Long ago I was the youngest member of an electronics design group. An older collegue
had a bench opposite to mine. He was a wise and experienced guy, but also rather proud
of this experience. Above all he marvelled in his ability to operate a very special
Tectronics scope. For its time a very fast one, with dual trace, delayed timebase, memory
screen and a lot of funtionality thanks to various plug-in units.
OK, no problem
so far. However, the scope was so large that it stood partially on my bench. OK, not
a real problem, BUT, it was also blowing a LOT of hot air into my face and my experiments.
Polite suggestions for other arrangements, a cart for instance, so that others could
use this wondermachine too, were stubbornly negledted (very bad for the tubes, no one
else can work it, etc).
I was once tought that every problem has one or more
stupid solutions and sometimes also a smart solution. Making a row might cost me my
job in this really good group, so a smart solution was desperately needed.
some days of staring into the back of the monster, I discovered some plugs. One of them
was labeled 'Z'. A smart idea was coming up!
I (secretly) consulted
the manual, and indeed, this input directly controlled the beam intensity.
quickly arranged some other equipment, including a power supply, on my bench and hidden
behind this I slipped a cable loosely on the Z-plug. The rest was simple. In the middle
of an experiment my esteemed collegue would suddenly loose his trace. After some juggeling
with the triggering, it suddenly reappeared. But after a week, he decided that the scope
needed repair. It took two man to lift the monster and I agreed to help, so nobody noticed
my little cable.
After a day of testing, we decided that a minor adjustment in
the trigger circuit and a new tube had solved the problem. But the next day the problem
was there again....
After a month,
several replaced tubes and a lot of contact cleaning it was decided that the beast was
tired of life and was put aside. We both got a 7000 scope that fitted neatly on our
was later donated to a very happy collectioner. Smart solutions make everybody happy,
but not everybody has to know everything.