I have been interested in electronics since the mid fifties when I constructed several transistor radios from kits marketed by Henrys of Tottenham Court Road. Transistors had been invented in 1948 at the Bell Telephone Labs but it was the mid fifties before they started to appear on the amateur market and then they were out of spec. items distinguished only by a red spot or a white spot for RF or Audio applications.
This morning I was looking at some plug in boards from a PC in the local computer shop and it was obvious that any circuit of that complexity with multi-layer circuit boards and etched conductors only a quarter of a millimetre wide was way beyond the scope of amateur construction. I could recognise a few resistors and capacitors but the remainder was made up of multi-pin chips with meaningless codes which needed a magnifying lens to even read.
The problem therefore is where do amateurs like ourselves go in this modern age. The answers are several: everyone has to begin somewhere and even designers of modern electronic circuits started with the fundamentals such as were discussed in the recent series on basic Electronics. Secondly many of us use various electronic devices such as intruder and fire alarms and often because of our interest we also fit them so that advice from specialists such as the Hints etc. article by Jeff Brown are very welcome. Finally, computer chips are everywhere and the trend in any electronic system is first to digitise your signal, then to process it with a microprocessor, finally use the output to drive something perceived as useful by humans such as a loudspeaker, an LCD display, a motor or what have you.
What I want to do is to persuade you, the members, who have some electronic knowledge, even if it is specialised, to tell the rest of use about it. You don't have to reveal trade secrets but you may well inspire a budding Edison on the path to discovery. Write it down now and send it to me or the BAEC Newsletter will die.
Technicalities:- We have to get text in a form which we can easily handle. I have discovered early on that articles arrive on my desk in all sorts of forms from hand-written to computer disc which we sometimes can't read! Most of this job at the moment seems to consist of re-typing the various formats which arrive. My son, who is also an electronic engineer, advises me that the best way to receive articles would by via E-Mail using a standard word processing program such as Word for Windows. We can then re-format it using Adobe Acrobat so that it will fit into our newsletter. I am about to sample a circuit drawing program called Isis Lite by downloading it from the WWW. I am told that drawings produced on it may be embedded in Word for Windows. Hopefully this will save me time re-drawing circuit diagrams. I am learning as I go so any advice will be very welcome.
Please Write - tell us what you are doing - tell us how you suddenly saw the solution to a problem - if you have an electronic problem write to ask if anyone has the solution - Please Write - Telephone - E-Mail - Fax - even if you have to hand write it - Please Write - keep the BAEC Newsletter going.
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