Science on the Web – Part Four, Repairfaq.org – Repair Clinic

Repair clinic - repairfaq

Repair Clinic – read repairfaq, old but never outdated.

Living in the digital age does not mean we have stopped thinking, breathing and repairing electronic equipment. A repair clinic for consumer goods or possibly any electronic gadget under the sun, is often every young person’s dream, possibly for their own ego but more likely, accepting a challenge. Good solid technical staff are hard to come by. When you do find them you can be rest assured they have browsed through the pages of Samuel M. Goldwasser’s repairfaq.

Repair clinic - repairfaq
McIntosh MC275 Tube amplifier – Credit: Fred von Lohmann

Sci.Electronics. Repair(frequently asked questions) is possibly one of the most widely visited websites in the last ten to fifteen years. It has a wealth of information covering techniques and circuitry used from the dark ages until current.  Repairfaq.org site features Samuel M. Goldwasser’s latest and greatest “Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of…” series of comprehensive repair guides for consumer electronics, common household products and even articles on laser. What makes repairfaq totally credible is the lack of bells and whistles and as advertised by the author, is a fluff free zone.

From a technical viewpoint, no matter how proud and clever you are, reading through the pages affiliate to monitor, TV and audio repair makes one realise how much we have forgotten. One of the oldest and common mistakes any DIYer can make is the slip of a test probe on a live circuit. If anyone tells me they have not done this, they are lying.  😉 Measuring FET voltages in high energy circuits is also something most TV engineers have done at some stage or other with disastrous results. Often a good working FET is found to be faulty. Most of these silly mistakes that we do can be stopped in their tracks by having a good idea as to the inner workings and the what, why and when to measure. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Repair Clinic – phase two. Old tricks die hard!

Even if you are a PhD, do yourself a favour and read the articles – they are interesting. For me, the older circuits will always bring about a flash of memory, a recyclable piece of information buried deep in the brain.  With television, checking whether a capacitor is leaky was often done by bridging a known good one across the suspect component’s terminals. It’s not a trick I would use on modern circuitry – often the circuits are just not as robust as the older switching and flyback supplies. In video circuits possibly but most modern equipment is digital and SMD (surface mount) – the only high energy circuits are in the power supply. In years to come we will have new ways to test these but the unfortunate aspect to this is that modern equipment should be trashed and not repaired. I fear for our landfills, already a mess.

Repair Clinic – Phase Three. Essential reads – safety in the workplace

Repairfaq always has a comprehensive safety and safety guidelines column – for the newbie this is essential to read. For the well established technical guru this is still essential to read. Reading a chapter like http://www.repairfaq.org/samnew/tvfaq/tvsafg.htm is interesting in that everything that was applicable forty years ago is still applicable. People still get electrocuted. Warnings with regard to isolation transformers go past unheeded. In a workshop I used to oversee, computer systems were assembled and whilst the software was being loaded the supply had an uncanny knack of tripping out. Always the earth leakage would be the culprit. Often the system technicians would be just connecting mains cord to outlet when the entire mains supply would trip whereby all the systems which were loading software had to be restarted and reloaded. The workaround was to use an isolation transformer. Our electrical contractor told me the setup was illegal – makes one think where he was educated. A while later I discovered that he had no wireman’s licence. Just another bullshitter in the woods. Using the isolation transformer saved us thousands in the long run and no, we had no electrocutions. Repairfaq covers isolation transformers, sometimes a life saver when GFCIs just don’t cope. (caution: the two are not the same – read up on GFIC and isolation transformers if you are not sure). Quote from an article: “Finally, never assume anything without checking it out for yourself! Don’t take shortcuts!”

Repair Clinic – Arrogance beats knowledge hands down.

Many years back I worked for a company which employed service staff mainly self taught. What it did tell me is that arrogance had no bounds, the less one knew the more they thought they knew. A learned friend of mine with a computer degree (and BsC in Elect. Engineering) believed that we worked within a gray area – sitting between the digital ones and zeros and the interfaces, between firmware, hardware and software. Many computer technical self professed ‘boffins’ swap boards willy-nilly to find a solution. The entire industry is wrong – I don’t believe an A+ makes a good technician, aptitude and software knowledge is crucial. Just look at the motor industry – most ‘technicians’ do not know the electrical aspects which leads to part changers. The computer industry is just such a sector. Repairfaq is where the answer lies – grassroots reasoning.

A technician I worked with wanted to repair power supplies (switchers). I was apprehensive. Besides being an avid lover of the green stuff I felt he was over-confident. As a supervisor you will be held responsible for any harm or injury to your staff. Over-confidence is a killer and electricity at mains level will kill. The two don’t make good friends. Repairfaq will remind you of this. Highly qualified electrical engineers have been seriously injured by disregarding the safety aspects of any installation.

Repair Clinic – In conclusion

In conclusion, repairfaq is a no-fluff repository of articles going back many years. Well written by old hands. Whether a brand new audio system or TV receiver with brand new technology or a 1950’s TV or audio device, the techniques in which we repair these devices remains the same. Patience, safety and logic.To repair electronic equipment you will need a DVM, screwdrivers, side-cutters, pliers, socket/spanner set, cleaning materials and if you can afford it, an oscilloscope and bench power supply. Don’t forget a variac and if need be, an isolation transformer. Keep one hand in your pocket and somebody close by. And of course, lots of common sense.

For your own home repair clinic go to repairfaq.org.

Beating crime – motor vehicle theft

Vehicle Theft

Beating Motor Vehicle Theft through Social Media

If there is one thing worse than finding your car without hubcaps it’s finding no car at all. Motor manufacturers protect drivers and passengers with crumple zones, airbags and seatbelts but battle to find a way to protect drivers from being hijacked or owners, having their car stolen. It’s an epidemic. We are quick to blame the policing but grand auto theft is usually carried out by syndicates with bigger and better tools than the authorities. Vehicles are often marked which puts any potential driver in harm’s way. In many countries the authorities themselves target any vehicle which is deemed as an ‘investment’. Insurance companies seem to have very little control over this exercise as well. What can you do about it?

Motor Vehicle Theft - can we do about it?
Social Media defeats crime. (Source social media US Dept. Agriculture)

Some basic facts about motor vehicle theft:

  • Alarms and immobilisers, simple to bypass by skilled operators.
  • Tracking systems have proven to be very reliable but are still merely a deterrent.
  • VIN numbers (like engine numbers), possibly insignificant to the large scale operator.
  • Certain makes and models are targeted more than others.
  • Salvage companies are often involved.
  • Wheel nut locks are just a deterrent – have the tool? Take the wheel.

As the manufacturer brings in more measures so the criminal becomes more innovative. Drivers make easy targets. A person who cannot fly does not steal an aircraft. He steals an aircraft with a person who can fly. Electronic gear can have a BIOS lock or PIN number which like all new ‘innovation’ is quickly bypassed. Staff at manufacturing companies can be bought and their secrets revealed.  If a semi-skilled person can change the ODO reading it doesn’t take a genius to realise that both measures are not convincing enough to fool the criminal element. It takes electronics to break the code and brute force to do everything else.

From our side here are some ideas to throw around without buying a horse and cart (which can also be stolen).

To fight motor vehicle theft insurance companies insist on trackers, alarms and wheel nut locks but

  • an embedded system incorporating cell and HF technology, GPS (or cell triangulation),
  • all interfaced with a multitude of sensors throughout the vehicle driving a coded signal,
  • which broadcasts position,
  • activation reason,
  • model, registration number, VIN, etc,
  • and an audible alarm which will wake the dead,
  • plus lighting the vehicle up like a Christmas tree may be a step in the right direction.
  • The coded wireless signal is passed on to the social media which of course is monitored by the public and of course, the policing services.

Noise always has a significant negative impact on any potential criminal activity. Most vehicle tracking systems are run below the radar (silent mode) but is this always a good thing?

We see ‘black boxes’ for vehicles now becoming critical in the manufacturing process but this same black box should have the necessary interfacing then already to accept sensor output. With an output designed to be read into memory, this same output could again be fed into a small computer (think Raspberry Pi) which detects an alarm condition and keys the transmission system. A multitude of opportunities now become available, one of which may be disconcerting,  whereby the authorities can ‘ping’ a vehicle. The major plus is the fact that every Tom, Dick, Harry and Sue will know that a vehicle has been tampered with or worse, the occupants have been car/hijacked.

Interestingly enough, many third world countries have their own form of street justice, usually in the form of a Kangaroo Court – just how this will play out when social media followers discover that their neighbour’s car is in the process of being stolen may make things quite intimidating to the potential thief.

If one had to do the sums for an installation, most of the costs would be incurred on the receiving end. No signal, Call queuing, jamming detection would need to result in HF transmissions and relays. In our modern world, this is a small obstacle to overcome. (except with MH370).

Over the last 20 years tracking systems have become increasingly popular and whilst a moderate deterrent, I like the more persuasive and discouraging processes through social media whereby all our curious neighbours can get in on the act.

Since social media is used so intensively to propagate the whereabouts of roadblocks and active policing how about combating crime through the same means. Motor vehicle theft would be a great starting point.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Behringer – Class D Amplifiers

Behringer – Putting your money where it counts!

While most audiophiles are interested in what steps manufacturers are taking to produce innovative products as we at Parts-Ring covered in two articles a while back there are others whom are fighting the war by dropping their margins and in the professional and semi-professional market Behringer is creating quite a stir. Much of what can be read on the forums to me seems to be based more on snob value than listening tests. Who really cares whether a giga-flux capacitor has tin whiskers in a RoHs environment?

NU-4-6000 iNuke Class D Board Layout
NU-4-6000 iNuke Class D Board Layout

In the very beginning, when Noah built class A

Whilst building a class AB amplifier from a kit a few months back I kept on going through white papers and documentation from manufacturers covering class D audio which has been more or less on the test bench for the last 50 years.  There was just too much negativity coming from the class AB pundits whilst pro-audio designers were pushing their class D products with switching power supplies. What become pretty much conclusive to me when making a comparison, came directly from the mouths, pens and keyboards from users, those that used them on an every day basis, not the valve and semiconductor class A and AB techno-junkies.  Moreover, what type of active component makes the better sound; bipolar, MOSFET or IGFET? Personally I really don’t give a toss, I listen to something and if it sounds good I will say so. A really great sounding amplifier going back 40 years was the Akai M8 class A EL84 setup in this open reel tape recorder. I note a guru has already separated the amplifier from the chassis and uses it as his stereo amplifier. Great – something I wanted to do years back. How does it sound compared to modern equipment? An efficient loudspeaker system with a proper cross over it’s going to sound tremendous. This is equipment which came out in the 60s. The mind boggles!

Behringer NU4-6000 switching transformer
iNuke NU4-6000 switching transformer

The NU4-6000 Buy it, don’t buy it

So I went and purchased the NU4-6000 manufactured by Behringer. I was warned off by the forums, I was warned off by the class AB fraternity but seriously though why would one of the largest manufacturers of pro-audio equipment put their name in jeopardy by building a class D amplifier against the wishes of the minions. Simple. Because they could!

For those of you familiar with Behringer which I believe most of us are, it is indeed a sad state of affairs that seldom is any good spoken of them. I went to a live concert the other evening and I was most saddened to see that all the gear was Behringer (except Korg Keyboard and guitars, supplied by the musicians of course).  In fact, the company that supplies the sound system which for all intents and purposes is fixed, only uses this manufacturer. I didn’t see one spark, one voice coil go up in smoke and most of all, the quality of sound was damned good. No sir, all equipment will eventually fail if you don’t look after it. This manufacturer more so because they are mass produced, not hand crafted like wooden cars of old. An owner of an audio retail store (pro-audio) told me that his store sells two Behringer products for every one of their competitor’s products. That said, it must really be crap, right? Figures – the price remains just that much more attractive. Yet the forums tell you to stay clear.

Behringer NU4-6000 HF filter
NU4-6000 Class Amplifier HF filter

And now the Good News…

Well, I was not saddened by the quality of the iNuke (some says the name sounds cheesy, but who cares).  They could have called it Phase-Not-So-Linear but the bottom line is when the real audio physicists come out of the woodwork and tell you Class-D bass response will be good they aren’t kidding. In fact I do have a Phase Linear 200+200 and there is no comparison. Absolutely no comparison. As for power – well the devil’s advocates have told me that Behringer don’t tell us the real story. OK, I have test equipment but no load. Whether the new fangled testing methods are only bursts of signal or not my listening tests tell me that using a well known brand of amplifier in proaudio circles rated at 250+250W RMS into an 8 Ohm load did not under any circumstances produce the same quality of bass as did the 4-6000. Certainly I was driving the 15″ speaker set up (piezo horns) way past their power rating but just on the onset of clipping the amplifier did not distort (to my ears) – the speakers took a pounding though, designed for 300W continuous according to the manufacturer. The thing is though, that throughout the dynamic range, whether Pitbull, Gaga or Yazoo the amplifier had this incredible rock solid (pun intended) bass. I can do tests with Crown, Crest, the old Phase Linear and a Blue Tech (not too bad, don’t knock it Mr. Snob) and the Behringer outperformed them. Hands down. The thing is though, again, the highs were not as distinct (bright, possibly) as the Crown but I do believe this amplifier does everything it is supposed to do and more.

Here is my gripe. I do believe Mr. Behringer and his products, whom I have no affiliate to, gets an unfair rap. The company gets ringed by the press, gets ringed by the cynics, gets ringed by the authorities. Think Samsung and Apple and guess who is on top. So now I have finished with the 15″ speaker system and rig up 4 Ohm unit, 18″ bass drivers rated at 600W continuous power. Now I really want to find out what the amplifier is capable of doing and whether Behringer deserves the complaint of using dubious methods to measure and advertise the power rating of their amplifiers.  Slam Dunk. For the price, I have never heard such an awesome piece of gear.  Let us take a step backwards.

Behringer NU4-6000 Mains filter
NU4-6000 Mains Filter

Our listener tests, a solo performance, Thanks to Behringer

Tested the same 18″ speaker system with audio circuitry designed to push out say 200 to 300W RMS into a 4 Ohm load. The iNuke 4-6000 should comfortably push out about 400W RMS into the same load (I believe 600W is about the rated power of this amplifier into 4 Ohms). If a 3dB increase in sound intensity is double the power, this amplifier should be in theory not sound that much louder. No, it doesn’t of course but without a doubt it has incredible punch. Into 18″ bass drivers, used at home, this amplifier is in a class of it’s own. Yes, I do read forums and many theorists state that they (the NU4-6000 or 6000/3000) does not compare with amplifier x or y but the fact is, given the cost implication, I doubt you will get better value for money. I have not tested it continuously for 4 million hours, I have no need to. Yes, I believe this is very important to the musician – just like us at home. Same old story, knock it before you have tried it. Knock it around a bit and tell everyone what a piece if shite.

No affiliation here…

As stated previously I have no affiliation to Behringer. I am not advertising their products. I have purchased expensive consumer goods which fell to pieces in the first month. I have also purchase cheap ‘stuff’ which has lasted for eons. Most manufacturers have shifted over to China to produce (and copy) their goods. It is all in the name of competition. If I pay 2000 dollars for a piece of equipment this does not mean that the 1000 dollar piece is inferior. Having built my own equipment many years ago the thrill was always in the building and testing. This thrill has now gone south, we still do it as a challenge and the pleasure of it but know in our wee minds that sometimes it is just cheaper to buy. And throw-away. Behringer do not fit into that space. Oft on the forums Music Group come to the assistance of owners of their equipment and from what I gather and believe take pride in working for the company and advertise their products through deeds, not just words. The X32 is a case in point – this is serious equipment for the serious buyer. And you know what, designed by experts in the field: Midas and Klark Teknik. More about them later, very interesting connections I have.

Behringer - power supplier filters 3300uFD 100V
iNuke NU4-6000 power supply filter

So you Nuked your Hearing – If only I wasn’t like Spock

I purchased my iNuke for about 890 dollars (U.S.).  It is not really designed for home use, you will go deaf if you crank the volume up for long periods of time. Driving a 4 Ohm load 18″ woofer with piezo horns in your home will definitely make you deaf. Permanently. Paralleling your load by driving two of these 4-Ohm monsters off one channel will not kill the amplifier. For sine wave testing I have no doubt this amplifier will put out at least 2 to 3kW with all channels driven – I gauge this by the size of the switching transformer, cable gauge and tracks. It will definitely peak at 6kW for music – more than sufficient for stage use. It does use 83V-0-83V supply rails. (Vcc x Vcc)/8RL is a useful formula.

Behringer NU4-6000 cooling fans (x2)
NU4-6000 The Dreaded Fan Noise. x2 they are not noisy. This amplifier is not for home listening.

For many amplifier manufacturers these days, class A and AB has become so mundane, so pedestrian. ICE power is not a new kid on the block but dollar for dollar I have really, really been very impressed with this Behringer product. I hope this article and the pictures will sway the avid audio guru to sit up and take notice.

[images taken with a cell in dark lighting conditions].

Thrust versus Horsepower

Thrust - vertical take off and land aircraft

Thrust and Newton’s 2nd and 3rd Laws

So many people asking how to convert thrust to horsepower or vice versa. Whilst a seemingly simple enough question, the laws of physics and the power of jet engines all follow Netwon’s 2nd and 3rd laws. The question is answered almost unanimously, ‘you cannot’. Well what really gives with this – surely a Boeing 747 engine delivering 65 000 pounds of force could be converted to HP by a simple formula?  Well in simple terms as everyone wants to keep it simple, can you calculate the thrust at the wheels of a car?  Our minds can wrap around that one – just makes no sense. However, over the years its possibly one of the most covered questions in forums, magazines and journals and although to an aviation expert, seemingly mindless, the fact remains that most of us would like to just know how much horsepower those four Rolls-Royce RB211s are ‘putting out’. Time to recap…

If you do some research you’ll quickly find that the answers to this question vary from the probable to the ridiculous. To analyse properly one needs to look at these two formulae.

Thrust - vertical take off and land aircraft
Yak38 – Russian V-TOL (source Wiki/Tosaka)

Horsepower and torque:

One HP is universally defined as the power required to lift 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute. Work is measured in foot-pounds, torque in pounds-foot.

HP = (Torque x RPM)/5252.  Torque = (HP/RPM) x 5252.

1 HP = 0.746kW

See Torque versus Power

Thrust: Get your school science books out. Aristotle had it wrong!

Aristotle, still a brilliant man of course, worked on the theory where there is velocity there is a force acting upon it, Newton declared that a force acting on it would create acceleration, the velocity would stay the same whether it had a force acting on it or not.

Thrust is a reaction force as described by Newton’s 2nd law, the vector sum of forces = mass x acceleration vector and 3rd law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The statement “fall-down drunk” is a good explanation of Newton’s third law.

For a rocket:

Thrust from a rocket
Thrust = velocity exhaust gases x (change in mass / change in time) [mass flow rate]
The above formula forms the very basis of rocket propulsion, velocity times change in mass over change in time. Horsepower is the rate at which work is done, thrust is a reaction force. If you have read the write up on Torque versus Horsepower you will note that a steam engine or electric motor produces maximum torque while the shaft or rotor is held stationery.  A jet engine or rocket is producing no work whilst it is stationary if we look at work =  force x distance (or displacement, ‘s’). This is what makes drawing a parallel between thrust and horsepower so compelling.

 

 

Yet, I stand corrected here, Apollo 11 developed an equivalent of something like 95 to160 million horsepower to get out of the earth’s atmosphere – I am going back in time here, Guiness Book or World Records and/or NASA. F1 engine picture found here. (see bottom before comments). Just looking at the engine tells me this is something you want strapped to your car.

Thrust: Newton’s 3rd Law

The operation of a rocket is based on conservation of linear momentum or more simply put, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – as the exhaust gases rush out in one direction, the rocket moves forward in the opposite direction. Once it is moving it is doing work. A jet engine may be running at maximum thrust while the pilots have the aircraft braked and because the aircraft is not moving forward no work is done. A propeller powered aircraft however may have an internal combustion engine which has a shaft coupled to the propeller which means there will be torque and as  torque is defined as the force applied at a radius from a given point, work is done.

Power available, Pushing and Pulling forces and Velocity

Because we know that Power = Force x Velocity the formula Pa = Ta V / 325 can be used, where Pa = Propulsive Power (HP), Ta = Thrust in Pounds and V = Velocity in Knots (one knot = 1852 meters or 2025.372 yards per hour). A 747 may have 60 000 pounds of thrust at 500 knots which will equal to (60^3 x 5^2)/325 = 92 307HP per engine. The most important parameter here is that the aircraft is moving at about 580 mph (not too safe). At standstill it is developing (60^2 x 0)/325 = 0 HP. No work!

I read on a forum somewhere where a comparison is then made between a jet turbine (stationary) is powering a power station. Here we have the following: gearbox and alternator. There is a force acting on the shaft (torque). Depending on the load current and at a fixed rotational speed in RPM we have a constant voltage. P in kW = voltage x current. Divide this by 0.746 and we have the power generated.

Thrust – Kort nozzles, Bollard pull and Voith Schneider

All in all, conversion from thrust to horsepower or horsepower to thrust is not a viable metric because of the dynamics we need to take into account. Once the jet engine, in our case, is actually doing work, meaning there is a force and a velocity things may assume to become simpler but my rationale tells me that we then have to redesign the way we determine what ‘doing work’ means, just like why ocean going tugs use bollard pull and not energy in Joules.  Pushing against a wall which won’t budge for ten hours is not doing work although you may feel a wreck afterwards. Tug boats use unique and innovative means to direct the thrust, just like VTOL aircraft.

 

 

 

 

 

MotoGP rankings through the last decade

MotoGP - the NSR500 engine

MotoGP – the 2nd most popular motor sport in the world!

If there is one undeniable fact, MotoGP has certainly gained a lot of popularity over the last twenty years. Audience or spectator reach is one of the most important factors, along with the the charismatic riders, usually of Italian, Spanish or even Australian descent. The world’s favourite rider and we say this without bias must surely be Valentino Rossi.

MotoGP - the NSR500 engine
Honda NSR500 Engine – the sexiest engine ever. (source Wiki/Morio)

Whilst the USA may find NASCAR the ultimate sport to watch, MotoGP has taken 2nd place to F1 racing which for many has become, well, to say the least, rather monotonous. What can one say about a class of vehicle with four wheels on the ground – sometimes. The first time I watched televised MotoGP religiously was in the late 90s and this was only because of the extremely high competition levels, high quality signal and the pit girls. Although we like to think that there are other interesting things to watch on TV, I never looked back.

 

 

Danger on the track

There is argument to the fact that NASCAR racing could be the most dangerous of all sports and to stay up front is akin to lunacy but MotoGP is no different. Overtaking another two wheeler around a corner, braking at the last minute on rubberised shrapnel and neck breaking one wheel on the ground acceleration down the main straight is nothing short of pure madness. On all levels, MotoGP riders know they are only two wheels away from a certain spill. Yes, we all watch motor racing for the spills but there is nothing worse than to lose a rider through fatal injury. In motor racing, for that matter in any sport, one death is one too many. It should not come with the territory and extreme measures are taken to protect riders and drivers but sadly, when milliseconds matter, highly competitive sports people push themselves and their machines to the limits. MotoGP to me is just one of those sports – wrong tyre choices, geometrical misbehaviour and blown engines are problems in any motor race but when often the rider is only one wheel and not two away from a certain spill, things get beyond hairy.

MotoGP – The Top Four

Like all sports we have our favourite participants, our superstars and aces. It may be Hailwood, Rooney or Agostini. It may be Duke or Roberts. Often there is very little difference between riding styles. MotoGP racing often involves riders that have been either world champion or runner up in other events, superbike racing been one of them. Rossi has been world champion in the 125, 250 and 500/900cc classes. He may not be as good as what he was in his early twenties but he still runs on a full tank and remains as competitive as ever. Ducati may have been long shot but with Honda and Yamaha he seems to be at his best, with the right pit crews and support. Right now we have Marc Marquez, the current world champion and another world champion of the three MotoGP categories, an ability only shared with Rossie, Read and Agostini. What does not make this surprising is the fact that he did this over a three year period, almost similar to Rossi. Getting there and staying there is another thing altogether. I doubt whether there is another sport in the world where one could place any one of the riders on the track as being possible winners – magazines, ezines and blogs often complain that the racing has gone the way of F1 but I beg to differ. MotoGP remains in the top ten most watched sports because of the huge fan base of individual riders – I was a fan of Rossi’s 15 years back and still remain a fan. At 35 he should be thinking of retiring but he currently sits at number three. This is no mean feat.

MotoGP – the Manufacturers

 

 

Out of the many competing bikes the manufacturer which stands as the odd man out is Suzuki. Honda and Yamaha remain firmly in the top two positions of the manufacturers log. Although Ducati is known to be ‘the’ bike to have, it just fails to make the grade on this level despite numerous 2nd and 3rd positions. Australian Casey Stoner put Ducati on the map in 2007 whilst Suzuki last made it in 2000 by K. Roberts Junior. Looking back through the decades and having seen these bikes in action, MV Agusta ridden by all time superchamp, Agostini, this certainly was the most awesome machine of it’s time. (see below: NS500). The modern bikes are very closely matched in terms of speed and all round performance – is this what makes it exciting? I’d put 30% of any race’s outcome in the manufacturer’s lap, the other 50% on rider and form on the day and 20% on tyres. Just how many exciting finishes has one seen where all that remains is human versus fragments of rubber?

MotoGP – the Nationality

Over the last decade Rossi stands out as being the top performing rider and Yamaha as top manufacturer. Italy, Spain and Australia lead nationality with Italy a clear winner. Rossi of course. In the last decade we also saw a switchover of Rossi from Honda to Yamaha, winning two consecutive years on different bikes. Eddie Lawson was the last person to do this, in the late 80s.

MotoGP – from RC166 to NSR500

Basing my opinion on youth Marc Márquez is going to be the role model for junior riders for the next ten years. I had my money on either Lorenzo or Pedrosa a few years back but this had much to do with hype. It takes a very special type to be the Agostinis of this world and Rossi is definitely one of them. Going back 60 years the one thing that has stood out the most in my humble opinion will be Gilera and MV Augusta – until the NSR500, Honda’s 200HP V4 two-stroke rocket. Who can forget Mick Doohan on this instrument of ‘shit your pants’ stuff.

 

 

Mike Hailwood – the man, the hero (read some nostalgia here)

I had the privilege of seeing Mike Hailwood race when I still very, very young and to this day images of his ability around the track, where as far as I can recall he lapped number two still remain tacked inside the last working elements of my brain. Hailwood was possibly the greatest ace to have graced our shores (Cape Town) and have a relationship with the South African public. Hailwood was the hero of most pubescent, teens and older in the heady 60s.

Just slightly off track, for those that remember the NSR500 (who would not) we had the RC166, a six cylinder 250cc – found on YouTube.

If you need to see more, YouTube has a very good selection of videos covering this over 150 mph beast.

Two wheel racing – I am not biased, it is the best!

I am not biased, MotoGP is best. From riders, to engines, to frames, to braking and to the beautiful girls. Sadly, the best bikes were the two strokers, from the smell to the sound to the acceleration. You knew you had been to the race track when you smelt of methanol and your ears still rang.

The world’s greatest….. the NSR500

 

 

Motorcycle Gear – not only for Touring

Motorcycle Gear - proper riding clobber for the motorcyclist is a must

Motorcycle Gear – Expensive riding clobber is not a luxury item.

Although we search for the cheapest mode of transport for our kids all in the name of making them independent, parents have taken a frighteningly lax attitude when it comes to safety gear. No matter whether it’s a scooter or a moped; shorts, short sleeved shirts or T-shirts and sandals is really taking a big chance when out gallivanting with your friends or riding solo.

Motorcycle Gear - proper riding clobber for the motorcyclist is a must
Motorcycle spill – with the proper gear (source Franc)

Motorcycle Gear – know your leathers

Ten times out of ten a motorcyclist is going to fall sometime, whether deliberate, oil slick, poor riding habits or an obstacle, putting the bike down quickly and without control is going to cause some pain to yourself and your bike. Right now there is a dangerous tendency for parents to worry more about the cost of the bike than the gear worn. Before buying any bike make sure you can afford the gear – riding boots is not a luxury item, it can save your foot or lower leg, likewise those that ride as if they are on the beach. I have personally been overtaken by a mad man doing at least 120 m.p.h. coming around a gentle curve, the rider wearing nothing more than a a T-shirt, slops and short pants. I know somebody who was driving not more than 40 mph, hit a ditch, lost a knee cap and ended up nearly losing an arm if it wasn’t for the paramedics. Just imagine that beautiful daughter of yours in that predicament?

Parents are really showing no interest. Riding two up on a small capacity machine without proper riding gear is just looking for trouble. Yes, we have all done it. Ask any motorcyclist whether they have ever had a fall. The answer won’t be surprising based on the contents of this article.

Please, please ensure your child arrives home in the same condition they left.

(Suppliers please list your company details and add to this article. This dangerous practice has to be stopped now!)

[Editor’s Note: We were requested to place this article after one of our readers came across an accident where a young girl lost control of her scooter and fell on the tarmac. She ended up with serious burn marks, cuts and bruises.  Halternecks and short pants may look cool on the beach but not out riding. Wear proper motorcycle gear to go riding].

 

DSM Components

admin 2013-12-27 10:03:29
admin

Company/Business DSM Components
Website http://dsmcz.com
Business Type Reseller
Category/Genre Electronics – DIY
Posted By
admin

Core Business Reseller of electronic components
Address 1 Pisek 486
Address 2
Suburb Frýdek-Místek
Town/City Pisek u Jablunkova
Region Moravian-Silesian
Country Czech Republic
Zip/Postal Code 739 84
Telephone +420 774 849478
Details/Additional

I liked this company’s website – no frills. I have not used them but see for yourself.

From their about page:

We are an electronc component supplier, based in the Czech Republic. We are aiming to supply hobby electronics makers, at the lowest possible prices. Our components are a mix of new and Surplus components. If the Surplus components are degraded in any way (typically pins are formed / cut shorter than the new from the factory state (contract manufacturers do this for insertion to their customers PCB’s, but not all of them get used, thus they are for sale here. Occasionally component pins of surplus components may be tarnished, we will inform you of this in the product description (A quick run in sandpaper before soldering will remedy this)).


Mouser Electronics USA

admin 2013-12-27 10:03:29
admin

Company/Business Mouser Electronics USA
Website http://za.mouser.com
Business Type Distributor
Category/Genre Electronics – DIY
Posted By
admin

Core Business Distributor of electronic components
Address 1 1000 North Main Street
Address 2
Suburb Mansfield
Town/City Mansfield
Region Texas
Country United States of America
Zip/Postal Code 76063
Telephone (800) 346-6873
Details/Additional

From the About Page:

Customer Focused Distribution

Mouser Electronics is a worldwide leading authorized distributor of semiconductors and electronic components for over 500 industry leading suppliers. We specialize in the rapid introduction of new products and technologies for design engineers and buyers. Our extensive product offering includes semiconductors, interconnects, passives, and electromechanical components.

In 2007, Mouser became a part of the Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway family of companies. Today, Buffett’s holdings include insurance and finance subsidiaries and a host of almost fifty businesses ranging from jewelry and furniture to manufactured homes.

Mouser has a strong commitment to customer service. That’s why we’ve won awards for our legendary worldwide customer service excellence. We understand the value of having a knowledgeable person there to answer your questions quickly. Mouser is redefining customer-focused distribution.
Mouser is expanding it’s headquarters due to phenomenal growth!

All orders shipped same day from 500,000 sq ft warehouse.
Connect with us through social media.
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Worldwide Customer Service

Mouser is the only component distributor to consistently receive an audited award for Customer Service Excellence. With 20 locations located strategically around the globe, we speak your language (supporting 17 different languages) and are able to transact business in 20 currencies. This translates into the flexibility of not requiring a minimum order and same-day shipping. At Mouser, our commitment to unsurpassed service and support knows no boundaries.
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State-of-the-Art Warehouse Operations

When you need the right part right now, think Mouser. Selection, speed, and accuracy are the core of Mouser’s state-of-the-art warehouse with sophisticated equipment enabling us to process orders 24/7. The wireless warehouse management system is streamlined to nearly perfect pick-and-ship operations delivering a 5-Sigma confidence rating, better than 99%. Orders are processed and ready to ship in 15 minutes in most cases, enabling same-day shipping on most orders to nearly 500,000 customers in 170 countries. It’s about doing what’s right for the customer, and that’s getting the order right and delivered on time every time.


Online Parts International – Global Parts & Suppliers

Global Parts

The Non-Centralization of a Global Parts Network

  1. Register as user
  2. Register your business

Although finding replacement parts, spares and components for any level of industry has never been simpler it has also become more time consuming to sift through the tons of data available on the internet. What has become very obvious over the last two decades is that barriers to purchasing products through brick and mortar companies relative only to distribution or retail is a diminishing trend – end users are often professional people not wanting to restrict themselves to only one industry and no longer want to pay possibly exorbitant prices instigated by the multitude of middle men in the supply chain. eBay is a case in point where often the manufacturer sells directly to the public, the downfall being returns and criminal intent.

Global Parts
A General Electric J85-GE-17A turbojet engine (1970) – source Sanjay Acharya

Online Parts International is a Global Parts Network, a portal to the sourcing of parts through a repository of manufacturer, distributor and retail links, catalogs and technical papers. The OPiC system or Online Parts International Catalog will list all companies registering and will mail you updates to the parts listing if you require.

The sourcing of Global Parts – fact is you are vulnerable

Many years back most countries had restrictions on their imports which lead to strict measures in place for compliance and user safety. Modern times has lead to drastic measures and often national (or local) regulations are put in place for consumer protection. This does not cover your overseas purchases though, the buyer is just not protected. Education is key but usually potential buyers are only protected through the payments gateway for a period of thirty days. Asian imports have become a fundamental part to our purchasing pattern for both small and big business. In the electronic industry counterfeiting is rife and large scale manufacturers have to be cautious of the quality of their components and how faulty components are discarded, likewise buyers must understand the risk of either buying cheap or through an unknown source. This however is not entirely a bleak picture, it has always been a trend where competition is high and in electronics this is huge.

Global Parts for Rebadged Kit

A trend which is just as popular as many years back is re-badging. This often makes it difficult for the end-user to source parts for a product which in fact is manufactured by company A, usually the OEM but sold under a different brand. Most professional television or audio system repair companies quickly found out who was making what but for the home repair person this has now become more difficult than ever. Computer power supplies are now a case in point. How many other companies are manufacturing products which gets re-badged and sold under a different name? Likewise television displays. The auto industry is a dance. There is a company locally distributing Toyota 1.4l engines for 700U$. Are these genuine Toyota engines? There are huge difference in prices between car engine and motorcycle engine parts (ditto marine) but are there some parts which are interchangeable? According to a colleague this will be found with big bore machines e.g. pistons and rings.

Global Parts for Restoration

Unless you are Jay Leno most people trying to restore old vehicles or anything with electronic, electrical or mechanical parts will not know where to source a replacement without manufacturer intervention (if they haven’t closed their doors). For many, joining a community forum is of great assistance. I knew an old guy once, ex-Leyland and he was a walking forum. He knew every part of a Leyland product manufactured from 1960 until 1975. Those guys are now few and far between. The gems on the internet are the older, experienced souls whom offer, more often than not free advice. Free exceptional advice. For many it’s a passion – they may not be super wealthy but guaranteed in years gone by they will be sorely missed. Their knowledge is measured in the billions. Parts-Ring is dedicated to those people. Parts-Ring is about bringing people together with like-minded interests in the mechanical and electrical world. Finding parts for long obsolete products, finding parts for a project, finding parts for restoration and finding parts just to sell on.

Social Media

Whether you are on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, Google or any other social media platform do register with us and advertise. In many countries there is a serious lack of professional people, lawyers, CAs and doctors. This can be easily rectified. You can never ‘buy’ experience. Modern times has changed our outlook on human values and priorities and it’s always an inspiration to come across a web site dedicated to assist others and often at their own expense, relay projects and knowledge to the rest of the world. This does not always come from big business although TI is a firm favorite (of ours), this comes from the scientific minded experimenter and enthusiast.

Quick Glimpse Index

  • Get a look at companies currently listed…
  • List your company… (one needs to be registered)
  • Join our forums… (Join under front page)
  • Post an advertisement….

Join the Global Parts Network to help others. Registrations page

Note: Manufacturers, Distributors and Resellers are welcome to mail us their inventory preferably in cvs or dbf – this will be loaded into our database with your company details next to each SKU or component listing. Your company details will be registered with us. Ensure that the company name corresponds to the area or city – e.g. Smith’s Electronics – Norfolk – Virginia. (and not England). Contact us via supplier@parts-ring.com – once we have the format it gets uploaded with date and contact email. Once we have the products listing you will need to update it yourself thereafter. Just another way to get a Global Parts network out there…. Keep your inventory under 1MB or blocks of 1MB please.

  1. Register as user
  2. Register your business

 

 

Advances in Audio Technology

Audio Technology - from bad to worse or is it really better?

Vinyl and Audio Production in the Digital Age – Audio Technology

There is something strange going around in this this little world of ours and this can only be put down to lack of innovation or is it imagination. Over the last century we had scientists clambering over each other to discover new techniques, methods, ideas, whatever to make audio sound like the real thing – here I digress, I talk about making your home audio system sound like the original reproduction, whether it be unplugged, a concerto, a live rock concert or just the folk singer at the corner pub.

Audio Technology - from  bad to worse or is it really better?
Edison Phonograph – r Norman Bruderhofer, www.cylinder.de

 

To date we have arguments for and against the different audio class topologies, A, ,B or AB, D, G, H and of course what I will call a sub of D, known as T, a trademark of Tripath. There are some phenomenal audio gurus out there ranging from engineers, scientists to the DIYer – many of them skulk around audio forums giving exceptional advice, some even let you into their own little secrets and of course then you have those that have proven exceptional talent in the field, John Linsley Hood, Nelson, Pass, Bob Carver, Rod Elliott, to name a few.  I’m not very critical when it comes to audio – some of the amplifiers I built eons ago were absolute crap and then one day I built an amplifier with spare parts, a symmetrical power supply and followed what could be known as the tried and tested route – symmetry, stability and the least path of resistance – as few components as possible. Of course the amplifier was the tried and trusted class AB, and built 35 years ago it put out 60W per channel from a MJ802/4502 output pair. This was the best sounding amplifier I built in that era.

I recently built the L20 kit advertised on eBay and only because of the price purchased 4 of these units (2 kits). Using a near 2kVA power supply this thing kicks butt. Really astonishingly good quality for all of about 50U$ for the 4 amplifiers. I then went and spoilt it all by buying the NU4-6000 manufactured by Behringer.  Tests forthcoming – a really tremendous sounding amplifier and when people talk about class D amplifiers reproducing bass like nobody’s business they are not joking. The problem with really high powered amplifiers, one gathers, are the neighbours.

Over the next month I will give you the tests on the L20 and the Behringer amplifier. I do NOT have a test load resistor for the Behringer though – this needs to be made up.  Although the L20 was purchased for PA work I really want to buy two old discarded chassis with torroidals (working) for rack mount. The L20 is really a bargain. You need plenty of heatsinking, gurus, also make sure if use cooling fans that they don’t suck – there’s nothing like a good blow to keep things cool. I have read a few forums where people ask about quality, power etc – buy it. If you don’t like it, trash it or give to a friend – or enemy. Mine uses a +50/-50V supply and it pushes easily 200W into an 8 Ohm load. Into 4 Ohms you’re gonna need some good cooling. As promised, test results in the next month.

So now, enough about me, what about you? The manufacturers of audio are now pushing active speaker systems and wireless ones to boot. Now isn’t that great innovation. Fact is bi- and tri- amping have been around for years. Wireless technology means you now have the mains cable to contend with. The way houses and apartments are built these days you had better buy a few extension leads because a wall power outlet is becoming a scarce commodity. Jokes aside I think its great that we are now bringing out wireless speakers. They have been sold for the last 15 years but only now that we have run out of ideas are we promoting this ‘new’ technology. On a professional level – good idea. Home use – bad idea. It’s a gadget. The biggest buyers of cell phones and laptops is the new generation. They don’t like big sound systems – they like earsets, wi-fi, Bluetooth and docking stations. And really loud audio in their cars. Could you afford a 300 dollar set of headphones when you were in your teens?

Me, I like to read the audio forums and gloss over Rod Elliott’s website for pearls of wisdom I might have missed before. I wonder what he thinks of the modern trend?  Bob Carver is an interesting fellow and by all accounts, like Elliot and the real gurus, does not suffer fools gladly. I just love it when they disprove a theory not by words alone but by actually doing it. So the question remains – we have TV moving into ultra high definition and now we have moved audio from it’s original high fidelity pedestal onto the high definition stage. At what point are we going to realise that us as humans have a defined hearing range and that our sensory system is nowhere close to that of a dog, cat or bat. Loudspeakers remain extremely inefficient, amplifiers climb into the kilowatt range and now we build systems for the consumer where the loudspeaker can be placed all over the house. Or apartment. Or street.

As times have changed there is no denying the fact that modern audio equipment is superior to that of old – but just as a cheap wine may be superior to an expensive wine (in blind tests) we are falling foul to petty logic and of course, snob value. I do not see the merit in wireless systems except in pro equipment (and pray we don’t have someone that decides to blot the landscape with high powered interference) just as I saw the merit in having standalone DSP decoders. If it now takes off then someone wasn’t doing their job right. Some of the biggest Japanese manufacturers are showing absolutely no innovation, the Chinese are mass producing docking stations, loudspeakers, cheap good quality amplifiers and headphones while nobody is thinking about building a cheap optical reader for vinyl and an efficient transducer – last time I did biology was in 1972 and I sure don’t recollect that our hearing was digital.

I listened to Supertramp, Paris, a month back. This was part of a vinyl collection I have from my DJ days. I listened to this on a NAD turntable through a Proton class A/AB amplifier and a pair of Sennheiser headphones. The sound was absolutely awesome. The gear was not expensive – middle of the road. Besides the occasional pops and cracks I learnt something new. Digital has taken on new meaning. We have become so accustomed to the sound systems of today one really does forget that the systems of yesteryear sounded different. Better? Never. Not in a million years. Would it have sounded better on a wire free active loudspeaker system. Never, not in a million years. But there is a difference…..

Not once did I feel tired listening to the music on the old vinyl.

If someone told me that the sound of old tubes or the soft mush of 2N3055s sounds better than our digitally enhanced music of today I would have made a comparison to modern, cheaper equipment which has so much more crisp and vibrant quality – and somewhere, somehow I think they may be right.

Well, I like this article – why vinyl is better than CD

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Distortion is key and it all depends on harmonics. Manufacturers beware – after how many years and vinyl is not dead yet. Makes one think doesn’t it?