Author Topic: Dick Smith Kits  (Read 4523 times)

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Offline EEVblogTopic starter

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Dick Smith Kits
« on: April 05, 2023, 12:22:24 am »
Dick Smith and I judged a display of vintage Tandy, Radio Shack, and Dick Smith kits and other vintage things at the Manly-Warringah Radio Society

Dick Smith talking about his round-the-world adventures:   

 • Dick Smith - Amat... 

00:00 - Vintage kits on display
02:59 - Roger Hynes's vintage receiver
05:40 - VK2BT Vintage Dick Smith kits
07:21 - Jim Rowe signal generator kit and Heathkit stuff
12:25 - VK2ZWD International 422 amplifier kit
16:19 - VK2EAH Hornet SSB CB radio
16:49 - EA Power Supply Kit
17:49 - DSE High Power Linear Amplifier kits and sailing story
20:51 - Gary Cratt VK2YBX and countless Dick Smith amateur radio kits he designed!
22:22 - Malcolm Faed VK2TMF Dick Smith Funway and Colin Mitchell's Talking Electronics
24:06 - Gav The Mechatronics Guy KIM-1 6502 kit
www.tinkerings.org
27:08 - Carmel VK2CAR Dick Smith advertising and vintage marketing artwork
34:41 - That time Dave tried to buy rights to the Dick Head!
39:39 - It took 55 years, but Dick Smith finally relents! (or has he won?)

 
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Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2023, 01:45:23 am »
Is Jim Rowe still around?
iratus parum formica
 

Offline EEVblogTopic starter

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2023, 05:08:38 am »
Is Jim Rowe still around?

Yep, Dick mentioned him near the end of the video.
Dick wanted me to interview him and phoned him and tried to set it up, but unfortunately he declined. He's rather reclusive.
 
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Offline floobydust

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2023, 07:26:46 pm »
I just saw Jim Rowe's name on 2023 Practical Electronics projects (and John Clarke) so the electrons are still flowing  :)

I get mixed feelings about the video. Dick Smith kits did not make it to Canada that I know of despite us having our version of ETI International magazine up here. Might be the 15,500km trip.

On the one hand, a huge legacy and amazing DIY electronics in Australia, so many stores and products. Truly a legendary achievement that shapes a nation in a good way.
On the other hand, you see financial sharks, short sellers targeting big box retailers and sinking the ship in order to make huge profit. Maplin Electronics is another story of that.

The plan short sellers do - scoop up stock, borrow as much money as possible, then ruin the ship by fabricating doomsday press articles, opening new stores en mass, squandering cash etc.
Blame it all on the economy, weather, management failure, didn't adjust to changing market conditions blah blah when it was really the point all along- sabotage. I can't help wonder it's intentional on a larger scale.

We are left with ordering little pre-assembled boards from china that are too cheap for their own good, no documentation/instructions, unreliable poor designs.
What is the point of DIY electronics descending to that level? Nobody is learning much other than to post "whaaaa why doesn't it work?"

The only Dick Smith items I've seen were bushels of alkaline batteries, from the order of a 12 year supply yeah that wasn't intentionally steering towards an iceburg.

Did anything come of the Australian Senate Inquiry into the downfall?
 

Offline EEVblogTopic starter

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2023, 12:06:49 am »
Did anything come of the Australian Senate Inquiry into the downfall?

Didn't know there was one.
Someone made bank though:
https://www.dicksmithfairgo.com.au/dick-smith-greatest-private-equity-heist-time/
 

Offline wilfred

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2023, 12:46:30 am »
Next year it will be 50 years since Electronics Australia published a computer designed by Jim Rowe for people to dip their toes into this new computer technology. I wonder how he felt about getting pipped by a month by Radio Electronics in July 1974. And whether he felt going the microprocessor route would've been a better idea.

I respect his privacy but I still would have liked to hear his thoughts even so. If Dick Smith can't persuade Jim Rowe then I hope Silicon Chip has plans to publish an article.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EDUC-8
 

Offline EEVblogTopic starter

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2023, 12:58:24 am »
I respect his privacy but I still would have liked to hear his thoughts even so. If Dick Smith can't persuade Jim Rowe then I hope Silicon Chip has plans to publish an article.

Dick said he'll try and persuade him to do an article.
I might ask Dick if Jim would be interested in an audio only interview, no pressure of any cameras.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2023, 01:12:30 am »
I still have a Dick Smith flyback transformer (LOPT) ring tester I built from a kit probably 15 years ago, maybe more. I remember taking some pictures of the PCB to help my friend build a clone of it long after they were discontinued. Pretty specialized tool these days but indispensable when you need it.
 

Offline floobydust

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2023, 01:45:14 am »
That K7205 Bob Parker ring tester is still alive, updated with a PIC MCU as Blue2 Ring Tester. Diode Gone Wild made his too (coded in .asm) and when I need one I breadboard it lol.

I'm still taken aback by financial bastards destroying the company towards their profit. It seems to be like rainforest, clear cut it for profit and it's never growing back. Terrible loss.
Investors are against retail stores, especially selling tech they don't understand. There is one store left in my city where I can buy a fuse, otherwise it's Digi-Key or Mouser  :P

Electronics magazines are also on the endangered list and I kind of can't let go of them. If they could adapt and come up with a proper revenue model, offering more than a schematic and article.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2023, 02:01:24 am »
I keep all my old Radio Electronics/Electronics Now and Popular Electronics magazines but I finally stopped subscribing to Nuts & Volts several years ago. I hated to stop supporting them but I was realizing I was only getting a few minutes of entertainment out of each issue and none of the projects were compelling anymore. It was all just the same sort of stuff I could find published on random websites, often built around somewhat obscure and overpriced microcontrollers like the Propeller chips. By the time I factored in the physical space they took up there was just no point.
 

Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2023, 02:14:48 am »
I respect his privacy but I still would have liked to hear his thoughts even so. If Dick Smith can't persuade Jim Rowe then I hope Silicon Chip has plans to publish an article.

Dick said he'll try and persuade him to do an article.
I might ask Dick if Jim would be interested in an audio only interview, no pressure of any cameras.

Recluses, if willing, prefer a list of specific questions the answers of which shall be responded to when they are good and ready.

But yes, we need to convince him that there are many who would like to hear from him, none the less.
iratus parum formica
 
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Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2023, 02:16:23 am »
I get mixed feelings about the video. Dick Smith kits did not make it to Canada that I know of despite us having our version of ETI International magazine up here. Might be the 15,500km trip.

Did they fly Air Canada? Look in Vancouver airport.  :horse:


 ;)
iratus parum formica
 

Offline EEVblogTopic starter

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2023, 05:01:43 am »
Electronics magazines are also on the endangered list and I kind of can't let go of them. If they could adapt and come up with a proper revenue model, offering more than a schematic and article.

Every time I try and think about it I can't come up with anything, apart from maybe the prestige of being published could still be a thing. There is just so much free stuff in the interwebs.
 

Offline wilfred

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2023, 09:16:23 am »
I asked Silicon Chip if they were planning an article and the editor replied saying Jim Rowe is not interested in writing about the EDUC-8 computer anymore. So that seems final. I don't know how long ago JR said that to him. I shall hold out a small hope that it was not recently, and a milestone like 50 years might soften his heart to laying down something for the historic record.

Of course the EDUC-8 is quite a specific subject for someone with the body of work of JR.

Nicholas Vinen did add in a follow up message that JR was going to do an article covering a broader scope about his career and he would mention the EDUC-8 to JR although he felt sure it wouldn't be forgotten. So that should be an article worth reading. I just hope it is a long one to match his long career.
 

Offline EEVblogTopic starter

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2023, 10:07:07 pm »
Nicholas Vinen did add in a follow up message that JR was going to do an article covering a broader scope about his career and he would mention the EDUC-8 to JR although he felt sure it wouldn't be forgotten. So that should be an article worth reading. I just hope it is a long one to match his long career.

That must have been from the recent prompting from Dick.
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2023, 09:21:26 pm »
Dave, this video was truly enjoyable. Thank you for publishing it.

Although I haven't lived the exact same experience with the same people, the tales and stories were quite entertaining.

During my childhood during these golden years of hobby electronics, my experience was somewhat less sophisticated (costs of imported and high performance parts was prohibitive) but I was also surrounded by excellent local magazines and authors (very few translated articles reached our shores).
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2023, 01:50:35 am »
I respect his privacy but I still would have liked to hear his thoughts even so. If Dick Smith can't persuade Jim Rowe then I hope Silicon Chip has plans to publish an article.

Dick said he'll try and persuade him to do an article.
I might ask Dick if Jim would be interested in an audio only interview, no pressure of any cameras.

Bump.

Tell him if he won't grace us with a life update, you'll interview Catley instead.

 :box:
iratus parum formica
 

Offline EEVblogTopic starter

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Re: Dick Smith Kits
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2023, 04:28:54 am »
I respect his privacy but I still would have liked to hear his thoughts even so. If Dick Smith can't persuade Jim Rowe then I hope Silicon Chip has plans to publish an article.
Dick said he'll try and persuade him to do an article.
I might ask Dick if Jim would be interested in an audio only interview, no pressure of any cameras.
Bump.
Tell him if he won't grace us with a life update, you'll interview Catley instead.

 :-DD
 


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