Author Topic: What are your favourite electronics smells?  (Read 3482 times)

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Offline eti

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What are your favourite electronics smells?
« on: November 29, 2021, 04:55:54 am »
What are your favourite electronics smells?

Mine are:

~ Rosin flux evaporating
~ A hot iron heating a cheap phenolic PCB
~ Overheating of a fibreglass PCB (it says "Warning: remove iron!")
~ The smell of overheated transformer varnish
~ Burning diode/IC smoke
~ The scent of a venting electrolytic cap
~ PVC insulation melting (a little bit, not too much)
~ The unusual smell when an LED explodes 😁
~ "Old electronics" smells

I've never understood why anyone would want to be in software Vs hardware - there's no emotional,. sentimental connection in this way, except for maybe brewing coffee.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2021, 05:01:22 am by eti »
 

Offline deadlylover

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2021, 05:45:34 am »
I used to buy boxes and boxes of CR123A lithium batteries for feeding torches/flashlights. They would off-gas this strange sweet alcoholic smell...we used to call it flashahol. (this was like 13 years ago before li-ions were common and supported in lights)

The worst smell is a crappy Schaffner IEC inlet exploding in old HP gear. That's like a rite of passage in one's test equipment addiction journey ahahah.
 

Offline pqass

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2021, 06:01:04 am »
Code does have a smell.
At times, I've become very emotional about fixing other peoples messes.
Thankfully, I'm not nostalgic for those days.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2021, 06:01:58 am »
I don't know if it quite counts as electronics but I like the musty smell inside vintage arcade cabinets, a combination of electronics, particle board and who knows what. CRT TV sets with wooden cabinets have a similar smell.
 

Offline eti

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2021, 06:06:35 am »
I don't know if it quite counts as electronics but I like the musty smell inside vintage arcade cabinets, a combination of electronics, particle board and who knows what. CRT TV sets with wooden cabinets have a similar smell.

Of course it counts. Fab. 👍🏻🙂
 

Online Miyuki

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2021, 06:36:21 am »
That weird smell of new motherboard, when you open the plastic bag
Do you know what it is? Some kind of cleaning agent? I need to get it  :D

And old nicotine impregnated half-burnt dust in like the 70s, 80s equipment. Everything was soaked with nicotine back then  ::) 
 

Offline eti

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2021, 06:43:11 am »
That weird smell of new motherboard, when you open the plastic bag
Do you know what it is? Some kind of cleaning agent? I need to get it  :D

And old nicotine impregnated half-burnt dust in like the 70s, 80s equipment. Everything was soaked with nicotine back then  ::)

A good dose of Ambersil foaming cleanser puts paid to that filth.
 

Offline sleemanj

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2021, 07:55:24 am »
For some peculiar reason, I don't at all mind the faint lingering whiff of HCl/CuCl2 after doing an etching job.

It's a sort of a salty sweet tangy sort of a smell.  I think it sort of permeates your clothes, or my beard or something.

Obviously I'm probably smelling it dissolving my respiratory system, but there you go, it's always the stuff that's bad for you which is most enjoyable.
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Online jfiresto

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2021, 09:06:31 am »
I like the smell of benzyl alcohol, but then I had a chemistry teacher who turned us into a bunch of ester sniffing addicts.  :D
-John
 
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Offline nctnico

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2021, 02:36:38 pm »
What are your favourite electronics smells?
When an assembler puts a bar of good chocalate together with the delivery of boards.  ;D

Other than that electronics shouldn't smell at all.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline bdunham7

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2021, 02:48:04 pm »
I've mostly lost my sense of smell, but from memory I would vote for the smell of a warm tube-powered console radio.
A 3.5 digit 4.5 digit 5 digit 5.5 digit 6.5 digit 7.5 digit DMM is good enough for most people.
 
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Offline m98

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2021, 11:48:37 pm »
The distinct smell of nothing after powering up a new design for the first time.
 
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Offline eti

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2021, 01:11:28 am »
The distinct smell of nothing after powering up a new design for the first time.

👆🤨
 

Offline helius

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2021, 01:48:30 am »
Least favorite smells:
Smoke from failed RIFA metallized-paper capacitors.
Smoke from burning solid tantalum capacitors.
Smoke from burning selenium rectifiers.
Fetid smell from leaked alkaline cells.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2021, 11:29:56 am »
I've always found smells to be quite overpowering, particularly anything to do with chemicals or smoke. Although I remember when I was a kid, I blew up my dads old analog multimeter which smelled like roasted peanuts from that point onwards.
 

Offline johnboxall

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2021, 12:11:41 pm »
An electronics store. I worked at various DSE stores in the 90s, and the older ones had a certain smell. Metallic, damp cardboard, dusty TV antenna boxes, sweat and a little despair at stocktake time.

Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2021, 12:19:10 pm »
Quicklag circuit breakers.

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Offline mc172

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2021, 12:51:27 pm »
~ Rosin flux evaporating
~ A hot iron heating a cheap phenolic PCB
~ Overheating of a fibreglass PCB (it says "Warning: remove iron!")
~ The smell of overheated transformer varnish
~ Burning diode/IC smoke
~ The scent of a venting electrolytic cap
~ PVC insulation melting (a little bit, not too much)
~ The unusual smell when an LED explodes 😁
~ "Old electronics" smells

Most of these are horrible, rancid smells. I can't say that I've ever exploded an LED but the rest from memory smell absolutely disgusting. I didn't even think they could be an acquired taste but then again some people enjoy the taste and smell of burning tobacco so there you go. :-//

The exception would be that "old electronics" smell, especially where there's also something mechanical going on like a cassette deck or VHS/VCR or even an old video camera. I think the grease adds nicely to the smell for a well-seasoned old-timey flavour.

One of my favourite electronics smells is/was soldering with Alpha brand solder with about 3% silver content, with lead of course. It used to come on a blue spool, not sure if they make it any more. It's probably really bad for you but I used to enjoy soldering with that stuff until I ran out.
RS sell an anti-corona lacquer (https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/electronics-varnishes/0569313) that smells nice, kind of like marzipan. It looks like they've stopped doing it, probably because as usual with things that smell nice, it's really bad for you.

Another not quite so electronics-related favourite is machining stainless steel from virgin bar stock, also TIG welding stainless steel. Machining any kind of stainless smells nice, but machining 316L for example right from the mill-finished outer faces has this particularly nice smell to it.
 

Offline Ice-Tea

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2021, 01:32:36 pm »
The smell of a RIFA that has puked out its guts. Because chances are the previous owner saw the cloud of smoke, decided it was beyond economic repair while all it will probably take is replace a few caps from my RRS (RIFA Replacement Stock) and it's good to go.

Offline Neper

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2021, 04:21:59 pm »
Smoke from burning selenium rectifiers.

In German, a rectifier is - quite literally - a Gleichrichter.  Pronounce it a little differently and you get a "gleich riecht er" -> it'll smell soon. 

My favourite smell is and remains that of a freshly unpacked new piece of equipment. Can't get enough of it.  ;)
 

Offline eti

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2021, 01:58:21 am »
~ Rosin flux evaporating
~ A hot iron heating a cheap phenolic PCB
~ Overheating of a fibreglass PCB (it says "Warning: remove iron!")
~ The smell of overheated transformer varnish
~ Burning diode/IC smoke
~ The scent of a venting electrolytic cap
~ PVC insulation melting (a little bit, not too much)
~ The unusual smell when an LED explodes 😁
~ "Old electronics" smells

Most of these are horrible, rancid smells. I can't say that I've ever exploded an LED but the rest from memory smell absolutely disgusting. I didn't even think they could be an acquired taste but then again some people enjoy the taste and smell of burning tobacco so there you go. :-//

The exception would be that "old electronics" smell, especially where there's also something mechanical going on like a cassette deck or VHS/VCR or even an old video camera. I think the grease adds nicely to the smell for a well-seasoned old-timey flavour.

One of my favourite electronics smells is/was soldering with Alpha brand solder with about 3% silver content, with lead of course. It used to come on a blue spool, not sure if they make it any more. It's probably really bad for you but I used to enjoy soldering with that stuff until I ran out.
RS sell an anti-corona lacquer (https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/electronics-varnishes/0569313) that smells nice, kind of like marzipan. It looks like they've stopped doing it, probably because as usual with things that smell nice, it's really bad for you.

Another not quite so electronics-related favourite is machining stainless steel from virgin bar stock, also TIG welding stainless steel. Machining any kind of stainless smells nice, but machining 316L for example right from the mill-finished outer faces has this particularly nice smell to it.

Sounds like you’re in the wrong business to me. Those smells are part and parcel of electronics, and part of the experience. Heheh.

To each their own.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2021, 02:15:14 am »
An electronics store. I worked at various DSE stores in the 90s, and the older ones had a certain smell. Metallic, damp cardboard, dusty TV antenna boxes, sweat and a little despair at stocktake time.

Reminds me of Tandy Electronics.
 
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Offline coppercone2

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2021, 08:34:18 am »
I can tell you my least favorite smells
1) 70's old rotten capacitor fish smell (JFC! its like you throw a rotten fish on a frying pan)
2) old tektronix plastic boxes. I actually sold a probe because it smelled so bad and bought a phillips active probe instead. I could not get the smell to get out of the plastic with all sorts of dips, treatments, washing machine cycles, etc.


And a nice 'electronics' smell is ozone in small amounts from arcs. Usually it means you got a high voltage arc circuit energized. High voltage spark speaker first start is like the first thanksgiving dinner you liked.

How about burnt teflon wiring?  :scared:
« Last Edit: December 01, 2021, 08:36:59 am by coppercone2 »
 

Online Psi

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2021, 08:39:36 am »
I do love the chemtronics solder braid flux smell
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Online HighVoltage

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Re: What are your favourite electronics smells?
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2021, 08:51:12 am »
The ozone of high voltage discharges
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