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Old 5th Nov 2020, 3:30 pm   #21
robinshack
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

Probably I mentioned this a while back on another thread.
In my very young teens, I borrowed a Linear Concord 30W valve amp and wired the output to a car ignition coil attached to a spark plug. Earth was attached to the body and the tip was attached to my 150ft + aerial.
You could just make out the strains of Sandie Shaw singing when played into the amplifier. Simultaneously on LW, MW and goodness knows where else!
I didn't pursue this too long as it was not my amplifier.
Rob
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 3:35 pm   #22
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

Two "happenings", one when I was about 5-6 years old. It seemed perfectly reasonable to me that reversing the battery connections in my Mums Perdio radio would turn it into a transmitter, the radio survived. Then when I was about 7-8 I tried charging a capacitor straight from the mains having no idea that it wouldn't work, luckily the plug had a 3A fuse (which blew unspectacularly) but I did at least have the good sense not to touch the bare croc clips on the other end. Numerous other events which had nothing to do with electricity but it's a wonder I survived when I look back on them.
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 4:21 pm   #23
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

When I was about 7, my younger brother and I had been told ' not to mess with the lights'. As soon as my parents were out of sight , he dared me to put my finger in the empty wall socket . Sure enough , I got a shock and didn't do it again but I remembered.
A few weeks later we watched the Coronation on a Philips 9" set , with the curtains closed , of course.
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 7:26 pm   #24
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

I've been out of circulation for a while due to various reasons but have been lurking here periodically.

I'd have been about 10 and heard that Neutral and Earth pins on the Mains supply were connected together, somewhere.
I connected the loudspeaker output of my old Marconi valve radio to the Neutral and Earth pins of a plug and then connected a old loudspeaker to the same pins on another plug. I could plug the loudspeaker in any mains socket in the house and get music along with a bit of 50Hz hum. I was really lucky all the sockets were connected with the correct polarity.

When I was an apprentice in the TV trade I had a friend who was a first year apprentice at another TV shop in Wallingford. He was repairing a Morphy Richards CA75 iron and the little MES green bulb wasn't working. He thought he would take it out and test it. He didn't know about the Shunt across which the low voltage bulb was connected. He put the bulb across the mains and apparently there was a bright flash and tiny pieces of flying glass.

It's lucky we're all still here. Fifty years on and I still keep in touch with that friend.

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Last edited by Denis G4DWC; 5th Nov 2020 at 7:27 pm. Reason: Typo
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 8:26 pm   #25
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

Here's another couple.
Used a coil from a car. Primary to a rectified mains trasformer nominal 12v DC via a switch (actually a morse key). Secondary to the door handle and carpet joiner strip (aluminium) by my bedroom door. The idea was a burglar alarm. Somehow I persuaded my brother to 'test' it and got bitten. However he didn't tell me, until afte I'd tried it myself, that he stood on the strip, insulated by a wooden pencil case and it still hurt. I didn't so it really hurt!
Also working on a camera flash gun (that I had been gifted as a bag of parts: if you can fix it you can have it) I got bitten by the big HV cap a couple of times. So figured out it was sensible to discharge the cap before getting stuck in. Decided the right thing was to use a screwdriver tip. Said screwdriver tip ceased to exist and the bang and flash stick with me around 40 years later. Probably still have the screwdriver too (why?). I still have that flashgun somewhere too.
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 8:34 pm   #26
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

Quote:
It seemed perfectly reasonable to me that reversing the battery connections in my Mums Perdio radio would turn it into a transmitter
I blame Star Trek for that.

Almost every technical problem on that programme could be solved by 'reversing the polarity' or, that other great baffler, 're-modulating the phase'. In spite of that, Star Trek is credited with having inspired numerous people to become real life Boffins who went on to invent genuinely useful things, although it's a wonder any of them survived through to adulthood initially. A bit like all of us here, really.
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 10:54 pm   #27
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

I remember trying to record the picture to a tape, & only producing a few flickers.

One of my friends took apart a camera & used to charge up the flash circuit then discharge it with an impressive spark.
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 11:24 pm   #28
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

The furthest back thing I remember was when my step grandad took me around to the woman who was going to look after me (Mum at work) for the day, as he was leaving he said "here you are son something to play with" and passed over a bag, the woman snatched it from my hand and had a look, she went ballistic and said "good grief what the hell you doing, what are you thinking of giving this to a kid" ..The bag was full of plugs and assorted electrical junk.

Last edited by cheerfulcharlie; 5th Nov 2020 at 11:44 pm.
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 11:52 pm   #29
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

I can remember finding an MES neon bulb and me and a mate wired it up to a plug using one of those screw terminal bulb holders one of us had pinched from the science lab.
When we switched it on it took a Victorian photograph complete with the sound of the powder based flash. We just did not have a Victorian camera let alone one with film in it.
It did not have a built in series resistor so our "mains" bulb was now well and truly melted although the holder survived.
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 12:02 am   #30
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

When I first encountered SSB I wondered if reversing the detector diode would resolve it. Since I only had domestic valve shortwave sets to play with I was never able to try out this theory.
I did first copy an SSB signal by making the IF stage oscillate using a trick suggested in PW or Radio Constructor or some such magazinej
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 10:30 am   #31
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

I heard of someone who "borrowed" a table lamp from a 1st class railway carriage & wired it into the mains, not realising they had 28v bulbs.
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 11:05 am   #32
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

I was about 13 when I bought my first mains powered valved radio a large HMV. I soon got it working by connecting up the aerial and earth connections correctly.
I thought I would have a little look inside and noticed one of the metal metal spring support clips for one of the larger valves was floating in the wind. There were two nearby fuses but as I had switched the radio off I assumed all would be ok. As I refitted the wire clip there was a flash a bang and I ended up halfway across the bedroom shaken and dazed. I managed to refit the spring valve support clip with the radio un plugged from the mains.
It wasn't until some years later when I obtained the circuit diagram that I realised the fuse was fitted on the live side of the mains.
A hard learnt and painful lesson which I thankfully survived.
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 1:21 pm   #33
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

Like many, I learned basics form a Ladybird book. I carefully built a project motor from cotton reels and so on as I'm sure many of us did. Then to power it, you used "a 4.5v flat battery". Odd, but I found one in an old torch. The motor didn't work. It took my patient father to explain 'flat' was the shape, not the state of charge! A new battery and round it went...
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 1:28 pm   #34
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

Talking of batteries, I was mystified why the rechargeable NI-CAD C cells that my dad used never got any heavier once fully charged !

Christopher Capener
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 1:53 pm   #35
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

In my youth, we had a Cat, who liked to lie in front of the open fire and get really hot. If you stroked him you could then hear a static crackle! As an experiment I fitted an aluminium milk-bottle-top to a neon test-screwdriver, gave the cat a good stroking to generate charge, and then drew the foil-top-equipped screwdriver along his back.

To my delight the neon bulb lit!

My brother told me about 'electroscopes' used to measure electrostatic charge and I improvised one using some tinsel.

Then I progresed to rubbing an inflated long sausage-shaped balloon along the charged cat's back, transferring charge to the balloon, which would then cling to the wall or ceiling by static attraction.

Myjuvenile thought-experiment of "If I charge the cat up and hold him against the wall, will the static-cling hold him there?" was thankfully never put into practice.

During one balloon-charging session the Cat obviously became fed-up with the process and took a swipe at the balloon, bursting it. The resulting pop was sufficiently startling that thereafter he made himself scarce when balloons were about!
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 2:48 pm   #36
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

The word 'From' in the thread's title is important. I still have ridiculous ideas.

David
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 4:41 pm   #37
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

Quote:
Originally Posted by newlite4 View Post
For me, a ridiculous thought from not quite such a young age. Around 30 years ago, the engineering staff kept rabbiting on about Laplace Transforms. In my minds eye I was imagining a sort of "larch-lap" woven variable transformer for phase shifting purposes. My new knowledge served me well for years going on about fitting a laplace transformer into this system to introduce phase shift until I realised that the engineers were talking about a mathematical process. All those engineers must have thought "technicians, know your limits!"
Neil
The teacher reading a story to us about someone thinking twice about stealing, introduced me to the concept of "a would-be thief"

All I could think it could be was a forest dwelling insect with magpie tendencies!

OK another anecdote, this time on topic.

When I was young I thought a radio with a handle was called an aportable.

Another? OK then.
When I was obsessed with light-beam telephones I asked my friend across the road, over the said instrument, if connecting an earth at both ends would improve reception.
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 5:00 pm   #38
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

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I still have ridiculous ideas.
So do I, and take time to see if they have any merit. It is people like us who did the totally daft when young (and later) that are keeping technology going. To use an analogy, years ago I asked a guitarist (very good and quite well known) friend of mine "how do you do that", reply "If it sounds good play it again, if it sounds bad remember not to play it again".
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 5:09 pm   #39
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

[QUOTE=merlinmaxwell;1307713]
Quote:
To use an analogy, years ago I asked a guitarist (very good and quite well known) friend of mine "how do you do that", reply "If it sounds good play it again, if it sounds bad remember not to play it again".
Reminds me of my senior-school days [1970s] when we had a visit from a minor prog-rock musician with an early "Digital" synth/sequencer.

He set-it-up and let-it-run. About 30 seconds into the performance, a rather-unconventional shift-of-key was repeated.

Our elderly, classically-trained music-master, horrified, stood up and announced to us-all "You can't do that! You can't! You can't!"

Said minor prog-rocker smiled at us and said "I just did".
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 7:23 pm   #40
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Default Re: Ridiculous thoughts and ideas from a young age

When I was a lad in the 1930s/40s, my uncle (G3QQ) gave me a few old iron-cored transformers and chokes to “play with”. I tested the windings with the aid of a cycle-lamp battery and a bulb, with the results that you can imagine. At the time, I just could not understand how I could get such nasty shocks from a 3V battery.

Roger
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