Author Topic: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant  (Read 25693 times)

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Online EEVblog

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EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« on: November 07, 2013, 12:13:43 am »
Dave replies to a youtube comment that you can't learn much practical design stuff from vintage teardown videos.

 

Offline walshms

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2013, 12:21:06 am »
Well said and done! :clap:
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2013, 12:27:14 am »
I swear, people think that electrons behaved differently back when all this "vintage" stuff was designed. There's always somebody bitching whenever you take the time to look at something old...
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Offline nitro2k01

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2013, 12:34:17 am »
Good rant!  :clap:
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Offline trebor

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2013, 12:35:02 am »
i have always found dave's video's very well done and informative,even so called old technology has a place in learning, just look at valve tubes, making a come back in audio amps, i always learn some thing from the video's
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 12:36:52 am by trebor »
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Offline tinhead

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2013, 12:35:07 am »
well Dave, the first part of your rant is actually your own fault. You do have influence on other ppl, so on the one side would be useful to think a sec more before you said again such "wise things" as with the 20 bucks resistors (as you said that in the original video, i thought immediately "gosh, tomorrow ebay would be full of self-made-arduino-based-resistor-ref-boxes-with-blue-led"), on the other side when you re-re-review-and-re-check your videos before release then your "style" will be gone, hard to decide what worse.

One thing i know for sure, i really hate statements like "but Dave said"  :rant: :rant:
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alm

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2013, 12:36:10 am »
You could easily argue that you can learn more from vintage equipment than from modern gadgets due to the lower level of integration and better documentation. Good luck finding schematics for that low-cost DSO or e-book reader.
 

Offline kg4arn

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2013, 12:42:57 am »
I didn't start out a fan of tear downs.  But now I am hooked.  I learn something every time. 
The vintage equipment tear downs expose the fundamental principals better, because less is hidden in software and large scale integration.  I think that with the vintage equipment, it is easier to see the truly clever wizardry these design and manufacture teams brought to market. 
 

Offline Zad

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2013, 12:47:07 am »
I was going to comment on the video, but YouTube forced me to transfer to the Google+ registration and has lost all my subscriptions and video uploads! Trying to log in as my usual Zadster sends me in a feedback loop in the login screen...

Anyway.

The only people who don't learn anything from teardown videos are those people with closed minds. I have been taking stuff apart for longer than Dave has, and I still learn things. I probably will do right until the day I snuff it. However, it shows the mental attitude of software people. In software, ideas and concepts go out of fashion so quickly that they are unusable after 20 years or so. Electronics is based on concepts which are centuries old, and will always hold true.

Offline manticore00

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2013, 01:19:37 am »
Great rant, physics doesn't change after all! In fact, I tend to be more impressed by vintage designs since so many modern systems(or at least the ones I can afford to own!) seem to shrug at some challenges and just decide to compensate for them more cheaply using software hacks.
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Offline AG6QR

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2013, 01:59:55 am »
In software, ideas and concepts go out of fashion so quickly that they are unusable after 20 years or so.

Maybe SOME ideas do that, but the fundamentals don't change so quickly.  I've been a software professional for over 30 years, and I've seen languages come and go, operating systems and hardware architectures change, and plenty of other changes as you'd imagine.  There are plenty of fads in software engineering, and somewhat like fads in clothing fashion, some of the ones that ramp up most quickly are also the ones that are discarded most quickly.   

But through it all, the fundamental algorithms and data structures stay pretty much the same.  One could potentially learn a lot from a "teardown" of a well designed piece of software from 20 or 30 years ago, even if the details wouldn't be handled exactly the same way today.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2013, 02:12:08 am »
 :palm: what would people want. . Let's teardown a kindle..
Here is an e-paper display which was custom made , specs ink own, pinout unknown , how to drive it unknown , and you can't get it anyway.
Here we have the circuit board. It conatains a system-on-chip , custom made, specs unknown. Here are a few resistors and caps, and there isa flash chip and there the radio, also custom made specs unobtainium. It uses a 4 layer circuit board made in china.
Look the case is flimsy plastic held together with clips.

End of teardown.
What have we learnt ? Nothing.

Most likely the same complainer messes around with hardwhinos and prebuilt shields. Has no clue how to wire up an opamp let alone what rail to rail is.... His schematics are spaghetti consting of loose parts scattered aroind with netnames on every pin. The two wires that are drawn cross the chip symbol and his pcb' are all laid out with the same trace width and holes that are either way too small or way too large. Heatsinks are in the middle of the board , connectors are mounted updside down and the end result looks like something the cat threw up, the dog peed on and was then mounted using hot glue in an old tupperware box which was subsequently nailed to the wall.
It does have a blue led (albeit with the wrong value series resistor so it will die prematurely.

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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2013, 02:15:19 am »
Heatsinks are in the middle of the board , connectors are mounted updside down and the end result looks like something the cat threw up, the dog peed on and was then mounted using hot glue in an old tupperware box which was subsequently nailed to the wall.

This sentence brings me a particularly grumpy kind of immense joy.
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Offline orion242

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2013, 02:36:11 am »
I think we should have some transistor tube era teardowns for all the vintage electronics fanboys following you.

Great work as usual, keep it up!
 

Offline SLJ

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2013, 02:53:11 am »
No argument here... It's the new crap with everything on a chip that's boring.

Offline orion242

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2013, 04:22:18 am »
Nice site Steve.

So what does an "Old Reliable Soldering Iron" cost these days?  http://www.stevenjohnson.com/soldering/pics/old-reliable.jpg

Are they relatively easy to find?

I would love one on my workbench.
 

Offline andyturk

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2013, 04:24:23 am »
... Heatsinks are in the middle of the board , connectors are mounted updside down and the end result looks like something the cat threw up, the dog peed on and was then mounted using hot glue in an old tupperware box which was subsequently nailed to the wall.

You just described my last three projects! Well, except for the cat. Don't like cats.
 

Offline Circlotron

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2013, 06:36:18 am »
I once had an old (1950's?) Plessey C42 military transceiver. The inside of that thing was pure art. No expense spared. You could wind the knobs and watch all the tuning mechanisms operate beautifully. Great fun to open up and examine. Compared to that, domestic radios were truly cat, dog, tupperware and hot glue.

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=plessey+C42&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=ZjN7UrinE8aXiAeOl4DYCg&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1432&bih=780#imgdii=_
 

Offline daddario

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2013, 06:48:44 am »
Good rant. I saw that comment in YT and wanted to reply to that person.
I even got the text half way done, but as I usually don't comment on YT and then the saying about arguing on the Internet and paralympics came to mind, I just decided not to...
I absolutely love vintage teardowns and very much love tearing vintage electronics down myself, especially test equipment, military stuff and all sorts of weird and special-purpose devices.
Yes, I know how these things work, I know how a low leakage PCB design is made and why it's like that and I know how a high current lab PSU works. But it's always very interesting to see how an engineer has solved a particular problem and then you can stop and think for a second, how I'd made it and why that engineer made it the way he did and then perhaps you can learn something from it.
Very useful knowledge if you have to design custom stuff yourself.
Tearing down a kindle or, I don't know, a kitchen timer... yeah, I suppose it's interesting to see how a modern mass produced monolithic design looks like and how to minimise BOM, per-unit and production costs when you do things in high volumes.
Not tenth of the (self)educational value in that, though.
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Offline 84GKSIG

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2013, 07:51:17 am »
I dont care how new or how old the electronics are I find my self always learning something, I don't have the cash to outlay to go buy stuff to just pull it apart and see how it works, so these videos I find informative and entertaining some times even inspire a new way of thinking when it comes to design and putting something together for my self or for some one else.

As far as I can see there's always going to be one person who dose not like a video but I don't see any one being held down against their will to sit and watch it. if I don't like something, I don't watch. simple enough ?

lets keep something in mind here, if it wasn't for the existence of the vintage stuff there wouldn't of been progression, no one would of tried to make things better and we wouldn't have the tech we have now.

To me evolution in the electronics industry as a fellow enthusiast plays a pretty big part in learning and understanding how something gets put together and why it was done in that particular manner. :-+

I don't mind tubes and I don't mind silicone, don't like silicone on women though.
 

Offline daqq

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2013, 08:01:37 am »
Nice rant :-) I've gotta say, that you can learn a LOT more from old tech teardown of the more exotic/precission stuff. I mean, what can you learn from a consumer 1000+k series kindle/smartphone/printer/whatever teardown? Behold: One obscure ASIC sitting in the middle, some power supply DC DC converter to power the system, a little miscellany and that's it. No clue as to the actual internal function, which is generally: Execute some firmware/OS on the FLASH next to or embedded in the ASIC, communicate through the unknown interface with that unknown pheripheral. All this on 4 cm^2 on a several layered board.

I mean, sure you CAN learn a lot on design by observing some of it, but in more general terms, like "here's a good way to route differential high speed signals, and here's a crappy way to route it", "look, a nice little PCB built in antenae".

With older tech you can actually see the creativity used.

Quote
I once had an old (1950's?) Plessey C42 military transceiver. The inside of that thing was pure art. No expense spared.
Military stuff is generally a few grades above the consumer or even industrial electronics/gear regardless of from which era they are from. Both in terms of quality of design/make and in pricing. I'd love to see some space gear teardown.
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Offline ElectroIrradiator

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2013, 08:33:06 am »
When you look at the designs implemented in modern consumer electronics, it feels like many of today's product engineers hasn't viewed enough vintage teardown videos... >:D

Many young designers do seem to believe that all the old school analog tricks are pointless today, since 'everything is digital'. ::)
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 08:34:46 am by ElectroIrradiator »
 

Offline samgab

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2013, 08:57:40 am »
1: I totally agree with Dave's rant... I learnt a lot about designing a high range, high accuracy, high stability resistor array from that video, cheers.
2: What is that purple box in the background, looks like a new DMM or something?
3: To Google/Youtube: Piss OFF with your frikkin' Google+ crap! I don't want Google+, just leave Youtube how it was already!
 

qczech

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2013, 10:53:48 am »
My opinion is that vintage equipment teardown like that is far more informative and interesting than modern teardown.

In the old circuits all the guts are exposed. They can be easily followed and investigated by a beginner - both the digital and analogue parts.

In a modern design, like the mentioned kindle, all you get inside is a bunch of ICs with part numbers covered up.

Besides, looking into vintage gear is like opening an old book. You get this epic feeling of uncovering the past.

You feel like Indiana Jones of electronics the minute you open up a 70's tektronix scope ;)
 

Offline SLJ

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Re: EEVblog #545 - Vintage Design Rant
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2013, 10:57:05 am »
Nice site Steve.
So what does an "Old Reliable Soldering Iron" cost these days?  http://www.stevenjohnson.com/soldering/pics/old-reliable.jpg
Are they relatively easy to find?
I would love one on my workbench.

They show up on line daily (many different brands). Most torches are brass and the people selling them don't realize the hook on top was for holding a soldering iron unless it's still with the torch.

I use to collect mostly antique radios.  One day about 15 years ago I was showing off my collection and heard myself saying "and here's an old radio, and here's an old radio, and here's another old radio".  That's when I realized that vintage test equipment was far more interesting to me as there were so many types and different designs over the years.  I went from around 200 radios down to about 30 and have concentrated on antique and vintage test equipment ever since.  There were some very cool designs especially in the 1930s.  Many were as much works of art as well as built to last many years.

A couple of my favorites:


« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 11:08:15 am by SLJ »
 


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