Author Topic: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)  (Read 7235 times)

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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2017, 02:49:17 am »
1, 3. I suppose I might one day wrap something. I saw an old stereo receiver the other day that had some wire wrapped connections inside it. So, who knows. I might come across a repair that needs it. I've still got a pencil-style manual wrapper, just in case. :-+
I TEA.
 

Offline alsetalokin4017

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2017, 05:25:52 am »
Used it just a couple days ago. I see that I'm about out of wire, though. Stuff is expensive but my local supplier actually does stock it, in about 6 different colors IIRC.

The easiest person to fool is yourself. -- Richard Feynman
 

Offline Housedad

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2017, 06:21:01 am »
i was pricing it out last month to buy a roll for my electronics bench and I found that Amazon of all places had the best price. 
At least I'm still older than my test equipment
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2017, 06:41:10 am »
Never had anything to do with wire wrap.

About as close as I ever got was this:  I did wonder about how come it was so well regarded until I came across a piece (somewhere) which had a diagram with explanation.  I thought "Oh, OK.  I can see that."

That was it.
 

Offline tablatronix

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2017, 02:28:26 pm »
simple answer YES

I am 40, but I have been wirewrapping since I was about 11 with a basic screwdriver style ( RS type ), You get really good at it after a very short amount of time.
Up until recently when I got a real soldering station I mostly wirewrapped everything, as soldering was IS a pita with a pencil iron, trying to keep it wandering all over the desk or straight up falling off, fighting with the damn cord,  and waiting for it to heat up, id just throw some headers and put it away then start wirewrapping, which you can do on the couch if you wanted to, and no burns.

I use a hakko now, being able to flip a switch and solder a single wire in a matter of seconds with no setup is worth it, but wirewrapping provides some level of that if you do not have dedicated electronics space or dedicated work bench.

Lack of a garage or basement to a hobbiest is tough.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 02:35:03 pm by tablatronix »
 

Offline tablatronix

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2017, 02:37:30 pm »
Can't figure out how to get full editor for editing a post. hmm

wirewrapped nodemcu
 

Offline Gregg

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2017, 10:07:53 pm »
Wirewrap is still fairly common in the telco industry; believe it or not there is still a lot of copper wired telephone circuits still in use.

1. Used a hand wirewrap tool?
   Yes, thousands of connections, but never more than about a hundred in any session.  It gets old fast.
2. Used a power wirewrap tool?
   Yes, usually more trouble than it is worth, the OK Industries manual one squeeze gun shaped ones are relatively easy
3. Owned a wirewrap tool of any kind?
I still own a bunch of them, do you want any?
4. Accidentally stepped on a upside down wirewrap dip socket and had to go to the hospital to get it removed?
I have stepped on one and had to remove it from my shoe, but never have done wirewrapping barefoot
5. Slammed your hand down onto a dense wirewrap board in anger and then instantly regret it for multiple reasons?
I may have had lapses of my senses but never that bad!
6. Wish you still could wirewrap
What do you mean, I still can; the wrapping is usually easier than unwrapping
7. Glad you don't have to do it ever again
I’m glad I’m retired and don’t have to deal with management of major greedy corporation anymore.
8. WTF is a wirewrap tool?
There are many different wirewrap tools from the size of a mini screwdriver to the size of a small electric drill.  The bits and sleeves need to be in good shape for success and some lubrication on the moving parts of mechanical wrap tools helps a lot. The bit has to be the correct size for the gage of wire.  Tin plated wire tends to make better lasting connections and the tin plating lends a bit of lubrication to the wire sliding down the bit as it is wrapped. 

I have also laced cables with waxed linen cord; another dying art.
The typical telco situation uses beds of pins spaced about as closely as possible and 48 VDC nominal potential between pins positive earth grounded.  The current is quite low but a hand on the sharp pins will readily convince a timid person not to do anything rash.  I mostly used wirewrap to connect equipment alarm points to existing copper wire based reporting systems (things were slowly changing to IP based reporting, but the wiring was already in place and the old mentality of monopoly based management was skeptical of anything newfangled).  If I was making wirewrap connections anywhere that maynot have ideal environmental conditions like a battery room, I would coat the stripped end of the wire in some no-ox id electrical grease.  No-ox id is all over the place in the telco industry and it really works.
 
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Online james_s

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #32 on: April 24, 2017, 05:44:59 pm »
I've used wire wrap to connect stuff to header pins on a number of occasions. Always wanted to wire wrap a whole board but the sockets and pins are so expensive I've never done it.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #33 on: April 24, 2017, 06:52:15 pm »
Got the lacing twine, a few rolls of it, and the needles to work with it as well. Nice to finish off a mesh sleeve with some of it, and then make it all neat and tidy.
 

Offline Housedad

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #34 on: April 24, 2017, 07:30:31 pm »
I only did lacing twice.  Zip ties were too available after that, but it does look fantastic when done right. 
At least I'm still older than my test equipment
 

Online tooki

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #35 on: April 24, 2017, 08:16:18 pm »
Since I didn't have anyone to mentor me in electronics as a kid (born in 1980), I didn't learn about wirewrapping until it was pretty much gone. (I remember seeing the stuff in the Radio Shack catalog, but didn't know what it was.)
I only did lacing twice.  Zip ties were too available after that, but it does look fantastic when done right. 
I need to take pix of the inside of this DIY power supply I picked up from an estate sale recently. It's simultaneously a thing of beauty and horror.
 

Offline bson

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #36 on: April 24, 2017, 11:41:45 pm »
Yes to 1-7.  And never having to pay ridiculous prices for machined wirewrap sockets ever again.  Never mind board edge connectors and basic fiberglass boards weren't cheap either...  And then, PCBs that actually are correctly wired to begin with, priced at a few dollars each, dirt cheap SMD parts, at a ridiculous fraction of the size and bulk.  You'd pretty much need a card cage to hold wirewrap boards while a modern SMD PCB can hang off the JTAG cable...
« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 11:43:47 pm by bson »
 

Offline iamjanco

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2017, 03:12:13 am »
it is a dying art, for sure.  But I was wondering if any of the younger crowd (say, under 30) have ever created a circuit with wire wrap.   I mean real wire wrap wilth a twist tool, WW dip socket posts, etc.  I did thousands of connections back in the day, and it provided not only the breadboarding but the final circuit finished.  Only problem was it was delicate and thick!!   ;D

See if any of these apply to you

1. Used a hand wirewrap tool?
2. Used a power wirewrap tool?
3. Owned a wirewrap tool of any kind?
4. Accidentally stepped on a upside down wirewrap dip socket and had to go to the hospital to get it removed?
5. Slammed your hand down onto a dense wirewrap board in anger and then instantly regret it for multiple reasons?
6. Wish you still could wirewrap
7. Glad you don't have to do it ever again
8. WTF is a wirewrap tool?

Noobie here (actually oldie), thought I'd introduce myself somewhere, and then I found this thread. Cracked me up and brought back some memories I hadn't thought about since the early 90s.

A little background:

Did a 20 year stint in the Air Force, starting out in "Radar" (search and weather) Shop on C141s. Back then the field was officially called "Navigation Aids," and included maintenance of systems like ILS, TACAN, VOR, etc. The field was eventually merged into communications, after which we were called COMM/NAV.

Anyway, retired from the military in '92, and my first real job after that was for a company called Advanced Systems Development, Inc. (ASDI), as Systems Integration Tech/Field Service Engineer (read: grunt on digital/rf) on their AMES II platform (Advanced Multiple Environment Simulator). Great experience, learned far more than I ever did in the Air Force.

Now about those wire wrap boards...

ASDI had a maintenance contract with the Navy at the time to build an additional number of these little, portable simulators they had built for Navy subs earlier on in their history. All wire wrap (like their earlier AMES I), and I was assigned the pleasure of testing/troubleshooting the new boards that came out of production.

Btw, before you ask why they didn't just redesign the boards and do away with the wire wrap, there just wasn't enough money in the contract, nor available resources to spend a lot of time on the effort. They were a 100 person company, and busy working on the development of their AMES III.

Anyway, I had never used a manual wire wrap tool before, but became proficient using it fairly quickly after a bit of practice, and was actually somewhat proud of my wraps once I got good at it. Funny how stuff like that comes back after all these years.

ASDI went on to get bought out by Amherst, which was eventually picked up by Northrup/Grumman

As for me, becoming a single dad forced a career change, and I moved into technical documentation.  Did that until 2010 for a number of companies, after which I moved from what was a hobby I was very good at into full-time web development, design and server maintenance, which I now do to pay the bills as a consultant. Currently building a custom PC of my own, which is one of the reasons why I am now here (I'll get into that elsewhere).

As for the answers to the poll:

1. Used a hand wirewrap tool? Yes. Who over the age of 60 hasn't?

2. Used a power wirewrap tool? Tried them, hated them, never did have a knack for pistol grips

3. Owned a wirewrap tool of any kind? Company supplied, for a time stuck in my shirt pocket. Lost more than one.

4. Accidentally stepped on an upside down wirewrap dip socket and had to go to the hospital to get it removed? Nope, but I could see how watching that in a YouTube video might be humorous.

5. Slammed your hand down onto a dense wirewrap board in anger and then instantly regret it for multiple reasons? Not in anger, but by accident. Same effect.

6. Wish you still could wirewrap. Not really, don't think it would impress the grandkids.

7. Glad you don't have to do it ever again. Sort of ambivalent about that. 

8. WTF is a wirewrap tool? LOL.

Lastly, been researching oscopes for the computer project I mentioned. Lot's of great info here, and damn glad to meet you.

...uh, is it okay to use "damn?"
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2017, 03:34:05 am »
Lets not forget that perhaps the first leading-edge super-computer (Cray 1) had wire-wrapped backplanes...


 
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Offline yada

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #39 on: May 03, 2017, 05:07:22 am »
I love wire wrapping, it relaxing. I have the hand tool that I put 30ga in. Then my favorite part is soldering those perfect little coils as they suck up the solder. Wish every thing was wire wrap. Its the perfect size. I'm going to do some big huge project all wire wrap here soon. I like wire wrapping bus bars.

I lost mine from when I was a kid and the cheapest one I could find (real metal one with both ends) was 30CAN rupies. I don't know why they were so much.
 
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Offline Housedad

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #40 on: May 03, 2017, 05:18:00 am »
Lets not forget that perhaps the first leading-edge super-computer (Cray 1) had wire-wrapped backplanes...



The memories..  Back in the day, there was a electronics junkyard that had one of them. Had to have been one of the first ones as it came from the University of PA. (I think)   I spent hours ripping chips and stuff out.   It was a real rats nest.  But at least the wrap around seats Were still there to lay on and be lazy.  Two of the panels were broken out by somebody.  At the time, it looked like it came from the year 5000.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 05:26:33 am by Housedad »
At least I'm still older than my test equipment
 

Offline tablatronix

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #41 on: May 03, 2017, 03:43:45 pm »
Nice , when I was a kid always wanted a cray I as a couch, thought it would be neato. I guess i could build a replica as furniture, might be fun.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #42 on: May 03, 2017, 08:43:28 pm »
You don't need expensive sockets to do wire wrap. First off, you don't hardly ever need to do wire wrap, even on protoboard. On intraconnects, within the same board, you generally do not need strain relief. Direct solder connections are fine. The main benefit, then is where you need high density of connections, esp for ground/power points, where you may put 5 or 6 wires onto the same pin, using wire wrap which saves on the real estate.

But rather than buying expensive socket, all you need to do is solder the chip (or a regular socket) to a protoboard and solder a row of pin header next to it. You can also do this on a breadboard, simply sticking extra long pin header next to your components. The main place I use wire wrap is either for interconnects or for breadboarding. Wire wrap on a breadboard saves a lot of space and a lot of time, in the long run, once your circuit is any bit more complex than a few transistors. It saves time debugging, because you can way more easily see what connects where. It saves time trying to wiggle in the last few connections. It always leaves an easy to access test point (the pin itself), rather than trying to dig in a rats nest to get a test connection. I use the plug and play jumpers only for very simple tests and/or when they take the place of a "switch." Personally, I leave very little slack on any of these wire wrap connections on the breadboard. Tight as a guitar string is fine. You do not have to dig under a jumper. The connecting points are the pins. High rise towers above the streets. Once all your components and pin headers are placed, you do not need access to the ground level, anymore. Tight connections are easier to trace by eye and keep everything tidy. This is a luxury you cannot have when soldering on a protoboard where you need slack to solder additional connections.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 09:00:39 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline evb149

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #43 on: May 03, 2017, 09:18:09 pm »
I DID!  -- 1. Used a hand wirewrap tool?

NO, I WISH I DID! -- 2. Used a power wirewrap tool?

I DID/DO (hand, probably from Radio Shack)! -- 3. Owned a wirewrap tool of any kind?

NO, MY FRIEND BILL DID THOUGH (not sure about hospital but certainly first aid and maybe doctor if not!)! -- 4. Accidentally stepped on a upside down wirewrap dip socket and had to go to the hospital to get it removed?

NO! --- 5. Slammed your hand down onto a dense wirewrap board in anger and then instantly regret it for multiple reasons?

YES! -- 6. Wish you still could wirewrap

Although DIP / PTH is pretty obsolete I wish I had more opportunity to wire wrap and better facilities for it now.
I can see applicability for instance in making a DIP or WW-able header adapter board for small SMD circuits and then using WW to connect such modules together.  Far better and more permanent than a protoboard.  Quicker and easier than making a custom PCBA.  Maybe still a good way to work with modules for quick experiments without going full PCB / air-wire / protoboard.

Alas I think the sockets are probably rare / even more expensive now and maybe tools also.

30AWG solid WW wire is still a very good thing to use for general hook up whether WWing or not though.  Particularly the kynar stuff with the better insulation.

On a tangent I wish I had a WIRE BONDER too!  Never got to use one, but I'm still interested in DIE scale packages or just some of the CSP stuff that isn't that practical to use without a too difficult/expensive PCB design due to design rules and layers and stuff.
I always thought it'd be awesome to have a personal wire bond / hybrid construction capability.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #44 on: May 04, 2017, 01:39:58 am »
Your comment about a wire bonder brought another technology to mind.

How many of you have ever been afflicted with stitch wire?  Another technology from roughly the same time as wire wrap, used something that looked a lot like wire wrap wire, and spot welded it on small buttons on the bottom of the sockets.  Spot welded right through the insulation, so you could daisy chain similar to wire wrap, and consumed far less height than wire wrap.  Software was available to automate the stitching process.

Unfortunately the welds weren't particularly good, and finding an intermittent weld on a large board was a nightmare, particularly since there was only one color of insulation.  Probing for the bad weld often created new intermittents so it was a gift that kept on giving.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #45 on: May 04, 2017, 02:07:31 am »
See if any of these apply to you

1. Used a hand wirewrap tool?  Yes
2. Used a power wirewrap tool?  Both a semi automatic and full automatic
3. Owned a wirewrap tool of any kind?  Yes
4. Accidentally stepped on a upside down wirewrap dip socket and had to go to the hospital to get it removed? Nope but have pulled out DIPs and such by hand before. 
5. Slammed your hand down onto a dense wirewrap board in anger and then instantly regret it for multiple reasons? No,  too much time invested to do something like this
6. Wish you still could wirewrap?  I wire wrapped the controller for my transient generator using a Motorola 6801, just for fun.
7. Glad you don't have to do it ever again?  For larger scale boards, it would be pointless. 
8. WTF is a wirewrap tool?

This video shows some of the boards I WWed years ago.   

How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #46 on: May 04, 2017, 02:15:30 am »
I want to say the wire was called Zeftel. Teflon.  Gun was a slit wrap.  I could run a bus in minutes with this.   The other semi-auto gun had a manual wire stripper mounted to the side.  You had to inset the wire for each joint.   A real pain but fast than by hand.   

How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #47 on: May 04, 2017, 02:38:23 am »
The original Mac prototype was wire-wrapped by Burrell Smith.  Then they taped-out the first prototype PC board., But Steve thought the memory section wasn't "pretty enough".  So they spent another $5K to re-do the board design.  But (as predicted by the real engineers) the "pretty" version didn't work and Steve relented.



Source: http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=PC_Board_Esthetics.txt&showcomments=1
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 02:40:29 am by Richard Crowley »
 
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Offline macboy

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Re: Have you ever owned a wirewrap tool? (poll)
« Reply #48 on: May 04, 2017, 02:32:24 pm »
Yes, I own a wirewrap tool, and an unwrapper, both manual. I literally just bought a new spool of wire wrap wire yesterday from Radio Shack along with a few other 60% off things. I much more commonly use the wire for soldering up prototypes on pad-per-hole PCBs though. It's also great for bodging a fix onto a PCB. That wire is a staple, something I don't want to be without. I haven't tried the radio shack stuff yet, I hope it's good.
 


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