Soldering and other skills (was Re: QL-Quality (Was: ZX-81

From: R. D. Davis <>
Date: Sun Mar 31 14:58:59 2002

Quothe Tony Duell, from writings of Sun, Mar 31, 2002 at 07:01:23PM +0100:
> > "R. D. Davis" wrote:
> > > ... First practice with some wire; create a
> > > few Western Union joints and get the knack creating a good solder
> > > joint.

[Western Union joint]
> IIRC, it's a way of joining multi-strand cables. I would have to look up
> the details, but one of my books on telegraphy should include it.

It's a way of joining multi-strand, or single-strand, wires so that they
don't come apart easily. You've no doubt seen these, or made them, but
perhaps they're also known by a different name.

> The horrible modern ones with the PCB that you fixed little component
> headers to with 6BA nuts? Or the older ones with loose components and
> spring terminals that you pushed into a piece of pegboard?

Did Philips also make kits similar to the P-box kits with the plastic
pegboard and spring terminals? I remember building a metronome kit,
AM radio, sound operated switch, "heads or tails" decision maker (this
consisted of two neon bulbs with red and green lenses that fired
alternately, although it appeared that they were both lit at the same
time. IIRC, pressing a momentary SPST switch stopped an oscillator
and then only one of the bulbs remained lit), etc. One might say this
was a type of computer, so, this appears to be on-topic. :-)

> With those 3 toegether you could make a simple MW AM radio, etc.
> I then added a few more parts bought as 'spares', including the larger
> chassis, to bring that up to the
> EE1003. This had a few more parts, but basically gave you the same
> circuits as the above 3 kits together

Those Philips kits sound interesting! Nice!

> Then I got (cheap, when they were discontinued)

Speaking of circuitry, I've got junk box that I haven't looked in for
quite a while, containing various older components, transformers,
etc. and it appears that mice have gotten into it. Some of this
consists of difficult to find/replace bits, so, needless to say, I
don't want to just toss it out; however, the thought of having to
clean all of this up is not pleasant. I'm going to start by spraying
it all with some Lysol; not sure if that will harm anything such as
some plastic parts, however, it all needs to be disinfected. Don't
suggest using a dishwasher, as I don't have one of those newfangled
gizmos. :-) Any suggestions? Using water is out of the question.
> EE1004 AF add-on kit. A matched pair of AC132s, audio transformers, etc.
> One of the fun projects you could make with EE1003 + EE1004 was an audio
> sig-gen useing the Wein bridge circuit with a light bulb to stabilise the
> gain. The same idea as HP's first product (just to bring this back
> towards on-topic status).

Very interesting!

> EE1005 RF add-on kit. Another BF194, IF transformers, dual gang variable
> capacitor, etc. You could make superhet radios, etc with this kit.

This discussion is making me regret leaning more towards computers
and programming and away from other aspects of my electronics hobby
such as radios and audio - thinking back, that was actually more fun,
and perhaps less expensive. Has anyone else on the list begun to
feel this way?

Does anyone remember the LaFayette kits? I only recall building one,
an amplifier using an odd-looking semi-DIP IC - IIRC, a 14-pin IC
where pins 3,4 & 5 were a single wide metal tab and pins 10, 11 and 12
were also a single wide metal tab - not individual pins.

> To make this more on-topic, there was a series of computer/logic
> educational kits. They were based round a 'logic module' that was
> basically an aribtrary 3-input gate (it used the well-known 4 input mux +
> inverter circuit with a patchboard to configure it). I managed to obtain
> the smallest kit (CL1650) which contained 2 modules, the battery/input
> switch module and not much else. Fortunately there was one manual for all
> the kits in the range, and it was possible to use normal TTL chips on a
> plugblock breadboard to replace the modules I didn't have....

It sounds as though Philips had a much wider range of kits than Radio

> Last year I found the Philips ME1200 kit in a charity shop (thrift
> store). I grabbed it -- I'd been looking for an ME kit ('Mechanical
> Engineer') for some time. It includes a number of plastic disks which
> can be fitted with pins to make gears, switches, etc, a small motor,
> metal rods, and so on. You can make a couple of simple clocks with it
> :-)). One nice feature of the ME kits (which is why I wanted one) was
> that you couls use the EE and ME kits together and make things like a
> vehicle that stopped when it went into a dark area (LDR and a couple of
> transistors from the EE kit controlling the motor from the ME kit).

Wow! Nice find!!! What have you built with this thus far? That kit
sounds somewhat like the old Erector Sets that could be used to build
anything from cranes to vehicles, although I don't recall any way to
build a reasonably accurate clock with it. Back in elementary school,
I used this to build a motorized vehicle for a science project, but
the blasted moron-brained teacher rejected it as being too "advanced"
(accused me of having help with building it, which I didn't!!!), and
then looked the other way while some other students tried to destroy
it - hence, I have little respect for most elementary school teachers.
I may still have most of the components for the set - the one that
came in what appeared to be a largish blue metal toolbox. The only
problem was, I was always finding other uses for the components over
the years, so I don't have all of the components (in one place, that
is). To this day, I'm still finding bits and pieces of that where
they don't belong, such as pulleys, nuts, bolts, etc. :-)

Yes, I may have used some of these bits with computers. :-)

Copyright (C) 2001 R. D. Davis The difference between humans & other animals: 
All Rights Reserved            an unnatural belief that we're above Nature &  410-744-4900  her other creatures, using dogma to justify such         beliefs and to justify much human cruelty.
Received on Sun Mar 31 2002 - 14:58:59 BST

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