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Another "oldie" that is still useful
Bill_Jaffa   4/4/2014 11:36:07 AM
Check out the ratio transformer, used to simulate LVDTs and similar:

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More "dangerous" than garbage in/garbage out
Bill_Jaffa   4/4/2014 11:45:54 AM
One of the virtues of older, "dumber" test equipment is that you—the user—had to understand what it was measuring, and see if it made sense. Since today's products are so powerful and smart computationally, they pop out the final answer and you have no idea if it makes any sense at all.

I was at a high school science fair, and some of the students had used high-end lab equipment to do gene sequencing (or something like that). They had no idea if what the machine told them was valid or not: it was a big box into which you put the sample, and the box spit out the answer a little later. That result could have been completely wrong and they wouldn't know it at all.

At least with a basic scope, voltmeter, etc, you have to think about the results and then do the additional analysis yourself—a good sanity check. It's more worrisome than garbage in/garbage out: it's good stuff in/garbage out.

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Another reason to like vintage test equipment
DarkMatter0   4/4/2014 1:51:47 PM
Another very attractive attribute of vintage test equipment is that it is usually repairable. Note the phrase "manuals, which often provide schematics".

Dennis Velco
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Estate Sales are GREAT places to find Vintage Test Equipment
Dennis Velco   4/4/2014 8:23:11 PM
Nice short article.  I love to provide my Estate Sale community with reuse, re-purposing and up-scaling ideas to help them see treasures and opportunities in what they find at our Estate Tag Sales.  What better than to put the often much vintage electronic equipment to use.  I've had tag sales from past engineers and the amount of vintage equipment was staggering.  Since I live in Columubs, Ohio, a very elecrtrical engineering community this article has helped me see another marketing approach to sales when such item come up again, as I'm sure they will.

Thanks for this article and your ideas. What you do is appreciated.
I shared it with my Estate Sale community on and Facebook at

Keep the great treasure finds coming.

Dennis Velco
dcVelco Estate Sales

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Throw it all in the container
Navelpluis   4/18/2014 4:25:44 AM
Modern management is not helping younger people with this. I explain why:

Yesteryear when management did not have their own "secret language" yet, there was mutual respect. Respect to people on the working floor, thus, also to the engineers. Lots of old surplus stuff was simply given away to the working force of the company. Old test equipment was sold for $ 2 digit or sometimes 3 digit numbers, really really cheap.

Today modern management does not want that. Too much work, too much of a hassle (???). Everything is thrown away in the container. This is very very unwise. I will explain why:

The ability to get your hands on equipment you normally cannot afford has an enormous advantage: YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT. So on longer term the employee will become much more valuable for the company. And a young engineer learns quickly.

So for all you managers in large companies: Do not throw it all away. Look around and use your common sense. You can make a lot of people happier to work for you too. Good for the motivation and company bonding.

Management is soooo simple from an engineer point of view ;-) Parts Search

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