[time-nuts] Learning technology by taking the clock apart...

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Thu Jul 28 02:18:53 EDT 2005

In message <42E813E4.4090001 at erols.com>, Chuck Harris writes:

[I split off this topic, it's interesting in its own right I think]

>> It may not be their fault.  Have you tried taking modern toys apart
>> ?  Or a radio ?  A TV-set ?  There is nothing in there our kids can
>> learn anything from :-(
>I must be very unusual, I fix modern TV's, radios, and other consumer
>electronics doo-dads.    It isn't generally economical to do what I do, but
>it does keep me in touch with the bleeding edge of consumer manufacturing

Right, but if you were a 7 year old kid, would you *learn* from it ?

The problem is that microelectronics obscure the basic circuit and
prevents you from poking around with anything but a few peripheral
capacitors which are mostly there for decoupling anyway...

When I took a television apart, there were a schematic pasted on the
back panel, and I could trace the circuit and with a book about
radio reception in hand, I could follow the signals progress.  I
could look at the schematic and figure out what happened when I
pushed this button and turned that knob.

If my kid takes a television apart, he can trace any wire with a
signal until it hits an integrated circuit and then what ?

Yes, he'll learn that "it's all the black centipedes which do all
the stuff" and that is both valuable and precise knowledge, but it
is hardly going to make him think electronics is interesting.

Poul-Henning Kamp       | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk at FreeBSD.ORG         | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer       | BSD since 4.3-tahoe    
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

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