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'...
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.
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".
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!
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.
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 :)
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.
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...
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!
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.
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...
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.
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.
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....
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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