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Author Topic: First Contact...  (Read 7870 times)

Art Welter

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Re: First Contact...
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2014, 10:07:21 AM »

I tend to learn a lot more from my mistakes than from my successes.
Unfortunately, same here.

My first real electrical project was a "remote control" car made from two 120 VAC motors similar to the one in the picture below.  At the time this 1956 model (me) was about 8 years old. The steel motor output shafts rested on wheels made from (about) 6 inch discs cut from 1/4" plywood. I scrounged the motors and two switches and two pin non-polarized AC plug, but purchased about 50 feet of brown 18 gauge zip cord at the local hardware store with money saved from several weeks of my allowance.

If both motors were switched on, the "car" would go straight, dragging the 25 foot of taped together zip cord around at about 10 miles an hour. Switching either motor off for a moment caused the car to go turn, if one motor was left off for more than an instant the car would spin in place, quickly wrapping up the cord like spaghetti. The steel to plywood disc connection was slippery enough that toggling the on/off switches made it possible to turn any direction, or even "kind of" slow down.

I did not make direct contact with electricity in that experiment, but did manage to wire a dead short on the first attempt, so upon first plugging the car in there was a bright spark and "pfft" noise followed by no lights. Working in the basement there was still some light from the window wells, but it was very dark in the windowless "work room" where the fuse box was located. I managed to replace the 15 amp fuse which evidently provided power for all the outlets and lighting in the basement without anyone else upstairs in the house knowing I had screwed up.

After correcting the wiring mistake, and some practice diving the car around the basement, I demonstrated it to my Mom, who showed some positive enthusiasm for my creation. She probably would not have been so enthusiastic if she had witnessed the sparks flying an hour before.

Since that time, I have inadvertently (and occasionally intentionally) made physical contact with AC numerous times, but fortunately those mistakes have taught me to know and respect the power Tesla made abundantly available to us all.

Art
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: First Contact...
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2014, 10:27:11 PM »



This was one of my first "project books" they had both the first and second in the series in my elementary school library.

The fun of the first crystal set actually working, then refining the circuit for more selectivity and sensitivity (though I did not know those words then).

Ham ticket at 12, plenty of hi fi gear resurected by from parents friends garages.  As a kid I would tag along to parties with my parents and once everyone was socially lubricated started poking around for cast off electronics.  A quick ask of the hosts if I could have a broken or discarded hi fi gear I located was often granted.  I picked up a Tascam 4 track 1/4 10.5 inch that required little repair and became the pride of my collection.  If I recall I made a small oscillator using some high stability time base and calibrated it at a local radio shop.  I would zero beat the bias oscillator against it using a dual input scope.  I could stare at Lissajous patterns for hours.

By the time I hit sixteen I found out about girls, cars and weed.  With a strong geek background I quickly picked up auto mechanics and performance work.  This put the electronics on hold other than I was always busy installing car audio systems.  By then I was doing sound/lights in a local community theater and was the system engineer and computer lab "go to" guy.

The Dilbert video sums it up.  The "knack" is a collection of tangible and intangible attributes that makes  understanding "how things work" an intuitive skills.

Having the "knack" doesn't necessarily lead to being a great employee as I have found most people with it share the same bad attributes, easily distracted, tending not to finish stuff (that last 10% is always the hardest).  Even today if I let my guard drop those habits creep right out.

Anyway, it is fun to read these stories and know just how much we all have in common. 

   
« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 12:24:39 AM by Scott Holtzman »
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

Ghost Audio Visual Solutions, LLC
Cleveland OH
www.ghostav.rocks

Steve M Smith

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Re: First Contact...
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2014, 01:52:49 AM »

Unfortunately, same here.

It's not unfortunate at all.  I posted in another thread that one of my heroes, Edwin Land (who invented Polaroid photography) would be annoyed if he found a solution to a problem straight away.  He preferred to get it through a lot of trial and error as the errors show you the parameters of a process.

By the time I hit sixteen I found out about girls

Me too... although it took several more years for them to find out about me!!


Steve.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 01:55:09 AM by Steve M Smith »
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Re: First Contact...
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2014, 01:52:49 AM »


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