Author Topic: Mr. Carlson's Lab  (Read 1183 times)

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Offline dastructhm

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Mr. Carlson's Lab
« on: August 17, 2022, 07:27:26 am »
His videos on restoring antique electronics are popular. Is it more difficult to fix something than to design something new?  ::) I wonder.
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Offline Zenith

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Re: Mr. Carlson's Lab
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2022, 07:59:59 am »
Given that they are things of equal complexity, such as an oscilloscope, it's far easier to fix something. But there can be show stoppers when fixing things, such as a hybrid circuit or special IC that is unobtainable and which can't be substituted for with modern components. Even not being able to track down a service manual can make fixing something virtually impossible.
 
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Offline david77

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Re: Mr. Carlson's Lab
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2022, 08:51:38 am »
I'd say it depends. Sometimes it's easier to design something of your own from scratch, because you designed it you know exactly how it works, what it does and so on.

Repairing stuff often requires you to familiarize yourself with the device, at least if it is something more complex then e.g. a PSU. Often you have to kind of get into the mind of the engineers that designed the device. Older devices often make it easier for the repairman: Good manuals are worth their weight in gold!
As with everything in life practice helps. You get the knack, you know where to start. It's always the same routine visual check, look for blown tants, check power supply, check caps, and so on.


 
 
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Offline razvan784

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Re: Mr. Carlson's Lab
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2022, 07:49:39 pm »
Speaking as someone who, among other things, occasionally designs custom electronic modules for data acquisition, control, interfacing, etc.
I have to test the PCBs I design when they come back from the assembly plant, and sometimes I do have to debug them - there may be assembly issues, there may be design issues at the prototype stage. Sometimes I have to repair modules that come back from the field - hopefully very rarely. Of course, debugging modules of my own design feels quite straightforward, at least when the design is fresh in my head :)
Diagnosing stuff other people design on the other hand, I can usually do that given the proper resources, but I'd rather not. I hate it when people ask me to repair their computer, or TV, or whatever. It's hard to explain that diagnosing and repairing these consumer items requires a specialized skillset that, even if it overlaps with my skillset as an electronic designer, is actually quite different. I'm not ashamed to admit that professional repairpeople will usually do a much better job than myself - cheaper, quicker, higher success rate.
This being said, I do sometimes buy defective stuff to repair just as a hobby, or as a personal challenge. But then I don't have a deadline, nobody cares if it takes a few months or years :) and nobody gets upset if it doensn't work.


 
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Offline james_s

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Re: Mr. Carlson's Lab
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2022, 08:19:02 pm »
Fixing and designing are a different set of skills with some overlap. There is not a simple answer to the difficulty, it depends on the particular skills of the person and the complexity and nature of the device being repaired. Generally speaking I would say that it's usually easier to fix something than to design a new replacement but there are so many variables.
 
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Offline Bud

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Re: Mr. Carlson's Lab
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2022, 08:23:14 pm »
As a content creator on the Tube you get more dough and subscribers if you do repairs. Simple.
Facebook-free life and Rigol-free shack.
 
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Offline AndyBeez

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Re: Mr. Carlson's Lab
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2022, 08:26:55 pm »
With new designs the voltage could go up to 5 volts. It would seem Master Carlson fixes devices where the voltage goes up from 5000 volts. Rather him than me. I do wonder how hot with xrays and ozone his fantastic lab is?
 
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Offline james_s

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Re: Mr. Carlson's Lab
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2022, 09:42:28 pm »
5kV is much too low to have any risk of x-rays. Ozone is a potential consideration however it can be sensed by smell in extremely low concentrations and it is easily dealt with by having adequate ventilation. I don't find high voltage to be particularly scary, it's something to respect, but not to fear. In many cases such as CRT displays, the B+ voltage of "only" 125-200VDC is significantly more dangerous than the 12-30kV EHT because there is vastly more current behind it.
 
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Offline Zenith

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Re: Mr. Carlson's Lab
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2022, 10:27:19 pm »
As a content creator on the Tube you get more dough and subscribers if you do repairs. Simple.
That's because the problem is something people can more easily relate to. You can buy this piece of junk and you can fix it by tracking down the problem and fixing it. It's a bit like  a detective story. It's good TV with a happy ending. It could be done.

Your design for a  VNA with SMD and a custom cct board, well let's just find something less demanding to watch,
 
 
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Offline AndyBeez

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Re: Mr. Carlson's Lab
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2022, 11:15:30 am »
5kV is much too low to have any risk of x-rays. Ozone is a potential consideration however it can be sensed by smell in extremely low concentrations and it is easily dealt with by having adequate ventilation. I don't find high voltage to be particularly scary, it's something to respect, but not to fear. In many cases such as CRT displays, the B+ voltage of "only" 125-200VDC is significantly more dangerous than the 12-30kV EHT because there is vastly more current behind it.
More of an Xray hazard off the back of the CRTs in of those ancient military 'scopes? But then flying transatlantic at 38,000 feet is a chest xray's worth on a bad space weather day. Either way, electronic labs of a certain era have a certain smell that's not the same as the warmed plastic odour of the contemporary 'safe' workspace.

The EHT/ESD risk from old kit is somewhat of a surprise for newbies who have only ever played with Pi's and LED strips. As a kid I used to explore the back of old TV sets, so I've had more than my fair share of dose and jolts ;D

Maybe the safety hazards from opening up old kit is a YouTube someone could do?

 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Mr. Carlson's Lab
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2022, 04:40:54 pm »
As a content creator on the Tube you get more dough and subscribers if you do repairs. Simple.
Indeed. Design and build anything carries a lot of work and might not appease to broader audiences - the ROI is quite low per "meter" of movie shot.

IMO the order of "dough" in electronic channels is: opinions > fake/shallow reviews > repairs > in-depth reviews > designs > oddballs
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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...
 
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