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Comment Re:thyristor (Score 1) 474

The thyristors are actually used on just the type C cars which were built in the 1980's. The A and B cars that were built for the 1972 opening of the system are blowing fuses when the voltage spike hits. Right now they are restricting the part of the system with the problem to just the A and B cars since the fuses are easier to get a hold of and are a lot cheaper.

The problem is that they're getting 2000 volt spikes happening, double the nominal voltage of 1000 VDC.

Comment Re:Don't confuse "old" with "poorly designed" (Score 2) 474

BART also has a non-standard voltage. Instead of the standard 600 VDC they went with 1000 VDC. When they were doing testing on their Concord test track when they were designing the system they used a rectifier that output quite a few different voltages, including 600 VDC and some others that are also used in quite a few places, like 1500 VDC. That rectifier now powers the trolley cars at the Western Railroad Museum.

There are also other things about BART that are non-standard and not used anywhere else in the transit industry.

Comment In my day... (Score 1) 648

Back when I was in high school the district was thinking about buying a DEC Edusystem, which used a PDP-8/L. DEC brought one in and set it up in the library and gave one week classes in BASIC. The district decided they couldn't afford it so instead they a Compucorp programmable calculator for each school. Maybe that might be something to look into.

Comment I've got progressives (Score 2) 464

I'm mainly near sighted, but had been using bifocals. That was very annoying when trying to see a monitor while standing higher than the monitor. Had to get new glasses a year ago so I went with progressives. The place I got them said I could return them within one month if I didn't like them. At first they were very annoying, but after a little over a week I got used to them and now they're great. They work fine for me with multiple monitors. But everyone is different and some people never can get used to them.

Comment Good spot (Score 1) 19

Florida's a good spot for them. There are no mountains for them to crash in to. Nice flat spaces to make very long runways. In fact, there might be a runway of unusual size that the government isn't using very much that they can use. Also, a handy supply of alligators to turn into a reptilian zombie worker army.

Comment Re:Trains? (Score 1) 461

Concord Naval Weapons Station used to have a very large rail network, including in the nuke weapons area. The BNSF and Union Pacific both have main lines that go past the base. A group ran a steam locomotive excursion on the line that went by the base. We stopped there to take photos and unloaded several hundred people. A few minutes later trucks loaded with Marines armed with M-16s were there asking us what we were doing there.

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C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]