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Is Search more valuable than Research?

HeatingHelpHeatingHelp Posts: 301
edited March 2017 in THE MAIN WALL
Is Search more valuable than Research?

Read the full story here


  • ratioratio Member Posts: 2,353
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 14,980
    You're welcome!
    Retired and loving it.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    My biggest fear is the digital age overtaking the analog. If anything happens to the digital where will we be.

    Thought provoking isn't it.
  • KahooliKahooli Member Posts: 112
    As an EE who has run into a great number of problems that aren't in books, let alone google, I very much appreciate this article. Thank you for articulating a frustration a great many aging engineers have with the incoming greenhorns.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 14,980
    Thank you, sir.
    Retired and loving it.
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,101
    About 40 years ago i was working on a new design for the display power supply for the navy (Sea Sparrow program) . The specs were VERY tight - no more than 0.1% variation over line load and temperature (-65 to =85C) - 10 volts max change for an output of 10,000V.

    i had been working on that for over a month and we were running out of time, If I didn't get it figured out by the end of the week we would lose the contract and get bupkis for all our work. Things were working well except for a mysterious random 20v bump in the output. I had measured everything and could not nail down the cause.

    I was doing another series of tests when the bulb on my magnifying lamp went out, I was looking at the meter at that time and saw the output change when that lamp went out. When i restarted the lamp the output went back where it belonged. This power supply had a circuit board on the top with all the high voltage stuff inside.The change was being caused by light!

    Within 5 minutes I narrowed the area causing the problem and soon found the photosensitive part. It was a small glass diode. when you shined a light on it it's characteristics changed just a tiny bit but is was enough to bump the output of that supply.

    the cure was to put a drop of black epoxy on that diode so it couldn't see the light. These parts were JANTX, the highest reliability parts available. The JAN (joint army navy) board ordered all diodes to have their junctions shielded after that.

    Finding that fault had more to do with years of experience than anything learned in the classroom.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 14,980
    Great story, Bob. Thanks!
    Retired and loving it.
  • MilanDMilanD Member Posts: 1,114
    I had some HS kids helpers in the office a few moths back and needed some snail-mail envelopes hand addressed. I handed them the envelopes and a list of people (personal touch, I thought - all getting hand addressed envelopes instead of labels)...

    I come back: all of them had addresses written across the top of the envelope, you know, all in one line, as a narrative on a 8.5x11, except this was an envelope.

    I felt really scared in that particular moment...
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 14,980
    Retired and loving it.
  • ratioratio Member Posts: 2,353
    MilanD said:

    I come back: all of them had addresses written across the top of the envelope, you know, all in one line, as a narrative on a 8.5x11, except this was an envelope.

    Hopefully that was before you metered the envelopes!

  • MilanDMilanD Member Posts: 1,114
    > @ratio said:
    > I come back: all of them had addresses written across the top of the envelope, you know, all in one line, as a narrative on a 8.5x11, except this was an envelope.
    > Hopefully that was before you metered the envelopes!

    Luckily, it was. Ha!

    I omitted mentioning that I also had them first write out their own names in block lettering, and then proceeded to give them an alphabet cheat sheet and asked them to practice first. What they wrote prior to it looked like a 6 year olds hand writing. Wow... It didn't occur to me that addressing envelopes should also have been gone over. These are A students in their schools, good schools mind you, and they have handled window envelopes.

    I no longer assume anything. It's quite tiring having to think like a 4 year-old.
  • ratioratio Member Posts: 2,353
  • jumperjumper Member Posts: 1,435
    Regarding search versus research obvious answer is both. Wonderful when you find somebody who has already resolved your issue. But the more you research the better you understand.
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,962
    i love it!
    as an avid reader, i love it!

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • ratioratio Member Posts: 2,353
    It's only search if you don't subsequently re–search. My only problem is figuring out when to stop!
  • NY_RobNY_Rob Member Posts: 1,370
    Research is alive and well in the 21st century, it just presents differently.

    Instead of gray-haired scientists in white lab coats bent over test tubes, you now have thousands of college students around the world using computers to solve complex equations and simulations in nano-tech, cosmology and cutting edge medical research, etc.

    We've already done outer-space, now we're researching inner-space and the human body to extend life without diseases or mental infirmity.

    I for one consider myself lucky that I'm old enough to have lived through the analog age but still young enough to embrace the digital age.

    Back in the early 2000's I gave my kids FM radio solder kits for Christmas. The kits consisted of probably 75 individual components (resistors, diodes, caps, pots, coils, etc..) which all had to be soldered on to a copper clad circuit board. It took several weekends for us to build the kits... then we had to hand tune the inductor coils with a wood wedge for best sensitivity.
    Flash forward to 2017...
    Yesterday I assembled a FM radio- literally the size of a matchbook for a total cost of $5. It consisted of a $4 TEA5767 FM Stereo Radio Module and an Atmel ATTiny85 Microprocessor in an 8-pin DIP package... which costs about $1. In addition to two wires that connect the two components, I used two 5 cent momentary contact micro-switches for station presets . The whole thing was assembled in a few minutes, but it took several hours to get the C-code right for the station presets to work as intended. I also wanted to have three preset FM stations using only two push button switches- so that took a little while to work out too. After much coding trial and error- working and re-working the C-code , I finally got it working by dinner time.
    So rather than soldering for days/hours back in the analog days, I spent a few min on the hardware but hours researching/writing C-code for the TEA5767 FM Stereo Radio Module.. It was both search and research.. it's was a great Sunday project that got my problem solving juices flowing... just in a different way then back in the analog days.

  • Harvey RamerHarvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,214
    Some people look,
    Some people see.
    Ramer Mechanical
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    edited March 2017
    And some people can't see the trees in the forest.....
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