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Comment: Re:Analog displays are better in some situations. (Score 1) 155

by mirix (#48118705) Attached to: Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video)

I was thinking more in terms of replacing simple electro-mechanical systems with more complicated transistorized ones. Not adding excessive touch logic BS to stoves :)

For example, prior to the early 60s, cars had generators. No silicon in them at all. The voltage regulator was basically two relays, and a bit of electro-mechanical trickery. very simple. If one contact failed, stuck on, a parked car would kill it's battery, if the other stuck on it would overcharge the battery when running.

Generator output had to go through the brushes, as there were no diodes available, so the commutator was used instead. In an alternator, only the exciter current goes through the brushes, which ride on sliprings and wear substantially less. (both because there are no gaps in a slipring, and because the current is minuscule compared to output current).

The cost to this was 6 diodes for the output, and a few transistors worth of voltage regulator. More complicated... but the result is greatly increased power for the same size, greatly reduced service interval, etc.

Comment: Re:Analog displays are better in some situations. (Score 2) 155

by mirix (#48117553) Attached to: Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video)

Hey, don't make assumptions like that. I've got tube voltmeters that are older than you!

One of which the meter failed on. Something in the movement let a sliver go, which stuck to the movement's magnet, which the coil was then jamming on / binding with. Ended up sorting it out, but it was like brain surgery. This was on a Hickok 209A, circa 1940, with a gigantic 9" meter on it.

I'll stick with my 80's vintage fluke bench meters for most things. They don't look quite as cool as the Hickok, though.

I do use the $5 china special DMMs, but only for abuse in the garage, car, etc.

I can luddite with the best of them, but I know my limits!

Comment: Re:Analog displays are better in some situations. (Score 1) 155

by mirix (#48117065) Attached to: Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video)

Well, apart from the fact that all mechanical meters will eventually fail, being mechanical and all. Not sure how that is "more reliable". They can lose accuracy with age, due to wear on the spring & bushings, and loss of magnetism in the magnet, etc, not that that have good accuracy to begin with.

Almost everything electronic has been replaced with higher complexity, yet still higher reliability, cheaper, smaller, solid state stuff.

Comment: Re:Wondering why it took so long... (Score 1) 174

by mirix (#48060471) Attached to: A Garbage Truck That Would Make Elon Musk Proud

Well, apart from sunk cost, and upgrade cost. Which is why East Germany ran some steam trains almost until reunification! (though I'd imagine they'd have been converted to oil firing by then, which brings down the work load a bit).

Coincidentally, pretty much the only place that can repair or build full size locomotive steam boilers today is in Germany. It's something of a lost art, I guess. When the UK commissioned a new steam train a few years back, they had to get the boiler made in Germany. No one left in the UK can make them, and they invented the things...

(apparently not exactly, but sort of)

While manufacturing facilities still existed in Britain to manufacture such a large boiler,[40] because of the design differences from the originals the trust required a supplier with specific experience of designing, building and certification of steam engine boilers to modern safety regulations,[38] as required by the European Union's Pressure Equipment Directive.

Comment: Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (Score 3, Insightful) 209

by mirix (#48060053) Attached to: GlaxoSmithKline Released 45 Liters of Live Polio Virus

It was very nearly eradicated. Then the CIA had stooges in Pakistan take DNA samples during polio vaccinations to "track down bin laden", and (reasonably) there is now a suspicion that vaccines are some kind of american evil project there, and resistance. derp.

They could have buried a fake corpse at sea a few years earlier and saved a lot of lives and disability-years of life instead. I'd like to have heard the logic that came up with that plan.

"We are on the verge: Today our program proved Fermat's next-to-last theorem." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982