|kids these days||John Larkin||12/13/13 9:46 AM|
We've been interviewing for a test tech (interviewed a dozen or so, finally got
a good one) and for interns. An internship not only spreads goodness to the
world, it's a kind of extended interview for potential keepers.
So, we've interviewed, and interned, some number of recent EE and CE grads.
None of them know much about electricity. Nobody takes electromagnetics any
more. None of them know how to solder... I should post pics of some of the
horrors. None of them can draw anything legible. They don't seem to have much
discipline and if you agree to do four things, they'll forget one or two of
Their resume invariably, proudly, includes a class project. Typically the
schematic was supplied by their instructor, they built it and wrote it up, and
they can't explain how it works.
All of which suggests that doing real electronic design is sort of a lost art,
and so it's increasingly valuable. And that EE degrees are fairly easy to get
John Larkin Highland Technology Inc
www.highlandtechnology.com jlarkin at highlandtechnology dot com
Precision electronic instrumentation
Picosecond-resolution Digital Delay and Pulse generators
Custom timing and laser controllers
Photonics and fiberoptic TTL data links
VME analog, thermocouple, LVDT, synchro, tachometer
Multichannel arbitrary waveform generators
|Re: kids these days||Phil Hobbs||12/13/13 10:50 AM|
On 12/13/2013 12:46 PM, John Larkin wrote:No senior projects?
Fortunately the electronics hobby is back.
Hang out at the local hackerspace and see who the keeners are.
|Re: kids these days||bloggs.fred...@gmail.com||12/13/13 11:05 AM|
"Keeners"??? N is nowhere near P on the qwerty. Is keener a new word?
|Re: kids these days||bloggs.fred...@gmail.com||12/13/13 11:09 AM|
On Friday, December 13, 2013 12:46:33 PM UTC-5, John Larkin wrote:
Care to explain how the present day faculty is going to teach anything they can't do themselves???
|Re: kids these days||m II||12/13/13 11:24 AM|
On 13-12-13 12:05 PM, bloggs.fred...@gmail.com wrote:'geezers' opens up an entirely new conundrum...
It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my
reasons for them!
|Re: kids these days||Robert Baer||12/13/13 11:48 AM|
John Larkin wrote:* Meaning EE degrees are worthless, for practical purposes.
Hire a burger flipper..
|Re: kids these days||Martin Riddle||12/13/13 12:25 PM|
On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 09:46:33 -0800, John LarkinI've notice this in the last 10 years too.
|Re: kids these days||Lasse Langwadt Christensen||12/13/13 12:57 PM|
Den fredag den 13. december 2013 18.46.33 UTC+1 skrev John Larkin:
> We've been interviewing for a test tech (interviewed a dozen or so, finally gotWhen I was at uni some 15 years ago, every semester involved a ~5-6 man
project, designing, building it, presentation and defense like a senior
A third semester project would be something like a hifi amplifier, so at the end you would have come up with a schematic soldered up handfuls of
transistors to to build a power amplifier, a few opamps for tone controls
and have written a ~100 page report with every design equation/calculation and measurement on the hardware
hobby electronics is coming back, though the it seems a lot of it is stacking boards build by others and writing code to make the stuff talk together
But I guess those that we used to transistor thought the same of those who started putting ICs together
|Re: kids these days||Phil Hobbs||12/13/13 1:13 PM|
Commonwealth for somebody who's keen on something, i.e. an enthusiast.
Dr Philip C D Hobbs
ElectroOptical Innovations LLC
Optics, Electro-optics, Photonics, Analog Electronics
160 North State Road #203
Briarcliff Manor NY 10510
hobbs at electrooptical dot net
|Re: kids these days||Baron||12/13/13 1:16 PM|
John Larkin wrote:Huh, most don't know how to spell, can't read properly, struggle with
math and expect high wages for doing nothing ! This youth is the next
generation. I'm sure glad to be out of it now. Someone else can take
|Re: kids these days||m II||12/13/13 1:20 PM|
On 13-12-13 02:13 PM, Phil Hobbs wrote:He was making a substitution....someone you wanted to hire would be a
'keeper'. Humour by intentional typo.....
|Re: kids these days||Phil Hobbs||12/13/13 1:29 PM|
On 12/13/2013 04:20 PM, m II wrote:From Google:
noun: keener; plural noun: keeners
a person who keens for someone who has died.
2. Canadian informal
a person who is who is extremely eager, zealous, or
enthusiastic. "keeners who spent most of high school buried in
|Re: kids these days||bloggs.fred...@gmail.com||12/13/13 2:41 PM|
Don't see it used much in US. The context was:
Isn't everyone at the local hackerspace a keener? Hacker has become synonymous with obsessed.
|Re: kids these days||bloggs.fred...@gmail.com||12/13/13 2:48 PM|
On Friday, December 13, 2013 4:16:51 PM UTC-5, Baron wrote:
Like the previous generation was some kind of prize? I don't think so. Lots of useless scum-of-the-Earth types there. The only good thing about many of them is they're gone.
|Re: kids these days||sms||12/13/13 3:09 PM|
On 12/13/2013 9:46 AM, John Larkin wrote:Electromagnetics and thermodynamics ended up being the two things I
spend most of my time on.
At the Hackedojo there are some amazingly bright kids designing stuff.
One 12 year old has started his own consulting company.
He's a really good kid, and he knows so much about design,
manufacturing, and programming that it's scary. I asked him where a good
place to get some boards made was and got a long dissertation about the
trade-offs of different vendors in different countries.
|Re: kids these days||Robert Macy||12/13/13 3:23 PM|
On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 16:09:11 -0700, sms <scharf...@geemail.com> wrote:
> Electromagnetics and thermodynamics ended up being the two things IBack in 60's I remember hearing the laments of 'senior' enginers about how
recent graduates just don't have the fundamentals. At that time
transistors were $10-$20 each, IC's just started at $100-$200 each
[today's dollars? take times 20 at least!] Those 'components became our
building blocks. Well, today we can lament how recent graduates'
educations are missing fundamentals of how to design with 'our'
components, but their components, their building blocks, are a bit more
complex. Like iPod, cell-phones etc etc. you may note the individual costs
of these 'components' are less in today's dollars than 'our' components
were in 'our' day. And some of the products that come out ??!!! Wow! some
defy description. Yet these 'successful' developers probably couldn't
describe much of basics, including ohms law, indutance, capacitance, etc.
But then again I can do that, but don't know much about ISP server
dialogues, visual recognition systems, and 'effectively' building
artifical intelligence pattern recognition - talking iPhone that views an
object and tells a blind person what it is. All these challenges just seem
to be just relative, ...sigh
|Re: kids these days||John Larkin||12/13/13 3:23 PM|
On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 15:09:11 -0800, sms <scharf...@geemail.com>
Argghh, more robotics. Some Pic eval board or something, and some
stepper drivers, probably copied from somewhere, and a lot of silly
John Larkin Highland Technology, Inc
Custom laser drivers and controllers
Photonics and fiberoptic TTL data linksVME thermocouple, LVDT, synchro acquisition and simulation
|Re: kids these days||bloggs.fred...@gmail.com||12/13/13 4:13 PM|
On Friday, December 13, 2013 6:23:57 PM UTC-5, John Larkin wrote:It's really boring stuff http://www.ologicinc.com/
|Re: kids these days||k...@attt.bizz||12/13/13 4:40 PM|
Not worthless. Some do embedded programming. There's good money
there, if they're any good.
|Re: kids these days||k...@attt.bizz||12/13/13 4:44 PM|
On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 12:57:03 -0800 (PST), Lasse Langwadt ChristensenWhen I was in uni, some 40 years ago, the biggest teams were two,
though usually they were individual projects. With 5-6 on a team it
becomes impossible to find out who did what.
That's about all that can be done.
ICs were simpler than many of the circuits I did, though. ICs only
had a couple of gates or opamps. ;-)
|Re: kids these days||Lasse Langwadt Christensen||12/13/13 5:04 PM|
Den lørdag den 14. december 2013 01.44.07 UTC+1 skrev k...@attt.bizz:
> On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 12:57:03 -0800 (PST), Lasse Langwadt Christensento some degree yes, but at the presentation and the questioning afterwards
I'm sure they usually knew who deserved what grade
The final semester was usually one or at most two
And each groups shared an "office" +8 hours a day so they ones that weren't pulling their weight were quickly singled out so no one wanted to team up
with them on the infamous first day of each semester where we had to make
|Re: kids these days||Joerg||12/13/13 5:36 PM|
Phil Hobbs wrote:A lot of them are almost a joke these days.
> Hang out at the local hackerspace ...
Yup. If looking for someone with analog and RF experience check with the
local ham radio group.
> ... and see who the keeners are.
I think they are called nerds in S.F. Even the Friday and Monday flights
into the Bay Area are sometimes called nerd birds.
|Re: kids these days||Phil Hobbs||12/13/13 6:14 PM|
You can be a nerd without being a keener. Pathetic, but true.
|Re: kids these days||Gz||12/13/13 6:44 PM|
Lasse Langwadt Christensen <lang...@fonz.dk> wrote:Some years ago, a girl was trying to get her project working. Some kind of
audio delay or echo. She tried a couple people. I finally got the thing
wired up. Nothing but parts and jumpers on a protoboard. She graduated. I
don't have a EE.
|Re: kids these days||pedro||12/13/13 6:59 PM|
On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:36:13 -0800, Joerg <email@example.com>
Tweny years ago maybe. Hereabouts the overwhelming majority of them
are just button-pushing appliance - or keyboard - operators and very
few know which end of a soldering iron to grab.
|Re: kids these days||k...@attt.bizz||12/13/13 7:48 PM|
On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:04:05 -0800 (PST), Lasse Langwadt Christensen
>Den l�rdag den 14. december 2013 01.44.07 UTC+1 skrev k...@attt.bizz:
>> On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 12:57:03 -0800 (PST), Lasse Langwadt ChristensenI never had a lab with more than two in a team. Big school, too.
Maybe they increased the size of the teams, later, because it took six
or eight to have one who knew anything.
An "office"? 8-hours a day? Undergrads?
When I was teaching I found out pretty fast that it wasn't so easy to
tell who did what. There wasn't time to get too deeply into it,
though the really bad ones knew nothing and their exams proved it. The
other students didn't seem to care, either. The few good ones would
rather do all the work anyway. The cute ones, not so much.
|Re: kids these days||daku...@gmail.com||12/13/13 7:56 PM|
On Friday, December 13, 2013 12:46:33 PM UTC-5, John Larkin wrote:
> All of which suggests that doing real electronic design is sort of a lost art,> --
>> www.highlandtechnology.com jlarkin at highlandtechnology dot com
>> Custom timing and laser controllers
> VME analog, thermocouple, LVDT, synchro, tachometerFive years ago, I was at UT Austin ECE
dept, working towards my degree. I was
amazed to find that the CS dept had
started using Java as the programming
language for the undergraduates - most
probably the faculty members would have
had heart attacks if they had to use
C++. The young faculty members of the
ECE dept, specially those with pure CS backgrounds were trying to force a change
in the curriculum that would enable them
to teach core programming classes as
Data Structures in Java. A really funny
incident occurred once when I was met one
of these young faculty members (a
Cambridge Univ. UK grad with PhD from MIT)
for a TA position. He was glad I had been
using for about a decade then, because he
frankly admitted that he did not know C++.
Later when I was working at the SMC
Networks Austin office, I heard that Cisco
Systems (office right across US 183) was bringing in 20 C programmers from China.
So the present mess is entirely the doing
of head in the cloud faculty members, and
unless these imbeciles are forced to face
reality, the situation will worsen.
|Re: kids these days||Robert Baer||12/13/13 7:58 PM|
How about the tube daze?
One class test in college was an RLC series network across the 120V
line; Measure current and all voltages,draw a vector diagram,explain the
1K/V meters were used.
I went beyond the simple requirements and corrected each vector that
was altered due to loading of the meter.
Instructor asked "why?" and i said that one must know their
instruments and make corrections to readings accordingly, including
These daze, i would think that voltage would be off limits, 120V
"impossible" to use ("johnny might kill himself").
Well, duh..then, there was a sort "safety" discussion and all jumped
in with wires,meters, paper, and pencils.
Never an oopsie.
Now days i guess, take an inductor pass around class in one
direction, and a battery in the other direction.
The guy that gets both will prolly kill himself.
|Re: kids these days||miso||12/13/13 11:47 PM|
On 12/13/2013 9:46 AM, John Larkin wrote:
> We've been interviewing for a test tech (interviewed a dozen or so, finally got
> All of which suggests that doing real electronic design is sort of a lost art,I blame this on merging electrical engineering with computer science.
So why not recruit students with MS degrees? Or has that been watered
I think I mentioned MIT students that couldn't draw the inside of a
logic gate. Yes, I am serious.
|Re: kids these days||Frnak McKenney||12/14/13 6:55 AM|
On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 19:58:11 -0800, Robert Baer <rober...@localnet.com> wrote:[...]
"Give me a battery with 12V, a buzzer, and an ignition spark-coil,
and I shall move the biggest jock on the football team".
-- The Modern Archimedes
In every age "the good old days" were a myth. No one ever thought
they were good at the time. For every age has consisted of crises
that seemed intolerable to the people who lived through them.
-- Brooks Atkinson / Once Around the Sun
Frank McKenney, McKenney Associates
Richmond, Virginia / (804) 320-4887
Munged E-mail: frank uscore mckenney aatt mindspring ddoott com
|Re: kids these days||Joerg||12/14/13 7:29 AM|
Phil Hobbs wrote:
>> Yup. If looking for someone with analog and RF experience check with theYes, that is true. But you won't be a longterm nerd because if just
about anything you do fails to impress other nerds or blows up then the
fun is out. There is a little bit of redneck in everyone ... "Hey y'all,
|Re: kids these days||Joerg||12/14/13 7:33 AM|
Ok, may be different on the US west coast. At one client well over 50%
of the engineers are hams (they encourage it) and these guys can design
just about anything. Lots of weekends they get together again but not
for work, then they build antennas and stuff. All they need for
materials is the local hardware store and the supermarket for the
|Re: kids these days||Lasse Langwadt Christensen||12/14/13 7:44 AM|
Den lørdag den 14. december 2013 04.48.43 UTC+1 skrev k...@attt.bizz:
> On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:04:05 -0800 (PST), Lasse Langwadt Christensen> >Den lï¿½rdag den 14. december 2013 01.44.07 UTC+1 skrev k...@attt.bizz:
yep, every group got an "office" for the semester, a few desks, lock on the
door, a place for a coffee machine and if you were lucky someone had an old fridge for the beers
|Re: kids these days||Lasse Langwadt Christensen||12/14/13 7:59 AM|
Den lørdag den 14. december 2013 08.47.38 UTC+1 skrev miso:
many with a BSc in EE there? here all most all EEs here do an MSc,
a BSc is is pretty much seen as an easy way out with something for
those who can't keep up
I found this kinda interesting, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzKzu86Agg0
|Re: kids these days||k...@attt.bizz||12/14/13 8:23 AM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 07:29:35 -0800, Joerg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
But blowing things up is also great fun!
|Re: kids these days||k...@attt.bizz||12/14/13 8:25 AM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 07:44:03 -0800 (PST), Lasse Langwadt Christensen
>Den l�rdag den 14. december 2013 04.48.43 UTC+1 skrev k...@attt.bizz:
>> On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:04:05 -0800 (PST), Lasse Langwadt Christensen>> >Den l�rdag den 14. december 2013 01.44.07 UTC+1 skrev k...@attt.bizz:
Good grief. Never heard of that before. Must have been a tiny
|Re: kids these days||k...@attt.bizz||12/14/13 8:34 AM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 07:59:11 -0800 (PST), Lasse Langwadt Christensen
>Den l�rdag den 14. december 2013 08.47.38 UTC+1 skrev miso:
>> On 12/13/2013 9:46 AM, John Larkin wrote:The vast majority.
It's the standard. Fewer than 25% get the MSc here. Way fewer, if
you mean a "real" MSc (as opposed to work-study).
|Re: kids these days||Jeff Liebermann||12/14/13 9:54 AM|
On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:36:13 -0800, Joerg <email@example.com>
My 1970 college senior project didn't work. Well, it worked on paper,
but not when it was built. It was mostly RTL. I was graduated anyway
because various instructors and administrators wanted to get rid of
me. I think I learned more fighting a design that didn't work, than
one that might have worked.
These days, senior projects seem to have become cooperative efforts
involving small teams. Officially, it's to help students learn how to
work together, cooperate, collaborate, etc. It's a good thing, but
the few that I watched evolved degenerated into one student getting
almost the entire work load, while the others were at best marginally
$13 on eBay:
Just add your name.
Been there, done that. I find far too many specialists. For example,
someone that really knows programming, and nothing else. Can't
solder, doesn't know how the hardware works, has no test equipment,
and can't figure out how to solder. Such people are quite useful
within their area of expertise, but once outside in adjacent areas,
they're lost. One reason they go to hackerspace meetings is to find
someone with experience in these areas to help with some problem.
I was admiring a Velleman 3D printer.
I mentioned to the owner that it might be improved with anti-backlash
gears. I had to explain what they were, what they did, and why they
might be useful on the printer. His first thought was that he could
perform the same function in software. Sigh. If all you have is a
hammer, everything looks like a nail.
We have 3 local radio clubs with a total of about 120 members. I
would guess that maybe 30 members are technically competent with some
phase of electronics, and only about 10 know anything about RF. My
backlog of radios to repair should be a clue.
Geek, nerd, dork, dweeb, GNUnerd, hack, hacker, compupunk, robodork,
etc. Probably others. Most such terms have more to do with ones
appearance than job function. Most are 1960's surfing terms.
Jeff Liebermann je...@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558
|Re: kids these days||John Larkin||12/14/13 10:15 AM|
You can do pretty good backlash compensation in software. I've written a few n/c
compilers, for milling machines and one huge Whitney punch press (it shook the
ground when it punched steel) and all included a backlash factor. Big machines
have heavy-duty lead screws or recirculating ball screw things, and conventional
anti-backlash gears don't work around those kinds of forces. They'd be fine in a
3D printer where the forces are low.
What surprised me is that I included a crude macro facility, "pat" for
"pattern", in the compilers, and the machinists were soon using that to do very
sophisticated programming structures.
|Re: kids these days||John Larkin||12/14/13 10:23 AM|
On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 23:47:38 -0800, miso <mi...@sushi.com> wrote:I think so. The students select more of the easier CS/CE courses and can get an
EE degree without knowing much about electronics, or even electricity. One we
recently interviewed had done, as his project, a stereo headphone amp. It had a
56 ohm output resistor after the comp emitter followers, driving 60 ohm
headphones. After some prompting, he was able to tell us that it lost half the
signal voltage (he's intelligent, so he invoked symmetry) but he had no idea how
much headphone power was lost by having that resistor. If we hire him, we'll
have to teach him all about electronics.
On the other hand, Rob showed him a program with a bug, in a language he'd never
seen, and he spotted the bug.
|Re: kids these days||John Larkin||12/14/13 10:29 AM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 07:59:11 -0800 (PST), Lasse Langwadt Christensen>Den l�rdag den 14. december 2013 08.47.38 UTC+1 skrev miso:
>> On 12/13/2013 9:46 AM, John Larkin wrote:Or having a BSEE means that a person was eager to get out of school and start
designing real stuff. Engineering academia has never been closely coupled to
engineering real-life, or at least not since after WWII.
I haven't found that people with advanced degrees are predictably better EEs.
Probably the opposite.
|Re: kids these days||DecadentLinuxUserNumeroUno||12/14/13 10:43 AM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 10:15:36 -0800, John Larkin
<jjlarkin@highNOTlandTHIStechnologyPART.com> Gave us:
We made HV Piezo driver amplifiers for them.
They can cut optical precision on a lathe. Optical companies buy them
to make racing horse contact lens mold faces. First pass.
These amps & tool heads can cut a square peg on a round rod on a
spinning lathe. The amp was 20 to 20kHz, 800V or so
|Re: kids these days||mike||12/14/13 1:38 PM|
I don't think this is a new thing.
Back in the 70's when I was college recruiting, I saw the same things.
My first recruiting question was, "draw me the circuit for a single
The most frequent response was, "Duh? A What?"
The challenge was extremely vague. You can learn a lot about a candidate
by the questions they ask and whether they can be led/trained.
For those with a clue and a project, 100% were taken aback when I
understood what they did, perturbed one of the objectives or constraints
and asked them how their design could be modified to deal with it.
Those who didn't crash and burn got an invite for an interview back
at the plant.
There's too little emphasis on why stuff works. With all the simulation
tools available today, it's easy to simulate the problem into submission
without understanding anything. The problems almost always show up in
things not understood or simulated or don't show up as components on the
I've seen many a prototype fail, not because the precision part was
faulty, but because nobody bothered to pay attention to where the currents
went in the ground system. "It's a ground plane!" "Nope, at these
frequencies, it's a transmission line!"
I'd much rather have an engineer who can reject a thousand bad designs
in his head in a week before doing a simulation to verify his design.
I've watched supposedly brilliant designers tweak a simulation for primo
performance with no regard to component tolerances or aging or much of
anything else. Gimme an engineer who designs stuff by the seat of his
pants, then simulates it for verification, with a few more
parts with enough margin that you have to try really hard to make it not
work in production or in the field.
School gives you tools and exposure. They can't teach you how to think.
They can't teach you imagination. They can't give you an open mind.
You have to find and hire the trainable ones. Then your problem is
reduced to having competent trainers on staff. The Peter Principle
is alive and well...incompetence is pervasive.
Finding someone with a narrow skill set to do a task is easy.
Finding someone who can decide the right tasks to do is much harder.
I was extremely lucky. My dad had a TV repair shop. I got into
ham radio early. I went to a university where many of the professors
were working engineers in industry. My first job, I was paired with
an excellent mentor. I learned more the first week on the job than
I did at the university.
Industry sucks the life out of competent engineers.
They either go into business for themselves or "phone it in" and get
a new boat to occupy their free time.
You hire a "thinker" to make the place better. And when he expresses
those thoughts, you label him a trouble maker.
|Re: kids these days||Martin Riddle||12/14/13 3:55 PM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 13:38:19 -0800, mike <ham...@netzero.net> wrote:<snip>
The trainability of the person is very important.
You can get a good candidate, but if he can't be trained then your
|Re: kids these days||miso||12/14/13 4:31 PM|
On 12/14/2013 10:29 AM, John Larkin wrote:PHds tend to be overrated for practical work. But a MSEE can be useful.
There is simply no way I could have learned as much communications
theory, crypto etc while on the job. Some disciplines require
significant theoretical knowledge. Solid state physics as another example.
|Re: kids these days||ncls...@gmail.com||12/14/13 5:55 PM|
On Friday, December 13, 2013 5:48:43 PM UTC-5, bloggs.fred...@gmail.com wrote:
> On Friday, December 13, 2013 4:16:51 PM UTC-5, Baron wrote:
> Like the previous generation was some kind of prize? I don't think so. Lots of useless scum-of-the-Earth types there. The only good thing about many of them is they're gone.
Exactly, this is the reason the profession suffers. The old-timers are not willing to change their outdated ways and constantly bitch about the younger generation without doing anything special themselves. I'm glad to see some of the company names in their signatures, I will definitely steer clear when looking for potential employers.
|Re: kids these days||bloggs.fred...@gmail.com||12/14/13 7:14 PM|
From what I've seen, most MS are earned without thesis option so all they do is sit through 10 courses, which look a lot like undergraduate level material to me, and only one or two courses distinguish one EE "concentration" from another. I even met one PhD in EE who had no concentration whatsoever, never even heard of the concept. The schools have been become diploma mills for the most part, and a lot of their graduates end up in the "hospitality" industry.
|Re: kids these days||Jeff Liebermann||12/14/13 8:09 PM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 10:15:36 -0800, John Larkin
>>I was admiring a Velleman 3D printer.Yep.
What the low end machines do is measure the backlash (gear slop),
store the value, and then tweak the travel distance by this amount.
That works just fine with most drives, but the worst case is what I
saw on the Velleman 3D printer. It was two spur gears, apparently
made on the 3D printer, with plenty of slop.
(The one I saw didn't look this good). I did a quick measurement with
calipers and determined that the big gear was slightly elliptical,
which produced different amounts of backlash at different positions of
the gears. Bleh.
A 3D printer is probably the best case machine for using
anti-backlash, spring loaded drive gears. The only load on the gears
is drag as it's not driving a cutter. Instead of compensation, just
eliminate the problem at the source.
My point was not about which solution for the backlash problem was the
correct solution. Rather, that I had to explain the basic principles
behind backlash compensation and some of the tricks used to eliminate
it. The owner of the Velleman machine was solving all his problems
with one tool (software) and making no attempt to become aware of
other possible methods or solutions. It's much like asking a group of
people how to solve a problem. They will invariably use solutions
derived from their experiences and background. It's a rare person
that can support a solution outside of their primary area of
expertise. The overall effect is that we're creating a nation of
specialists, able to do one thing very well, but little else. Of
course, you're not going to be paying a programmer to do machine
design, or a mechanical designer to write control programs.
I'm undecided as to whether this trend toward specialization is a good
thing. I've seen too many good people have their careers disappear
when their specialty became obsolete.
Yep. I didn't know that Whitney made big punch presses. I have two
Whitney hand punches. Very useful for punching PCB's instead of
Machinists that are used to scribbling their own G-code probably won't
have much difficulties with adapting macros to do some of the grunt
work. Until fairly recently, the computerization of the low end of
the CNC was a fairly crude affair. A friend owns a local machine
shop. It's not beneath his dignity to edit the code or post processor
code directly. That's because the compilers tend to generate
sub-optimum code. However, the next generation of CNC programmers
probably won't be able (or willing) to hand edit the G-code.
 I stock a small collection of 386, 386SX and 486 motherboards to
replace the controllers in some CNC machines. It's not unusual to
find a $15,000 machine being run by what should have been ewaste long
|Re: kids these days||Jeff Liebermann||12/14/13 8:16 PM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 20:09:48 -0800, Jeff Liebermann <je...@cruzio.com>
>...the worst case is what I
>saw on the Velleman 3D printer. It was two spur gears, apparentlyHere's a better photo of the gears:
|Re: kids these days||Jeff Liebermann||12/14/13 8:50 PM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 13:38:19 -0800, mike <ham...@netzero.net> wrote:
>You hire a "thinker" to make the place better. And when he expressesThe story of my life and partly explains why I work for myself now.
However, there's one difference from the norm. I really am a trouble
maker, and enjoy every minute of it.
My favorite such horror story was in about 1981, when I was hired as a
manufacturing engineer to act as liason between engineering and
production. I soon discovered that engineering and production were
constantly at each others throats. My most essential task was to
graciously accept the blame so that one side or other could be
temporarily pacified by a small victory. All of my proposed solutions
were ignored on arrival because everyone (except me) understood that I
was not there to actually do production engineering.
I lasted about 2 weeks. The company imploded about a year later.
|Re: kids these days||John Larkin||12/14/13 9:09 PM|
Everybody, and I mean everybody, should have to take a machining course in high
school. There's a high-end (like, $45K per year) private high school here in SF
where everybody has to take the welding course.
That beast would slam around a 20'x4' sheet of steel and punch BIG holes in it
with amazing precision. All servos, no steppers, big hydraulic punch. We used it
to make marine automation consoles.
We recently got a Tormach. It's great. Has fancy PC software.
|Re: kids these days||John Larkin||12/14/13 9:14 PM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 18:55:00 -0500, Martin Riddle <marti...@verizon.net>
True, but I'd like an EE graduate to understand electromagnetics and basic
circuit theory and signals-and-systems, which are better learned in a classroom
than on-the-job. I shouldn't have to teach them that stuff.
|Re: kids these days||Spehro Pefhany||12/14/13 11:15 PM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 20:09:48 -0800, the renowned Jeff LiebermannHow about all those ancient 3.5" floppy drives?
"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward"
sp...@interlog.com Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog Info for designers: http://www.speff.com
|Re: kids these days||Jeff Liebermann||12/15/13 9:32 AM|
On Sun, 15 Dec 2013 02:15:18 -0500, Spehro PefhanyI have about 30 assorted floppy drives buried in a box somewhere. for
now, I can also get all I want from the local recycler. Finding a
good one is problematic. I usually find only 1 out of about 4 that
work without tweaking or major cleaning.
Note that floppy drives are no longer being manufactured and will
eventually become difficult to find. I still get calls for converting
8 inch or hard sectored 5.25" floppies. I have the drives and
controllers, and charge outrageous prices for the service. Most such
fire drills are inspired by court orders demanding ancient financial
records from long forgotten computer systems.
I was also selling floppy disk drives specifically for Korg DSS-1
keyboards for a while:
(about the middle of the page). I think I sold 4 drives in 3 years.
Someone in China got the clue and is selling floppy disk emulators
that accept a USB stick.
For dirty environments, I prefer to use solid state adapters:
or if the CNC machine has IDE connectors, install an IDE to CF
(compact flash) card adapter. The vaporized lubes are murder on
anything that moves. However, the good ones are expensive and the
cheap one's die early or have odd problems. (Hint: Add some grounded
aluminum duct tape to front panel to dissipate static discharges when
inserting the USB stick).
|Re: kids these days||Jeff Liebermann||12/15/13 10:07 AM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 21:09:09 -0800, John Larkin
>>I'm undecided as to whether this trend toward specialization is a goodAgreed. I had all that an more. At the time (late 1960's), Cal Poly
Pomona was known for "hands on" engineering. There was the usual
theory, but supplemented with very practical laboratory experience. I
had welding, machine shop, engines, electric motors, and a wide array
of electronics labs. These were 3 hr labs, twice per week, so they
had time to dive into details. Graduates at least knew what was
involved in manufacturing processes because they experienced them
In the late 1970's, Cal Poly Pomona the administration decided to have
the skool accredited. A committee of academics revised the curriculum
to include more "socially relevant" classes, resulting in the severe
dilution of the technical classes and labs. I don't know about the
current situation, but I've been told that the pendulum has swung back
in the desired direction.
Such experience is invaluable, but limited. The skools are a fairly
artificial environment. Industrial reality is very different. I was
once hired to troubleshoot, repair, and if necessary, redesign a
production peach processing and canning control system. Before
proceeding, I had to clean the rotting peaches out of the NEMA boxes
and contactors. I then had to fix some very hazardous wiring. I then
had to arrange for maintenance on the drive motors, lube the conveyor
belts, replace the broken air fittings, and duct tape some hoses until
replacements could be found. Only then could I deal with the timing
problems, pneumatic oscillations, sensor problems, and things that I
was allegedly hired to fix. Had I not had a background in grease,
oil, dirt, filth, electrical wiring, construction, and hammer
mechanics, I would have been stumped.
Please do not ask how rotting peaches entered a locked NEMA box.
These daze, that's done with water jet cutters. Somehow, over the
years, I never got involved with big sheet metal fabrication. I
worked for companies that used plenty of sheet metal chassis parts,
but not the machines that made them. The closest I got was drilling
holes in a chassis and pounding in PEM nuts for PCB mounts.
Nice. I'm jealous. The local electronics store has a Tormach 770 on
display. The owner is very much into home machining.
They also sell the Velleman 3D printer. Note the rough teeth and
burrs on the stepper drive gears.
|Re: kids these days||Jeff Liebermann||12/15/13 10:36 AM|
On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 10:23:22 -0800, John LarkinDon't assume that he would be any more functional as a programmer. I'm
the worlds worst programmist, and therefore hire programmers to do
what little programming I need done. In most cases, it's cleaning up
a database mess at one of my customers, usually caused by custom
software. I once hired a student from the local university to clean
up a name, address, and phone number list. The records had become
misaligned and there was no database rebuild, relink, reindex, or
cleanup utility. My ace programmer claimed expertise in a dozen
languages and demonstrated some impressive image manipulation software
that he had written. Writing a simple name, address, and phone number
database cleanup utility should be a trivial task, or so I thought.
I'll skip the chronology of my frustrations and just mention that
after 2 months, nothing useful was produced. I had created a few test
databases to see if his program could find and fix known problems. His
program would invariably fail to fix at least one test database, and
didn't even come close on the real databases.
Eventually, I just paid him for his efforts, and ruined a weekend
doing it myself with shell scripts and Unix tools. I've been told
that my code was the perfect example of spaghetti code and that it
violated most programming principles. Fine... it worked except for
finding junk characters in the data, which I fixed with standard Unix
text processing tools (grep, awk, sed, etc). It was ugly,
non-elegant, very slow, but it worked.
When I hire programmers these days, I ask a fair number of questions
about how he or she planned to test their code. In some cases, they
claim that if the program was properly designed and written, it should
not require any testing or debugging.
I've also met programmers who didn't understand the importance of
debouncing contact closures, skewing problems, actuation time, input
noise immunity, sensor noise, and all the hazards of a non-perfect
world. These are areas where practical experience, either in skool or
on the job, are invaluable, but apparently quite rare.
|Re: kids these days||Greegor||12/15/13 12:17 PM|
On Saturday, December 14, 2013 9:14:26 PM UTC-6, bloggs.fred...@gmail.com wrote:What's the connection to the hospitality industry?
|Re: kids these days||bloggs.fred...@gmail.com||12/15/13 3:44 PM|
Dunno for sure, maybe its for people overqualified for fast food industry jobs.
|Re: kids these days||Jasen Betts||12/15/13 10:49 PM|
|Re: kids these days||josephkk||12/16/13 3:25 AM|
On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 09:46:33 -0800, John Larkin
>Their resume invariably, proudly, includes a class project. Typically the
>All of which suggests that doing real electronic design is sort of a lost art,Aw, poor baby. You finally butted up against the reality that most of SED
regulars have dealt with for at least the last 20 years.
|Re: kids these days||Spehro Pefhany||12/16/13 5:17 AM|
Maybe something of the boiled frog syndrome. It's slowly but steadily
gotten more difficult to find marginally competent people, despite
impressive-looking resumes and apparently sterling academic
credentials. If they can triple or quadruple their salary and have a
chance at a big payoff by participating in a fun dot-com, few sane
individuals will choose to do the hard work.