By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale July 23rd

What did you do Today 2018

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
daveb03/01/2018 22:47:31
606 forum posts
10 photos
Posted by Clive Hartland on 03/01/2018 16:16:23:

You have not mentioned, 'Sinclair' calculators. They came on the market in the UK also with a little FM radio which you made up from a kit, if it did not work you sent it in and it came back working. It had a little bulb type earphone.

I still have 2 Sinclair calculators, one a Scientific calculator. Very useful in the early days. Of course Clive Sinclair is famous for the C5 trike car ?

Clive

I bought one of the early Sinclair scientific calculators, came with a pack of cards to program the thing. Tedious!

Surplus motors for the Sinclair electric car (which actually looked like a childs plastic trike) provided motive power for a whole generation of model locomotives. Why didn't Sinclair just make the model locomotives to begin with?

I still have a Sinclair black box digital multimeter, tiny display but worked OK.

I could be wrong but I believe Clive Sinclair invented the mutiplexer for the digital display which made pocket calculators possible.

Daveb

Bazyle03/01/2018 22:50:44
avatar
4681 forum posts
186 photos

Modern stuff needs batteries. At school we were shown how to use a Curta calculator. Lovely engineering.

However it was cheaper to have electronics as a hobby than engineering so I built a Sinclair in 1975 and a microcomputer (6800 based, 256 bytes RAM, 8 switches and LEDs for data and 8 for address) in 1977. Met Sir Clive in 1980 at the first London Computer Fair at the Polytechnic of North London.

Bill Pudney04/01/2018 02:25:52
414 forum posts
16 photos

After machining quite a bit of cast iron, I thought my poor little Sieg X2 mini mill needed a bit of a clean and oil. So I did. Only real surprise was that the X axis (?? side to side) leadscrew was supported by two thrust races. After ten years the slides definitely needed some oil, but they were clean with no apparent wear. So everything got a good wash, clean up oiled or greased as required and re-assembled. Everything now feels silky smooth, backlash free and good.

Happy New Year

cheers

Bill

ps Isn't cast iron filthy stuff!!

 

Edited By Bill Pudney on 04/01/2018 02:26:54

Mark Rand04/01/2018 03:05:36
742 forum posts

I went on an archeological dig. During two hours of careful work, a large number of 5C collets, tool holders, CBN and carbide inserts, nuts bolts and other historical artifacts were unearthed. The last, and most exciting, artifact to be found may be a lathe chip tray. Positive identification is still awaited, since this artifact has not seen the light of day for at least several years.

V8Eng04/01/2018 07:16:15
1314 forum posts
27 photos
Posted by Mark Rand on 04/01/2018 03:05:36:

I went on an archeological dig. During two hours of careful work, a large number of 5C collets, tool holders, CBN and carbide inserts, nuts bolts and other historical artifacts were unearthed. The last, and most exciting, artifact to be found may be a lathe chip tray. Positive identification is still awaited, since this artifact has not seen the light of day for at least several years.

Cleaning the workshop up then?😉

john carruthers04/01/2018 08:51:31
avatar
595 forum posts
172 photos

Speak not of Sinclair, grrr.
I spent several summers picking black currants to fund the purchase of some Sinclair hi-fi modules, none of which ever worked.
I assembled them as per the instructions, even had a sparks check it over for me, nothing...

Decades later I mentioned it to Clive at a mensa dinner, no reply

Anthony Kendall04/01/2018 09:35:24
57 forum posts

Posted by john carruthers on 04/01/2018 08:51:31:
Speak not of Sinclair, grrr.I spent several summers picking black currants to fund the purchase of some Sinclair hi-fi modules, none of which ever worked.
I assembled them as per the instructions, even had a sparks check it over for me, nothing...
Decades later I mentioned it to Clive at a mensa dinner, no reply

Yes, I remember the stuff - great claims of the power output - by careful selection of words e.g. using terms like peak power it was possible to claim the modules were amazingly powerful. We used to joke about there being average power, peak power and Sinclair power!
Having bought a small module boasting 20W audio power, looking like a heat-sink filled in with black gunge, I powered it up and fed it with audio tone. It lasted well under 30 seconds. I conducted a post-mortem and found gunge had got between the collector of one of the output transistors and there was little thermal conductivity.
I also bought a ZX81 with added memory module - the latter bobbed up and down at the connector and crashed the computer regularly.
Sinclair - I think he is a genius who produced mainly rubbish. I hope he inspired others. Take heart though, the motors from the C5 are great for motorised bogies for models.

Jim Nic04/01/2018 10:34:58
avatar
203 forum posts
107 photos

I understood that C5 motors were Electrolux components from their washing machine range.

I resisted buying one despite the hype; as well as being slow, positively dangerous in traffic, limited in range and having little weather protection, you needed to be "Billy No Mates" to drive one. (And if you weren't at the start you soon would be.) sad

Jim

Edited By Jim Nic on 04/01/2018 10:35:32

John Haine04/01/2018 10:36:20
2591 forum posts
133 photos

Anyone remember the upgrade kit to the ZX spectrum to the spectrum+? The latter had a QL-style case with better keyboard - the kit was basically the case and keyboard, you swapped your Spectrum motherboard. Anyway I heard from someone who worked for Sinclair Research that WH Smith's service policy for people returning Spectrums was to basically replace them since the failure frate was so high and they didn't have the support expertise, sening the ruturn back to Sinclair. Sinclair found they were getting quite a number of Spectrum returns that turned out to be empty cases - people had twigged on to the WHS policy and worked out a little scam.

Robin04/01/2018 10:41:05
avatar
312 forum posts

I did Sinclair's stereo amplifiers c1973? Worked for approx. 2 seconds then were no more. With hindsight I thought I got the PSU wrong, but maybe I was an innocent bystander thinking

Samsaranda04/01/2018 10:47:13
avatar
776 forum posts
5 photos

Bazyle, I still have a Curta calculator, in pristine condition, it was my fathers he was a surveyor by profession and used it for what were then complex calculations but nowadays are relatively simple using modern calculators, he bought it during the 50’s and I inherited it from him about 30 years ago.

Dave W

Mark Rand04/01/2018 11:09:59
742 forum posts

I had a Sinclair amplifier for about 5 years power supply, pre-amp, tone controls, rumble&scratch filters and two 20W power amp modules. It was quite reliable apart from needing a regular supply of BD138 and BD139 output transistors! Very marginally rated. Everything else was ok apart from the cheap build quality. The wooden case I put around the home-built aluminium chassis made it look quite smart.

Muzzer04/01/2018 11:16:22
avatar
2904 forum posts
448 photos

Back in the early 80s, Sinclair had an office on King's Parade in Cambridge, opposite the college of that name. I was an engineering student at Trinity at the time and one day I called in to have a look, as I passed it several times most days. I'd experienced some of their questionable audio gear previously and was curious to see what they were up to. It was lunchtime and clearly they all nipped out for lunch, leaving the door open. I went in anyway and had a sniff about. They had a couple of small rooms above the ground floor shop, each with a desk (or two?). Nothing technical to be seen, so clearly just an admin office. But all the way up from the front door, the stairs were piled high with returned products. I guess that was pretty much what I expected. I doubt the vast ego himself would have been there anyway.

I always found Sinclair an embarrassment, speaking as a British engineer. This was a time when we were being exhorted to buy British Leyland crap like the Metro, so stakes were lowered and he joined the race to the bottom enthusiastically. Last I heard from him, he was proposing fuel cell powered helicopters(!) - what a deluded fool. Seemed quite appropriate that he craved support from the likes of Mensa, a self-selecting, self-promoting group of snobs.

Murray

Tony Jeffree04/01/2018 11:17:56
avatar
361 forum posts
6 photos
I didn't get any of the DIY Sinclair kit but had one of their ready built integrated amps for a while. Worked ok except for the appalling switch on thump - it annoyed me so much that I added a relay on the output to delay connecting the speakers until the output had stabilised.
Oldiron04/01/2018 11:25:14
264 forum posts
17 photos
Posted by Samsaranda on 04/01/2018 10:47:13:

Bazyle, I still have a Curta calculator, in pristine condition, it was my fathers he was a surveyor by profession and used it for what were then complex calculations but nowadays are relatively simple using modern calculators, he bought it during the 50’s and I inherited it from him about 30 years ago. Dave

Hi Dave.

The Curta is a fabulous piece of engineering. When you look at an exploded parts diagram it is hard to imagine all those parts in one small enclosure. Is it a MK1 or 2 ? It should have a cylindrical metal box with a left handed thread for storage. We have a Mk2 that is also pristine. regards Gary

duncan webster04/01/2018 11:41:00
avatar
2199 forum posts
32 photos

The Curta reminds me of a thing we had in the DO in my first real job. You set it up by manipulating levers in accordance with some arcane ritual (probably involving phases of the moon and chicken bones), wound a hand till a bell rang, then wound it back one rev and read the answer off. The first electronic calculator we got at work was the size of a book and you had to sign for it in the chief engineers office. At the end of my career if the batteries in you calculator went flat they would just issue an new one, I'm not convinced they knew you could fit new batteries!

Muzzer04/01/2018 11:47:48
avatar
2904 forum posts
448 photos
Posted by Tony Jeffree on 04/01/2018 11:17:56:
I didn't get any of the DIY Sinclair kit but had one of their ready built integrated amps for a while. Worked ok except for the appalling switch on thump - it annoyed me so much that I added a relay on the output to delay connecting the speakers until the output had stabilised.

Haha my dad got one of their preamps with an optional "scratch and rumble" filter board. The key characteristic of the latter was the deafening noise it made when you turned the crappy plastic Sinclair knobs. This was almost certainly due to the use of preset pots for level adjustment instead of pukka potentiometers that are designed for frequent adjustment. He wasn't best impressed with his investment, having spent ages constructing a proper enclosure and PSU for them. I recall the box being lined with silver foil in an unsuccessful attempt to reduce the hum levels. I know he also had to return the actual power amps early on. And I'll never forget the turn-on thump!

I recall blowing a load of pocket money on a pair of his TDA2020 audio power IC kits that were described as indestructible. You can guess how that ended up. They were little more than a std IC from SGS, supplied with a single sided PCB. Very little information about how to heatsink them properly and of course, no heatsink was offered for sale with them.

Murray

donkey04/01/2018 11:57:40
avatar
70 forum posts
5 photos

Jim nic

it was hoover washing machine motors powering the c5`s kept the hoover factory afloat in Merthyr tydfil for a few extra years.

brian

Jim Nic04/01/2018 12:23:30
avatar
203 forum posts
107 photos

Brian

Crikey! I didn't imagine Sinclair sold enough of the things tokeep a factory going for more than an hour or 2. Still, at least it was made in UK and every little helped.

Jim

Mick Berrisford04/01/2018 12:49:12
120 forum posts
2 photos
Posted by Jim Nic on 04/01/2018 12:23:30:

Brian

Crikey! I didn't imagine Sinclair sold enough of the things tokeep a factory going for more than an hour or 2. Still, at least it was made in UK and every little helped.

Jim

Too true, I only ever saw one on the road, pulled up to some traffic lights with a dirty great HGV alongside it, the lorry driver had got no chance of seeing the C5 at all, what it was going to do when it pulled of, turned or whatever. Was frightening to watch, you'd have to have a death wish to actually ride one on public roads..

Edited By Mick Berrisford on 04/01/2018 12:49:57

Edited By Mick Berrisford on 04/01/2018 12:50:36

All Topics | Latest Posts

This thread is closed.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Support Our Partners
Advertise With Us
Eccentric July 5 2018
Warco
Eccentric Engineering
Ausee.com.au
ChesterUK
TRANSWAVE Converters
Meridienne oct 2019
emcomachinetools
Allendale Electronics
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest