got me! But it was the OTHER guy who cooked the power supply!

Earl54
User Rank
Rookie
re: Analogue computers to the rescue
Earl54   9/24/2010 7:21:08 PM
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Sounds like Stephen, the "Chef Mechanical Engineer", can "cook up" some pretty good stuff!



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