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Double buffering...
tom-ii   5/6/2014 9:45:07 AM
In these modern days, the ping ponging of the video registers is called "double buffering" - I figure you know that, but someone else might not.


Also, aren't all diodes noise emitting?


I've always had some fun with noise generating circuits.  It was almost a hobby for a while.  As you can likely tell, I'm an expert at it (generating noise, that is...)

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zeeglen   5/6/2014 10:18:23 AM
The first prototype hardware PCBs usually required 'barnacles' - little leaded components that get soldered onto the PCB to fix glitches and rectify design oversights, much as marine barnacles grow on the hulls of sea-going ships.

We had a separate Bill of Materials for the barnacles, so we naturally called this the "Barnacle Bill'...

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Re: Barnacles
dt_hayden   5/6/2014 10:52:58 AM
We always referred to added components as "dead bugs" as the leaded components were adhered to the board or another component with the top of the package toward the board, and resembled a deceased bug with its legs in the air.  Luckily I was never involved on a design where the dead bugs needed their own bill of materials.

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"Poole's Constant"
anon8897692   5/6/2014 11:45:10 AM
Long ago, I worked on a product line that required a phasing cable to be calculated, cut and installed. The guys had a long formula of degrees/360, frequency, cable velocity constant, speed of light and conversion to inches they had to type into a hand calculator every time. I reduced it down for them to a single value*degrees or something like that. They called the value "Poole's Constant".

Bill Poole

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Memory Redundancy
DRAMExpert   5/6/2014 12:16:30 PM
In 1979, after we developed a way to use spare rows and columns of memory cells to replace defective cells in a DRAM, we needed a name for the technique.  I favored Faulty Array Repair Technique, but for some reason, Bell Labs management would not approve that name!

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Red LEDs shine yellow - for some time
anon0050695   5/6/2014 12:54:11 PM
Hello, as an intern 35 years ago when LEDs where quite new, we managed to get multiple RED LEDs to emit yellow light. The trick was to drive them with a programmable power supply set for 12V and 2.5A short circuit current. (Some experimenting with exact values needed and each batch of LEDs were slightly different.)

The record was one LED than literally burned for 3 weeks. One problem was that powering off disabled forever the short that glowed in the dark.  

And yes, the LED did make a loud noise - once - when subjected to this treatment. Two inventions in one;, NED and first generation incandescent light source.

Happy memories!



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Unusual components
DU00000001   5/6/2014 2:37:26 PM
During my first jobs I had a lot of fun...

A green LED shining orange (just an error in the decimal point - 0.2 instead of 0.02 A). The effect was repeatable with this LED but not reproducible with others: they tended to emit a short flash of light when the bond wire blew.

All sorts of LETs (LE-Transistor - glowing @ 20 Amps) and SERs (Smoke Emitting Resistors).

Once we even managed to 'beam' a resistor. It vanished in a fireball the size of a cherry.
Puzzling: never found out where it rematerialized :)

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Error codes
Lionlair   5/6/2014 2:58:07 PM
While working for a large ATE company we had to get a customer to signoff on a 'high speed data link'.   12 bit parallel .   Their spec for the port software and cable set / whole system - was to have xxx number of block transfers without having a "non detectable" error.

I got it signed off after I got it installed and running for 2 weeks.  It ran when requested and used on three shifts.  I asked them to to sign or show me the 'non detectable error' and there was an IT guy that signed it off.   The test guys were still wondering what they were thinking of when writing the spec. 


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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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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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