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IC's will never make it
toney   7/18/2014 8:16:21 PM
back in the very early days of IC's one of our engineers got a couple of plastic parts and tried to solder them to a bredboard with a 200+ watt soldering gun.  The Ic's melted.  We figured IC's would never make it....

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DrQuine   5/16/2014 5:03:18 PM
I recall a postal sorting machine prototype that I worked on in the early 1990's that periodically would make a loud bang and one of the integrated circuits would look like a cigarette lighter with a flame shooting out of the middle. We called it the flamethrower ... eventually the root cause was traced to a metal rail short circuiting out the power supply with adverse results.

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Re: SED's
Rcurl   5/13/2014 12:27:03 PM
I don't recall whether it was Hewlett Packard or National Semiconductor that introduced the "Dark-Emitting Arsenide Diode" (DEAD) at the beginning of April one year.

I think it's particularly enjoyable when one of those huge companies takes themselves lightly.

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Noise Emitting Diode?
Stargzer   5/12/2014 12:17:00 PM
Back in the early 70s when I was a sophomore in college, Popular Electronics had a circuit for a "Chatter Jammer," a pink noise generator.  It back-biased a transistor junction (effectively a diode) into breakdown with a 9V battery to generate a hissing noise that was amplified by a second transistor.  I sent off for the kit and built it into a small box with crystal earphones.  It was a way of blocking out noise so one could concentrate.  I even took it in to a Physics exam.  The professor looked at me strangely and I said it had all the answers built in to it.  He came over and I told him the real purpose -- to block out external noise so I could concentrate; he listened to it and let me keep it for the exam.  It's still sitting around somewhere ...


Near the end of freshman year of college I taught myself IBM 360 Assembler as a special project in a PL/I class, writing a crude four-function calculator that used the system console for input and output.  The Assembler had an instruction, DC, to define a constant.  I gathered all my DC instructions into one section of code and, having been born in Washington, DC, labled it "Washington Section," for all the DCs.


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Test in Tray Technology
selinz   5/10/2014 11:31:22 PM
We can test silicon in packages, bare chips, wafers, modules, on lead frames, and in trays. The latter has been used in with varying degrees of success over the years. The TLA that stuck was TTT, although another TLA jumps out. There are still companies out there trying to milk this technology.  Er, er...

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Re: NEDs vs SEDs
mhrackin   5/8/2014 3:46:00 PM
I must beg to differ with you on the electrolytic cap!  Way back 50 years ago I had a "part-time" (only 50-60 hours a week) job as an engineering tech while I was finishing my BSEE.  One of our products was a controller for DC motors and solenoids that ran at a nominal 90VDC.  We didn't have a power supply that could support that voltage at the current level required, so I haywired a hefty silicon diode and a 200VDC BIG computer-grade electrolytic to a (2-wire) line cord.  The half-wave rectification gave a pretty good 90VDC under load.  Late one night the chief engineer (named Murphy, REALLY) and I were working in a very crowded lab area testing the controller, when a momentary surge overloaded the rectifier and turned in into a dead short!  It took only a fraction of a second for the huge aluminum can of the lytic to explode violently, showering us with foil confetti along with a DEAFENING roar.  The chief engineer (being a good Irishman, he was "well-oiled" by then) slowly turned to me and said, "Did something just happen?"  True story!

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antedeluvian   5/7/2014 2:24:36 PM
When I was working in South Africa 20+ years ago we were doing some work for a company called Bothma, Searle and Wilk (apparently they are still in business). At the time two circuses (Circi?) merged to become Boswell-Wilkie Circus. My mind made the leap to Bothma-Wilk Searlcus, but it quickly evolved that we just referred to BS&W as "the circus". I hasten to add that it was no reflection on the organization, just a quick way to refer to them.

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Russ.Hellar   5/7/2014 12:35:22 PM
Also known as Smoke Emitting Diodes, or WOM's.(Write Only Memory)

And who can forget  the old favorite, "DANGER! 30,000 OHMS!"?


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Re: NEDs vs SEDs
boblespam   5/7/2014 12:04:59 PM
Blowing a LED or an electrolytic capacitor is nothing compared to blowing a tantalum capacitor. You must try that one: just overvolt it and you get a big flame and smoke :-)

(and sometime a hole in the PCB)

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NEDs vs SEDs
bk11   5/7/2014 9:23:42 AM
We always called them SEDs - smoke emitting diodes.  The most memorable one was a MOSFET in a DDPAK (surface mount TO-220) connected to a 400W power supply.  The assembly tech asked for help because the instrument wouldn't turn on.  We turned the unit on its side to get a better look, and a few seconds after applying power the DDPAK desoldered itself and fell off the PCB.  If only it were always that easy...

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As data rates begin to move beyond 25 Gbps channels, new problems arise. Getting to 50 Gbps channels might not be possible with the traditional NRZ (2-level) signaling. PAM4 lets data rates double with only a small increase in channel bandwidth by sending two bits per symbol. But, it brings new measurement and analysis problems. Signal integrity sage Ransom Stephens will explain how PAM4 differs from NRZ and what to expect in design, measurement, and signal analysis.

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