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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software
what diy stuff did you do as a kid?
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liquidpaper



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:53 pm    Post subject: what diy stuff did you do as a kid? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

also, what diy-related info do you wish people had told you when you were little?

we mainly did things related to our bikes. attaching stuff that made noise to them, building jumps, etc. we also built forts, etc.

by the way, if this is in the wrong forum, please feel free to move it.
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Etaoin



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

http://www.rrd.demon.nl/Philips%20experimenteerdozen/foto_ee2040.htm

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

(thread quite appropriate Very Happy )

I built my first synth (around an SN76477) at the age of 11, while living in Canada- with a little help from my Mother's cousin's hubby Phil- who now owns a computer-based business in Silicon Valley in CA Shocked (true!)

Actually Phil did most of the work, but I did do some soldering Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My father and I made an electronic dice once. I also remember we that made a noisebox around the XR2206 chip that could make your voice sound like a robot. transformer We also started building a model railway, but we didn't get so far.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I grew up outside of Boston, MA. We did the cards in the spokes thing and hot rodded our bicycles with other stuff too. I pimped out my banana seat 5 speed stick shift with rear slick.

I was always into building things. Lincoln Logs, Legos (still build with those!), Erector Set (meccano), all started me off. Mechanically, by the time I was about 6 or 7 I was taking things apart and putting them back together again. I guess that made me different, as when I put them back together again, they worked better. I fixed a lot of clocks that way, by the time I was about 10 I could repair most wind up clocks and a fair amount of electric ones.

My first experience with electronics was using a Lectron set (1967?). They are still available, it turns out. I was a regular addict at the local Radio Shack by the time I was 12, having been introduced to op amps and TTL logic by then. Built a bunch of Griefkits too. First synthesizer in 1974, second one in 1976-1977. Fairly into ham radio/CB around then too. For spare cash in my teens, I installed car radios and CBs. I wasn't very good at joinery, but I did manage to build some speaker cabinets that didn't shake apart. I replaced the AC motor in my Leslie with a DC servo motor for continuous control. I was playing in bands from 14 on, so a lot of my DIY was focused around keeping my kit healthy on a budget.

I was an Electronotes subscriber from 1974 to about 1981. I should have never stopped it, but when I went to college, I had started as an EE but ended up majoring in CS and SS instead, around then, I gave up electronic building for quite a few years. Of course, I was into MIDI from the start, and ran a small recording studio for a number of years, that requires good fixit and DIY skills too. I tend to fix my own stuff, to hell with that "no user servicable parts inside" crap. So even though I didn't build much, I was fixing PAs, mixers, blown amps, power supplies, etc.

Took a break when kids came along. Soldering irons and 2 year olds don't work together (NB, Loss1234!). Also I got too busy. Now that they're older, I've had time to get back into it, in fact, one of them wants to help and is now building Velleman kits.

Somewhere in there I spent 7 years as a programmer. The debugging process is a good analytic skill builder.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

maybe I should add that I actually spent more time pulling things apart then not really knowing (or caring) about putting them back together again, which meant I always ended up with lots of junk- which really wound my mother up!

When I lived in Canada, I was more into building model rockets than electronics (Rockets were so much FUN!!). Rockets meant that you spent more time in the sunshine rather than the dark. However when I got into photography, 95% of the time was spent in the darkroom anyway! Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Etaoin wrote:
http://www.rrd.demon.nl/Philips%20experimenteerdozen/foto_ee2040.htm

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.



Me too.. but the box looked like this:

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

The Mechanical Engineer kit was great fun too.

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RF



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I was given a Heathkit "Electronic Workshop 19" by my electronic engineer uncle when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. That was a great start that lead directly to my career work

I was building Heathkit stereo equipment in 6th grade, and in Jr. High school built a radio station in my bedroom and was broadcasting to the neighborhood. Ham radio began to interest me in High School...

Needless to say, I was a bit of a nerd.....but I've had a 26 year career in broadcast engineering because of it.

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TheAncientOne



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My first electronics set was a Heathkit too - but I can't remember the name or number. I think I was 10 years old. Fabulous Christmas present from my parents. I'd asked and they said it was rather too expensive. I'd agreed and just left it. They decided to buy it for me anyway. Probably my best Christmas present ever. I wanted to build a duplicate of the lamp flasher and walked all the way into town trying to get the bits. A very kind partner in the Hird-Brown company, where I was enquiring about buying a relay, gave me a whole collection of parts and a soldering iron to start me off. I've been doing electronics ever since.

First music bits were Fuzz boxes and the like for my guitar playing friends. I built a mixer and ring modulator, my first real electro musical toy, in the 6th form.

Still got my Philips Mech set, I got at about 13 years old.


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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

In Scandinavia the Jostykit range was very popular.

I googled Jostykit and found that they changed the logo and they are all about computers these days.

Now the logo looks like this:
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Shocked

Anyways, they also published this book which was very popular at the time:

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.




..

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My favorite at age 9 Very Happy Very Happy Tandy corporation ... now vintage ....

Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I grew up with the 205 in 1 version of that kit State! Those kits are WONDERFUL. Like breadboarding, but much better for teaching (& early learning). it was "205" because it also included a few logic chips, 7-seg LED display, and a row of LED lights. Then, you could mix logic & radio, sending "sequences" of bleeps over radio! How cool! This was definitely my true beginning down a path of wanting to understand, rather just mess with things out of curiousity.
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richardc64



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I had something similar to the Philips -- 2 little plastic tables with grid of holes. It was more electrical than electronic, though: buzzers, small incandescent bulbs, lever switches -- even a sort of key for morse code. Can't imagine what inspired my parents to get it. I might even have asked for it. I must've been younger than 10 at the time.

Later on I built a Lafayette(!!!) kit regenerative short-wave receiver. I'm sure it interfered with radios for blocks around.

<squelch>

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

richardc64 wrote:
Later on I built a Lafayette(!!!) kit regenerative short-wave receiver.

My first project beyond the obligatory xtal set was a regen receiver. Scratch built out of the ARRL handbook.

Very Happy

Ian
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Until about 3 weeks ago, I had a Denshi block kit- but the wife got me to chuck it Sad

I'd had that since the age of 9 Sad

Oh well- I'm now dedicated to the new order of throwing stuff away Shocked Crying or Very sad

Its still a glorious mess in here still- up in the loft........ Cool

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

frijitz wrote:
richardc64 wrote:
Later on I built a Lafayette(!!!) kit regenerative short-wave receiver.

My first project beyond the obligatory xtal set was a regen receiver. Scratch built out of the ARRL handbook.

Very Happy

Ian


Oh yeah! I forgot about the crystal receiver. Mine used a germanium diode, though, not a rock and cat's whisker Razz Wire dangling out the third floor window for an antenna, ground wire wrapped around the radiator's valve Rolling Eyes

A scratch built super het did not work Sad

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey, I almost forgot.. the Sinclair Micromatic kit:

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Very Happy

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marr



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Mostly model rockets of the brown sugar / saltpeter / sulfur variety. The only electronics was the launch controller. Laughing I guess I did a bit - a crystal radio in Scouts and a PAiA vocoder I got via the back of a magazine or something. Lots of tweaking and stuff on a 4.77MHz PC.

Re what I wish people had told me...

I did go out and buy one of the old Radio Shack books and a breadboard. I think I just stared at it. Didn't understand how putting stuff in all the holes was supposed to make a circuit. *sniff* But, I was utterly fascinated by the schematics and had a good time trying to recognize patterns in them.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
I grew up with the 205 in 1 version of that kit State! Those kits are WONDERFUL.


Oh yes, they were wonderful indeed and the kit kept me busy for hours at a clip Very Happy I think I would have loved the 205 in 1 but I may have a couple of years on you Wink so that one was not on the market yet Crying or Very sad

Judging from our conversations though, we went on similar career paths enjoying logic and processor design ...... "cheers to you" and happy new year Justin !!!

Bill
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Tim Servo



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:57 am    Post subject: what diy stuff did you do as a kid? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Man, some GREAT retro pics here! Smile

I built a PAiA Gnome when I was 17. Does that count? I actually still own that little bugger, although I haven't fired it up in a couple or decades. Maybe I'll recap it (or at least replace any tantalums) and give it a shot.


Tim (hopefully the Gnome won't produce any magic smoke) Servo
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
I built a PAiA Gnome when I was 17. Does that count?


Oh dude, it sure does. I always wanted to build that when I was younger but never did. I built, however, the PAiA "Chord EGG" "gratification generator though !!! Flowing random musical chords with spatial FX. A sort of "Noodle" on a card I suppose?? Now that is a cool classic ! Someone e-mailed me wanting to purchase it recently ..... I did not sell it, it is too valuable to me Very Happy

Thanks for the memories,
Bill
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Hey, I almost forgot.. the Sinclair Micromatic kit:



Oh yes !!!!!! As I saw from the website, its really the Micro-6 with a new name

From Planet Sinclair:

Quote:
The Micromatic sold quite well and held a place in Sinclair's range until 1971. It is now something of a collector's item; because significant numbers were sold, it is not too difficult to find Micromatics in today's marketplace.


Bill
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bugfight



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

man this brings back some memories... great thread!

among other such items i had a strange kit that had electronic components in blocks with terminals on the sides which stuck to a metal sheet with magnets. you couldn't do much with it, though, and in the end i wound up pulling the components out of it and soldering them to perfboard with my woodburner (gasp)

i remember making a radio with a penny, a diode, a safety pin and an earphone... or such as...

hehe i also remember making an arc lamp with carbon rods from batteries and a salt water rheostat powered by mains. damm lucky not to get electrocuted or burn the house down. whee! (it was a very different world back then)
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bugfight wrote:
i had a strange kit that had electronic components in blocks with terminals on the sides which stuck to a metal sheet with magnets.


Yes I remember that, it was marketed here under the Braun brand, but in the US as something else. Didn't have it myself, and it was a bit limited indeed, but I've always liked the concept; not building a circuit but drawing up schematics really.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
hehe i also remember making an arc lamp with carbon rods from batteries and a salt water rheostat powered by mains. damm lucky not to get electrocuted or burn the house down. whee! (it was a very different world back then)


Wow, you got my curiosity going, I needed to know what a salt water rheostat was and now I know !!! Thanks for that story ! Cool

Wikipedia Says:

Quote:
Early examples of a dimmer include a salt water dimmer. In a salt water dimmer, there were two metal contacts in a glass beaker. One contact was on the bottom, while the other was able to move up and down. The closer the contacts to each other, the higher the level of the light. Using salt water dimmers was a tedious and precarious task that included filling the beakers with water, checking the concentration of the salt, and raising or lowering the top contact. Salt water dimmers were not efficient due to the evaporation of water and the corrosion of the many metal pieces. These dimmers were colloquially known as "pis pots", for obvious reasons. Many old theatre electricians still recount stories of how they were initiated into the art by being requested to "top up a pot" and receiving a shock, as unbeknownst to them the pot was live...


Bill
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