Screwing around (Was: Multimeter recomendations

Tony Duell ard at
Mon Sep 27 14:41:27 CDT 2010

> > I think I've mentioend before that these days my parents would probably 
> > be guilty of child cruelty or something. My 8th (I think) birthday 
> > prsennt consisted of things like a woodworking tenon saw, a junior 
> > hacksaw, a set of twist drills, a wheelbrace (hand drill) to use them in, 
> > a small vice, and so on. 
> Now I'm jealous ;-)

Those are hardly exotic tools :-)

> I was really interested in that Technic Lego that used to be around - I spent 
> many an hour designing gearboxes and the like. I'm not sure if you can even 
> get the stuff these days (or if it's anything like it used to be - gradually

I think it is still available. A few years back I was in a Lego shop in, 
IIRC, Bluewater (a larger shopping centre to the East of London) and they 
certianly had it. In fact you could buy an empty box form them in various 
sizes (cost more as it got larger) and fill it with yor own assortment of 
parts, and the Technical gears, spindles, etc were there.

The first version of Lego Mindstorms used the nroaml Technical mechancial 
bits. I have no idea what the latest one uses.
> there were more and more custom parts creeping into the model kits, and of 
> course anyone with a real interest in that stuff built the kit model once and 
> then used the parts to create their own things)

Of course. Hackery does not come from follwoing the instructions :-)

FischerTechnik, alas, went the same way. The stuff I grew up loving was very
general-purpose with few custom aprts. Even the electronics stuff was 
things like relay moduels, analoughe comparator modules, etc. Now, 
apprently, you get a pre-built and configured black box for the projects 
in that kit. Bletch!.

Maybe after I desing a multimeter I should design an educational 
construction toy. Now, should the basic kit include enought bits to make 
a fairly accurate mini-lathe so you can make more parts yourself :-)

> > I certianly think there are fewer constructional toys around now than 
> > there were perhaps 30 or 40 eyars ago. I must have over a dozen 
> > different educational electronics systems, and none of them are Heathkit 
> > :-).  As I've said before, I think the Philips EE kits were the most fun, 
> > but teher were others.
> I was probably around 7 when I got one of those ones with the bendy springs 
> and a bunch of wires for making connections to components that were mounted on 
> the board - it was a good introduction to electronics. I don't remember how 

I know them....

I always preferec the Philips kits becauise the components weren't 
pre-mounted (as in thost bendy-spring ones) or hidden inside modules 
(Electroni-kit, Braun Lectron, etc). With the Philis EE kits you got to 
handle and conenct 'loose' resistors, capacitors, etc. OK, the 
transistors (BC148 and BF194 in Lokfit packages) were pre-soldered ot 
little PCBs that fittedo not the spring terminals, but everything else 
was just 'real' components. So of course you could trivially add extra 
components yourself...

The kits I had had some interesting projects including both common forms 
of AF signal generaotr (diode-mxing a pair of RF oscillators and taking 
the beat frequency ; The Wein bridge osicllator with a lamp to stabilise 
the gain (OK, it was transiotrised, but it's nice to have a kit that lets 
you build something a bit like an HP200) and various suiperhet radios 
(most enducational kits don't go beyond TRF recievers). I never had the 
add-on kits that weren't sold in the UK, like the one with the CRT or the 
TV tuner module...

To get the sliightly closer to being on topic, has anyone else here come 
acros the Philps CL1600 series of eductional digital electronics modules?


More information about the cctalk mailing list