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Sherlock Ohms

Don’t Like the Problem? Don’t Believe It

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Battar
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Military intelligence?
Battar   10/3/2013 2:10:28 AM
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Zippy,

        I understand that your remark was made in jest, but it wasn't really funny. I served in a US-allied organization which is internationally recognized for its' competence and is generally held in high regard. We had our share of fools, but not in the technical units. And yes, a sense of humor is indispendible.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Do it anyway
William K.   10/2/2013 8:01:58 PM
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Sometimes it is handy to think things out on paper, at least for the initial component location stage of a design. Or if not paper, in a cad program in conjunction with other drawings.

ratkinsonjr
User Rank
Gold
Re: Do it anyway
ratkinsonjr   10/2/2013 6:25:29 PM
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Ah, yes, the days of mylar sheet with black layout tape and an X-Acto knife, followed by making a copy at 2:1 scale. This so you could trace the layout by hand with colored markers on paper with the clear layout sheets underneath on a light table, to check for routing errors and safety spacings.

You were lucky if you had the luxury of a double-sided board though. My first board (for a CRT monochome display computer terminal) had to be single-sided for cost reasons, which meant that we had over a dozen zero-ohm jumpers on the board, to allow traces to cross over each other.

Almost makes you nostalgic, doesn't it? :-)

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
BUT it was a sergeant
William K.   10/2/2013 6:07:16 PM
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The other point that I would make is that the boss was an ex-sergeant. Of course there are quite a few very competent sergeants in the service, but usually the good ones get promoted before they leave. And I can vouch that there are a few of the other kind. 

Being able to give orders and follow orders by the book does not make one a good engineer.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Do it anyway
William K.   10/2/2013 6:00:49 PM
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Why weren't the boards wirewrapped? The answer is simple and logical. In that era mostly circuit boards were at most double sided, and in addition, most of the circuit board layouts were not done by computers, but by skilled layout designers. And my guess is that these were fairly large boards with forty to eighty  14 and 16 pin chips, and a whole lot of discreat logic. Today that could be economical with an autorouter and six or eight layers. Back then it would not have happened. Besides that, the systems were all really prototypes, or very limited production runs, at best. How many flight simulators are sold every year? Not at all like cell phones where millions are sold. THAT is why the boards were wire-wrapped..

One classic fix for wirewrapped boards that were intermittant was to very carefully solder the wires to the posts, starting with the grounds, followed by the V+ pins. And one source of a great deal of greif was the occasional poor ground connection that had been soldered, but not well, prior to the start of wrapping.

Zippy
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Military intelligence?
Zippy   10/2/2013 5:15:33 PM
Battar, thank you for your service. You find my humorous comment offensive, for which I apologize.  I will point out two things, however;

1.  This story is in fact about just such an incident.  That's not an indictment of the whole organization, but these things do happen.

2.  My quote was a favorite of my father, who served in WWII and Korea, and retired as a colonel after 30 years.  A well-developed sense of humor can get you through a lot in life.

 

Respectfully,

Zippy

bobl
User Rank
Iron
Re: Do it anyway
bobl   10/2/2013 11:49:43 AM
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re: wire wrap panels

 

Digital Equipment Co (DEC) made most of their computers using wire wrap panels.  If I remember correctly, they were rats-nest type wiring.  They built "millions" of PDP-11 computers and peripherals this way.  They must have thought it cost-effective to use wire wrap.

armorris
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Military intelligence?
armorris   10/2/2013 11:36:17 AM
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Battar,

I'm sure Zippy meant that as humor (note the ":)" at the end of his comment). I have met a lot of highly competent people in the military, but I've met some idiots, too. The military are just people, like the rest of us.

I was drafted into the Army. When you draft people, you get all kinds.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Do it anyway
tekochip   10/2/2013 11:27:11 AM
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Wire wrap cards were very popular back in the late Seventies and early Eighties when you had rows and rows of logic gates on cards.  The machines that wrapped the crads were easily programmed and servicing the crads wasn't awfull as long as you didn't have to unwrap anything. 

Thankfully microcontrollers got to be cheaper.

armorris
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Do it anyway
armorris   10/2/2013 11:24:41 AM
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TJ,

Thanks. Please forgive my misinterpretation of your meaning.

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