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Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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I studied electronics in high school & college 45+ years ago, in the awkward period between when they stopped teaching about tubes and when they started teaching about ICs. After that I worked in a small shop that specialized in PA equipment for less than a year before moving on to the career I wanted since my early teens: Designing speakers.
I did that for at 2 speaker manufacturers that each became the largest in Canada while I was there and my name was mentioned in Audio Scene Canada magazine a few times (apparently the sales guys dropped my name a bit too).

The details aren't important but after a dozen years things were starting to sour and I no longer wanted to deal with furniture chain buyers like the guy that told us "That one is what I'd want in my own living room but I'm going to order this because I know our sales people can sell something that sounds like it. I'd put little piles of dirt with price tags on the sales floor if I could" (when the order came in the sales manager & I decided to call their models LPD-01, LPD-02 &c).

I had always wanted to move out of the city so we decided to raise our kids in a place where the air was worth breathing, you could see the stars at night and the roads had a lot less traffic, found a house near Lake Simcoe and I left my career in electronics behind.
I took a job at a local factory (5km from home), planning to keep looking until I found something I liked better. The work had absolutely noting to do with electronics but I found it interesting and ended up retiring from there 27 years later.

During most of the time since we left the city the only electronics I've done was some motorcycle wiring (including using LEDs as indicators in instrument panels and switch panels), a few small projects for my model trains (again including LEDs) and the occasional repair of something around the house.

I retired 5 years ago and spent the first few years catching up on household repairs/renos that I didn't have time for while working and learning how to grow most of our own vegetables. Last winter I decided it was time to deal with the mess in the basement workshop.
About 20 years ago we inherited the house my parents had built when they followed us out of the city and, since most of my shop time was keeping my motorcycles running I built a shop in the garage for that and didn't use the basement shop much so some of the stuff there was still where Dad had left it, often under other stuff I'd put there to deal with later.

I'm not sure what Dad had planned to use it for but there's a bench along the south wall of the shop that's about 1.3m long, 0.7m deep and 1m high that I decided it would become the first real electronics bench I've had since 1988 (seen here in March)
25 - Electronics bench Mar 22.jpg

Which brings me to joining this forum. I've been on forums for my motorcycles and other things for years and I know how great a community of people with a common interest is. And I'm finding myself butting my head against some pretty basic stuff that I used to know so I figured it was about time I looked for an electronics forum where I can find people that might be able to help me figure some of this stuff out.

Just as an example, when I was in college one of our teachers arranged an annual bulk purchase of alligator clips and red and black rubber insulated wire for the first year students so we could make up sets of good clip leads. 45+ years later I think I still have 3 of them. I do have a set of longer clip leads with plastic insulated wire (not as supple as the rubber insulation was) that I got from Princess Auto in the garage shop for when I work on motorcycles &c but they aren't great for electronics and I'd like to keep them in the garage anyway.
Thanks to the miracle of ordering direct from China on eBay now have a couple of metres each of 7 colours of silicone insulated 16AWG wire and some of the little drawers in the shop closet are now full of alligator clips. I sat down the other day to start making them and realized I didn't have a clue how long they should be other than that the ones I have in the garage, which are about right for working on vehicles, are way too long for this. And of course, I couldn't find any recommendations online either.
I ended up deciding on 2 each of 30cm, 20cm and 10cm leads in each colour.
I really like the silicone wire I have also ordered the stuff I need to make up some better leads for the multimeters.

Anyway, this is getting waaaaaay too long and I have to get back to adding LEDs to Christmas cards. It's a bit basic but if you folks think it would be useful let me know and I'll start a thread about doing them.
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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Welcome to EP sidecar Bob,
That was a very nice introduction and a pleasant read.
I am somewhat gutted though, I bought a pair of your LPD-01’s ;) .

I see Your ‘new’ LED tester on the bench, I like them and have a few too.

Never before have I seen a gun with a power lead. WTH is it??
And yes, tell us more about your cards with LEDs.

Martin
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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You wouldn't have bought our little piles of dirt unless you got them at a certain Canadian furniture & appliance chain about 30 years ago.

I got the LED tester after seeing Big Clive use one. It can be useful but I find I more often just touch the leads to a CR2032.

The "gun" is a Wen 75 "soldering pistol". Basically a soldering iron with a handle & trigger like a soldering gun, they were a standard tool for TV repairmen back in the days when there was such a thing and they made house calls. My first decent soldering tool was one given to me by the husband of a friend of my Mom's (who was one of those TV repairmen) when he found out I was studying electronics. I eventually wore the tip on mine out and when I came across that one in like new condition while searching for tips for it a few years ago I bid on it in a fit of boomer nostalgia even though I already had more than enough soldering tools.
These days I mostly use the Weller WTCPS soldering station (inherited from my son who bought it because he grew up around my old WTCPL (that now lives in the train room).
Did you see the other vintage soldering tool hanging on that wall?
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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Yeah, big Clive is very entertaining.
I did notice the wooden handled ‘hot’ iron. I only use mine with BBQs.
Interesting about the gun soldering iron, never seen one and now find myself searching to buy one.

Martin
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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I've learned a lot from Clive over the last few years. My wife enjoys what we call the Cooking with Clive episodes too :D
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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Hehe, 240v hot dogs!
I enjoy his humour and tear downs. He is a talented genuine nice guy.

Martin
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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"Don't do this at home. I do it so you don't have to"
I've emailed with him a couple of times and he seems the same as he is on video.
 

Kiwi

Jan 28, 2013
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Welcome Bob.

I use a selection of soldering irons for working on vehicles in my day job.

I use a Bosch PLP100 soldering gun/pistol every day at work. Love the instant heat. It is about thirty years old and has been obsolete for years. I managed to buy a couple of new tips a few years ago, so hopefully it should last me out.:D
The Wen soldering guns had a bit of a bad name at the time I bought the Bosch gun. Weller and Bosch were the preferred brands here.

My old faithful Hakko soldering iron that I use for electronics died recently, so I replaced it with a Goot. I'm afraid I hate the Goot with a passion, so it will probably be binned in the near future.

For serious solder jobs I use a 120W Matson iron. It has a 19mm removable copper bolt and takes a few minutes to heat up, but you can get a few joints done before having to plug it back in.

Away from power I usually use a 12v Superscope connected to the battery on my service vehicle. It also must be over twenty years old? I also used to use the Hakko connected to a 230v inverter.
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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I have a 200/260W soldering gun for when I need a lot of power; It's great when you need to solder up a hope in a fuel tank but I wouldn't use it anywhere near a circuit board.
 

Harald Kapp

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Nov 17, 2011
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Welcome Bob.
I haven't read such an interesting introduction and follow-up discussion for quite some time. Looking forward to your contributions.
 

Harald Kapp

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If they are full of LEds, this forum would be great.
If its more about showing off your project, this forum is the right one.
The general electronics discussions forum is the right one if you feel your cards are neither full of LEDs nor worth a project log.

Btw: you may experience issues when your images are too big. Cropping them to < 300 kB is a sure way to make the upload work.
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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Thanks.
I usually resize pics to 1000 x 670 so that they display well in forums unless there is a specific need for a large, detailed image and even then I generally crop the area with the needed details and post it separately.

I was thinking of the same parts of the forum myself but I wasn't sure.Since they aren't "full" of LEDs (although that's the only electronics in them) and they are really a seasonal work-on-it-for-a-week project that probably won't be looked at the rest of the year so they probably don't merit a project log (I haven't had time to browse the forum a lot but I imagine that's close to what we call a "build thread" on the bike forums) so General it is

BTW: Being a mod myself on a couple of the bike forums, I appreciate that every forum does things differently and I understand the need to teach newbies how to fit in so please don't hesitate to let me know if I put something in the wrong place or do something in a way that doesn't fit here.

And speaking of that, Every year I do a digital Christmas card based on a pic I found online. On the other forums I'm on it's sort of a tradition that I start "The official Christmas/Holiday Card Thread" in the Off Topic section. Is it OK if I do that here?
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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Christmas/Holiday card thread started
https://www.electronicspoint.com/fo...al-christmas-holiday-card-thread-2021.296346/

Why not? Personally that would be my favorite forum for your cards
OK. You've been around here longer than me so if you think so I'll start it there (hopefully this afternoon)
It really is a simple project (the most complicated ones this year only has a battery holder, 9 LEDs and 3 resistors) but it does add a personal touch to them (as if home made cards weren't already personal enough).
 
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